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Rosalind Nashashibi
Nashashibi's development from the use of music to sound's relationship to the moving image can be seen in the contrast between The States of Things in 2000 and the two films she made in 2003 Blood and Fire and Humaniora ; all are set in communal spaces yet the earliest of these conveys a very different sensibility.

In some ways it is an exploration in form, Nashashibi learnt to process film in The States of Things, but it is also a polemical critique of Shirin Neshat's highly emotive and arguably orientalist representations of the 'other'. Neshat's technically sophisticated and hence visually seductive films convey a mastery and hence a concealment of the process of illusion. By contrast States is an eroded visual and musical 'collage' that slowly unveils itself. The opening shots of a grainy black and white film are washed over by a high pitched and wavering voice: it is the famed Egyptian diva Um Kulthoum singing a love song In Hali Fi Hawaha Agab recorded in the 1920's. The emotional power of music to condition one's environment and how one interprets what one sees confuses the impressions of the unfolding scene. This strong sense of displacement gradually shifts when the surface moves from a collection of disparate shades of grey and settles into recognisable forms and with it the realisation that is in fact a jumble sale. Music acts as a veil of representation evoking tourist images, Hollywood films and numerous examples of 'orientalist' paintings. A souk seems more exotic because it is located in an imaginary realm that is distant as much in time as in space, but is essentially the same as a jumble sale.


Nashashibi's polemical use of found music to cloak the habitual as different is later abandoned in favour of the hustle and bustle of sound that weaves in and out of shots.

In Humaniora and Blood and Fire, sound creates a different layer, a texture to the films' durée, unsettling one's cognitive experience of time. Often nothing seems to happen but the rustle of leaves in the wind and the distant hum of traffic forces an increased state of attention on the acoustic levels of representation. Nashashibi's creation of an alternative 'musical' composition in which time and sound coalesce into a rhythm within the fabric of film, establishes a quieter build up of visual and acoustic intensity. It offers a contemporary echo to Koulthum's technique of shifting between the performed and improvised to bring her audience to a state of ecstasy.

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