“I found your installation to be a delightful walk packed with symbol and metaphor, delivered in the simplest envelope. Just to mention one: The old rubber-banded sample packages with handwritten scientific notes on each, including “DON’T CRUSH”, was brilliant.
I loved the meditative approach which runs throughout, initiated with the hummed opening. To my delight, I immediately recognized your voice, so lightly carrying all your personal sensitivity, longing, and belongingness to the culture it was born to. Lovely voice my dear Shaima, expressing so much of you, all on its own, with no instrumental support or safety net. At times, your voice reminded me of a Sufi flute.
I loved how the piece was woven together with the sound of steps moving over wet ground, and the other sound bites too, keeping our hands and body in the experience. All the segments flowed seamlessly, each limited to the bare essentials for the voyage and just enough to awaken a curiosity to go further (into the Mesopotamian marshes, mud strata study, etc.). I also liked how the segments (scientific and artistic) were anchored in the simplest conversational form, from scientist to artist to child, to convey an experience and not just a concept.
Though I wasn’t able to get out and walk with the recording, I was however fortunate enough to have a small, very personally valuable, earthen pot on which was brought back from Tehran in the early 70’s. It’s enchanting how much a small vessel can carry, whether it be made of clay, voice, poetry, song, or just simple unrestrained conversation between two people.
So what did I get from your presentation? A lot of pleasure, and a couple of ideas. Mud: a living record, for better or for worse, of man’s interaction with this dear earth which supports us, reminding us that our planet is more than just a decorative set for our existence. What’s a record? Something that outlasts something else, and ultimately just as fragile. But more so, everything is a vessel if you remember to look inside.”
(Edgar, South of France)
“Thank you for the walk, I listened while plodding up and down the garden, very appropriate I suspect. It must have been a lot of work to put together, intriguing thoughts indeed, integrating the most modern concepts and realities with the ancient and the natural.”
“I enjoyed the individual voices and the music in between, which gave me the space to meditate on what I’d just learnt. I also loved the footsteps, squelchy noises and bird song! The idea of interconnectivity with the group in Basrah, walking at the same time, looking up at the same moon, was very powerful.”
“I have been meaning to write and say how much I enjoyed your sonic walk. Such a rich and beautiful entwined story, beautiful sounds, I liked the Arabic humming in particular. Listened to it twice it was so engaging and beautiful.”
(Caroline Wendling, Cambridgeshire)
“I thought the Mesopotamia Mud audio journey was really great in both the concept and the execution. The singing was beautiful and worked really well as the thread linking the other pieces together. I loved the image of Nawrast surrounded by curious onlookers while digging! I also particularly liked the potter’s description of making the pot. The sense of collaboration and people coming together was really strong. I hope there’s an opportunity for you to do more collaborations like this.”
“I love this! Not just your songs Shaima, but also the whole narrative of earth, clay and place. There’s a resonance too with displaced people as well as the long history of objects for museums. What a great and necessary thing to do.”
(Jon Banks, UK)