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ZHALA: Religious Rave and Cosmic Pop for MOMENTUM 8

“I try to create a space in which I can dress like Kim Kardashian and she can dress like me.” Zhala is a conceptual musician, artist and performer of Kurdish descent, born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden. She is one of the founding members of the LGBT club Donna Scam in Stockholm, and the first and so far the only artist signing to Robyn’s Konichiwa Records.

Zhala’s music consists of haunting rhythms and evocative melodies accompanied by meditative lyrics. Her music can be described as futuristic and slightly eerie, or, using the artist’s own words as “religious rave” or “cosmic pop”. Among her influences she lists Spice Girls and Nirvana.

This year’s 8th Momentum Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art has invited Zhala to create a biennial soundtrack. Curated by Jonatan Habib Engqvist (SE), Birta Gudjonsdottir (IS), Stefanie Hessler (DE/SE) and Toke Lykkeberg (DK), the exhibition considers “tunnel vision” as a cultural and artistic condition. Today’s networked culture not only generates hyper-connectivity, but also various disconnects. People and communities can thrive in bubbles of their own. Momentum 8 focuses on artists who inhabit worlds of their own logic and follow their thoughts all the way through. It looks at so-called “filter bubbles” and “you-loops” sparked by the personalisation of the Internet through the abundant use of cookies and matching metadata algorithms, and how at present new chemicals and drugs are used as chemical equivalent to these technologies to create a tunnel vision that narrows down this
spectrum of information and our access to it.

Fragments of Zhala’s music seep through and permeate the entire biennial and its different venues and events, creating a club-like atmosphere and recurring moments of déjà-vu. Sound leaks out from the factory building, which is one of the two sites of Momentum 8, as if it were caused by the distorted volume of a nightclub, and from the fireplaces in the old mansion, which is the biennial’s second venue.

Zhala’s voice accompanies the at times distant and at times euphoric rhythms and melodies, with statements like “I try to create a space in which I can dress like Kim Kardashian and she can dress like me. I see us as equals.” During the opening of Momentum 8, Zhala performed live with her collaborator Tony Karlson, who directed her video “Holy Bubbles”, in an ecstatic, glittery and sensual performance, saturated by the smell of rosewater.

Momentum – Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art, Moss, Norway.

Zhala, like a moment ago, when we just stood here, 2015, Soundtrack

Zhala, like a moment ago, when we just stood here, 2015, Soundtrack

Zhala, BaBYy Wwheeree isS ThE KI, 2015, Soundtrack

Zhala, BaBYy Wwheeree isS ThE KI, 2015, Soundtrack

Agnieszka Kurant, Air Rights 2, 2015, Powdered stone, foam, wood, electromagnets, custom pedestal

Agnieszka Kurant, Air Rights 2, 2015, Powdered stone, foam, wood, electromagnets, custom pedestal

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, 16mm, 2007-2011, 16mm film, color, 4 channel sync audio

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, 16mm, 2007-2011, 16mm film, color, 4 channel sync audio

Steina (Steina Vasulka), Machine Vision, 1978, b/w video cameras, flatscreens, moving mirror assemblies, prism lenses, bird’s-eye lens, zoom lens, slant mirror, tripods

Steina (Steina Vasulka), Machine Vision, 1978, b/w video cameras, flatscreens, moving mirror assemblies, prism lenses, bird’s-eye lens, zoom lens, slant mirror, tripods

Steina (Steina Vasulka), Machine Vision, 1978, b/w video cameras, flatscreens, moving mirror assemblies, prism lenses, bird’s-eye lens, zoom lens, slant mirror, tripods

Steina (Steina Vasulka), Machine Vision, 1978, b/w video cameras, flatscreens, moving mirror assemblies, prism lenses, bird’s-eye lens, zoom lens, slant mirror, tripods

Ryan Trecartin, A Family Finds Entertainment, 2004, Video

Ryan Trecartin, A Family Finds Entertainment, 2004, Video

Sissel Tolaas, Molecule Movx_015, 2015, Smell molecules

Sissel Tolaas, Molecule Movx_015, 2015, Smell molecules

Sissel Tolaas, Molecule Movx_015, 2015, Smell molecules

Sissel Tolaas, Molecule Movx_015, 2015, Smell molecules

Brody Condon, Zeigarnik Effect, 2015, Video

Brody Condon, Zeigarnik Effect, 2015, Video

SISSEL TOLAAS, MOLECULE  MOVX_015, 2015, Smell molecules

SISSEL TOLAAS, MOLECULE MOVX_015, 2015, Smell molecules

Sofia Hultén Indecisive Angles (IV), 2015, Modified steel trolley, paint. Courtesy of Daniel Marzona Photo: Vegard Kleven © Punkt Ø/ Momentum

Sofia Hultén Indecisive Angles (IV), 2015, Modified steel trolley, paint. Courtesy of Daniel Marzona Photo: Vegard Kleven © Punkt Ø/ Momentum

