FRAMED #27

Art
KANG SUNKOO – WINDOWS

Windows, Kang Sunkoo’s solo exhibition at Framed, shows a set of works specifically conceived for location and moment.

In the wake of the EU parliamentary elections in May 2019, anti-gentrification messages had been prominently present in Berlin’s public space. During this time, Framed moved from director Yael Nachshon’s private apartment in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg into its newly leased space in Berlin-Friedrichshain. After the renovation and shortly before the opening event, all storefront windows of the building were destroyed. The marks of the destruction remained visible in the glass panes. Graffiti and stickers gave the appearance of an action motivated by an anti-gentrification agenda.

Framed’s current address appears on a list of properties compiled, mapped and published by an activist group which accuses the owner of ruthless tactics and destruction of sociocultural urban environments. The group organises events and publishes an internet blog to publicly shame the property owner, his family as well as related businesses and to mobilise resistance by the tenants.

Until now (September 2019), the owner of the building has refused to specify when the windows will be repaired. No concessions have been made to Framed to reduce the rent due to the broken glass panes, additional to other exploitative conditions. These difficulties as well as the stigmatisation by the local community are part of Framed’s struggle to remain economically sustainable as a non-profit cultural organisation.

Both, owner and tenant, left Tel Aviv for Berlin at different periods of time without any previous relation to each other. Two unlike Jewish biographies are now linked in a conflictual lease agreement for a property in Berlin-Friedrichshain and by being recipients of acts of aggression and destruction. The missing evidence if the attackers were aware of the cultural identity of their target adds to the ambivalence of the situation.

The exhibition begins on November 9, 2019, 81 years after the night of the November Pogroms in 1938. It studies the relation between notions of territory, property, identity and social behaviour. Windows frames a moment in the developing history of Framed, the city of Berlin and its people.

Artist Info

Kang Sunkoo works in the field of art and architecture. He is currently realising Statue of Limitations, a sculptural installation which was selected in a competition for the Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace. His proposal Heimat Heimat was recently awarded the 1st prize in the competition for a permanent art installation inside the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community in Berlin.

 
 

Music:
HAGGAI COHEN MILO + YONATHAN AVISHAI –
A one of a kind encounter of two of the most unique voices of their generation.
An intimate duet featuring their original compositions as well as songs from the American jazz book.

HAGGAI COHEN MILO

Haggai Cohen-Milo is a virtuoso of the bass and a pioneer of interdisciplinary improvisation and performance. Undercurrents of folkloric traditions, pervasive and poignant melodies and eclectic rhythms are characteristic to his distinctive style both in his playing and in his compositions.

Haggai draws inspiration from everywhere. His contemporaries within the music world, as well as other art genres, are his greatest source of influence alongside the natural world and the animal kingdom. There is beauty in other artistic disciplines that inform and inspire his own work.

He advocates collaboration to amplify the best in individuals, especially interdisciplinary partnerships. The right collaborative relationship serves to bring out one’s best work and elevates the final piece or project to a level that wouldn’t be attainable for a single individual.

His MakeSpeak method, a structured approach to interdisciplinary improvisation, aims to make interdisciplinary collaborations more deliberate and aware. As Musical Director and Composer on the piece “Jephta’s Daughter”, produced by The State Opera House of Munich premiering July 2015, Haggai is applying the MakeSpeak method as a foundational skill-base for the performances.

Haggai’s compositional work beyond the jazz/world music genres include orchestral scores for two feature films and scores for a variety of ensembles for new dance works, commissions include the Munich Opera (Saar Magal), San Jose Dance Co. (Kara Davis) and more. In his music you can hear his Middle-Eastern roots and attraction to traditional folkloric genres.    

Haggai’s Website

YONATHAN AVISHAI
 
Based in France, pianist Yonathan Avishai is undoubtedly one of the most singular voices of his generation. Whether through a concert, in the theatre or in a workshop, this unique musician, shares his passion for sound, music and its history.
 

 Yonathan, was born and grew up in Israel. He began studying the piano at a young age and discovered in his early teens jazz. Already at the age of 14 he formed his own groups and performed at clubs and festivals in his country. He often accompanied touring American musicians in Israel (Walter Blanding Jr., Marcus Printup, Allan Harris) and was part of Arnie Lawrence’s Ensemble.

