Interview with the curator on the TRAFO Blog
Revisiting Archive in the Aftermath of Revolution
Curated by Khaled Saghieh (Beirut / EUME Fellow 2016/17), presented by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) in the framework of its Arab European Creative Platform (AECP), in cooperation with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) and EUME
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, 10557 Berlin
Archiving is not merely documenting. In the aftermath of the Arab uprisings, artists, activists and others have reverted to archives digging through a past buried under several layers of cultural, political and psychological repression to rediscover country and society. A symposium about memory, mourning, forgotten or forbidden narratives, and archival practices.
The relationship between archiving and political events is multi-faceted, as the future seems contingent on archiving the present and revisiting the past. In documenting revolutions and their unfolding, the first impetus was to interrogate iconographic and representational languages, new functions of social media and the new role of citizen journalism. Documenting present-day disastrous realities - in the aftermath of revolutions- is a more complex undertaking that raises questions about memory, mourning and the formal choices artists make to capture these realities.
The artistic and intellectual practices and articulations of archiving as personal and political practice will be explored within this three-day forum. It gathers academics, writers, artists and filmmakers from the Arab world and Europe to reflect on and enact the multifold practices and approaches in lectures discussions, readings and screenings. The symposium is curated by Khaled Saghieh (Beirut / EUME Fellow 2016/17) and presented by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) in the framework of its Arab European Creative Platform (AECP) in cooperation with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) and EUME.
”Revisiting Archive in the Aftermath of Revolution” is a follow-up to the exploratory workshop "Out of the Archives...New Archival Practices: Towards Alternative Historiographies, Voices and Spaces" in July 2018 at Archive Kabinett and the third symposium in a series of events organized in cooperation with AFAC, preceded by "Imagining the Future: The Arab World in the Aftermath of Revolution" in April 2018 at Archive Kabinett, and “Writing (in) Exile: A Forum on Literature, Writing and the Experience of Exile“ in July 2017 at Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung.
The event is free of charge and open to the public. It will be held in Arabic and English with simultaneous translation.
October 26, 2018
19:00: Welcome & Introduction
BerndScherer (HKW), Rima Mismar (AFAC), Khaled Saghieh (curator)
19:30: Keynote Lecture
Khaled Fahmy (University of Cambirdge): Archiving the Revolution
October 27, 2018
Archive as Resistance
During the Arab uprisings, practices of archiving and digging in the past waned as documenting the present moment and the violent crackdowns became center-stage. In their aftermath, a reverse dynamic seems to be building up again, as excavation and archival practice are continuously interpreted in registers that evoke resistance.
12:00: Session 1 / Project Presentations
Leyla Dakhli (Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin): Can (Subaltern) Archives Speak? Writing History in Times of Revolution and Repression
Sana Yaziji (journalist): The Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution
Refqa Abu-Remaileh (Freie Universität Berlin / EUME Fellow 2018/19): Chasing Palestinian Literary Caravans: On Simultaneity & Wholeness
Chair: Alia Mossallam (EUME Fellow 2017/18)
14:30: Session 2 / Artist Talk
Mariam Ghani (artist, writer, filmmaker): The Garden of Forked Tongues
Chair: Rasha Salti (curator, writer)
In the search for a repressed past or marginalized narratives in the aftermath of revolutions, new worldviews emerge, specifically in the context of upheavals.
15:15: Session 3 / Panel
Hanan Toukan (Universität Bamberg / EUME Fellow 2012-14): Whatever Happened to Iltizam?
Rana Issa (American University in Beirut): The Nahda and its Archives: Literature as a Critical Archival Practice in the Case of Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq
Maissan Hassan (artist): Memory and Feminism: Reflections on Women's Archives and Oral History in Egypt
Chair: Georges Khalil (EUME / Forum Transregionale Studien)
Documenting horror poses questions pertaining to memory, mourning and the representational language that artists use to capture the unspeakable and the real. The panel will explore the vexed relationship between the documenting and artistic practices that oscillate between the push of aesthetics and the pull of horror.
