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Tribune News Network
‘Sonic Jeel,’ an artist group made up of students, faculty and alumni from the Virginia Commonwealth School of Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar), a partner of the Qatar Foundation (QF), has been invited to perform virtually on ‘The Stage’ as part of the New York-based Printed Matter Virtual Art Book Fair (PMVABF) which will take place from February 24-28.
The performance of the Qatar-based collective scheduled for Sunday, February 28, will be part of a line-up of artists and exhibitors from more than 40 countries for an international event that traditionally has a physical presence in New York; this year will be the first time that Printer Matter’s popular art fair will be held exclusively online. In addition to ‘Sonic Jeel,’ the legendary American editor, writer, interviewer, musician V. Vale of RE/Search Publications, and the mystic Laraaji, who specializes in piano, zither and mbira, are some of the artists scheduled to take part.
Viewers and sound design enthusiasts tuning in from all over the world to watch ‘Sonic Jeel’ will benefit from an audio-visual experience with local taste – the entire 45-minute collective performance was filmed over a three-day period against the backdrop of Alkoot Fort near Souq Waqif and the Qatar Art Center. The performance will feature curated tracks from Sonic Jeel’s upcoming vinyl album to be released in the spring of 2021.
Faculty members Michael Hersrud, Associate Professor, Graphic Design, Simone Muscolino, Director, Art Foundation, and Hadeer Omar, Assistant Professor, Art Foundation, joined VCUarts Qatar students Latifa AlSulaiti, Naima Almajdobah, and Maryam Altajer, and VCUarts Qatar alumni Marwa Al Kalbani, Reham Mohamed, Sarah Elawad, and Sara Al Afifi to record ‘Sonic Jeel’ at Alkoot Fort and Qatar A.
For Latifa AlSulaiti, a 2021 Graphic Design student, the experience provided proof of the versatility of the design in the field of technology. “I was thrilled to be part of an event that breaks the stereotypes of traditional art and design,” AlSulaiti said. “Reham Mohamed, a 2019 Graphic Design graduate, was one of the alumni invited to take part in the recording – an opportunity she describes as nothing short of ‘a blast!’ ’
“I’ve always been a fan of Printed Matter, so getting a chance to perform in front of such a global audience is an honor,” she said. “I was part of the first class to take the Sonic Jeel elective, and I am truly happy to see how far it’s come and where it’s going.
‘Sonic Jeel’ – Jeel means ‘generation’ in Arabic – was started three years ago by VCUarts Qatar faculty Hersrud and Muscolino. The collective explores sound, electronic music, hybrid-media and audiovisual subculture in Qatar and the Middle East region. Conceived both as a research project and education endeavor, ‘Sonic Jeel’ oversees an interdisciplinary elective course – titled ‘Sonic Exploration’ – that is open to all art and design students at VCUarts Qatar who are keen to design sound; experimental audio work produced by students in this course become part of an ongoing SoundCloud archive.
Explaining the event further, Hersrud noted how the collective afforded students a unique opportunity to work with emergent technologies.
“VCUarts Qatar already has several strong art and design programs and has been helping shape the creative community in Doha for over 20 years,” the VCUarts Qatar faculty member said. “As part of these programs, students and faculty have always explored new forms of emergent media, from physical computing, to coding, to sound, to virtual reality, to projection mapping. This project integrated several of these areas.
Printed Matter, Inc. is the world’s leading non-profit organisation dedicated to the distribution, understanding and appreciation of artist books. Since 2005, Printed Matter’s Art Book Fairs have hosted international exhibitors featuring a wide range of published works, from zine and artist’s books to rare and printed publications and contemporary art editions. This year’s online presence means that even more exhibitors and visitors will be able to access and participate in the exhibition.
During the five-day event, PMVABF will become an exhibition of its kind, enabling visitors to learn about and purchase contemporary art books from around the world.
Visitors can attend dozens of free live and pre-recorded programs, chat directly with artists and publishers from across time zones, play games to discover new books being launched at the Fair, enjoy performances by a variety of musicians, and connect with other visitors.
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