 He was a member of The Left Bank, a cooperative association of musicians formed to promote original music in Tel Aviv. This experience led to an involvement with the social and local aspects of cultural development. Yonathan took part in organizing musical events in various facilities in the city. As a result of these activities, in 2001, he arrived at a socio-cultural center in Alsace (France) as a part of an European exchange program.

 In 2002 he moved to Dordogne (France) and got involved in the local cultural scene. He studied musicotherapy in Bordeaux (Atelier de Musicotherapy de Bordeaux) and developed a true passion for teaching and pedagogy.

 Yonathan signed recently with label ECM as well and his next trio album will be released in the beginning 2019.Inspired by artists such as John Lewis, Art ensemble of Chicago and Mark Rothko, between tradition and modernity, Yonathan strives to deepen the dimensions of his music . Packing each note with a dramatic charge. He creates a poetic world rich in emotion and colour. His compositions are restrained, subtle and feature great refinement

 Yonathan Avishai’s website
Yonathan Avishai’s EMC

FRAMED #26

MUSIC:
LENNYTUNES – The Bellydance Superstars

A celebration of Middle Eastern soul music which will stimulate your senses. Straight from the night clubs of nostalgic Jaffa.

 Lenny Ben Basat is one of Israel’s most prominent musicians, composers andrecord producers and the owner of the LennyTunes production house, located in the old city of Jaffa, Israel.

 Throughout his extremely successful international career, Lenny has developed his unique musical blend, from the traditional Maqam of Arab music and beats of Africa to the urban sounds and techniques of drum machines, analog synths and vinyl beat chopping.

 Driven by the passion to infuse Middle Eastern rhythms, melodies and instruments with contemporary techniques, LennyTunes has released “The Bellydance Superstars” album, featuring the soulful music and oriental vibes of the 60s and 70s clubs of Jaffa.

 “The Bellydance Superstars” was created with the original instruments of the period, played through a time vortex from the future. The new show brings back the magical air and freedom that were dominant on the stage back then, with belly dancers and hypnotic music. 

 
“Perfect sound architecture, excellent musical directing, an
absolute surprise no matter what type of music you’re into”
 
SoundCloud –
Spotify –
Instagram –
Facebook –
Beatport –
Lenny Ben Basat website –

ART:
DOV OR NER 

Artist Dov Or-Ner is an unusual figure in the Israeli art scene. Or-Ner, a Holocaust survivor born in 1927, began painting Adolf Hitler a few years ago. The Nazi dictator, who was responsible for the murder of Or-Ner’s parents during the Holocaust, started featuring heavily in the veteran artist’s works, taking over them. “I simply purged Hitler from myself,” he says.

Dov Or-Ner started to operate in the Israeli art world in the late 1960s. 
He was born in Paris in 1937, survived the Holocaust, emigrated to Israel after the war, and joined Kibbutz Hatzor.  

His early modus operandi was action:
In 1976, he buried tomato soup cans, signed by Andy Warhol, in Alaska and the Dead Sea, and dug 20-meter-deep holes in the ground to stash documents he collected at the Israel museum, with the idea of creating “contemporary archeology.” In the famous Metzer-Messer action of 1972, he mixed the belongings of Arabs and Jews and created an archeological concept that is based not on monumental structures but rather on daily life. 

Or-Ner was the first artist who dealt with recycling in Israeli art (Recycling, 1975, Israel Museum), the first to engage in “mail art” (Project Orange, 1973), and the first to refer to solar energy (Solar Sculptures, 1960s-1990s). He was also the first – and so far the only one – to bring a cow to a gallery in Tel Aviv, place it in front of a TV screen, and, while milking the cow and sleeping there, protest against indifference and the decline of Socialism and equality values in the Kibbutz movement (Paravisia, 1980).

In the last decade, since he turned 80, Or-Ner has been revisiting the Holocaust. In his radical, uncompromising manner he has redesigned his persona, and, like an inside-out sock, invented “Bad RenRo,” a reversal of the letters of his name in Hebrew.

The new persona reveals surprising features: a black mustache, and hair parted in the middle – Or-Ner has turned himself and Hitler into the protagonists of a surreal-pornographic drama in which he does not hesitate to include the chilling possibility that the victim might become the hangman, or at least would alarmingly appear to resemble him.

