TranceFigure – the title given to the 20th Musrara Mix festival, which denotes a profound and mental positive change of external and inner forms – seems more relevant than ever, particularly when examined through the lens of the shaman. In many instances, the shaman is the healer-patient, whose consciousness is expanded through the healing process. In a time of global pandemic that touches on every aspect of our lives, the shamanistic act allows us to examine the new forming relationships between spirituality and art, and the constant changes that take place in us and in the world around us.

Musrara Mix festival is intrinsically connected to the physical and cultural spaces of Jerusalem in general and Musrara neighborhood in particular. Each year, it explores one central theme through experimental language and spaces of multidisciplinary practice. Its very nature as an artistic event rooted in its specific culture, surroundings, and habitat, is exactly what allows the examination of the “beyond” and the attempt to touch what eludes our grasp, which is an inseparable part of the human experience. The last year can most definitely be defined as unconventional and inconceivable, at least for now. And so, questions surrounding the shamanic experience – a cosmic experience, associated with the environment, animals, communication, and the healing of the individual’s and society’s psyche, gain added urgency these days.

Artmaking has always been characterized by a desire to create an artwork that will transcend the mundanity of everyday life. Art responds to and is influenced by current events and issues and thanks to its tendency to delve into the depths of the mind and the subconscious, it sometimes succeeds – intentionally or unintentionally – to predict the future and the mental and spiritual ways to grapple with reality. Cultural philosopher Jean Baudrillard argued that “the virus is an image of a state of overload and excess, leading to the collapse of systems of meaning.”[1]

Although the festival takes place in a digital format this year, from the systems collapse of this period we decided to insist on the dimension of physical presence and offer a creative space for the artists who were scheduled to participate in the original version of Musrara Mix 20. We invited them to create an artwork that addresses the original theme, in the spirit of the present time and place. Many of the artists chose to perform and document the works in the physical spaces of the neighborhood.

This year, the festival will take place in a special digital edition over three days. The multidisciplinary program features video performances, video art, pre-recorded shows, and audio-visual works, bringing together the art and performance program curated by Vera Korman and the electro-acoustic program Musrara Sonics, curated by Eran Sachs. The festival also invited Noam Enbar to curate a special program surrounding the festival main theme, inspired by healing and magic traditions. In addition to the central program, the festival will also hold an international student film contest and host two online panels. The works will open for viewing every day at a scheduled time and will remain available for streaming for 24 hours

[1] From David Gurevich and Dan Arav, “Virus,” The Encyclopedia of Ideas,  (in Hebrew).

A series of leading photograph: Merav Maroody