Summer Research: Hala Kaddoura on Joy

30 Aug, 2021

Summer Research: Hala Kaddoura on Joy

Each year, the Berkeley Center for New Media is thrilled to offer summer research awards to support our graduates in their cutting edge work. Below, Hala Kaddoura describes how she used the funds to travel to Lebanon to research joy, play, and resilience in the face of catatrosphe.

Thank you BCNM for your support along this journey of mine. I wouldn’t have been here today without your support. Your support has allowed me to travel to Lebanon, to connect with my family, and to research joy and play, especially in these challenging times that we are living in. In addition, I have used my film camera to record my time there connecting with my family over food and the landscape, which by itself is pure joy.

The past year and a half has been tough on humanity. A pandemic hit, which changed—forever—how we operate, function, and interact as species. Isolation, fear, and anxiety were floating in the air. Many people lost friends and family members to Covid-19. Others lost their jobs and were affected financially. In addition to the pandemic, the world has
been going through political and economic turmoil and not to mention wildfires and natural disasters. Currently, the Taliban is taking over Afghanistan, Lebanon is facing a devastating financial and economic collapse, Israel continues to demolish Palestinian homes, a major earthquake hit Haiti and wildfires spread in Algeria, Turke, and Greece.

Initially, my plan for the summer was to go to Palestine to document my experience as a Palestinian refugee from Lebanon entering the homeland for the first time. However, with the recent evictions and escalation in Sheikh Jarrah, in Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank and occupied Palestine, I decided to put On Her Soil: I Breathe, Weep and Fall In Love All Over Again With Her on hold. In the meantime, I was protesting in Los Angeles and led a meditation for 70 people supporting Palestine.

Like most of us, our priorities during the pandemic changed. My priorities shifted to diving deeper into my soul purpose and to connecting and strengthening my ties with my family and friends. After being fully vaccinated, I jumped on the first plane to Lebanon. It was the longest period since I have been away: two and a half years since my departure five years ago.

So in Lebanon, despite the on-going economic and political crisis that I witnessed during my 5 weeks there, I started to research joy, pleasure and play, while embodying it with my parents and a close friend from high school.

My projects started shifting from focusing on the diaspora, home, postcolonial and transnational feminist theories to soul work, focusing on joy, pleasure, happiness, and self-love. I simply want to raise the vibration of the planet by raising the vibration of people.

The summer was about research, observation and writing. Now, stepping into the Fall semester, I will be diving into my studio to work with paint, collage, and prints to create abstract art pieces that represent transformation, self-realization, joy, pleasure, and play. I will also be collaborating with musicians to create music pieces for the MFA Final Exhibition.