|The Umayyad Mosque of Damascus|
|Shrine to John the Baptist|
inside the Umayyad Mosque
In a collaboration commissioned by Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, Kinan Abou-afach and visual artist Kevork Mourad are drawing upon the rich history of Damascus and their own memories of the city to create “Roads to Damascus,” an experimental work incorporating sound and image. The work will have its premiere in Philadelphia on February 23, 2013.
Meanwhile Mourad has been working on a visual depiction of the narrative. In addition to featuring some pre-made animations, Mourad will be drawing spontaneously on paper with a camera overhead projecting his images on a large screen as the musicians perform. This is a technique that Mourad uses to explore a variety of subject matters. He notes that as a lover of many genres of music, “it was natural for me to find an expression that married my interest in rhythm with my use of line.” He combines this technique with a great deal of preparation. “Though the story is laid out in advance, there is an aspect of improv in the way the musician and I respond to each other, each building off the other’s impulses.” This intersection of music and art is something that Abou-afach also references in his work. “As I write music I always have a story or an image from my memory in mind.” Their connection to each other’s medium and shared conception and affection for the city of 7 layers makes this a compelling collaboration.