In February 2008, Dancing Ink Productions’ was invited by the Brookings Institution to be speakers at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar. Dancing Ink Productions produced a mixed media event live from Doha and in the virtual world of Second Life. The event, which was entitled, “The Transfer of Cultural Energy,” featured Nashwa Al Ruwaini, host of the two top-rated television shows in the Middle East, “Nashwa” and “Poet of Millions”; Howard Gordon, executive producer of the Fox television show, “24″; and Ambassador Cynthia P. Schneider.
(A portion of this work is also featured in the findings of the Understanding Islam through Virtual Worlds project, which was released January 2009.)
The event also featured two hip-hop artists, Palestinian Muhammed Mughrabi of the Jerusalem-based hip-hop group, G-Town, and Iranian Yas, who is the first hip-hop artist whose work is sanctioned by the Iranian government. The two sang a spontaneous Arabic-Farsi hip-hop performance, which can be viewed in its entirety here.
Proceedings of the U.S.-Islamic World Forum can be downloaded in PDF format here.
Dancing Ink Productions’ participation in the U.S.-Islamic World Forum so inspired us that we penned the following vision statement about the foundational aspects of our work, “Our Vision for Sustainable Culture in the Imagination Age.”
Dancing Ink Productions produced the below machinima video as part of their participation.
In Ambassador Cynthia P. Schneider’s forthcoming report about cultural diplomacy, “Mightier than the Sword: Arts and Culture in the U.S.-Muslim World Relationship,” includes the following recommendations:
Virtual Worlds: Although participation in virtual worlds is minimal at present in the Muslim world, the technology off ers the possibility over the long term of lectures, dialogues, discussions, concerts, screenings and other performances that could break down barriers of geography and incorporate “audiences” from diff erent parts of the world. Contests, such as the remix contest with Salman Ahmed’s music, increase distribution and engagement with diverse types of music. At the 2008 U.S.-Islamic World Forum, the Brookings Institution, in collaboration with Dancing Ink Productions, held a virtual world panel discussion featuring Howard Gordon (executive producer of 24) and Nashwa al Ruwaini (CEO, Pyramedia) and attended by people (via their avatars) from the U.S., South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Th e session concluded with a freestyle hip-hop concert featuring top Iranian rapper YAS in Farsi and, in Arabic, Palestinian Muhammed Mughrabi, the leader and co-founder of the G-Town the Palestinian Hip-Hop Makers group in Jerusalem that had all the participants’ avatars dancing.