Walled Unwalled (2018)

In the year 2000 there was a total of fifteen fortified border walls and fences between sovereign nations. Today, physical barriers at sixty-three borders divide nations across four continents. As these walls were being constructed, millions and millions of invisible cosmic particles called muons descended into the earths atmosphere and penetrated metres deep, through layers of concrete, soil and rock. Scientists realised that these deep penetrating particles could be harvested, and a technology could be developed to use their peculiar physical capacities to pass through surfaces previously impervious to x rays. Muons allowed us to see for the first time the contraband hidden in lead lined shipping containers and secret chambers buried inside the stone walls of the pyramids. Now no wall on earth is impermeable. Today, we're all wall, and no wall at all.  

Walled Unwalled  is a single channel 20 minute performance-video installation. The performance comprises of an interlinking series of narratives derived from legal cases that revolved around evidence that was heard or experienced through walls. It consists of a series of performances reenactments and a monologue staged inside a trio of sound effects studios in the Funkhaus, East Berlin.


Walled Unwalled film credits:

producer: Jarred Alterman

assistant director:  Dala Nasser

director of photography:  Jarred Alterman

sound recordist:  Shakeeb Abu Hamdan

gaffer:  Claudia Schröder

grip:  Moritz Friese

projections:  james islip (lumen audiovisual

Drummer:  Shakeeb Abu Hamdan

Stage hands:  Diana Gluck and Abraham Zeitoun

Acoustic Analysis and Modelling:  Fouad Bechwati (21db)

Architectural animations:  Rami el Murr

Montage:  Jarred Alterman

Script edit:  Maan Abu Taleb

Sound design and mix:  Shakeeb Abu Hamdan

Colorist:  Joseph Mastantuono

Post Production Mastering:  Nice Dissolve NYC

Post Production Supervisor:  Pierce Varous

Camera:  FlyAwayFilmsNYC

Lighting:  UFO Berlin

Interviews with former Saydnaya detainees

Jamal, Samer and Salam originally filmed for a joint Forensic Architecture

and Amnesty International report

Commissioned for The Abraaj Group Art Prize curated by Myriam Ben Salah

with huge thanks to:

Ashkal Alwan

Fouad Bechwati

Emily Charles

Ahmed Ghoneimy

Nesrine Khodr

Andrea Lissoni

Aram Moshayedi

Nora Razian

Eyal Weizman

“Wooooooooah” [gasp] (2018) reviews the trial of the Paralympic champion, Oscar Pistorius. The trial was dedicated to discovering if he had intended to kill Reeve Steenkamp through the bathroom wall or if it was an accident. Pistrious testified that he believed that he was shooting at an armed intruder behind the wall. Accepting that he could not see through the wall, the attention of the court turned to how permeable the structure was to the sound of her voice. In the gallery Abu Hamdan presents a 1:1 scale drawing of the crime scene. Based on digital acoustic modelling of the space Abu Hamdan defines the extent to which the sound leaks through the bathroom wall. The dip of the doors acoustic absorption is here correlated to the peak intensity and pitch of Steenkamp’s scream to create an image that shows the wall not as a solid divide but rather an elastic membrane that both filters and contains sound but also deforms under the sonic pressure of a scream. By visualising the acoustic space in this way we see that although the wall blocked entirely his capacities to see Steenkamp, the shooters ability to hear her and identify her voice through the wall is undeniable.

Installation view Mor Charpentier Paris, France.