After spending several days in the streets of Abu Dhabi, I was inspired by the city, the people, and the colours and sounds that surrounded me. It took me a while to realise that it was not about how many people I met daily, but about where they are from, what language they speak, and what culture they represent.
I have heard so many different English accents in Abu Dhabi, some were clear and some were not. All English accents are valid, even if the person does not speak English; their body language translates to English in my mind, well, English with an accent.
Why are all these people here? Why do they come to Abu Dhabi? What are they looking for? How do they communicate amongst each other? Do they interact with the city? I noticed that most of these people do not try to integrate themselves into the city. There seems to be little effort to become part of the cultural and social fabric.
What are the dreams of the people coming to Abu Dhabi? Are their aspirations linked to this landscape or to somewhere else?
It is not easy to define what it means to live in Abu Dhabi, to interact with the city, the people, the culture. Perhaps the hardest part is to have a dream related to it, or maybe to share your dream with the people of Abu Dhabi. I would like to see people who do not use the city as a path to achieve their dreams, but those whose dreams are part of the city. It is unfair not to share the dreams with the city that is offering all the possibilities to make your dreams a reality!
I decided to record the people I met in the streets. It was not easy because many of them refused to do it. The sound recorder was very scary for some of them and they felt intimidated!
Others found the recorder as a glory moment, a non-stop speech! Obviously, most of these speeches were in languages that I would have never heard if I were not in Abu Dhabi.
I cannot remember how many people I met, but I can easily remember that most of them were very special. The way they interacted with my question, the way they looked at me first and how their eyes changed when I started to record asking: What is your dream in Abu Dhabi?
So many precious dreams were collected from each corner of Abu Dhabi, from the most luxurious spaces to the most humble ones, from sophisticated buildings to simple neighbourhoods.
I am collecting the sounds of dreams.
I started recording people from the minute I woke up until late at night when I got back to my hotel room. I recorded all the people I would meet on a normal day; the receptionist in the hotel, the waiter in the restaurant, the taxi driver, the mother with small children in the park, the family in a mall, the customer in a coffee shop, the man in a mosque...