Specially commissioned by the RCU for the AlUla Wellness Festival, the Resonant Shell is an immersive installation by Lebanese artist Nathalie Harb, in collaboration with musician Youmna Saba.
Conceived as both sculpture and immersive architecture, the Resonant Shell responds to the extraordinary landscapes of AlUla with its abstract morphology of deserts and stone massifs, by offering contemplative haptic, tactile and sonic experiences to its visitors.
Placed at the threshold between oasis and city, the artwork appears as a protective shell wrapped in a double layer of textiles and clay. The translucent outer skin gives a hint of the hidden spiral staircase behind, which elevates visitors into an upper level with a sublime perspective onto the oasis, the surrounding landscape and the open sky. Conversely, the core of mudbrick creates an inward-looking atmosphere of soothing silence where hidden speakers diffuse the soft acoustics of the desert underground. The Shell resonates with the sounds interpreted by musician Youmna Saba, recorded in the oasis, following water paths and the nearby ancient Nabataean site of Hegra, where more than 2000-year-old tombs carved into the stone carry the stories of an enigmatic civilization.
Old and new, familiar and alienating worlds temporarily collide within the space as visitors come and go.
An installation by Nathalie Harb
Design by Nathalie Harb, Gabriele Pascolini and Alex Tzortzis de Paz
Sound Conception and Composition by Youmna Saba
Acoustic Consultancy by 21dB | Acoustics & Audio Consultants
Sound Recordings by Anthony Sahyoun
Project management by Gabriele Pascolini
Visual identity by Lama Zouein