Co-presented by POP Symposium, DHC/ART, and SenseLab
A magical substance flows into me opens with a crackly voice recording. The voice is that of Dr. Robert Lachmann, an enigmatic Jewish-German ethnomusicologist who emigrated to 1930s Palestine. While attempting to establish an archive and department of Oriental Music at the
Hebrew University, Lachmann created a radio program for the Palestine Broadcasting Service called “Oriental Music,” where he would invite members of local communities to perform their vernacular music. Over the course of the film, Jumana Manna—herself a Palestinian from Jerusalem—follows in Lachmann’s footsteps and visits Kurdish, Moroccan, and Yemenite Jews; Samaritans; members of urban and rural Palestinian communities; and Bedouins and Coptic Christians as they exist today within the geographic space of historical Palestine. Manna engages them in conversation, while lingering over that music’s history as well as its current, sometimes endangered, state. In Manna’s metaphorical excavation of an endlessly contested history, the film’s preoccupations include: the complexities embedded in language, as well as desire and the aural set against the notion of impossibility. [text provided by Negar Azimi]
Followed by a conversation between curator and writer Nasrin Himada, and musician and record producer Radwan Ghazi Moumneh on the history of Arabic music and its relation to art, cinema, and performance.