As you enter the Great Hall at Ithra, you are shrouded in darkness, save for a blue glow emanating from either side of a great expanse of silk-like fabric that hangs like clouds from the ceiling. At first, there is only stillness and silence. But as the lights change and the fabric shifts, the sound of birds and wind can be heard. The space transforms into different landscapes; powerful waves crash in a rolling ocean, fluffy clouds swayed by a light breeze, and a dark and ominous thunderstorm brews with a cacophony of thunder and lightning. Dramatic clouds, waves and stormy skies create an almost hypnotic feel as you allow the immersive artwork to take you on an otherworldly journey through the natural world. 

SEA/SKY is a contemporary audio-visual installation by Dutch artist Boris Acket that combines moving fabric, dynamic light and spatial sound in one synchronous piece. The work stems from the earlier EINDER series and is the biggest iteration of Boris Acket’s experiments with fabric and technology. As you step into this immersive installation, you are transported into a world of shifting landscapes and thrilling natural elements, a reminder of the power and beauty of nature that we must both control and protect.

A sensory symphony of sight and sound, the fabric dances in time with the ever-shifting colors ranging from deep blues to bright whites. The fabric, controlled by linear actuators and vertical motors, billows overhead. This is complemented by field recordings from acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton, who captured natural sounds that are typically drowned out by human noise pollution.

SEA/SKY is a mesmerizing and thought-provoking creation that emulates the ever-changing and unpredictable nature of our environment. The fabric moves gracefully, embodying the fluidity of water and the constantly changing skies. As it is controlled by both human and natural forces, it becomes a metaphor for the constant struggle between control and surrender. Through a stunning combination of synthetic and natural sounds, SEA/SKY invites us to reflect on our impact on the natural world and the potential future of our relationship with it.

The concurrent Net Zero exhibition showcases Ithra’s future-forward, sustainable approach to museums and exhibitions. The exhibit paves the way for a low carbon and circular approach to museums and exhibitions and presents international, contemporary artist perspectives on global environmental challenges which are expected to raise awareness and educate audiences on sustainability. Ithra is keen to encourage dialogue and ideation in the region and contribute to the ongoing global transition to Net Zero. Part of Ithra’s mission is to educate the community on artistic practices, how artists reflect the world and engage with topical areas of interest through creativity.
 
Ithra is an active supporter of contemporary visual art. One of the Ithra Museum’s five gallery spaces is permanently dedicated to contemporary art. The exhibitions of contemporary art include Ithra-curated shows as well as open-call exhibits, partnered projects and one of the largest art prize competitions in the world – the Ithra Art Prize.

Visit SEA/SKY in the Great Hall at Ithra and the complimentary Net Zero exhibition currently on view in Gallery 1. 

 

What: Net Zero Contemporary Art Exhibition
Where: Gallery 1, Ithra, Dhahran
When: Sep 2023 – Jun 2024

What: SEA/SKY audio-visual installation
Where: The Great Hall, Ithra, Dhahran
When: 28th Nov 2023 – 2nd Mar 2024

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