Julie Marsh

Assembly: performing the materiality of Muslim prayer spaces

CreatorsMarsh, J.
CollaboratorsBirmingham Central Mosque, Brick Lane Jamme Mosque, Old Kent Road Mosque, Harrow Mosque, Shahed Saleem, V&A Museum, Muslim Council of Britain and Inclusive Mosque Initiative
Description

Assembly is a series of site-specific installations, comprising of 1:1 scaled moving floor projections with 5.1-surround sound. Assembly has been made and exhibited at Birmingham Central Mosque (Salat) in 2016, Brick Lane Mosque, London (Jamaat) in 2018/9, Old Kent Road Mosque, London (Jamaat) in 2019/20 and Harrow Mosque, London (Jamaat) in 2020. 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. At the end of each residency the general public were invited into the prayer spaces to see the artwork. This provided an opportunity for Muslims and non-Muslims to experience Jumu'ah prayer first hand via the site-performances.

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 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.

The research findings from Assembly will also be shown as part of The 2021 V&A/ La Biennale Special Project titled The British Mosque, curated by Shahed Saleem, author of The British Mosque: An Architectural and Social History (Historic England) and Chris Turner (V&A) & Ella Kilgallon (V&A). The exhibition uses different forms of reproduction, the digital and the physical to articulate an under-represented aspect of Britain’s religious heritage, the self-built mosque.

Year2016
PublisherUniversity of Westminster
Web address (URL)https://site-integrity.com/projects/assembly/
Keywordssite-specific
documentary film
place/space
installation
collaboration

Portfolio items

Site-integrity: a dynamic exchange between site, artist, device and audience
Marsh, J. 2019. Site-integrity: a dynamic exchange between site, artist, device and audience. Journal for Artistic Research. Issue 19 19. https://doi.org/10.22501/jar.596787

Salat at Birmingham Central Mosque (2016-17)
Marsh, J. 2017. Salat at Birmingham Central Mosque (2016-17). Birmingham Central Mosque 06 - 06 May 2016

Jamaat at Brick Lane Mosque (2018-9)
Marsh, J. 2018. Jamaat at Brick Lane Mosque (2018-9) . 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.

Jamaat at Old Kent Road Mosque (2019-20)
Marsh, J. 2020. Jamaat at Old Kent Road Mosque (2019-20) . 20 Jun 2020

Jamaat at Harrow Mosque (2020)
Marsh, J. 2020. Jamaat at Harrow Mosque (2020). Harrow Mosque 16 - 16 Oct 2020

Assembly: Performing the materiality of Muslim prayer spaces
Marsh, J. 2018. Assembly: Performing the materiality of Muslim prayer spaces. Scene. 6 (2), pp. 133-151. https://doi.org/10.1386/scene_00014_1

2021 Venice Architecture Biennale - The British Mosque/Assembly
Marsh, J. 2020. 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale - The British Mosque/Assembly. VENICE ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE May - Sep 2021

Related outputs

Jamaat at Harrow Mosque (2020)
Marsh, J. 2020. Jamaat at Harrow Mosque (2020). Harrow Mosque 16 - 16 Oct 2020

Virtual Assembly
Marsh, J. 2020. Virtual Assembly .

Jamaat at Old Kent Road Mosque (2019-20)
Marsh, J. 2020. Jamaat at Old Kent Road Mosque (2019-20) . 20 Jun 2020

2021 Venice Architecture Biennale - The British Mosque/Assembly
Marsh, J. 2020. 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale - The British Mosque/Assembly. VENICE ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE May - Sep 2021

Site-integrity: a dynamic exchange between site, artist, device and audience
Marsh, J. 2019. Site-integrity: a dynamic exchange between site, artist, device and audience. Journal for Artistic Research. Issue 19 19. https://doi.org/10.22501/jar.596787

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

Jamaat at Brick Lane Mosque (2018-9)
Marsh, J. 2018. Jamaat at Brick Lane Mosque (2018-9) . Brick Lane Mosque Oct - Nov 2018

Assembly: Performing the materiality of Muslim prayer spaces
Marsh, J. 2018. Assembly: Performing the materiality of Muslim prayer spaces. Scene. 6 (2), pp. 133-151. https://doi.org/10.1386/scene_00014_1

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 at Birmingham Central Mosque (2016-17)
Marsh, J. 2017. Salat at Birmingham Central Mosque (2016-17). Birmingham Central Mosque 06 - 06 May 2016

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

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

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