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Artist and researcher
working at the intersection
of performance, visual arts
and critical theory. 


Just Songs  

Arabic Letter Seen س
Arabic Letter Wow و

Of Quiet Whispers and Loud Speakers 

A Loud Voice Never Dies

Lovesong Revolution
The Post National Anthems
Empty Orchestra
Watani Al Akbar  


Theater of Operations, Exhibition
MoMA PS1, New York
Research Fellow 2019/2020      
BAK, basis voor actuele kunst
Post Opera, Exhibition

Delfina Foundation, Residency

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Copyright © 2023, Urok Shirhan.
All rights reserved. 

Lovesong Revolution


Lovesong Revolution 
Sonic Essay
46 Minutes

Can a sound start a revolution? The Portuguese Carnation Revolution of 1974 is known to have been triggered by a love song aired on the radio. Eighteen days prior, “E Depois do Adeus” was performed by Paulo de Carvalho as Portugal’s submission for the Eurovision Song Contest. 

Departing from this love song, this sound essay traverses other, more recent instances of public speech, bodies in the street, political songs and sounds. While some of the sounds are explicitly political, expressing solidarity or speaking directly of struggle, other sounds are political only implicitly – or “accidentally” – politicized through their adaptation in contexts such as protests.

This piece thinks about the amplification of sound through embodiment, all while keeping in mind the following: Where can dissonance and dissidence be located within our own lives? Is there place in the public sphere for those unamplified voices inside our heads: the soft voices that speak of fear, doubt, powerlessness and precarity? Can the revolution include our heartbreak and exhaustion, as well as our courage and defiance?

Can a love song start a revolution?

 +⃝  The City Talks Back is a collaborative project initiated by Theatrum Mundi in partnership with Athens-based cultural foundation Onassis Stegi, co-curated and edited by George Kafka. Site designed by Typical Organization, developed and built by Bracket. Participants include Ella Finer, Mercedes Azpilicueta, John Bingham-Hall, Fani Kostourou, Stefania Gyftopolou, Tim Ward, Tom Western and Yorgos Samantas. 

  +⃝  Upcoming sonic and written segments from this research project will be published as part of the Sonic Continuum issue in The Contemporary Journal (Nottingham Contemporary) curated by Sofia Lemos in October, and as part of a publication series edited by Rayya Badran for the Beirut Art Center in November 2020. The research has been supported in part by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, where I’ve been a Research Fellow between 2019 and 2020.

 +⃝  With very special thanks to Reem Shadid and Radio Alhara for the invitation to develop, broadcast and discuss parts of the research in its early stages.

Listen to Lovesong Revolution in Arabic: