Film screening: Mantiq al-Taiyr

Concept: A film of sprouting from Cities Exhibition: Jericho, in 2012.  ‘The Logic of the Birds’ was inspired by early 20th century photographs of Palestinian processions showing people moving freely across the land, as well as a 12th century Sufi poem in which a group of birds go in search of a leader only to realise, after crossing a difficult landscape, that as a collective body they already have the necessary leadership qualities. Wanting to work in a collaborative way to consider the use of open, public space and the right to roam, the project began as a public processional performance with costumed actors (mostly from Ashtar Theatre) that revolved around ideas of freedom and movement, walking and collective gatherings in the landscape. The performance and the film were staged in Wadi al Auja, close to the Jordan Valley, which is on a major trajectory for bird migration as well as being a route inscribed by numerous journeys of pilgrimage, exile and return. By working with a mythological story in the reality of occupied Palestine, the artist hoped to offer one of many possible scenarios that could re-activate past narratives hiding just out of sight in the seemingly but never empty landscape while also opening up a space for a potential future story yet to be created. 

Artist: By Sarah Beddington
Participant: Sarah Beddington, ‘Alia Rayyan
Partnership: British Council, The Palestinian Art Court al-Hoash

March 18, 2015