Monday 8 October 2012

Jericho–Beyond the Celestial and Terrestrial 

Manteq al-Tayr or The Logic of the Birds

As part of the 4th edition of Cities Exhibition, 'Jericho - Beyond the Celestial and Terrestrial', British artist Sarah Beddington has devised a public procession through  wadi  Al- Auja close to Jericho. Inspired by Manteq al-Tayr, or 'The Logic of the Birds', a 12th century Sufi poem by Farid ud-Din Attar, poetry and performance become a lens through which the artist, actors and an environmental expert offer a contemplation of the landscape and connections, both ancient and contemporary, between earth and sky and time and space. Actual and imagined worlds overlap: an interpretation of an ancient text describing a spiritual migration of the birds offers a parallel narrative to the contemporary lived experience on the ground below. The procession with banners refers to the history of pilgrimage, procession and collective gatherings in the Palestinian landscape and will culminate in a shared meal at sunset, cooked by the local community from Al Auja, at the source of the spring. The participants will be led along the route by young members of Ashtar Theatre from Ramallah in specially designed costumes. The performed interludes from Manteq al-Tayr, in which a group of birds set out on a journey over difficult terrain in search of a leader, are intercut with an introduction to the actual landscape by Sami Backleh, an environmental expert and ornithologist from Jerusalem, who will describe the biodiversity and geo-political elements of the region as well as pointing out endangered species and the importance of the bird migration route up the Jordan Valley.
The event will be in Arabic. 

The 4th edition of Cities Exhibition is curated by Yazid Anani in conjunction with Birzeit University Museum. 
Cities Exhibition has three designated phases: research and site investigation; public intervention in Jericho and its landscape; and an exhibition as a documentation of the whole experience. Artists were invited to attempt to restore links between the metaphoric nature of the land of Jericho, crossing the city by way of five distinct 'trails' as a way of looking beyond the typical representations of nostalgia and folklore in Palestine. Juxtaposing past and contemporary visual and cultural evidence is a way of not only affirming the uniqueness of cities such as Jericho, but also offers the possibility of challenging issues of memory, identity and change.

The trails are followed by an exhibition and publication in January 2013.

Photos from the performance: 

The birds, being led by the Hoope, heading towards the Simorgh.

"Manteq Al- Tayer" or the Birds' logic. 
The Duck explains to the Hoppe why she can't go on the journey. 
The Hoope 
The birds, tired and drained, near the Oasis.  
Add caption

the Hoope speaks to the Hawk

the Hawk 

The duk

The Herald

The Musician Musa

The Narrator 

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