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Heya: Feminist networked co-creation between Europe and the Middle East


Heya [heeya] (‘she’ in Arabic and also a friendly greeting in English) is a research project facilitated by PhD researcher, sound artist and composer Jilliene Sellner that works towards bridging women who make sound, noise, field recordings, experimental music, and electronic music with each other and a global audience. The main geographical areas of focus are Cairo, Tehran, Istanbul and Beirut as a set of examples of homogenous contexts but which all have experienced uprising and suppression since the Arab and Green Springs and Gezi Park protests.
The co-creation consists of live networked performances between Nour Sokhon (LE), Jilliene Sellner (CA/UK), Yara Mekawei (EG) and Zeynep Ayşe Hatipoğlu (TU). The performance uses various networking techniques such as Zoom or collaborative ‘distributed listening’ app LiveShout (developed by Dr Franziska Schroeder and Prof Pedro Rebelo at Queens University, Belfast) and the LocusSonus soundmap so that performers can ‘jam’ remotely.
Mixing and reacting to each other’s field recordings and sonic experiments, collaboration becomes a horizontal and egalitarian method of decolonising musicological research, circumventing top down, traditional methods and conclusions. The limitations of the online platforms in addition to unstable internet access presents challenges to the collaborators. The experiment’s aim is not necessarily to present a beautiful sonic piece or score but to reflect on the artists’ experience of playing together apart.
For the symposium the discussion will focus on the perspectives of artists working outside of ‘Western’ infrastructures where freedom of movement and speech has not been a given and compare and contrast to the lockdown experience globally.

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