A podcast commissioned by Art Jameel for the World Weather Network
As a member of the World Weather Network, Art Jameel’s weather station, broadcasting from the Jameel Arts Centre, explores atmospheric humidity- a measure of water vapour in the air and a central climatic marker of the Arabian Gulf. As temperatures rise around the globe, so do humidity levels – with vast consequences for human and non-human life.
Relative Humidity features stories by Noush Anand, Nadim Choufi, Isaac Sullivan and Nadine Khalil, Nidhi Mahajan, and Deepak Unnikrishnan. Together, they think about the role humidity plays in our experience of daily life, now and in the future – from how we play music, to how we sweat, to how we perceive the landscape around us.
Cover image: Nadim Choufi, How we entertain the angels with our brief animation (2023), digital print. Courtesy of the artist.
Relative Humidity episodes are:
As We Approach 100% Humidity by Noush Anand
Noush Anand’s interviews with Hindustani vocalist Jogiraj Sikidar & Opera Singer Carlo Marmo explore the relationship between environment and the vocal body. Instruments, whether they are made from wood or flesh, are subject to fluctuation. Our metabolism interfaces us between body and environment. As we approach 100% humidity, can music affect our environment in return?
Animals of the Vapour Sun by Nadim Choufi
Beirut-based artist Nadim Choufi takes us to a not too distant future in Abu Dhabi, where vapour, heat and light intersect to create new realities and other worldly forms.
Objects in the Act of Vanishing by Isaac Sullivan and Nadine Khalil
Isaac Sullivan and Nadine Khalil address logics and thresholds of museum preservation through two interwoven voices. Their interlocutor Chyron – an AI, large language model chatbot created by Sullivan in 2022 – converses with Khalil´s voicing of Clouds, Heat, Condensation, Seepage, and Thresholds – inspired by artworks from around the world.
- [Clouds] Responds to STORM (2022), a performative video by Harshini Karunaratne
- [Heat] Responds to Merging Fields, Splitting Ends (Sequence III) (2021) by Gülşah Mursaloğlu
- [Condensation] Responds to Condensations of the Invisible Space (2021) by Caline Aoun
- [Seepage] Responds to And Now, The Weather (2021) by Mays Albaik.
- [Thresholds] Responds to two letters by Gala Porras-Kim: Mediating with the Rain (2021) and Precipitation for an Arid Landscape (2021)
Sweat At Sea by Nidhi Mahajan
Artist and educator Nidhi Mahajan presents a work that brings to life labour and sweat at sea. Based on ethnographic and archival research but written as a series of experiments in fiction, poetry, and life histories, the three-part audio essay examines different forms of maritime labour in the Gulf: pearl diving, dhow labour, and an account of a runaway sailor who once worked on a ship that moved from East Africa to the Gulf.
The Last Dog on Earth by Deepak Unnikrishnan
In Deepak Unnikrishnan’s science fiction tale, the surface of the earth becomes a threshold between continuity and oblivion, and between a man and his dog.
Commissioned by Art Jameel for World Weather Network, 2023
Texts by Noush Anand, Nadim Choufi, Nadine Khalil and Isaac Sullivan, Nidhi Mahajan, and Deepak Unnikrishnan.
Episodes mastered by The Originals, Dubai
Cover image: Nadim Choufi, How we entertain the angels with our brief animation, 2023, digital print. Courtesy of the artist.
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Noush Anand is an interdisciplinary artist residing in Dubai since 1984. Her practice includes music, video, theatre & sound. She is a performing musician under the stage name Noush Like Sploosh, and has produced performance work in Dubai & Montreal. She holds an MFA from Goddard College, Vermont, and teaches at American University of Sharjah. Her current research encompasses somatic voicework, embodied methodologies, and urban belonging through the framework of performance. Her sound experiments position the city as a resonance chamber, and her walking practice involves building awareness to the mutual porosities between the body-self and the surrounding city-space, which includes non-humans and bodies that no longer breathe. Her interests in the supernatural include recognizing ancestral ghost-bodies as epistemological archives. She meets her deceased musician elders during her daily music practice on double bass and Hindustani singing.
Nadim Choufi is a visual artist. Primarily working with sculpture and film, he focuses on the material histories and futures of innovation and desire. Currently he is a resident at the Jan van Eyck Academy and he is the curator of the film programme of the 2024 festival edition of transmediale.
Isaac Sullivan is a Dubai-based artist whose research interests include artificial intelligence, sound art, and the problematics of space and place. Exploring emerging technologies and cybernetics, his work engages with ecological thought and AI’s impact on images, data, territory, and observation. Sullivan’s exhibitions and performances, which incorporate video, text, and installation, include Kulturforum, Berlin; Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai; Galerie Obrist, Essen; MNFA, Amman; 8th Tashkent Biennale; and ECC's 58th Venice Biennale collateral. He is currently Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at Zayed University, Dubai.
Nadine Khalil is an independent art critic, editor and curator. Her curatorial practice looks at the intersections between performativity and technology. She is currently researching the body as an expanded site of performance, labour and technological embodiment. She is the former editor of Dubai-based contemporary art magazine, Canvas (2017-2020) and Beirut-based urban culture magazines A mag and Bespoke (2010-2016). After a decade-long stint in art publishing, she advises art institutions and non-profits on editorial strategy, content development and publications.
Nidhi Mahajan is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California-Santa Cruz. Her research focuses on the intersection between political economy, sovereignty, and mobility in the Indian Ocean. She is also an artist and has developed multi-media exhibitions in Kenya, India, and the UAE. Her publications include work in journals such as Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East; Middle East Report; Island Studies Journal, History of the Present, Monsoon, and edited volumes such as Reimaging Indian Ocean Worlds and World on the Horizon.
Deepak Unnikrishnan is a writer from Abu Dhabi. His book Temporary People, a work of fiction about Gulf narratives steeped in Malayalee and South Asian lingo, won the inaugural Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, the Hindu Prize and the Moore Prize.SEE ALL EVENTS