The Zaghroutah - CRY, Intercative Video Art Installation

Curator Mahmoud Obaidi, CICA Museum, 2017-2018

For the Zaghrouta Project, I invited artists from around the world to record themselves in a joyous sound that is known in the Middle East as the Zaghrouta. As the audience walked by the exhibit, the sensor was connected to the installation so that visitors became a part of the art show as they heard the celebratory cry. Just like the clapping of hands at the end of a Broadway play, the Zaghrouta, has the same connotation.

I also think of the Zaghrouta as a feminine gesture that is able to celebrate motherhood. New mothers fuss and make silly signals and sounds to entertain their newborn baby; for the boy or girl, their mother is putting on a show-cooing and loving their child. There is no judgment and no separation. This is the image that I have in my mind: the Zaghrouta, will allow for that space of creation, where nothing is good or bad, but there is a happy sound that occurs-just like a madar, who is thrilled with her baby--without any expectations.

The Zaghrouta is a harmonious sound. As people walked by, the videos played in unison, creating a wonderful surprise for the audience. Clapping is a sound that Westerners are familiar with; however, many people do not know the symbolism or significance of The Zaghrouta. My vision is to have the audience becoming astonished at the mesmerizing act. As people walk by they were curious, and in awe, wondering if they were causing the celebratory sound and what did it all mean.

One of my goals for this project was to allow for the universal experience of what it means to be human-whether we are in the Middle East or the West, everyone experiences feelings of joy, motherhood and celebration. Art has the ability to become cultural commentary about the human condition. My hope was to expand this artistic piece beyond an installation.

The Zaragrouta. Thus, the audience felt as if they were a part of a joyous chorus as all voices became one: this installation was a miraculous adventure in sound-play.

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