61. Rattling Zam Zam


2012 CE
1433 AH
Found on demolition site in 2012

This city is a furnace. I rattled and blew, trying to cool it down, but after a few years, the air that came out of me was neither hot nor cold. I am nothing like my magical namesake, the Zam Zam Well. In this heat, with this many people, I would be cursed at, prayed to, stood in front of, just so they could get one second of my cooling air.

They say that when you walk down the streets of old Mecca, it is the hum and rattle of the old aircon units like me, mixed with the sounds of chattering families, that defines this place. Through the heat, they move down the alleys and walkways, gossiping together as they jump out of the way of the dripping aircon boxes that overhang the streets.

This work transcends the objects. Ultimately, what I’m working with isn’t only the artefacts themselves, but the stories attached to them. For me, each tale is the manifestation of the object, and each object is a tangible materialisation of an underlying narrative. The work finds its equilibrium somewhere between the stories and chronology they’re chaptered into, the objects becoming knots or points along the timeline, woven into stories as part of the language of this artwork. Each story draws out a tale that intends to trigger imagination and memory, mixing fact with fiction, with the ultimate aim of straddling, conflating and confusing fixed notions of history to open up the unofficial histories that shape the character of place and memory.
Ahmed Mater
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