Photo courtesy of The Invisible Hands official Facebook page
CAIRO – 17 January 2018: This year’s Berlin Film Festival’s Forum Expanded panel will include the Egyptian psychedelic folk rock band “El-Ayadi El-Khafeyya” (The Invisible Hands) as the featured performing artist for the forum’s concert. The festival takes off on February 15 and ends on February 25.
Entitled “A Mechanism Capable of Changing Itself”, the 13th edition of Forum Expanded will feature films that are considered most unique and unexpected of Berlinale, with Forum Expanded holding the reputation of inspiring the more unusual art film submissions. “A Mechanism Capable of Changing Itself” refers to the unique ability of cinema to create new and critical perspectives and realities through the screen, and is known for screening works created by filmmakers around the globe.
The Invisible Hands are a group of Cairo-based musicians formerly members of oriental band “Eskenderella” Charif el-Masri, Aya Hemeda, Adham Zidan, joined by Alan Bishop, also known as Alvarius B., the famous American musician and former member of legendary experimental rock band “Sun City Girls”.
The Invisible Hands was founded in 2011 and released their self-titled debut album in 2012. The album “The Invisible Hands” was released in two Arabic and English versions. The band’s second album, “Teslam”, was released in 2014.
“In efforts of fitting in the forum’s scene, the Invisible Hands as a band is a mechanism capable of changing itself, adapting to the circumstances and producing all the same” band member of Invisible Hands Adham Zidan told Egypt Today in an interview on Monday .
Cairo’s Invisible Hands experimental and artistic genre fits the Forum Expanded theme, with the band’s Egyptian background and unusual style and musical approach.
This year’s Forum Expanded also welcomed Egyptian visual artist Maha Maamoun to the curatorial team panel, hopefully promising a greater presence of Egyptian artists in international cultural festivals.
“This will be the festival premiere of The Invisible Hands, the film, after it was shown at Documenta in Athens last year. The Invisible Hands, the band, will be performing - as a quartet - songs from future and past releases, including songs from Alvarius B.’s triple LP ‘With a Beaker on the Burner and an Otter in the Oven’ “ added Zidan.
Already popular among the international indie scene despite their relative newness as a group, The Invisible Hands creates both Arabic and English songs, all characterized by unusual psychedelic folk arrangements and vocal choruses that, according to the group’s official Facebook page, serve as “a nod to what could have potentially been music that surfaced decades ago but instead found its way to the future”.
Zidan stated that an increasing Egyptian artists’ participation in festivals abroad will encourage others to go of pre-existing notions and become motivated to be creative.
The band as a unique style and personal and steadily fight for their beliefs where Zidan mentioned “Approach and style are personal. Context dictates the circumstances. The Invisible Hands could not have manifested in any other environment. As for censorship, we have not met issues, but we are unmoved by influences both external to us and internal in us”
A documentary film following the band’s conception and context will also be screening at Berlinale this year. The Egyptian-Greek documentary titled “The Invisible Hands” directed by Marina Gioti first premiered at “Documenta 14” in Athens. The film follows Alan Bishop’s experiences as a stranger to the city of Cairo, having arrived some time after the 2011 revolution.
It explores the collaborative processes between Bishop and the Egyptian musicians of the band “Eskenderella”, and the project that blossomed during their journey. The film uses different kinds of media and is “structured around fly-on-the-wall scenes, archival ghost apparitions, absurd cameos, and poetic diary narrations by Bishop”, according to Documeta’s official description of the film.
Considering the film’s composition and the content it explores, what with political themes arising from the Cairene post-revolution backdrop and discussions on art making, the film easily belongs in the Forum Expanded film screening list.
Taking a closer look at the band’s activity and plans, Egypt Today interviews Invisible Hands band member Adham Zidan.
Zidan is optimistic and hopeful that the film gets screened in theaters and screens globally as he confirmed that the band will continue as an existing composite entity following the Belinale and intend to collaborate in a myriad of ways.