Un–Making Image #9: The Authentic Bedouin, Sedentarized Sonics

The Authentic Bedouin traces the shifts in the music and programs broadcasted by the Jordanian radio since 1959, to explore the influence of Black September (1970) on forming Jordan’s national image and the effects this had on cultural production, specifically the music industry. This included rewriting songs and composing music with a Bedouin flavour, as a way of inventing a shared history.

Early attempts to popularise Bedouin music via the Jordanian radio had been unsuccessful and could not compete with music from other parts of the Arab world. By 1970, ‘a semi Westernized musical genre’ was invented and lyrics were sung in an urban accent but with specific Bedouin pronunciations to produce an authentic sound.

Inas will present audio and visual material collected from various sources including the archives of the Jordanian Broadcasting Service in Amman. She will also present short excerpts of music videos, soap operas and films starring Samira Tawfiq, an Armenian/Lebanese singer who rose to fame after being hired and trained by the Jordanian radio to sing with a Bedouin dialect.

How do these radio waves translate into images of power?
The talk will invite us to consider the strategic use of the radio as a distributor, organiser and divider of the Arab world.

Inas Halabi (b.1988, Palestine) works primarily with film and archival material to examine historical and political narratives of national identity, collective memory, and myth-making. Her practice merges observations with site specific research and is concerned with how social and political forms of power are manifested and the impact that overlooked or suppressed histories have on contemporary life. She holds an MFA from Goldsmiths College in London and recently completed a two year residency at De Ateliers in Amsterdam. In 2016, she was awarded first prize for the A.M. Qattan Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year. Recent presentations include Silent Green Betonhalle, Berlin; Smith College Museum of Art, USA; al-Ma'mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem; OFF-Biennale Budapest, and the 13th Sharjah Biennial’s offsite project, Shifting Ground. She currently lives and works between Palestine and the Netherlands.

* The Authentic Bedouin is supported by Mophradat and AFAC - The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture

* This project is supported by Gemente Rotterdam (Subsidie Visuele Kunsten) and Stad in de Maak. This event is hosted by TENT Rotterdam.