Video Inverted Worlds: Critical Sounds from the Periphery: Palestinian Electro in Lebanon

The variety of musical imaginaries in Palestinian camps of Lebanon echoes the distinctive ways in which Palestinian worlds are connected to international cultural flows. Isolated and stigmatized by part of the local population, discriminated against, both spatially and socially, Palestinians in Lebanon are part of globalized cultural flows, which they adapt within their own particular conditions. Considered from this perspective, they compensate – both inside and outside of the camps – the decline of national artistic productions by exploring new esthetic, and by creating through this process the conditions for their integration into the musical and political circulation. Among these cultural paths, electronic music (or electro) is one of the newest. By composing rap and electro and musical poetry, these musicians negotiate a place to be in tune with the contemporary world.

Nicolas Puig during his lecture at the Inverted Worlds Conference.
(Photo by Orient Institut Beirut)

As a new generation of Palestinian artists, they create writings that open political spaces as well as new modalities of individual and collective subjectification. These writings reshape the local presence by using transnational networks and selected samples from different spaces and times. I will focus on the case of “Studio Katibé”, a place near Burj al-Barajné camp where “Osloub” (“Style” in Arabic), rappers of Katibé Khamsé and different musicians are pursuing their innovative aesthetic work. Jean-Luc Godard said that fiction is for Israelis and documentaries for Palestinians. Can the way some Palestinian artists create their own fiction point to the emergence of new voices from the worldwide periphery as well as from the Arab periphery? Like the recent upraising in the Arab countries, one of the meanings of these explorations is that they are an attempt to redraw the cartography of world
hegemonies or, at least, a way to engage with the contemporary moment.

Critical Sounds from the Periphery: Palestinian Electro in Lebanon from Orient Institut Beirut on Vimeo.

Nicolas Puig is anthropologist at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (France). He works in the field of anthropology of music. He had done fieldwork in Egypt (popular music and urban society) and is now visiting researcher at CEMAM (University St Joseph) in Beirut.


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