High Tones

All art is a protest and every work of art protests against something in reality. Over centuries of cultural creation, artists persistently turned the spotlight towards silenced areas in society and sought ways to express the voices that are not heard. With that, art challenges the existing situation while anticipating what is yet to come. Like a constant protest today against yesterday, trying to prevent the replication of reality and even wishing to repair it through an alternative proposition.

Protests play an important role in the political development of countries. Today, in the world of social media, protest no longer requires physical space and can even undermine the digital medium that has become a means of protest as well as control. At the same time, the question of protests’ impact on political processes is incredibly complex and often called into question, as is the effectiveness of art as a form of protest. Their numerous intersections are clear and obvious, however in contrast to political activism, artworks have the power to directly address the individual’s psyche through channels that are not necessarily verbal, to offer new perspectives that transgress conventions, and with that, challenge institutions and power relations in society.  

Musrara Mix 21 will take place in December 2021. This year the School marks the jubilee of the Israel Black Panthers movement, one of the first social protest movement in Israel that formed in the early 1970s in Musrara neighborhood – where the School has been operating for over 30 years, and where the Festival takes place. Fifty years have passed since the protest first broke out and it seems that the riots, conflicts, and cultural, political, and ethnic disparities continue to resonate through the Israeli society, and to some extent, are still bubbling beneath the surface. These meet with profound changes at the international level. It seems that society and culture are facing an imminent change: from the global pandemic and the new political-economic reality built on the fragments of the crumbling reality of the “post-truth” and “fake news” era, through ecological disasters, financial crises, and recurring elections in the shadow of lockdown and the pink protest at Balfour, to the tensions and disillusion in Israel’s mixed cities. These events have brought about a deep crisis in the cultural sphere that also impacts questions about the public and the private space. 

In the spirit of longing for an equal and critical cultural-social space, this year the Festival will be held in the community center and the historical building of the School with live art, performance, and participatory works, generating a re-examination of the space in which we live. The Festival will touch on distinct political issues as well as the most profound aspects of the individual’s subjective identity and its construction, and will feature artists who explore the body as a private space that has the power to express protest. Protest that is not necessarily political in the conventional sense but rather one that pulsates with the freedom of artistic expression and allows artists the space for independent and biting expression.