Tashweesh. Interference. The name encapsulates the kind of interventions Tashweesh stages, both in terms of how they use and re-narrate material - ranging from old vinyls to film, news footage, archive material, and field recordings. “Tashweesh” also summarises the aim of their collaborative work. The group’s visual artist Ruanne Abou Rahme expresses their role as “a sort of intervention against the political stagnation we’re facing in Palestine.” Building on this idea, producer/composer Basel (aswatt) adds: “It’s a point of questioning and reinterpreting in a very experimental way.” The third member is well-known composer/producer and MC, boikutt, whose work embodies the very nature of this dynamic group as he moves from playing music to MC-ing, staging his own “interference” in the performance.
The two producers/composers in the new audio-visual trio were formerly part of Ramallah Underground, a hip-hop group that collaborated with Ruanne on the visuals. The creation of Tashweesh allowed the former members the space in which to work free from limitation. Ruanne works heavily with video, a medium integrated with Basel and boikutt’s audio work, resulting in a coming together of these two media. Each artist works in more than one medium and often the group draws on one another’s solo artist practices and productions in collaborative re-narratings. According to the group: “It’s a concept that we’re developing. Our approach to video and sound is very similar, which is why there’s such a strong synthesis between them. The audio can inspire the video and the video the audio.”
The inspired intersections between audio and visual develops from the artists’ creative input and common vision. The idea is that the pre-planned structure of a piece shifts when played live: the mood of the crowd, the nature of the venue, and the speed of the images flickering as well as the pace of the beat all contribute to the possibilities inherent in any performance. The dynamic nature of their work enables them to combine and mash up their individual past pieces, ranging from installations to soundscapes, into a live performance.
The creative process goes something like this: “We compose the music and then we deconstruct it when we play it live. Our work is very concept-based so we’re highly structured, but in the performance we break down what we’ve created, what we’ve practiced and synchronised. So on the night of the performance, the concept and progress is there but the performance is dynamic. The elements are all broken down so that we can re-interpret our past work and take the piece into a new direction.”
Although they stage brief interludes in the monthly Poetry of Palestine (see upcoming events: www.palestineworkshop.org), their first performance as Tashweesh will be on 3 May in Beit Wazan in the Nablus area as part of the upcoming Palestine Festival of Literature (www.palfest.org), in collaboration with Riwaq. If you can’t wait until then to see what they’re about, catch a sneak peek on their website, www.tashweesh.com.