2020 / 20:00 – 20:20 [gmt] live from VIENNA

Art’s Birthday 2020

Radio station:                                 ORF Kunstradio
Venue/s of the event:                   ORF RadioKulturhaus
Links:                                                     Heya
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audio stream:                                +

Arts Birthday 2020

Deutschlandfunk Kultur / SAVVY Contemporary Berlin, ORF Ö1 Kunstradio, Vienna

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 (University of Sussex, UK) 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 and Beirut as a set of examples of homogenous contexts but which all have blossomed since the Arab and Green Springs.

The work is a live networked performance collaboration between Nour Sokhon (LE) in Berlin, Jilliene Sellner (CA/UK) in Vienna, Yara Mekawei (EG) in Cairo and Zeynep Ayşe Hatipoğlu (TU) in Istanbul*. The performance uses 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 Art’s Birthday the artists will explore sonic experiments centered around the theme of ‘protest’ and finding the act of subverting limitations based on gender, citizenship and location through networked collaboration as a sort of protest in and of itself. This is apt at this time as while in the process of organising the performance, Tehran rose against the regime and our colleague who was to participate was uncontactable due to the authorities implementing and internet blackout. The improvisation will include live cello, prepared sounds and field recordings from a market in Cairo.

Jilliene Sellner
Is a Canadian sound artist and researcher 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 an undergraduate degree from Simon Fraser University in Canada and an MFA from UCA in the UK. She has contributed to Tse Tse Fly Middle East, Framework Radio. She has composed sound for several international artists’ video work and trains non-profit organisations and activists in podcasting. Heya is her PhD research project at the University of Sussex, UK.

Nour Sokhon
Her creative explorations have been in the form of sound performances, installations, and moving images. In 2014, she achieved an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from The American University in Dubai. In 2017, during her time at the Glasgow School of Art in the United Kingdom, she culminated a large scale Masters project; a documentary entitled “People on Sound”. In 2019, she received the Emerging Artist Prize at the Sursock Museum, for a moving image piece entitled “Revisiting: Hold Your Breath”.Nour has exhibited her artwork in Dubai, London, Glasgow, Paris, and Beirut. She has also performed in Berlin, Beirut, Dubai, Paris and in different festivals such as the Al Quoz Arts Festival (Dubai, UAE) and the Other Worlds Festival (Blackpool, UK).She is a member of two collectives (Tse Tse Fly Middle East (sound), Glitch Artists Collective) and part of an electronic sound duo with Stephanie Merchak under the of NSTANT.

Yara Mekawai
Yara 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 used the optical transfer from the musical conversation and transferring the sound waves to visual forms. Her work is based on sound as a tool of vision, the philosophy of composition is shaped by sophisticated practices that convey messages of conceptual dimension to the public. Mekawei using the research literature specializing in the social ideologies in her concepts. She follows her projects through a research point of uniting between work and the other, whose work shows an intangible aspect of her personality, and being feminine in an East African society.


Zeynep Ayşe Hatipoğlu
Cellist and composer based in İstanbul, Zeynep Ayşe Hatipoğlu had started cello education at the State Conservatory of Istanbul University, then continued her studies at the State Conservatory for Turkish Music in Istanbul Technical University (ITU TMDK) and graduated with a double major in Composition and Cello Performance. After finishing her graduate education in Music Theory and Composition department, her research has focused on musical time perception and improvisation practices. She has performed in various bands and orchestras with various styles ranging from western classical to Turkish makam, from contemporary, experimental to rock music. Throughout Turkey and abroad she has given collective and solo performances, and her compositions have been performed in various concerts and festivals. Ayşe is actively performing with Savt, Klank.ist, and Hoca Nasreddin ensembles. Currently she is a Ph.D. candidate in the cello performance department at ITU Center for Advanced Studies in Music (MIAM).