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KANG SUNKOO

 

Kang Sunkoo is a brilliant artist and the nicest person you would hope to meet. All of Framed’s team was intrigued by Sunkoo’s upcoming exhibition, so – each one of us, wrote a question or two for Sunkoo and he was so kind to send us his answers. We hope you’ll enjoy it:

It’s quite interesting (and faltering) that the story of our salon became a trigger for your new exhibition. How did you come up with the concept of ‘windows’?

 

I was at Framed during the first event on Simplonstrasse when Yael Nachshon asked me if I would like to exhibit my work there. I had been looking at the smashed windows the whole evening – I replied yes and that I already would know that I would like to show the windows. I asked Yael if that would be ok and she said yes if I remember correctly. During my work on this exhibition, I also came to the assumption that I might have always had some affinity for vandalism. I like reacting to a found situation.


How would you define your artistic work? it’s quite obvious that it’s political and related to actual things in reality, but there is always more than that, what would that be for you?

I try to take actions in my work which I see as a certain necessity for myself and the reality I assume.

who are your favorite artists?

I will try to answer this with an incomplete list in more or less chronological order of influence on me:

René Magritte, The Beatles, Run DMC, NWA, Akira Toriyama, Katsuhiro Otomo, Mode 2, Max Ernst, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Futura 2000, DJ Krush, Andy Warhol, David Bowie, Ai Weiwei, Cannibal Ox, Chris Marker, Hsieh Tehching, Hans-Christian Schink, Kalouna Toulakoun

 

Since we always combine art with music at Framed events, we wonder whether music has some part in your creative process?

 

There was a period around the turn of the century during which I spent about half of my productive time with making music, a quarter with drawing and another quarter with studying architecture. Last week, my friend and favorite artist Kalouna Toulakoun played a Mini Disc with a recording of my old music which I had forgotten. It was not as terrible as I judged it in my memory. I might continue where I left off.

 

what music do you listen to lately?

 

Due to the above-mentioned memories, I recently rediscovered some of the music I had been listening to around 1998, 1999. For example DJ Krush‘s album Milight – there are little skits in between the tracks in which different artists answer the question of what the future is.

One of my favorite recent memories is being in a Richard Serra echo space between steel plates and listening to my daughter repeatedly sing „Halt dich, an deiner Liebe fest!“(ca. „Hold on to your love“) the chorus of a song from the German band Ton Steine Scherben from 1975.

 

we love your PR photo, where your face is being painted, could you tell us about this pic and why you chose it?

 

Thank you. I am glad to receive this question as I have a chance to give credit to the artists who produced this image: Maya Kang, Ophelia de Toth, and Jennifer Schmachtenberg. They are my daughter and her friend, who painted on my face together and my wife who was the photographer.

I chose this image because it contains aspects I find interesting for an image of this function for my identity. I also thought it is fair to publicly show my face painted over by others as I like painting over other people’s faces in images.

 

Berlin is quite a political city. Do you find Berlin inspiring?

 

Not so much anymore but again a little bit now that I recently moved away.

 

You are Korean in Origine, but you grew up in Germany, how would you define your roots?

 

I have spent time in Korea, Germany, the US, Austria, Switzerland, France, China, and some other places. Instead of roots, I have feet like a lot of other animals. One advantage I can see over root type beings (plants?) is that we can change our point of perception voluntarily.

 

You decided to do your exhibition on the 9th of November, the night of the November Pogroms. Could you explain this choice?

 

I asked Framed’s director Yael Nachshon, if it was possible after I saw that this year the date falls on a Saturday which I understood is Framed‘s usual weekday for the opening dates of the exhibitions and musical performances. The November Pogroms are referenced in the works which I am showing at the exhibition.

November was also attractive as I wanted to show the windows in an exhibition as soon as possible before they were replaced. Now I have learned that this might not happen anytime soon anyway which makes the situation even more interesting.

 

What would you hope for our audience to experience in this exhibition?

 

What the audience hopes to experience.

