Ramy Essam konsert
LECTURE + CONCERT
Vibrant Soundscapes Matter: Political Bodies in Egypt Today
This presentation is a soundscape collaboration between Egyptian musician, Ramy Essam and senior scholar, Maria Frederika Malmström. Essam’s song, Irhal, referred to as the anthem of the Thawret 25 yanāyir (January 25 revolution), urged then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to resign, and gained great popularity among the demonstrators. In 2011, it was selected by Time Out as the third-most world-changing song of all time. Malmström’s fieldwork experiences in Cairo, ongoing for more than a decade, have allowed her to experience both continuity and change during these years.
Essam and Malmström will enable you to experience, through language, images and music, the role of heard and felt vibrations in creating public intimacy (as well as distance) in Egyptian public spaces. Although in many ways a continuation of earlier military governments, the current regime has not only succeeded in wielding strong material and affective forces, but also in partly satisfying the widespread desire for stability these forces have evoked. This has been accomplished, in part, by reproducing a neo-patriarchal state that is seen as defending national interests. What we see is that the frequency of sound, produced by the state, can disrupt a sense of nationhood as well as unite it. Sonic warfare — or the controlled lack of sonic materiality — is an action of corporal discipline; the vibrations of a military aircraft’s sonic materiality stimulate, frighten, and control bodies. The thunderous masculine soundscape from military aircraft or helicopters, or the silence during the curfew in 2013, intensely affected the collective body. In doing so, the state has both materialized its presence and provoked still more powerful desires for individual and collective safety, stability, and comfort. However, from 2011 and onward, the explosion of alternative sounds in Egypt, such as Hip Hop and Rock, became an imperative political transformative tool. Today these musicians are forced to work in the Egyptian Diaspora as Essam does, or by using “symbolic” texts rather than straightforward political messages. We will discuss how alternative sound systems operate at auditory, corporal, and sociocultural frequencies. Affective politics of vibrations has this capacity to influence senses of belonging, collective united bodies and public intimacy.
The event is public, free entrance.
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