Genre Bender: Fatima Al Qadiri
New York-based Kuwaiti visual artist and composer Fatima Al Qadiri is a genre-mixing phenomenon. The artist recently hosted an album release party and panel discussion for her EP Genre-Specific Xperience (Uno) at the New Museum. The EP is comprised of Fatima’s take on five subgenres of dance music: juke, hip hop, dubstep, electro-tropicalia, and ’90s-era Gregorian trance. In turn, Fatima worked collaboratively with artists to create visuals for each song on the album, resulting in five socially conscious music videos involving religion, technology, and the isolation of the Internet. Al Qadiri explained her interest in genres that permeate all aspects of our lives: “The high heel is a genre of a shoe; the kitten heel, for instance, is a sub-genre.”
San Francisco-based Kamau Patton created the video for Al Qadiri’s “Hip Hop Spa.” The artist envisioned the idea of a hip-hop spa as a place where “you could get a green tea facial and smoke a blunt,” and the video depicts typical hip-hop video elements—money, women, drugs—and films them in a disaffected, distorted and rough manner. The results heavily mirror the video “How Can I Resist U,” by Qatar-based Sophia Al-Maria, a dubstep track and a “love letter to London, dubstep and being a Gulf Arab” that collages YouTube clips of female dancers at Middle Eastern men’s-only parties. The dance the women perform could be lifted from a New Orleans bounce video and suggests the universality of sexual behavior. Fatima acknowledges, “The video is about temptation and the relationship between the Gulf and London, how London represents a kind of forbidden fruits playground for Gulf Arabs for several decades now.”
The final song on the EP, “Corpcore,” shown with a video by Ryan Trecartin and Los Angeles-based Rhett LaRue, collages stock film footage and computer graphics images. The idea that these visuals, which now appear aesthetically ironic, are visuals that that same crowd grew up with—and were subsequently influenced by—would seem to encapsulate a “sub-genre” of meaning within the EP itself.
FATIMA AL QADIRI’S GENRE-SPECIFIC XPERIENCE EP IS OUT NOW. FOR MORE ON AL QADIRI, VISIT HER WEBSITE.