 
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Post#26

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HAGGAI COHEN MILO

Like so many other fruitful encounters I’ve had in FRAMED events, I’ve met Haggai one evening, more then two years ago, at my house, on a Framed event. After the concert ended, we had a little chat on the terrace with a couple of mutual musician friends, and the next day – Haggai and I already recorded a song together. This is how fast I felt musically and emotionally connected to Haggai.  Since that night on the terrace, we started working together as much as possible and we became very good friends. Haggai is always surrounded by the best musicians, and the nicest people and he is always working on so many beautiful and interesting projects. Whenever I invite Haggai to play (in any constellation), I know for sure – it will be amazing!

As usual, here is a short interview with Haggai, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did:

What is music to you?

Music for me is a thing that brings people together. I got into music so I can play with my friends, and still, it’s one of my main musical drives. With the years I’ve witnessed how music brings people together in so many ways.

When did you know music was what you wanted to pursue as your career?

This just happened organically, I don’t remember ever making a decision like that.

How would you describe your original music?

Hard one… I guess it’s jazz, a bit romantic a bit middle eastern, very rhythmical. 

What would be your favorite part of this ‘business’? (practicing? writing music? playing live? recording?)

I very much enjoy practicing, but my favorite thing about playing music is connecting with propel, the band, the audiences, and everyone else I get to meet along the way. 

What is the goal? if there is one…

I’m not sure I would call it a goal, I would like to always be present whatever I do, be honest about what I put out musically, and be able to stop and make changes when needed.

What is your next musical dream? let’s say anything can happen – what would it be?

An ensemble made of musicians, dancers, actors, filmmakers, all creating together interdisciplinary works. 

What music do you listen to? an album that is on repeat mode in your system lately? 

A lot of music, here are a few albums I’ve listened to this week (the ones I liked): 

The Bad Plus – For all I care, 

Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep…

Yonatan Avishai & Avishai Cohen – Playing The Room

Summer Walker – Clear

Herbie Hancock – Secrets 

Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee part tow


Tell us about your duo with Yonatan Avishai? what should we expect on Framed#27?


Growing up in Israel, studying jazz, Yonatan was one of the musicians I looked up to. In particular, he had a band which was called Third World Love (w/ Avishai Cohen, Omer Avital, Daniel Friedman) which had a huge impact on me. In this Framed event we finally for the first time (!) get to play music together almost 20 years later. We will play originals by Yonatan and myself which we chose especially for this debut. As a very special treat, our dear friend and phenomenal percussion player Itamar Doari will be joining us for a few songs. Expect some great music and great vibes, human connections.

 

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LENNYTUNES – Lenny Ben Basat


Lenny Ben Basat is one of Israel’s most prominent musicians, composers and record producers, and the owner of the LennyTunes production house, located in the old city of Jaffa, Israel.

Throughout his extremely successful international career, Lenny has developed his unique musical blend, from the traditional Maqam of Arab music and beats of Africa to the urban sounds and techniques of drum machines, analog synths and vinyl beat chopping.

I have known Lenny for almost ten years now, through the music industry Israeli scene. It is great pleasure following Lenny’s  original, brilliant and beautiful musical projects over the years.
I am so happy to be collaborating with Lenny here in FRAMED and I am really looking forward to this concert (as so should you:) 

I hope you will enjoy this short interview with Lenny, and I’ll see you soon at FRAMED#26

 
what is music to you?
Music is a direct line to our origin story, sometimes it’s a weapon, and sometimes it’s a cure.
 
What led you into this amazing blend of electronic, Arabic and African sounds?
My hometown, Jaffa, is my main inspiration, for sure. it is a unique oasis where for thousands (!) of years, it was a main harbor town by the coast of the mediterranean sea, a tavern town, with many inns for the weary traveler of the deserts.. full of night life with exotic dance and music clubs. sort of like the middle eastern Tortuga.. this free spirit of music, has remained, you can hear it in every corner. it is brash music, but sweet and seductive..
 
Tell us about “The Bellydance Superstars” Album… Where does its name come from? when did you record it? what’s inside?
I recorded the album at my Studio in Jaffa, in a relatively short and intense time frame. The name is a way to tribute the old masters of bellydance music and culture – the musicians, and no less, the dancers. the whole album and live show is my attempt of driving those sounds and beats into the future, and still be representing the roots of this art form, and my hometown.
 
