Assembly: performing the materiality of Muslim prayer spaces

Marsh, J. Assembly: performing the materiality of Muslim prayer spaces.

CreatorsMarsh, J.
CollaboratorsBirmingham Central Mosque, Brick Lane Jamme Masjid, Old Kent Road Mosque and Inclusive Mosque Initiative
Description

Assembly is a body of work and ongoing research, which performs the materiality of Muslim prayer space. Assembly is a series of site-specific installations, comprising of 1:1 scaled moving floor projections with 5.1-surround sound. As the audience enters each prayer site the projection is activated, revealing a pre-recorded film of congregational prayer. The controlled motorisation of the projection re-traces the movement of the recorded image, giving the effect of only the frame moving through physical space, constantly revealing and concealing the actual site below. The digital moving image hovers improbably above its ‘real’ counterpart, providing an opportunity to experience prayer in situ, via the site-performance.

Previous research into Muslim sites of worship has mostly been conducted as theological and sociological studies, which neglect to acknowledge the performativity of Muslim prayer. “Mosques in the UK sit within a wider unhelpful discourse that likens them all to each other, making any one mosque representational of the many” (Marsh et al 2018, 45-46). When sites of worship are reduced to representation the performative and experiential qualities are lost. Assembly builds upon this notion via an understanding of Muslim prayer sites as emergent, relational and beyond representational regimes. This research uses the projected image as a performative rather than representational tool, providing a platform to engage and connect communities in Islamic sites of worship, temporarily dissolving the religious/social boundaries of the mosque.

Assembly has been made and exhibited at Birmingham Central Mosque in 2016 and Brick Lane Mosque in London 2018/9 and is currently in progress at Old Kent Road Mosque, due to be exhibited in December 2019.

Salat (2016) was made by and for Birmingham Central Mosque congregation. Salat (2016) brings forth a precise relationship between body and space, helped by the fact that the people it addresses are coming to worship and therefore invested in the place. The congregation question how their projected image of self relates to the real space and how the experience of the real is mediated by the image.

Jamaat (2018) was made in collaboration with Brick Lane Jamme Masjid community and comprises of two simultaneous installation, one in the main prayer hall and one in the female prayer room. Jamaat (2018) has found a way to connect and engage the prayer spaces, allowing access for men and women to both sites. As this research project has evolved the relationship between the two prayer spaces has become a fundamental aspect of the work. At the end of the residency the Jamme Masjid invited the general public into the main prayer hall and female prayer room, providing an opportunity for Muslims and non-Muslims to experience Jumu'ah prayer first hand via the site-performances.

A third site, Old Kent Road Mosque is currently in progress and this time has extended the research by involving the local community and schools in the making of the work, due to be performed in December 2019.

Assembly uses the working methodology 'site-integrity', a term coined during my practice-based PhD at London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London. Site-integrity is an interdisciplinary and process-driven research practice that questions the material, political and sensory representation of place. It is a site-specific and collaborative practice that builds direct social relationships with new audiences specific to the site. The research is essentially a performance art practice, exploring the comprehension of space as dualistically experienced and represented.

Web address (URL)http://www.site-integrity.com
Keywordssite-specific
documentary film
place/space
installation
collaboration
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Portfolio items

Jamaat (2018)
Marsh, J. 2018. Jamaat (2018). Brick Lane Mosque Oct - Nov 2018

Assembly: Artist Talk at Closeup Film Centre
Marsh, J. 2018. Assembly: Artist Talk at Closeup Film Centre. Julie Marsh.

Assembly Exhibition Catalogue
Marsh, J. 2018. Assembly Exhibition Catalogue. London Julie Marsh.

Salat (2016)
Marsh, J. 2016. Salat (2016) . Birmingham Central Mosque 06 - 06 May 2016

Related outputs

Assembly: catalogue of research findings
Marsh, J. 2019. Assembly: catalogue of research findings. London Shelter Press, France.

Jamaat (2018)
Marsh, J. 2018. Jamaat (2018). Brick Lane Mosque Oct - Nov 2018

Assembly: Artist Talk at Closeup Film Centre
Marsh, J. 2018. Assembly: Artist Talk at Closeup Film Centre. Julie Marsh.

Assembly Exhibition Catalogue
Marsh, J. 2018. Assembly Exhibition Catalogue. London Julie Marsh.

Lokomotywownia (2016)
Marsh, J. 2017. Lokomotywownia (2016). Płaszów, Poland 10 - 24 Feb 2017

Salat (2016)
Marsh, J. 2016. Salat (2016) . Birmingham Central Mosque 06 - 06 May 2016

Pestera (2015)
Marsh, J. 2015. Pestera (2015). Atelier Contemporary Art Space, Bucharest 21 - 28 Jul 2017

Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/q9y33/assembly-performing-the-materiality-of-muslim-prayer-spaces


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