Akeroyd Collection


Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Language Gulf in the Shouting Valley, 2013

Language Gulf in the Shouting Valley is a 15-minute audio essay and audio-visual installation about the politics of language and the conditions of voice faced by the Druze community living between Palestine/Israel and Syria. Like many religious minorities in the region, the Druze become a nexus for political power, both wielding their small privileges while simultaneously subjugated to the hegemonic powers by which they are surrounded.

In the work, recordings of the Druze Soldiers working as interpreters in the Israeli Military Court system in the West Bank and Gaza are contrasted against recordings from the Shouting Valley, Golan Heights, where the Druze population gather on both sides of the Israel/Palestine and Syrian Border to shout across official lines to family and friends on the other side.

Through selective interpretation and translation by the military court translators, the Druze are denied freedom of expression and their voice is diminished through this act of domination. The narrator of Language Gulf in the Shouting Valley, however, alongside the testimony of sociologists researching the border, field recordings and primary footage, explains how the shouting valley is an acoustic anomaly and sonic vantage point, that allows for clear lines of communication despite the distance between people. This challenges the efficacy of the border and undermines the regular techniques of State silencing. By training attention on this border, the sense of a binary distinction between territories and cultures is complicated, and by listening singularly to The Druze, we can simultaneously hear the collaborator and the traitor, the translator, and the transgressor. If we attune to the oral border produced by this transnational community, we can hear resistance to domination in the cacophony.

Mediumvideo, colour, sound (English and Arabic) 
Duration15 minutes 48 seconds
Editionof 3 + 2 APs