A commission from the South London Gallery for Welcome to Iraq
allowed an improvised poetry, qanoon and percussive performance.
Welcome to Iraq is the first pavilion for Iraq at the Venice Bienniale that features artists working inside Iraq since 1976. Participants for the performance were Iranian qanoon player Nilufar Habibian, and Iraqi poets Hassan Abdulrazzak and Ghareeb
For this performance I used archived audio on vinyl, found materials, antennae radios and hand-made
instruments to create an hour of live performance. The radios transmitted live stations from Iraq as well as a feature station #Falgoosh created especially for the performance, of songs by Westerners imagining Baghdad in pop songs. These included Laurie Anderson, Kate Bush and Patti Smith. A member of the
audience called it “epic”, fitting words for anything that included a
piece called Gilgamesh.
Excerpts from the rehearsals are below.