Liverpool Arab Arts Festival: هيHeya: Blue Spaces premiere and artist talk
هيHeya is an experimental music project, which aims to act as a bridge for women making music in the Middle East. For Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2021, members Nour Sokhon, Yara Mekawei, Zeynep Ayşe Hatipoğlu and Jilliene Sellner bring us Blue Spaces – a film event that raises questions about class, gender and colonialism and how they relate to the climate crisis.
Composed of voice, cello, sonic interventions, field recordings and video footage from Cairo, Beirut, Istanbul and Hastings, Blue Spaces is a stereo soundscape with an ethereal, fluid feel – existing in stark contrast to the realities of class, gender and the political and climate based traumas of the Middle East.
The climate crisis that the world now faces is largely down to industry and consumerism that is rooted in the Western world, yet a lack of responsibility for these realities still endures. The impact that this activity is now having across the Middle East falls mainly on the shoulders of women and the working class – themes that will be reflected in the sounds and visual work of Blue Spaces.
Zeynep Ayşe Hatipoğlu is a cello player and composer based in Istanbul. As a composer and performer, she collaborates with musicians and artists from other disciplines, mostly involved in improvisation practices. Ayşe is an active member of SAVT and Klank.ist ensembles. http://www.zeynepaysehatipoglu.com
Nour Sokhon is a Lebanese artist/sound designer/ filmmaker based in Beirut, Lebanon. Her creative explorations have been in the form of sound performances, interactive installations and moving images. In 2014, she achieved an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from AUD and in 2017 she culminated a large scale Masters project; a documentary entitled “People on Sound”, during her time at the GSA in the UK. In 2019, she received the Emerging Artist Prize at the Sursock Museum, for a moving image piece entitled “Revisiting: Hold Your Breath”, and has recently been awarded the Braunschweig Project Sound Art 2020 scholarship. http://www.noursokhon.com
Yara Mekawei is a Cairo-based electronic music composer and sound artist. A prolific artist and scholar, Mekawei‘s sonic bricolages draw inspiration from the flow of urban centers and the infrastructure of cities. Interested in the philosophy of architecture, history, and literature, Mekawei uses the optical transfer from musical conversation and transfers sound waves to visual forms. Her work is based on sound as a tool of vision – the philosophy of composition being shaped by sophisticated practices that convey messages of conceptual dimension to the public. Mekawei uses research literature specialising in social ideologies in her concepts. Her work shows an intangible aspect of her personality, and being feminine in an East African society. yaramekawei.wixsite.com/yaramekawei
Jilliene Sellner is a Canadian sound artist and PhD researcher (Goldsmiths) currently based in the UK. She has been field recording and playing with sound since she was a child and podcasting for over a decade. She has composed sound for several international artists’ video work and performed and had work exhibited throughout Europe. Jilliene regularly produces episodes for Framework Radio which explore decolonialism and gender in field recording in addition to founding the ‘Heya’, a co-creation research project with female experimental sound artists in the Middle East. www.jillienesellner.com/