Terra Incognita - East and West – Hybrid world

"East and West" are relative concepts originating from the field of geography. However, over the years, these concepts have become charged with cultural, social and economic meanings, which have been imbibed with changing world views. The hegemony of the so-called West has shaped a world view that sees a particular order wherethere is an advanced Western First World and a Third World (East, South), which lags behind and lacks the culture and technology of the First World. This concept has dominated throughout modern history and has determined prevailing attitudes towards culture and art that comes from non-Western cultures. Art originating from the so-called Third World has generally been defined as inferior, basic, "oriental" or "primitive".

While the West was and still is largely entrenched in its ways of labeling the world and in its blindness to the autonomy and self-determination of other cultures,parallel world views and cultures have evolved that see themselves as central, without regard to their relation to the West. A symbolic example of this can be found in China, where world maps are designed in sucha way that China is at the center and countries such as Europe and the United States are pushed to the sides. A look at this map undermines prevailing viewson how the world was designed. It sharpens our understanding that the beliefs regarding the West'ssuperiority and centralityare merely the outcome of manipulation and posing as what appears to be the natural system according to which the world is built.

The new global order that has beengradually rising over the past few decades is changing the balance of political and cultural powers. After hundreds of years of colonization in its various forms, characterized by the apparently one-sided infiltrationof the West into East, a boomerang effect occurredcausing the Western world to experience waves of economic, cultural and human infiltration from the East and the so-called Third World. Undoubtedly, these are some of the most significant processes to occur since the beginning of human society, and it is still uncertain how they will affect the future. Whenever fundamental change happens, there tends to be great resistance, and so the West, in its part, has gone on the defensive against the emerging new reality in which the economic and cultural powers in the world are beginning to shift. These global phenomenaare also reflected in cultural phenomena, for example, in thegrowing awareness to African American culture in the United States or in the Eastern ("Mizrachi") discourse in Israeli society. The world of art has also been affected by these changes, and new and significant art centers are popping upall around the world, such as the art fairs and biennales in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Dakar, Marrakech, Istanbul, and others. In addition to the shift in thetraditional art world centers of power in Europe and the US, there is an increase in influential artists coming from Africa, the Far East and the Arab world, affecting change in the content of art discourse as well.

As a continuation or improvement on the dichotomy between colonialistWestern culture and Eastern culture, there is a hybrid concept that refers to a cultural "encounter", where each one affectsthe other, resulting in a cross between the two. Contrary to the East-West dichotomy, it is possible to see the absorption of Eastern values and cultural characteristics into the Western world and vice versa.

The Musrara Mix Festival this year addresses these processes and gives place to the diverse and hybrid voices that range along the cultural spectrum between East and West, North and South, advanced technology and shamanism, combinations that convey an experience of the hybrid situation,a liminal situation, and the move towards a new worldand multi-cultural worldview.