Experimental Sound and Music in Kurdistan



Space21 is an artist-run collective developing and presenting sound art exhibitions in Iraqi Kurdistan. In 2018, Space21 organized an exhibition in the cities of Slemani and Erbil presenting works by national and international artists in public spaces throughout the two cities. Space21’s vision is to promote sound art for Kurdish audiences by using 21 open/public spaces as an artistic arena. Moreover, Space21’s goal is to explore new perspectives onto the culture of everyday life through sound art. By focusing on sound art, Space21 aims to open possibilities for audiences to have new experiences of the places where they live and work, nurturing new understandings of modern society and its struggles.

A brief history of Space 21; this exhibition started in 2017 when I went back to Kurdistan with my own audio equipment. I wanted to experiment by presenting contemporary art that included sound, such as video art, in various public spaces in Slemani and Erbil. The art works were by various local and international artists including sound artists Hanna Hartman, Brandon LaBelle, Ylva Nyberg Bentancor, Klaas Hübner, visual artist Soran Ahmad and many others. After this event I realized that there is a crucial need of this art form in our culture; to think through sound. This approach motivated me to start with the idea of Space 21.

Hardi Kurda
Brandon LaBelle