Mohamed Samatar and Taylor Helfand present Bid'ah, a performance, a gallery, an experiential space, inquiring about the innovation of traditions and rituals through their lived experiences.
Watch video: YouTube
Age Recommendation: Ages 7+.
Run time: 90 minutes. No intermission.
Mohamed and Taylor use spoken word, movement, storytelling, rituals, and photography as installations to engage in the revolving conversation about the complexity of interactions between people and ideas that arise when trying to differentiate between religion and culture defined through rituals and traditions.
They are calling the piece Bid'ah, which in Arabic literally means "innovation, novelty, heretical doctrine, heresy." The contested definition of Bid'ah, in a religious context, is the prohibition of innovation within Islam. This piece engages with the narrative claims of the term and integrates them with Mohamed and Taylor's personal experiences of rituals and traditions.
They want to use the medium of performance to inquire, interrogate, and interact with tradition being an innovative process that is often perceived as fixed and invariable. They are questioning and encouraging others to contemplate with them how modernity interacts with tradition. They believe that ideas, people, and history aren't always dichotomized as a black and white composition but rather as a spectrum of color.