14 March 2023

Devotional Listening: Sonic Practices at the nexus of the Spatial and the Otherworldly

Alserkal Arts Foundation

Join us on Tuesday 14 March for Spring 2023 resident Mhamad Safa's public programme at the Alserkal Arts Foundation Project Space, Warehouse 50.

Starts 7:00 pm

Ends 8:30 pm

Venue Alserkal Arts Foundation

Warehouse 50/51

Register Now


7:00 - 8:30pm | Devotional Listening: Sonic Practices at the nexus of the Spatial and the Otherworldly | Mhamad Safa in conversation with Lawrence Abu Hamdan

The presentations and panels examine the modes of listening and sounding within the Arabian Peninsula. They unpack the ways in which subcultural practices are entangled with narratives of migration, transborder soundscapes, and devotional imaginaries. Departing from the phenomenon of Istinzal, which occurs during the traditional musical performances of Saamiri, the sonic environments in focus are re-organised across diverse temporalities and geographies. A sonic sense is distorted, stretched, and accelerated through the celestial presence in the social. Sound can act as a source of trauma and its examination beyond the established western-scientific accounts. As it surpasses the audible and transcends borders, the region's sonic cultures reconfigure how knowledge is produced and distributed.

Kindly note that Shada Safadi's presentation 'Birds, they no longer want to migrate' has been rescheduled to Thursday 16 March. Please register here to attend.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Andrew J. Eisenberg and Hasan Hujairi are unfortunately no longer a part of this programme.


Mhamad Safa is a musician, architect, and researcher in sonic matters, based between London and Beirut. His work focuses on multi-scalar spatial conditions and their sonic make-ups. He explores their intersections with aural legacies of traditional and subcultural practices, as well as environments of conflict and violence. He graduated from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths and is currently a PhD candidate in International Law at the University of Westminster. He is an Associate Lecturer in Media Studies at the Royal College of Art.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an independent investigator or Private Ear. His investigations focus on sound and linguistics and have been used as evidence at the UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and as advocacy for organisations such as Amnesty International and Defence for Children International together with fellow researchers from Forensic Architecture. Abu Hamdan received his PhD in 2017 from Goldsmiths College University of London and in 2021 completed a professorship at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz where he developed his research . Past fellowships have been held at the University of Chicago and the New School, New York.

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