December 2016_by Federica Tattoli
Born in Dubai in 1992, Jumairy develops his own research connecting his research in psychology with an intense experimentation with sound. The combination produces a range of sensory experiences, traces more than closed works, that spread from real space to the Internet. The artist infuses his imagery with a dark psychedelia that is expressed through performative acts, scientific experiments and mysterious rituals which happen on stage, the big screen and smartphone apps. The same can be said of his approach to music production, in which the Arabic electro-pop is intertwined with sounds à la Marilyn Manson. But Jumairy is not just a teen idol who speaks to the new generation of Emiratis. Many of his works are indeed conceived to process traumas, both personal and collective.
During his stay in Italy, Jumairy will explore the city soundscapes, getting to the heart of the art and music scene in Milan. In the months following his departure, the inspirations and impulses of the residence will be processed remotely in an online diary that the artist will share from Dubai. FARE residency program thus puts the bases for an organic production process in which the artist's personal research opens up to the discovery of the urban context and its mediatic propagation.
Following this approach, FARE has entrusted the curatorship of the program to Francesco Urbano Ragazzi, who will weave a network of relationships and narratives around Jumairy's work. The duo, not new to these working methods, will then trace the path by hosting Jumairy's diary on the social channels of The Internet Saga, the research platform the curators initiated in 2015 with a solo show by Jonas Mekas on the occasion of the 56th Venice Biennale. Waiting for tonight "Gran Finale" here the multidisciplinary and multi voice conversation we had by e-mail during the last months.
Where do you meet each other?
Francesco Urbano Ragazzi_It was last summer. And it was our choice.
We selected Jumairy from a shortlist the Maraya Art Centre in Sharjah provided us. The motivation went beyond the portfolio or any further documentation. Our choice has been shaped somewhere between Instagram, his name - which is not the artist's real name but tells something true about him - and a song called "Aconite", the queen of all poisons. It's "our song" now...
So, Instagram and music, which is your approach to the social media? And the importance of music in your work and in your life?
There’s no particular formula to my Instagram, i just post things i like, memes i find funny or just random things I’ve seen on the streets… It’s basically my brain filtered through my phone in pictures.
Growing up I was exposed mainly to the music my aunt liked/listened to, that included acts such as Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys, but my biggest obsession was the Spice Girls… I found their specific brand of bubble pop very fascinating especially their identities and how out of control their world seemed. But when I went to middle school they (Spice Girls) became one of the reasons i got teased/bullied so through my frustration and anger I started searching for more “masculine” music and subsequently stumbled upon rock music, and I fell in love with acts such as Iggy Pop, Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne. In a way my exploration of music was almost parallel to my self discovery. Therefore when i started producing and writing my own songs I wanted to create a sound that merged these two worlds together perfectly. A “gender neutral sound” if you will haha!!!
FF_We are not so social. And we don't believe in the ideology of interactivity. We rather prefer interpassivity, that state of meditation you reach scrolling down tons of images and looking at the social engineering techniques of other people.
Talking about music, we follow the obsessions of the moment but we don't like name dropping. We are always searching for the best intellectual-work soundtrack and in this period we have the gamelan sounds at the top of our list.
You Jumairy are from Emirates and you FF from Italy, each of you has visited the other's country. such feelings, influence and memories are more vivid?
FF_These moving images are still resonating in our mind. They come from another time, when the Emirates were the Trucial States. A (maybe) dark side of the country which has been brilliantly remixed by artist Alaa Edris. We produced this video in 2011 during her residency in Venice thanks to the support of the Emirates Foundation.
J_ I think it’s very interesting that Francesco Urbano Ragazzi mentioned Venice, as it is the first Italian city i’ve ever visited / lived in (2015)…
I’ve met some of my greatest friends in that city, even had some of my greatest love affairs… and Oh my god!!! squid ink is used in everything… I LOVED IT!!! (I have an obsession with black food)… but the thing that was very frustrating about Venice was the large groups of tourists walking around the Island which made it hard for me to get to certain places on time… in a way it mirrors the same frustration I experience walking around Dubai Mall (also trying to avoid large groups of tourists)…
I also tend to attach certain songs/album with a trip or country… for example Venice was Miley Cyrus’s Dooo it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wu5iAgJ65dA and on the other hand Milan’s soundtrack was my own song Sam’s Song which is actually going to be apart of the exhibition concluding the residency in December.
Could you tell me something regarding the exhibition BRZ5 that opens tonight at FARE?