Would you say that your musical projects have a political aspect to them?
I guess that everything you do, particularly any kind of art, is political, whether you want to acknowledge it or not.
 
The cover for your new album was made by the great Israeli artist, 93 years old, Holocaust survivor – Dov or Ner. 
Together we have made an effort to bring Dov or Ner’s works to Berlin and we’ll be exhibiting them on FRAMED#26 alongside your performance.
What can you tell us about this intriguing connection between your music and Dov’s paintings?
Working with Dov is beyond words and a playground of pure imagination. I know Dov since my childhood, as I grew in a traditional agricultural Kibbutz in the south of Israel. His free spirit, free thinking, and raw art, was an inspiration. He also inspires me by the way that at his 93 years, he creates some of the most “youthful” and cutting edge stuff you can find. I feel very fortunate. this is the second music project we’ve collaborated on, with the first one also producing an exhibition of his paintings.
 
What inspires you?
Africa inspires me. in the way that music, dancing, the human body and nature, bond together so beautifully. the force is definitely strong there..
 
What should we expect from your upcoming performance at Framed?
A psychedelic electronic set of genuine grooves and seductive melodies from the Middle East, with a traditional percussionist and of course, a belly dancer.
 
 
 .
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FRAMED #25

Music:
PORT ALMOND

Port Almond is the new alter ego of Norwegian singer-songwriter Rune Simonsen – also known as the lead singer of Washington (Mount Washington) and Lagoonbird.

“These past few years have truly been exciting times for me and my new  project, Port Almond. There’s a new found passion going around, especially because of Guy Sternberg and Lowswing Records. 

For years I enjoyed the company and creativity of my friends in Mount Washington – before we all needed a bit of a break. Nowadays, it feels good to be on the move again. I really enjoy performing live, writing music, recording and collaborating with other musicians. It’s a lot of fun to chase new ideas and approach songwriting from different angles.

In September, I’m very happy to go on tour with piano player Erik Nilsson. He’s a fantastic artist in his own right, with years and years of experience. We’ll be performing songs from the Port Almond debut record but also quite a bit from the next album that will be recorded in November. We are working to select songs that can fit with the art expression of Richard Colombel – it’s a great honor to take part in the exhibition.”

portalmond.co

Art:
RICHARD COLOMBEL

Richard Colombel, artist and Buddhist teacher, was a rising star in the Paris art scene in the nineties, when he withdrew into a Buddhist hermitage.  After 21 years he has returned to his art, as his meditation training has developed his vision.

His work draws inspiration from the mind’s chaos and its capacity to deal with it, put it in some semblance of order. Starting with a wild landscape and creating something out of it, beauty and uniform within disorder. 

To be at the edge of recognizing; to evoke without imposing ; to arouse creativity, because curiosity is creation, because evoking is giving the viewer the chance to be the artist, the creator. 

richardcolombel.com


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RICHARD COLOMBEL

 
Richard Colombel is an artist and a Buddhist teacher.
He was a rising star in the Paris art scene in the nineties, when he withdrew into a Buddhist hermitage.  After 21 years he has returned to his art, as his meditation training has developed his vision.
 
I have met Richard and his mind-blowing paintings through a mutual friend. We quickly discovered that we are very close neighbors and quite quickly after that we became good friends. Since two years now, Richard has been me and my husband’s Buddhism/meditation teacher. Let me tell you – he is a rare teacher and a rare creature (: I feel completely blessed to have him around. 
 
On Framed #25 you will have the opportunity to meet Richard as well, to observe his magnificent works and event get a taste of his teaching on his Artist Talk on Sunday, 15.9.
Until then, here are a few lines from Richard…
 
What is painting for you? 
 

To paint is for me the chance to interpret the world with a distant overview and to question his reality. 

Who are your favorite artists? your biggest influences? 
 
I don’t have any preference because all teachers I had (10 years in Art school !) broke all of them. Thanks to them, I reached my own certainty about what has to stay on the canvas.
 
Could your tell us about your creative process?
 
Working with Oil is a bit like sculpting, everything has to be created, the space, the light, the texture. Painting is a journey through the best part of my mind, the creative one without limit. 
 
Buddhism, meditation, and art – who all of this comes together?
 
In that sense, Meditation is for me very important to nourish this process.
It means, be aware of this continuous flow of thoughts and play with it. 
 
