WITHIN / Infinite Ear

To what extent do we hear? What can hearing and deaf people learn from each other’s abilities? In what ways can such knowledge improve political representation of the diversity of hearing? How can it influence the way we understand sound performance, its space and instrumentation?

Since 2013, Tarek Atoui and Council have worked with Deaf and differently-hearing persons to create spaces to explore, understand and represent the diversity of the hearing experience. Combining the scientific history of hearing with the history of sonic arts and Deaf culture, these sites seek to renew the ways we relate to sound perception.

This research has led to WITHIN / Infinite Ear, an exhibition consisting of a number of collections (of instruments, recordings, books, films and artworks) that will grow and shift as the project progresses.

The collections of WITHIN / Infinite Ear are composed of several ensembles:

Musical instruments that have the potential to address both Deaf and hearing persons developed by acoustic instrument makers, speaker designers, software engineers, and musicians who have been working with Tarek Atoui for the past years.

A series of sonic exercises inspired by somatic practices such as deep listening (Pauline Oliveros), sound massage (Thierry Madiot), silent walk (Myriam Lefkowitz) and fake therapy (Valentina Desideri).

Recordings of rare and inaudible phenomena displayed in a sonic café called the White Cat. While ordering a drink, one can experience more than thirty different recordings, of such things as: plant decomposition, the snapping sound of pistol shrimps or the collision of two black holes.

A varied program of films and videos (documentaries, filmic essays, artists’ videos, and dance performance recordings).

— A display of artworks, facsimile and objects from cultural, natural, and history museums that have addressed diverse hearing experiences.

Assembled into one exhibition, these collections create both a social space and a space of production offering diverse listening situations in the forms of a concert venue, a studio, a visual display, a café and a screening room. All together, WITHIN/ Infinite Ear is a para-institution devoted to the diversity of hearing.

Slideshow with the documentation of the research.

Display in the pool. In the foreground: thunder clap balls and conch shells. Courtesy Bergen Assembly, Photo: Thor Brødreskift.

One of the instruments, "4 iterations on drum" by Tarek Atoui and Thierry Madiot. Courtesy Bergen Assembly, Photo: Thor Brødreskift.

Sonic therapies. Courtesy Bergen Assembly, Photo: Thor Brødreskift.

The White Cat, a cafe where the audience can order drinks and sounds. Courtesy Bergen Assembly, Photo: Thor Brødreskift.

WITHIN / Infinite Ear is a collaboration between COUNCIL and Tarek Atoui


  • by Tarek Atoui

Infinite Ear

  • curated by COUNCIL (Gregory Castéra and Sandra Terdjman)


  • conceived by Tarek Atoui
  • with
  • Julia Alsarraf
  • Daniel Araya
  • Hein B. Bjerck
  • André Bratten
  • Johannes Goebel
  • Mats Lindström
  • Trond Lossius
  • Jeffrey M. Lubow
  • Thierry Madiot
  • Perrin Meyer
  • Greg Niemeyer
  • Alwynne Pritchard
  • Espen Sommer Eide
  • Gerhard Stäbler
  • Pauline Oliveros
  • Kari Telstad Sundet


  • Café with selection of sound recordings by
  • Tarek Atoui
  • Hein B. Bjerk
  • Chris Chafe
  • Carl Michael von Hausswolff
  • Jacob Kirkegaard
  • Morten Norbye Halvorsen
  • Eric La Casa
  • Gareth Lee Paterson
  • Matthieu Saladin
  • Minoru Sato
  • Thomas Tilly
  • Chris Watson


  • Collective and individual sonic exercises by
  • Myriam Lefkowitz and Valentina Desideri
  • Thierry Madiot
  • Pauline Oliveros and Ione


  • Artworks by
  • Douwe Jan Bakker
  • Antonia Carrara
  • Fairy Char
  • Giovanni Crupi
  • Aurelien Gamboni and Sandrine Teixido
  • Dora Garcia
  • Joseph Grigely
  • Alexandre Guirkinger
  • Alison O’Daniel
  • Baudouin Oosterlynck
  • Facsimile, documents and video documentation
  • Items from local collection


  • Movies and videos by
  • Lawrence Abu Hamdan
  • Robert Ashley
  • KK Bosse
  • Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion
  • Abel Gance
  • Friedrich A. Kittler
  • Xavier Le Roy
  • Christian Marclay
  • Alison O’Daniel
  • Simon Ripoll-Hurier
  • Walter Ruttmann
  • Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi
  • Noé Soulier and Jeffrey Mansfield
  • Andrei Tarkovsky
  • George W. Veditz
  • Frederick Wiseman



  • A 58 pages is published for the exhibition.

An artistic project of the Bergen Assembly, 2016


  • Ellie Armon Azoulay
  • Rayya Badran
  • Flora Katz
  • Emma Mc Cormick-Goodhart


  • Don Pippo


  • Conceived and implemented with students from Bergen School of Architecture (BAS) : Håkon Asheim, Linda Victoria Figueiredo, Kevin Maung Aye, Maria Helena K. Nerhus, Frida Nytun, Turid Skålden, Christina Vaagland, Rag- nhild, Thorset Våge
  • Based on a first proposal by architect and long- term collaborator Jeffrey Mansfield
  • Exhibition set up by Jacob Alrø and Terje Sand- kjaer Hanssen


  • Haakon Alexander Thuestad, director; Sunniva Vik, administrative coordinator; Victoria Trunova, head of communications; Linn Heidi Stokkedal, communications assistant Stefan Törner, head of production; Ingrid Engesæther Røen, production coordinator Espen Johansen, project manager; Tor Steffen Espedal, project coordinator; Linn Heidi Stokkedal, Communications assistant Lona Hansen, coordinator; Kristoffer Jul-Larsen, project coordinator. Bergen Assembly is supported by Art Council Norway.


  • Artist in Residence Bergen at USF Verftet (AiR Bergen); Bergen Deaf Society; Bergen School of Architecture (BAS); BIT20 Ensemble; Ekko Festival; Grieg Academy of University of Bergen Nordahl Grieg High School nyMusikk


  • UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) & the MATRIX Program for Contemporary Art; Bergen Center for Electronic Arts (BEK); Galerie Chantal Croules, Paris; The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Music and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC); Kvadrat Soft Cells; Meyer Sound; Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM)


  • Air de Paris, Paris, France; The Deaf Society of Bergen; De Hallen Collection, Harlem, Netherlands, The Maritime Museum of Bergen; The Norwegian Deaf Museum, Trondheim; Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, US; University Museum of Bergen, Cultural History Museum; University Museum of Bergen, Natural History Museum; University of Bergen, Wellcome Collection