Julius von Bismarck, Jugendbewegung, 2015, Volkswagen Polo IV, Courtesy of the artist Photo: Vegard Kleven © Punkt Ø/ Momentum

Julius von Bismarck, Jugendbewegung, 2015, Volkswagen Polo IV, Courtesy of the artist Photo: Vegard Kleven © Punkt Ø/ Momentum

Julius von Bismarck, Jugendbewegung, 2015, Volkswagen Polo IV, Courtesy of the artist Photo: Vegard Kleven © Punkt Ø/ Momentum

Julius von Bismarck, Jugendbewegung, 2015, Volkswagen Polo IV, Courtesy of the artist Photo: Vegard Kleven © Punkt Ø/ Momentum

Christine Ödlund, Tower of Eukaryote, 2015 Stinging nettles, pallets, soil, watering system, butterfly larvae. Courtesy of the artist Photo: Vegard Kleven © Punkt Ø/ Momentum

Christine Ödlund, Tower of Eukaryote, 2015. Stinging nettles, pallets, soil, watering system, butterfly larvae. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Vegard Kleven © Punkt Ø/ Momentum

Joanna Lombard, Orbital Re-enactments, 2010. Four channel video installation. All Rights: Joanna Lombard.

Joanna Lombard, Orbital Re-enactments, 2010. Four channel video installation. All Rights: Joanna Lombard.

Hrafnhildur Arnardottir (A.K.A. Shoplifter), Nervescape IV, 2015. Synthetic hair, wood. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Vegard Kleven © Punkt Ø/ Momentum

Hrafnhildur Arnardottir (A.K.A. Shoplifter), Nervescape IV, 2015. Synthetic hair, wood. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Vegard Kleven © Punkt Ø/ Momentum

Minna Henriksson, Hidden, 2012/2015. Installation of photographs, landscape painting by E. Janatuinen (1949), crossword puzzles from Suomen Kuvalehti (1939-1944) Courtesy of the artistPhoto: Vegard Kleven © Punkt Ø/ Momentum

Minna Henriksson, Hidden, 2012/2015. Installation of photographs, landscape painting by E. Janatuinen (1949), crossword puzzles from Suomen Kuvalehti (1939-1944) Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Vegard Kleven © Punkt Ø/ Momentum

Crystóbal Lehyt, Untitled, 2013. Acrylic on polyester. Courtesy and Copyright: Johannes Vogt Gallery

Crystóbal Lehyt, Untitled, 2013. Acrylic on polyester. Courtesy and Copyright: Johannes Vogt Gallery

Lundahl & Seitl, Symphony of a Missing Room (Kunstmuseum Bern), 2014, Multi-sensory illusions, synchronised touch, movement, three dimensional sound and sensory deprivation. Copyright and / or courtesy for the artwork: Lundahl & Seitl. Copyright for the picture: Loulou d'Aki

Lundahl & Seitl, Symphony of a Missing Room (Kunstmuseum Bern), 2014, Multi-sensory illusions, synchronised touch, movement, three dimensional sound and sensory deprivation. Copyright and / or courtesy for the artwork: Lundahl & Seitl. Copyright for the picture: Loulou d’Aki

Ola Pehrson, Hunt for the Una Bomber, 2006, film. Part of a larger installation. Duration: 32 min. Courtesy of Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Photo: Vegard Kleven © Punkt Ø/ Momentum

Ola Pehrson, Hunt for the Una Bomber, 2006, film. Part of a larger installation. Duration: 32 min. Courtesy of Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Photo: Vegard Kleven © Punkt Ø/ Momentum

Opening shot by  Ingeborg Thorsland.

Opening shot by Ingeborg Thorsland.

Steingrimur Eyfjord, The Yellow Earring, 2015. Drawings on paper & aluminium, wood, found objects. Courtesy of the artist Photo: Vegard Kleven © Punkt Ø/ Momentum

Steingrimur Eyfjord, The Yellow Earring, 2015. Drawings on paper & aluminium, wood, found objects. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Vegard Kleven © Punkt Ø/ Momentum

Fujiko Nakaya, Fog Garden Murasaki, 2010. Japan Industry Pavilion, Shanghai Expo, China. Copyright: Processart Inc.

Fujiko Nakaya, Fog Garden Murasaki, 2010. Japan Industry Pavilion, Shanghai Expo, China. Copyright: Processart Inc.

Daniel Steegman Mangranè, Phantom (Kingdom of all the animals and all the beasts is my name), 2013-2015, VIrtual reality environment, Oculus Rift, Optitrack cameras. All Rights: Daniel Steegman Mangranè

Daniel Steegman Mangranè, Phantom (Kingdom of all the animals and all the beasts is my name), 2013-2015, VIrtual reality environment, Oculus Rift, Optitrack cameras. All Rights: Daniel Steegman Mangranè

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