Drift on the waves! A solo exhibition by Iranian artist Ali Sayah

Presented March 1-4, 2023, Ali Sayah’s art project comprising interactive participatory audiovisual installation and book presentation, Drift on the waves deals with the question of how certain dominant narratives manifest themselves in culture and how media works through hierarchical means of assigning value. It explores connections between media use and the associations, ideas, and images of different cultures.


As the artist states, Music has no substance, no essence, and no meaning in itself. It arises from tones, intervals of tones, sequences of tones, and pauses. All meaning is brought to it from the outside. Where do images and associations with music come from? How are they learned? And what role do media play in this?

Drift on the waves explores these connections on several levels and with different approaches. A questionnaire records the type, duration, and extent of media use by around ninety participants. Through providing freedom in their allocations, the participants provide their associations of the music of individual countries using given images.

The results of the survey are processed in a book and a video. At the same time, a piece of music can be heard in the exhibition space which deliberately avoids culturally unambiguous signs such as certain instruments, rhythms, or tone sequences. The associations of alienation, and the strangeness of music stripped of its cultural specifics, have been made palatable in an interactive installation in which it can be experienced both visually and acoustically how music is filled with meaning. The music’s essence emerges and transforms as associations are absorbed by viewers.

About Ali Sayah

Ali Sayah is an artist and musician from Tehran, living in Berlin. After studying Fine Arts (and Graphic Design) at the University of Science and Culture in Tehran and Visual Communication at the Weissensee School of Art, Ali Sayah took part in the Berlin–Palermo. Das Leben der Anderen exhibition at the Museum Pankow and Palazzo Ziino in Palermo. In 2018, he participated in the exhibition SeeSick at Pirol Studio Berlin with the installation Khanaqah and with the interactive installation Formale Einheit, as well as presenting the installation Carved at the Centrum gallery in Berlin. In 2020, Sayah collaborated in the virtual exhibition DisOrient of the online platform Norient as a graphic designer, curator and musician, and in 2021 he presented the interactive installation CO2 Solarium as part of the art festival 48 Stunden Neukölln in Berlin.



Drift on the waves – a solo exhibition by Ali Sayah
Opening: February 28, 6-9 pm
Duration: Tuesday, March 1 – Saturday, March 4, 2-7 pm and by appointment
Location: SomoS Arts – Kottbusser Damm 95, 1.0G, 10967, Berlin
Public transport: U8 Schönleinstrasse, exit Schinkestrasse