In his sound installation Call for Prayer – Morse (2011, 3m:6s) the artist uses a megaphone that broadcasts the Muslim call to prayer in Morse code. The prayer call sounds five times a day, at precise times, depending on geographic location. The call evokes the close relationship between religious practice and the absence of spiritual experience.
The Morse translation of the call for prayer transforms it into an alert signal against the dangers of proselytising. The code warns against religious and moral rigour, which in their excessive doses can prevent people to live a free religious and spiritual life. The work addresses the lack of spiritual freedom and the mechanical response to a call for prayer: it is not a conviction or a free choice anymore, rather it is forgetting to respond to the demand of a community distanced from their own needs.
Younes Baba-Ali (b. 1986) is a multi-disciplinary artist trained in France, whose work centres around sound material and its conditioning. He works in diverse media including sound, video, photography and installation. As an artist/engineer, Baba-Ali masters the potentialities of technology as an attempt to understand its complexity. The artist subtly and often ironically interrogates the mechanisms of contemporary society while shedding light on its dysfunctions.
His work poses the viewer face to face with the thin divide and unavoidable coexistence between intelligence and chaos. Urgent issues he reflects upon include the effects of the “Society of the Spectacle”, the question of multicultural identities and religious clashes, the over-production and waste of goods. (from ArtRadarJournal.com)
- What do you think of when thinking of the sub-contenent of Africa?
- What about African Art? What are the materials? What themes are explored by it's artists?
- How do these artists use built on the cultural traditions of Africa?
- How are they influenced by other cultures of the world?
- How does this work explore the issue of identity?
- Consider how viewing the work of these artists in photographs or video might differ from looking at it in person. How do viewers use technology when imagining a work of art in real space and time?