Tell us something about the upcoming exhibition at Framed?
 
The next Framed exhibition will show my last paintings, obviously, the best of my work.
 
 
 .
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PORT ALMOND

I came across Port Almond’s music when I have received their beautiful Vinyl as a gift from the music label ‘Low Swing Records’ who happens to be the same label my album was recorded and produced in.  I came home that night, turned my recored player on, put my headphones on, and sank into a truthful, dreamy, gentle and wonderfully made piece of music.

‘Port Almond’ is the new alter ego of Norwegian singer-songwriter Rune Simonsen – also known as the lead singer of Washington (Mount Washington) and Lagoonbird.

I feel very lucky to host Port Almond in our upcoming Framed #25 event. 
As usual, I asked Rune some questions I found interesting, and he was kind enough to answer. I encourage you to keep on reading this interview with this very sweet man:

What is music to you?

Music to me is a lifelong passion. Ever since I was 15 years old, I’ve been fascinated by the strange world of music – and all the possibilites it offers. As for songwriting, it’s mostly the joy of exploration that lures me in. It’s a wonderful feeling to start off with something completely simple and expand into combinations of ideas. I think it’s a question of curiosity in my case. Then later the music provides a great social platform – you collaborate with other musicians and get to meet fantastic people that share your interest for music.
 

What was the moment your musical journey had started? and what or who were your early musical influences? 

My musical journey began in the late 90’s as I was introduced to some great artists: Bill Callahan, Jason Molina, Jeff Buckley, PJ Harvey, Radiohead, Sparklehorse, Emilou Harris, David Bowie and many more. At first I fell in love with alternative rock (and still am!) because of the way this type of music breaks with more ordinary ideas in music. That “offness” just excites me and gets my imagination going. Later I ventured quite a bit through the american country & folk music scene and found lots of inspiration from it. 

How does your songwriting process looks like?

I’m having a lot of fun with songwriting these days! I usually need a week or so to get my creative process going. Then I spend all my time and focus on songwriting for the next 1-3 months. It’s eat, sleep & drink art, non-stop, all day long. I allow myself to head into any kind of song without restrictions. Ideas can develop regardless of where and how they might fit into the world of music. Sometimes I keep in the back of my mind that I need certain song types for the records so you’ll end up with a relatively coherent collection of songs that can be put on a record. Any musician will tell you it’s a lot of work but also very rewarding. Especially if the end product turns out alright and people choose to listen to it.
 

How would you describe Port Almond’s sound?

The sound of Port Almond feels new to me! I think it’s a mix of jazz, alternative rock, post-rock, afrobeats and folk. The key element so far has been to keep a certain degree of freedom in the music – both in the recording sessions and live. If you allow musicians to use their instinct and creative output, you can sometimes get this feeling that the music comes alive – it’s wonderful! Sometimes it’s also a bit scary because you kind of lose control over what’s going on. But I think it’s a good thing, not being in the center of every decision that is made. I was lucky enough to learn a lot from Guy Sternberg at Lowswing Records from our recording sessions last year and I’m curious as to how our sound will develop in the next few years. Hopefully we’ll find new interesting ways to experiment with sound and ideas!
 

Tell us about your beautiful Album that you’ve recorder at Low Swing Records? 

Thank you for the complement! I think a lot of credit has to go to Guy and all the great musicians that took part in the recording session. I am personally very happy with it. It’s the first time I record entirely to tape without the luxury of computer production tools. I found it to be a real challenge because of the nature of it all: capture the music as-it-is, make no mistakes, keep the music as vibrant as possible, don’t panic when you hear “tape rolling” in your earphones… Guy even made a tape-loop (actually cut the tape in a very old-fashioned way) and asked me to play along to the tempo of it. It sounded like a seal in the ocean…But we pulled it off and it all became a great learning experience. I’m very grateful for it. 

What can you tell us about the upcoming concert at Framed? What should we expect?

We very much look forward to play at Framed. I’ve always been a big fan of art (though I’m no expert) and I think it’s a fantastic idea to combine music and art like Framed does. Now that I’ve been introduced to the works of Richard Colombel, I can’t wait to see the exhibition. Me and Erik Nilsson (keys) will do our best to interpret the feeling created by Richard and choose a selection of songs that might fit in with the surrounding pieces of work. 

