This imposing 1960s structure, the House of World Cultures (Haus der Kulturen de Welt) played host to a programme on place and memory, on recording in liminal spaces in the Middle East, with myself and artist Bnaya Halperin-Kaddari. Hosted by Jan Verwoert, visiting professor and supervisor for fellows of the Graduate School, the evening included a performance and focused on place and memory.
My contribution was a paper I’d prepared based on the thinking around anti-mapping that went into Chris Weaver and my soundwalk Tracing the Chora. The unknowable situ before humans place their meanings upon it, the chora was for us in this instance, a very specific area around Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai in the industrial district (Dubai is highly organised into shopping, residential, university, financial and other quarters). Commissioned for the piece by Al Serkal Avenue, our mission was to take people outside of the avenue, into the wilderness and towards the apparently invisible communities around it. There were no pathways, but ditches, roaring traffic, often rubbish, even rats. But there were also hand-reared pomegranates and courgettes, gaff trees and other hidden signs of fragile community and care.
This is not the first presentation I’ve done on this wonderfully hyper-local project. One other such talk was at University of the Arts London’s Invisible Symposium in London.
Bnaya had also conducted soundwalks along the borders of Palestinian territories, and presents his work and thinking on these profound experiences.
Please also enjoy a field recording I made on an epic march while in Berlin against right-wing public speaking at the Brandenburg Gate (which after the WWII was supposed never to host more right-wing propaganda). I made the most of my time in Berlin, on bike and underground…it was truly an adventure.