Imagine a large speaker system placed in a public space that allows you to connect your phone via Bluetooth and play your music for everyone to hear. That’s the basic concept of The Beirut Open Channel Project: it’s a public audio installation that will allow for an immersive and interactive sound experience.
The audio architectural vault is comprised of 30 speakers and 30 lights, and allows musicians and the public itself to use their creativity to turn the installation into an interactive outdoor concert. The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), an initiative established in 2007 dedicated to supporting individuals and organizations in the fields of cinema, performing arts, literature, music and visual arts volunteers, has helped secure funds for the project, which is being exhibited in various public spaces in Beirut.
The Beirut Open Channel Project is developed by architect and music producer Ahmad Khouja, produced by Abir Saksouk, and fabricated by Khouja’s DAMJ Workshop. On the conception of the project, Khouja said “The idea was first born out of a forgotten piece of audio I recorded from short-wave radio at my family’s home in Zabadani, Syria some 10-12 years ago. That audio piece has stayed with me ever since and reminded me of all the many signals passing over our heads. The idea for the project evolved from that audio piece to become something that gives the public a chance to claim the airwaves for themselves, even if in a limited manner for a few songs.”