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Sulaïman Majali

'strange winds'


1 July – 31 December 2020

The breath, always, is a portal
a gasp, a death – a life.

‘strange winds’ (2020) is part of a constellation of works that centre on a recurrent ghostly figure described by Majali as an ‘impossible protagonist’, who is both individual and multitude, and moves through the landscapes of a diasporic imaginary, colliding with reflections in the colonial.

In this sound work, we’ve climbed a hill to see a sun rise. The spectre inhabits a glitching, distorted phone recording, crawling up through the throat of the device; a cry, a groan, a tired scream, a gasp, an exhale. In a translation of A Thousand and One Nights1, Scheherazade diverges to warn us of an approaching dawn, as a spreading zodiacal light sings at 110hz. From here, it’s all a widening expanse; an owl, in a field recording of a Spring sunrise2, looks out at the depths and heights of mourning. We are reminded that surviving the king takes place in the realm of the breath – and that survival is a weapon under structures of disposability. Where r we. Synthetic swift song flocks overhead – we’re sitting, the sky still dark pretty much, and a stretched hum, like skin, erupts, strings out questions at its borders.

something dense bends at the horizon, towards liberating futures, and in them we’re growing more alive

“this is nothing, scheherazade answered,
to that which i would tell u tomorrow night,
if i were still alive and the king wished to preserve me.”

1The end of the fourth night from "The Tale of the Wazir of King Yunan and Rayyan the Doctor", read by @Arabian Whispers ASMR, Arabian Nights ASMR 🌌 Whisper Reading part 6, Jan 25th 2019.

2Field recording of a sunrise taken on Sunday 26th April 2020 from a viewpoint marked by a flagless flagpole in Queens Park, Glasgow, Scotland, designed to view the full expanse of the city in a given direction.

‘strange winds’ could be listened to seated, outdoors, maybe 17 minutes before a sunrise.

With thanks to:
Jessica Hickie-Kallenbach (Vocals); the sunrise of Sunday 26th April 2020; 'Arabian Whispers ASMR'; Oscar Prentice-Middleton; Karim Kattan; 皚桐; Scheherazade.

Mastering by Stephan Mathieu /
Schwebung Mastering.
Design by Maeve Redmond.

Part of 'In the open'