June 1, 2018 [2018 Season]
refuse: military.01 was produced by Meira Asher. Words by Noam Gur, Hebron recordings by Issa Amro and Hebron Human Rights Press. Prepared typewriter from a performance with Guy Harries. Some beats by Floy Krouchi. Mixed and mastered by Paul Kendall. The piece was initially commissioned by Saout radio, and broadcast on Kunstradio.
More pieces in Meira's fearless radio series are available here.
refuse: military is a series of radio works, addressing the many youths who encounter compulsory military service in Israel. What alternatives to forced conscription are presented to these children? Schools which allow access to the Israeli military propaganda merchants, rarely, if ever, allow alternative voices to reach the children.
In this first episode 'refuse: military.01', Noam Gur recently refused to serve in the Israeli army. She is a conscientious objector. She had three trials, and was jailed twice for a total of 30 days in military prison. The usual procedure is to be repeatedly ordered to enlist – and repeatedly sent to prison, before one is ironically released on medical grounds. In the first part of the work, Noam reads her imprisonment statement followed by her description of the militarist presence and activity in her high school.
This complex manifesto of a piece is powerful both in its content and delivery. Noam's written testimony is powerful, but set against the rhythmic collage of percussion, sampling, and field recordings, its descriptions are rendered more raw and graphic. Meira's work is politically relevant as ever, and we're inspired by the bold and heartfelt stand she makes in all her work.
Soundinista Meira Asher's work has been released on Crammed, Sub Rosa and Auditorium. Her visionary early voice-based albums from the 1990s were too forward thinking and challenging for the Israeli audiences of the period, but after her departure to Europe they attained cult status.
She Studied Tabla and Dhrupad in Varanasi-India, and traditional drumming, voice and dance of the Ga, Eve and Dagomba people of Ghana, both of which she later taught and performed. She attained a BFA in percussion at California Institute of the Arts (1990). She completed her Masters in Sonology at the Royal Conservatory, The Hague (2002).
Her areas include HR intervention, social documentary, radio art, and the expression/transition of traditional rhythms in/to contemporary music.
Projects include Spears into Hooks (album and performance about the Israeli occupation of Palestine 1999), Infantry (album and performance with Guy Harries, about child manipulation and child soldiers 2001), Face_WSLOT (album, book, art installation, and documentary film on female ex-child combatants in Sierra Leone 2004-06), One blanket lost (radio art piece about girls trafficking to Europe 2010), and Myelination 2 (album and performance with Jean-Claude Jones about Multiple Sclerosis and the myelin sheath 2013).
She is also the co-founder of the bodylab art foundation in The Hague (2001-2011), a lecturer at the Haifa University, and the Curator-presenter of radioart106.
For more of Meira's work, check out her Soundcloud and Bandcamp pages.