J_ BRZ5 = Barzakh = برزخ = Isthmus
My uncle passed away this past May, his death and the events following that moment have been haunting me since… I keep getting flashbacks, nightmares and even severe anxiety when ever i’m confronted by that memory. It’s really strange since I was never close to him…
He was the uncle that always told me off for wearing skinny jeans or growing my hair out “too long”, and I think that drove me away from him… but now that he’s gone I think that’s exactly what I miss from him...
It’s really strange how in one moment they're around and the next they're gone.
When I did my residency back in September my phone suddenly stopped working and I couldn't recover any of the data from it. I lost all my contacts, images and all the voice notes that i’ve been collecting for many years… In a very ridiculous way this event triggered this post-traumatic stress that based itself in the death of my uncle…
It’s defiantly insane comparing losing a human being to losing a phone/data… but in todays age, sometimes our technology knows more about us than our own flesh and blood…
I don’t know if this is too vague of an answer but BRZ5 (the exhibition) is the result of all of these thoughts and the stress caused by them… I feel trapped in this black hole and there’s no way out.
FF_We conceived BRZ5 as a transitional space crossed by repetitive gestures and sounds. The atmosphere oscillates between those of a burial ritual, a music club and a horror film.
However, curating this show - and the residency program that originated it - was also the occasion to look at the Italian art scene with different eyes. That's why we invited Tomaso De Luca, Anna Franceschini, Sofia Ginevra Giannì, Invernomuto and Jacopo Miliani to contribute to this dreamlike dimension with what we called "cameos". Their interventions elaborate on three main topics: a new definition of "world music", masculinity and love through machines. Last but not least, BRZ5 starts with a loop from Beyonce's Formation by Carlo Antonelli.
Jumairy is an artist and musician from Dubai (UAE). He is interested in issues related to the mind: memory, language, perception and trauma. He explores auditory, visual and tactile strategies while using digital means (e.g. websites and social media) to exhibit his work. Thus he challenges the boundary between the physical and the digital, activating all the levels of attention, sharing, contextualization, discussion and feedback that performance and art on the Internet involve today.
Jumairy's work has been recently exhibited at Art Dubai as part of the A.i.R Dubai 2016 run by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, Delfina Foundation and Tashkeel. It has been collected and supported by Barjeel Art Foundation and Maraya Art Centre.
Francesco Urbano Ragazzi is a curatorial duo willing to experiment new and collective forms of writing, exhibiting, producing and researching. Its primary lines of interest are the history of experimental cinema and the digital aesthetics. Among the collaborations with public and private institutions: Institut Français, Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), Ruya Foundation (Baghdad), Emirates Foundation (Abu Dhabi), Futura – Centre for contemporary art (Prague), Frise Künstlerhaus (Hamburg), Sinopale (International Sinop Biennial), Galeri Mânâ (Istanbul), National Gallery of Palazzo Arnone (Cosenza), Fondazione di Venezia (Venice), Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation (Venice), Museo di Villa Croce (Genova), Swiss Institute (Rome – Milan). Francesco Urbano Ragazzi lectured in academic spaces and museums. Among them: MAXXI (Rome), François Pinault Foundation’s Teatrino (Venice), Zurcher Hochschule der Künste (Zurich), Macro (Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome), IUAV and Ca’ Foscari University (Venice). The duo has collaborated with the fol- lowing magazines: Purple Fashion, Nero, L’Uomo Vogue, Peeping Tom's Digest, Flashart, South as a State of Mind. In 2011 and 2013 the team curated The Internet Pavilion by Miltos Manetas. Two years later, on the occasion of the Venice Biennale, Francesco Urbano Ragazzi has been the founder of The Internet Saga project with a solo-show by Jonas Mekas.
FARE was founded in 2008 with the aim to enhance and promote contemporary culture in the field of visual arts with an interdisciplinary perspective. It interacts with public and private entities in a vision of networking and by sharing of interests, projects, strategies. The result are the articulation and management of national and international networks in the field of training and mobility for artists, curators and cultural professionals. In 2010 FARE has created AIR - artinresidence, the only Italian network of artist residencies, becoming in Italy the reference body for the mobility of artists. Besides working with the traditional format of the residence, FARE develops exchange programs in collaboration with international partners. These programs are based on interdisciplinary research, sharing of knowledge, exchange of experience and they investigate different areas of interest: the know-how of residential practices; the relationship between art and the public sphere; audience development.
Jumairy, 7 (saba), still from video
Aconite, still from video, 2015
Miryam, still from video, 2015
December of last year, still from video, 2015
Live performance, 2016
Sleepless Pe-Tal, installation view at Art Dubai, 2016 ©Daniella Baptista