Magdi Mostafa’s light and sound Cairo city rhythm

In the wake of digital events emerging in the country, such as Haytham Nawar’s Di-Egy Fest – whose second edition after 2013 premiere will be organised end of Summer/Fall 2015 –, and of new digital workshop platforms as active as Medrar, an interesting generation of new technologies’ artists is hailing from Egypt.

Among them, Magdi Mostafa has recently presented at Townhouse Factory Space, Cairo, his most intriguing piece, The Surface of spectral Scattering. Built as a large scale multichannel light-sound installation, “The Surface of Spectral Scattering diagrams a long-passed affective moment whose presence still persists like a phantom pain, but the memory of which is rapidly receding toward a threshold of imperceptibility”.

Concretely, the piece reminds a bit the light-city-concept installation A Digital Experience of Visual System, but put into shape in a more impressive, bigger and almost-spiritual configuration. Occupying 600 square meters, The Surface of Spectral Scattering “translates the city of Cairo into a high energy discharge system with boundaries dictated by a poetic physics of transmission, where human actors play the role of inert conduits charged by abstract, external forces of zeal and fury”.

Indeed, the 10,000 hand-embroidered LED light connected in a spreading network pumped by 15 different power centers underline a very dynamic and imperceptibly-changing atmosphere, in which deep sound waves and sparse high frequencies enhance an impression of permanent tension. But the intensive expression of its “light-city physically mapped” refers nonetheless to a more human dimension that would embody deep memories of shouting (protesting?) people whose voices would be rapidly heard through the city before to vanish. A “surface of last screaming”, to use the expression of the artist, that gives here to lights and sounds’ ebb and flow a symbolic and emotional connection in terms of audiovisual language.


For more info on Magdi Mostafa:
For more info on the Townhouse Gallery:

Laurent Catala

Photos: Image courtesy the artist.



The Surface of Spectral Scattering- Interview of the artist ( june 2014)