What music do you listen to these days? 

These days I listen to Amen Dunes, Snail Mail, Clairo, Low, Spoon, Frankie Cosmos – and sometimes a nice quiet jazz record. I’m still getting to know the genre but I really like T. Monk and Coltrane!

Tell us about your next musical/spiritual goal/dream

My new dream is an old one, I guess. Having rediscovered the marvels of music, I’m just very happy to be part of the music scene: perform, meet & work with talented musicians, write music…I also look forward to record my next Port Almond album next year. And can’t wait to play more concerts!
 
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FRAMED #24

Music:
MENTRIX

A bold, female energy shines across the Mentrix universe. 
Mentrix writes and performs evocative electronic music, indebted to the propulsive rhythms and folkloric tonalities of her native Iran. Born in 1981 in Tehran, the self-taught multi-instrumentalist was drawn to daf drumming through the teachings of Islamic Sufism. Having grown up between Iran and France, Mentrix (real name Samar Rad) effortlessly incorporates a wide-ranging, dynamic sonic palette on each of her recorded works.

Having began as a featured artist, lending her idiosyncratic vocal performances to a handful of close colleagues, Rad quickly shifted focus to recording original material of her own. Inspired, flowing studio sessions gradually birthed songs launching her exploration into Middle-Eastern musical timbres and textures – a process which has resulted in “My Enemy My Love”, the singer-songwriter’s debut album to be released next year. Featuring sacred rudiments, odes to ancient rituals and collaborations with both Eastern and Western musicians, “My Enemy My Love” is a future-leaning ode to origin – a breakthrough for Rad and her Mentrix project. 

http://www.mentrixmusic.com/

Art:
SAMIRA HODAEI

Born in Iran in 1981, Hodaei graduated from Alzahra Art University in 2007. Her tapestry-like paintings have a distinctive look and have been part of solo and group exhibitions in Europe, USA, UAE, Asia, and Australia. Hodaei’s paintings combine graphics and glass paint; a unique blend that distinguishes the artist’s work. After few residencies in Zurich at the Oryx Foundation, Hodaei moved to Berlin in 2017. As an artist in residence in Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Hodaei began to experiment with installations. The dialogue that Hodaei seeks to trigger around and through her work takes a much widerstand with Presence of an Absence. Moving her work from Swiss galleries and international art fairs to the public realm is a first in Iran. Hodaei’s work has been bought by collectors across the world since 2013.

 Iranian artist Samira Hodaei is presenting her latest ensemble of work, developed in Berlin and entitled Cinema Europe, at Künstlerhaus Bethanien.
This represents the outcome and visual expression of her continued observations of border areas between public, private and abandoned architectural spaces and their influence on the existential reality of those people who have been linked with them.
 Hodaei’s installation, which combines, everyday objects and painting, comprises an empathic reminiscence about “Cinema Europe”, a film theatre opened at the heart of Teheran in 1968 and known all across the country; it was one of the biggest cinemas in a nation of film-enthusiasts.

Due to the difficulties in film production under the political conditions of the new age, censorship, the banning of foreign films, and a devastating fire, the once so lively center of cultural exchange now faces imminent demolition. With her highly impressive symbolic reconstruction of the cinema, Hodaei has created a universal space of remembrance in Berlin – a decidedly artistic manifestation against forgetfulness, and for coming together and free exchange between people all over the world.

 

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samar

Samar Rad – Mentrix


Meeting Samar was like a cool breeze on a hot summer’s day. She has an extraordinary energy and a positive spirit. Samar is super talented in so many ways, and I feel very lucky to have met her. Here are some questions I was curious to ask Samar, and she was kindly answering. I am sure you will find this interesting too. 

Why music?

My first essay in primary school was based on a song I heard on the radio. The lyrics were deep and existential. But even though I was naturally drawn to music, I was neither exposed to it nor encouraged in this direction. As far as I can remember, from my memory of my childhood in Iran, music was banned.

But things changed as I moved to Paris and my fascination for music grew. I still didn’t play a single note of anything up until my late 20s. Ultimately, it is thanks to the teachings of Sufism that I discovered music and poetry that connected me to my social and spiritual roots; my fascination became an inspiration.

