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The Arab versions of Star Wars, Dracula and Mission Impossible combined with Arabic vocals and a heavy hiphop beat. The Lebanese musician and performer Rayess Bek and video artist Randa Mirza together form the band Love & Revenge. They combine contemporary electronic sound with old Arab movies and music. For their latest project, Glory & Tears, Mirza has unearthed underrated Arab sci-fi, horror and B-movies with clear Western influences. For the music, Rayess Bek has explored the work of artists from different countries. In the track Tarmentini he incorporated the song Tarmentini by an unknown Lebanese singer. Mirza based the visuals on the 1981 dracula film Anyâb ('Fangs') by Egyptian director Mohamad Chebl. With electronic music and heavy digital percussion, Love & Revenge takes old Arabic pop music, with its powerful vocals, and places it within a wholly new context, assisted by Mehdi Haddab on the electrical oud and keyboardist Julien Perraudeau. An exciting club performance bounces off your screen.
Rayess Bek (1979, Nabatieh, Lebanon) is the name Wael Koudaih operates under. After taking his degree in applied arts at the Academie Libanaise des Beaux Arts, he completed his studies in
Paris at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Deco with research on interactivity and a master’s degree at the Université Paris 8, for which he did research in the field of contemporary art and new media. Koudaih started rapping when he was fifteen and started the hip hop group Aks’ser with a friend three years later. He was one of the few at the time to rap not only in French, but already in Arabic as well. He began a solo career in 2002 and went on to become one of the principal Arabic representatives of hip hop and urban music.
He increasingly uses instruments from the Middle East in his music, both in the form of samples and played live, and combines these with electronic percussion. In 2012, he attracted attention with ‘Goodbye Schlöndorff’, an audio-visual performance with clips both from ‘Die Fälschung’, which the German filmmaker filmed in Lebanon, as well as from the making-of of this film. The soundtrack consists largely of cassette mail his family sent him from Lebanon to Paris during the Lebanese civil war. In 2015, he worked with the photographer Randa Mirza for the first time on Love and Revenge, in which they breathe new life into old Arabic popular cinema and music by casting these in a form consistent with production techniques common in modern popular music.
Randa Mirza (1978, Beirut, Lebanon) mainly works with photography and video. She took a bachelor’s degree in visual arts at the Université Paris 8 and a master’s degree in mass communication at the Academie Libanaise des Beaux Arts. Important themes in her work are the devastating civil war in Lebanon from 1975 until 1990 and its consequences; inequality between men and women; the role of women in the Arab world; and the situation in the Middle East. In her work, Mirza challenges the function of images. As much as possible, she uses images from everyday reality as well as nostalgic representations of an idealised Arab past.
‘When you analyse the symbolically, socially, and politically charged visual language in films, you get a sense of the values and norms of the period in which they were made. I primarily focus on how gender and orientalism are depicted. I subvert their meaning by showing how these images came about’. She manipulates these images to bring to light underlying contradictions inherent in all images in the space between reality and fiction. In her performances, she does live photo and video editing. Mirza received various awards for her work, including the gold medal from Jeux de la Francophonie in 2005 and the NO LIMIT award from Les Rencontres Photographiques d’Arles in 2006. In 2013, she was one of the winners of the Maison Blanche award from the Festival de la Photographie Marseille. Her work was shown in the Witte de With and the Zentrum für Kunst und Medien in Karlsruhe.
- music, machines
- Rayess Bek
- video artist
- Randa Mirza
- Mehdi Haddab
- Julien Perraudeau
- Anyâb (‘Hoektanden’) - 1981
- Mohamad Chebl