. . . circle through New York Begins! ISAW Welcomed JUS Broadcasting and the Guggenheim Museum Sang a Hurrian Hymn

By Rachel Herschman

Artists Lenka Clayton and Jon Rubin commenced a presentation that brings together New York communities often separated by cultural, economic, geographic, or circumstantial boundaries. The artists have drawn an imaginary circle through Harlem, the South Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan’s Upper East Side and invited six public venues along the circle’s path—including ISAW—to participate in a system of social and material exchange. A co-creation of the artists and each partner institution, every venue will share an aspect that represents its identity, and that thing or activity will rotate among the locations over a period of six months. As each of the six elements moves one step around the circle, the project will gradually create thirty new collaborations that expand each partner’s everyday routines and audiences.

As part of ISAW’s participation in . . . circle through New York, a project commissioned through the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Social Practice Art initiative, we welcomed JUS Broadcasting into our community during the month of March. JUS Broadcasting is a Queens-based network that is home to four internationally broadcasted TV channels producing live Indian Punjabi entertainment for 1.5 million viewers. Punjabi TV shows usually filmed at the JUS Broadcasting studios was instead filmed on location here at ISAW with faculty, staff, students, and visiting academics as guests. All shows were shown on JUS TV throughout the month, and visitors were invited to view all recorded segments on a monitor in our lobby.

ISAW is sharing its expertise in ancient Near Eastern music as well as archaeology and the ancient world more generally. An interpretation of a Hurrian hymn, the earliest known song to be recorded in writing, dating to around the 13th century BCE, was hummed, whistled, or sung by members of the Guggenheim staff in the galleries. Visitors to the Guggenheim heard the song at noon and 2pm each day during regular open hours throughout the month of March, and on March 27, Lorenzo d’Alfonso, Associate Professor of Western Asian Archaeology and History, delivered a guest lecture at the Guggenheim.

For more information about the project, and to learn more about our partners in . . . circle through New York, please visit https://www.circlethroughnewyork.com/