On-site installation around an abandoned guest house (Arabic: majlis) in Bahrain. The building dates back to the 1950s. It is part of a larger ensemble that comprises the former summer residence of Sheikh Salman, father of today's king Hamad ibn Isa Al-Khalifa. A long wall separates the majlis from the much larger summer residence. While the former residence buildings today are occupied by the Multinational School Bahrain, the lot on the majlis side of the wall seems ghostly empty.

Inspired by the area's rich fragrances, I started writing a screenplay about a Bahraini perfumer dynasty. Majlis/The Sitting Room intends to be both a setting where the characters of my screenplay can come to life, and a reminiscence of the guest house as a place of social gatherings. It combines nine concrete molds, lights and scents. All materials are borrowed from their immediate surroundings. The molds are a reflection of the ornamental recesses in the upper part of the majlis' facade. They're cast in concrete and coral stone, both of which are used in the building structure. Green light is prevalent throughout Bahrain, mainly in a religious context. The scent mixes essential oils of oud and rose, two of the major Arab perfume ingredients.

Analog to production design for film, the installation is confined to the two building facades that are visible from a specific vantage point. The other two facades remain undressed. The work remains installed in its original site for an open-ended period of time beyond the festival's duration.

Caroline Palla: Majlis/The Sitting Room, 2014. Coral stone, concrete, oud and rose essential oils, green and yellow light. Commissioned by Al Riwaq Art Space, Bahrain.

Interview with Zain al Khalifa, March 2014

View from Sheikh Isa Avenue  

Nine concrete elements on the ground take the exact measurements of the top window recesses  

Majlis, north facade, with the Sheikh's chalet on the other side of the wall (photo by Sergio Miranda)

 

View from Sheikh Isa Avenue with abandoned white villa to the left  

In just a few months the majlis could be surrounded by franchises and theme restaurants such as Camelot Bar  

Elavarasan's preparing the molds  

 

Sellapillai fixes a pipe to the armoring iron  

 

 

 

 

photo by Luay Al-Derazi

Sample with different densities of coral stone on its surface  

 

Breaking the coral stone  

 

 

 

Ashik, Rubl and Shamin mount light fixtures on the rooftop  

"Caroline is explaining her work to H.E Sheikh Rashid Bin Khalif Al-Khalifa" (from gallery instagram)

 

 

West facade