17:00: Session 4 / Presentations
Stefan Tarnowski (Columbia University): a few big images and nothing more
Veronica Ferreri (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient): Tasharrud as a State of Permanent Loss
Mostapha Benfodil (writer): My Body is My First Archive
Chair: Yassin Swehat (journalist)
19:30: Session 5 / Film Screenings
Today is 11th June 1993 by Clarissa Thieme (Germany/Bosnia Herzegovina, 2018, 15 min, Bosnian/English OV)
When Things Occur by Oraib Toukan (Palestine/UK, 2017, 28 min, Arab OV/English subtitles)
20:30: Session 6 / Collective Reading
Maisan Hamdan, Ibrahim Mahfouz, Wadia Ferzly, Ahmed Katlish, Mariam Mekiwi, Ghiath Mihithawy, Zena Elabdalla and Haytham al-Wardany (writers): Writing Catastrophe
Writer Haytham al-Wardany conducted a creative writing workshop in the span of four months around the idea of ‘writing catastrophe’ with Arab writers and filmmakers who recently moved to Germany and are grappling with questions of loss, trauma and displacement. The performative reading will present selections of texts produced during and after the workshop.
October 28, 2018
Along with research into print media and the investigation into how past events were recorded, there is a growing interest in the mechanics of print culture as it materializes in the circulation and demise of books, libraries, newspapers and magazines. These archives are the canvas on which intellectual history and social are projected and interpreted.
12:00: Session 7 / Presentation
Marwa Arsanios (artist): Embodied Texts, Al-Hilal Magazine
Zeina G. Halabi (American University in Cairo / EUME Fellow 2018-20): Excavating the Self in the Demise of Print Media
Mohammed Shoair (journalist): Inside the Libraries of Arab Intellectuals
Chair: Rima Mismar (AFAC)
Biographies and the Self
In excavating and revisiting biographies of people and places, authors will reflect on their process and the fantasies heaved onto the troubled present moment, as their own lives seep into the narrative arc of others.
14:30: Session 9 / Film Screening
Erased,___Ascent of the Invisible (Tirss, Rihlat al-Su'ud ila al-Mar'i) by Ghassan Halwani (Lebanon, 2018, 76 min, Arab OV/English subtitles)
16:30: Session 9 / Presentations
Iman Mersal (writer / EUME Fellow 2012/13): In the Footsteps of Enayaat Elzayaat
Ahmed Naji (writer): Intellectuals, the Police and ‘Adawiyya
Lamia Moghnieh (American University in Beirut / EUME Fellow 2017-19): Lebanon Hospital for Mental and Nervous Disorders (Asfuriyeh): A History of Psychiatry, Violence and Society in Lebanon
Chair: Haytham al-Wardany (writer)
Longing for Utopia
In the dystopian present, writers and artists reverted to the past as a means to re-animate and project utopian imaginaries in the present. Using old photographs, family stories, or political propaganda, the search for lost and desired utopias become sites for regenerating imaginaries.
19:00: Session 10 / Conversation
Marcelo Rezende (researcher, critic, exhibition maker): How to Build an Anti-Museum
Chair: Ruth Noack (art historian, exhibition maker)
19:45: Session 11 / Film Screenings
Tree Identification for Beginners by Yto Barrada (Morocco/USA, 2017, 30 min, English OV)
Hand-Me-Downs by Yto Barrada (Tangier, 2011, 15 min)
20:30: Session 6 / Performance
Yasmina Reggad (performance artist): We Dreamt of Utopia and We Woke Up Screaming
The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) is an independent institution in the Arab world that, since 2007, has been supporting individuals and associations in producing art and knowledge and promoting the development of a culture of philanthropy. AFAC’s many years of experience in supporting creativity in societies that are torn by conflict and subject to radicalization and political turbulence has resulted in extensive first-hand knowledge and a faith in how creativity can be used in a highly meaningful way.
The Arab European Creative Platform (AECP) is a pilot multi-disciplinary program of events, showcases, conferences and workshops, that aims to address alarming realities in Europe, namely the growing ranks of displaced creative talents, and the rise of xenophobic and reactionary movements. Launched in 2016, the three-year program aspires to explore innovative and constructive actions, commissions and productions, because we are confident that establishing a platform that probes and explores imagination and expression, engages the creative and artistic communities from both Europe and the Arab world, holds keys to allaying fearful minds and hearts and shifting perceptions.
The idea is to not only to challenge terms of discourse and perceptions by providing a platform to Arab intellectuals and artists in Europe, but also to enable genuine contact and creative collaborations between Arab and European artists. Moreover, building on the success of AFAC’s public showcases, and responding to the difficulties Arab artists face with the circulation, visibility and dissemination of their work, the AECP is grounded in structured partnership with European institutions and funders to co-produce and co-present each event in the proposed program. Since 2016, we have collaborated with the Allianz Foundation, Alfilm, Archive Kabinett, the Berlinale, DokLeipzig, Documenta 14, DoxBox, Freiluftkino, Eiszeit Kino, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Humboldt Forum, Volksbühne theater and the Weissensee Kunst-Hochschule (Berlin).