Hymns of No Resistance

Hymns of No Resistance features classic and cult pop songs revised to address issues of territorial dispute, language, and geopolitics within greater Eurasia. From an adaptation of Michael Sembello’s Flashdance track She’s a Maniac comes She’s Armenian, replacing the struggles of an aspiring dancer with those of a diaspora Armenian. Meanwhile, Young Kurds – a retelling of Rod Stewart’sYoung Turks – tells the story of Massoud and Shirin, a Kurdish couple trying to carve out their own identity.Stuck in Ossetia with You(originally Stuck in the Middle with You by Stealers Wheel) looks at the recent Russian-Georgian conflict, while Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off (from the Gershwin original) debates not the pronunciation of produce, but rather the contested names of cities resulting from historical conflicts.

Just as the revised lyrics replace the saccharine with the severe, Berivan Kaya and The Orient Orchestra, a Kurdish ensemble, bestow an elegant gravitas where the effervescence of pop typically reigns. The Kurds have been a historically forbidden people: sandwiched between Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria, their language, culture and very identity have been oppressed. Numbering between 20 and 30 million, they comprise one of the largest groups on Earth without a nation of their own, and much of Kurdish history has been told orally, via music. Accordingly, traditional instruments used for Hymns of No Resistance include the saz, a string instrument, the ney and zurna flutes, and percussion from the darbuka and def drums.

2009
Kaai Theater, 40 min performance, curated by Goran Petrovic, photographed by Esther Eggermont.

Download libretto

Young Kurds adapted from Young Turks by Rod Stewart
She’s Armenian adapted from She’s a maniac by Michael Sembello
Let’s call the whole thing off adapted from the Gershwin original
Stuck in Ossetia with you adapted from Stuck in the middle with you by Stealers Wheel
Hymns of No Resistance: Stuck in Ossetia with you
Gold foil on canvas, hand-painted paper, mimeograph print, 31 x 43 cm, 2010
Hymns of No Resistance
Gold foil on canvas, hand-painted paper, mimeograph print, set of 4, 31 x 43 cm, 2010

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