16th March 2015
Edward Said Library, Al Feneiq Center (Dheisheh Refugee Camp)

The Logic of the Birds (Mantiq Al-Tayr)

by Sarah Beddington


The Logic of the Birds was inspired by early 20th century photographs of Palestinian processions showing people moving freely across the land, as well as a 12th century Sufi poem in which a group of birds go in search of a leader only to realise, after crossing a difficult landscape, that as a collective body they already have the necessary leadership qualities. The project began as a public processional performance with costumed actors (for Cities Exhibition, 2012, curated by Yazid Anani) that revolved around ideas of freedom and movement, walking and collective gatherings in the landscape. The performance and the film were staged in Wadi al Auja, close to the Jordan Valley, which is on a major trajectory for bird migration as well as being a route inscribed by numerous journeys of pilgrimage, exile and return. By working with a mythological story in the reality of occupied Palestine, the artist hoped to offer one of many possible scenarios that could re-activate past narratives hiding just out of sight in the seemingly but never empty landscape while also opening up a space for a potential future story yet to be created.

Through March 2015 there will be a number of screenings of the film and a public walk on Friday, March 20th in the Jordan Valley area. The screening at Campus in Camps will take the form of an artist’s presentation in which Sarah will talk about her research on this project while giving a little background to her practise and her previous work in Palestine.

Biographical note

Sarah Beddington is a British artist and filmmaker currently based in London who has often travelled to Palestine since 2007. Her work in a variety of often fragile or ephemeral media, including film and video, installation and drawing, explores traces and absences and a sense of non-linear time. By creating intersections between the historical or imaginary and a minutely observed contemporary everyday, Beddington is interested in seeing what new narratives may unfold. Her work has been shown internationally in many museums, galleries and film festivals and she has received a Bloomberg LP special commission and been shortlisted for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation award in the UK and the 2014 Artangel Open Commission. Her work is represented in a number of public and private art collections including Arts Council England.

The Logic of the Birds is produced by Birzeit University Museum and supported by the British Council.

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