I started playing Daf, a framed drum originally played exclusively in Sufi temples. I began writing songs and experimenting with electronic production. Music is a result of my spiritual endeavor.

Why in Berlin? 

I moved here for love. And I’m glad I did.

Do you feel there is a specific purpose for your music doing?

It is my spiritual quest on a personal level. If along the way people like what I do, feel inspired and support me on this path, it is a blessing.

What process do you go through to write a song?

With this first album, I experienced different types of processes. Sometimes, like for the track “Walk”, I like starting with an Iranian traditional song in a certain ‘dastgah’ – which is a bit like the Arabic ‘magham’.

At times melodies just came with lyrics spontaneously, like for “Igneous Sun”. Or sometimes I would create the music first and then write the song, letting the music inspire me. Other times, like for track “Nature”, I would feel randomly inspired and it would all happen in a split second.

What inspires you?

Inspiration itself. Whatever brings tears to my eyes, I dig into it and take it apart. Mostly, it is Sufi poetry.

How do you think ‘being a woman’ affects your music and your career? 

My music is more a reflection of my identity than my gender. As of my career, I don’t really have one and I don’t look at what I do as a career. But as women are generally subject to limitations in various cultures, I do identify with that. At the moment, women face many limitations in Iran when it comes to singing but I have faith that things are slowly improving. As an Iranian woman, I feel that it is important to do what I do, and hopefully it will help push the needle in a good direction.

What is your current dream regarding your music?

That it will find its right tribe and be loved. That it will allow me to travel more often to Iran, but most importantly, that it will carry a positive message about where I come from. Iran is a beautiful country, with beautiful people. There are many misconceptions about Iran. The bad media and political wars don’t do Iran justice. I hope that my music will make people want to travel to Iran and make up their own mind about the country, culture and the people of this ancient land.

What music do you listen to lately?

I listen to Tom Ravoncraft’s show on 6 Music and follow the radio shows by Fink on OpenLab fm and KCRW Berlin – all types of really good music. I’m a huge punk fan. I like my indie too.

Tell us a little about ‘’My Enemy My Love’’, your new debut album?

It is my tortured relationship with myself, my life as an immigrant, my journey as a soul in this body – very existential business.  

What can you tell us about the concert you’re preparing for FRAMED?

It is my very first live performance of my own material. I’m very thankful to FRAMED for encouraging me and inviting me to perform. I hope I will put on a good show.

I forgot one important question – what does MENTRIX mean? And why not use your own name? 

I was once looking for the female word for  “mentor” and couldn’t find it , so I made up the word “mentrix”.

On this musical journey, I wanted someone to look up to but also a guide that inspires me; like Khizr for Moses, an evergreen source of wisdom.  So I self-baptized my musical project Mentrix. Even though it’s me, I like that I have to refer to my higher self or internal guide every time I make music.

 

samira

 

 

Samira Hodaei 

 

Samira is also a  rare woman that I feel very lucky to have met. She is super talented, intellectual, brave, kind and beautiful! When you see her art in person you immediately understand how rare and precious she is. Samira took the time to talk with us about her artistic practice and upcoming exhibition “Cinema Europe”, part of FRAMED #24. Enjoy…

What is art to you? 

It rarely happens that an artist can invite others for doing and not only making. That is the moment which gives life to art.

How does being a woman, who is also from Iran, affect your career and artistic process?      

I think wherever you are born and grow up always affects you – as your roots are there.

Is there a specific goal you are trying to reach with your art? 

There are some situations that we face today because of the past. With my work I would like to make a ‘walk’ happen through these histories.

What inspires you? 

Everything around me. 

Your painting technique is quite unique, could you tell us a little about it? 

I wanted to paint something similar to pixelated images. I created this technique and have been painting in this way for almost 10 years.  

What should we expect from ‘’Cinema Europe’’, your exhibition in Framed?

It is a kind of silent storytelling. There is a story which is hidden, and there may only be one way to hear it – listening to each other.  

Within your reconstruction of the cinema, you have made a sort of artistic manifestation against forgetfulness. What do you think are the consequences of forgetting? 

Turning endlessly in a circle.

What is your current dream as an artist? 

To bring good work out from the pain.

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