On the things that make room for pause
Note from Khaled:
Today we are kicking off the addition of a guest author at HINDsight, Yasmeen Khaja, who we've been lucky enough to have crossed paths with on this journey we are taking as a brand.
We asked Yasmeen to be a part of the HIND story (and she already has been, working behind the scenes as part of the team who developed our spot-on branding), as we felt a deep connection to her use of language, and that it just felt right to have her speak on behalf of HIND about what we love, and what is real. Please, read and take in this first blog post as much as we did, and then sit back, pause, and listen to the albums. We did. You can find them on Spotify.
Most of all new music is put out into the world every Friday. Culturally known as New Music Fridays, legally Global Release Day, or by the luck of political chance, the first day of the weekend here in Kuwait. Yesterday, two albums I have been waiting for came out: Indigo Sparke’s Echo, and Cassandra Jenkin’s An Overview of Phenomenal Nature. I’m not a music writer, and this isn’t a music blog. But there is something that both Sparke and Jenkins offer, and it is a picture complete with incompleteness. It’s a space at once finished and unfinished. This isn’t an artistic revelation—works that are made up of fragments have long tugged at the pulls of culture. But considering the general state of the world and the way things are talked about—collapsing, unfathomably complicated, and always absolute, never room for interpretive undoing—these musicians have given us work that confesses space, time, and the deeply personal. They are imperfect portraits of life. Not revelatory, but generous.
There are things in culture that happen so fast, they become inaccurate measurements of time. If an unimaginatively corporate video of national celebration day is put out, as some are now, it somehow makes its way into one, two, ten, twenty corners of the social media realm. Setting aside the fact that social media is a public square, and setting aside the fact that it’s run by algorithmic giants, the speed of reach is undeniable. Tiny black box in hand becomes massive white box on the highway, which becomes culture by telecommunication. Essentially, this terribly uncreative work is naturalized, less than overnight, into the landscape of cultural celebration. Glossy, catchy, loaded with icons that are similar to historic slaps on the face. They try to tell perfect stories. But it seems like it’s not about the work, or the video, or the music, or whatever digital object we’re looking at. It’s its movement that’s lauded. It’s the fact that it can be seen over and over and sent backwards and received forward. It’s a little bit exhausting, the fact that there is no desire to portray the tensions that actually stipulate a life. The stock qualities of audio, video, picture. It’s a lot exhausting. Sometimes I just want to not scroll, but to stop and admire an unfinished beauty—only then will it feel real. I wish we could sit on one idea for a long time. But maybe we do. Or maybe we can’t afford to.
Photo Credit: Yasmeen Khaja
For the past few weeks, yellow desert daisies have adorned sidewalk cracks, corners, and construction sites at random. It’s hard to see these daisies if I’m not walking, but even in cars, and on highways near residential areas, there are flashes of yellow growing wildly, temporarily. These daisies remind me of Fauvism, a beastly take on the otherwise desolate landscape. I can’t unsee Matisse’s Les toits de Collioure. In 1991, Roberta Smith wrote for the Times that “Favusim was in many ways inherently conservative and very much removed from the turmoil and tensions of modern life.” In this way, the Fauves aren’t a model to draw from. But in the simplistic sense, it was a formal experiment. That is all. But I sit uncomfortably at the realization that there may be neither experiment in public, cultural form, nor any regard for its inextricable tensions. For the Fauves, there was space to want to find another way to create the same image. For us, maybe the space to find another way to create a different image. What is that space? Its generosity is that model I look for.
Photo Credit: Henri Matisse, Les toits de Collioure
Cover Photo Credit: Adrianne Lenker, Indigo Spark