SOLVE ET COAGULA → عيب, Stage II: تبييض (The Whitening)
Music, Sound Art

SOLVE ET COAGULA → عيب, Stage II: تبييض (The Whitening)

Sound art, ritual performance and minimal drone;
using cassette tape loops, walkmans, guitar pedal, water, glass. 2023.

Running length 39′ 28″

On Friday, September 15, 2023, interdisciplinary artist and musician BINT presents her second program as an ISSUE Artist-In-Residence. This next iteration of "عيب:Solve et Coagula" will be co-presented with CPR – Center for Performance Research in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which has been partnering with ISSUE to support the work of its Artists-In-Residence since 2021. "عيب:Solve et Coagula" began with the collection of shame experiences from people of the MENASA (Middle Eastern/North African/South Asian) diaspora. The processing of these shared experiences through ritualistic sound has been the focus of BINT’s 2023 residency at ISSUE Project Room. 

Spending spring and summer of her residency focused on a bare-bones approach, BINT has been deeply inspired by minimalist and drone pioneers Halim El-Dabh, Steve Reich, La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela – finding form and methods of transportation within the loops of the simplest of drones and minimal arrangements.

Over the course of the year, BINT presents three programs mirroring the primary stages of (Arabic) alchemical transmutation. The three programs function as immersive audio-visual ritual; wherein the collected shame stories are transmuted through sound and direct audience experience. The programs are loosely based upon the structure and setting of Sufi sem’a, a traditional Sufi gathering in which a third communal space is created (often underground, hidden from orthodox authorities) for the purposes of deep listening, chanting, movement, as well as participatory acts of devotion.

Notes from BINT on Solve et Coagula → عيب, Stage II: تبييض (The Whitening):

As the transmutation process continues to unfold, we have moved into the second stage known as ‘The Whitening’ (تبييض), an inversion and growing from the dissolution encountered in 'Stage I: تسويد (The Blackening).' Through this inverse we remain amidst a-void; the white in many cultures still signifying death and mourning as we often equate with black. Here we find the naked bone, only white remaining after processes of decay. Here we find the ash of a long forgotten flame.

Alchemically, it is in this stage where silver metal is produced. To form silver requires a stripping down, a focus–a refinement of the fertile chaos in the prior stage. Silver, in its association with the moon, is a unique metal in its ability to be polished, receive and reflect an image.

Fitting to this, themes of soul polishing and repetition of holy words of power known as dhikr (translates to remembrance) are central to sem’a practices. In this, BINT will use voice, field recordings and cassette tape loops to emulate these alchemical processes of polishing and repetition, using these analog methods of memory looping as a means of receiving and reflecting collective experiences for the gathering.

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