From the Editors
Photo Cairo 5: more out of curiosity than conviction
14 Nov – 17 Dec 2012
Photo Cairo 5: more out of curiosity than conviction is a large-scale contemporary art project in Downtown Cairo.
14 November-17 December 2012
Preview: 8pm, 14 November
Artists: Mohamed Abdelkarim, David Degner, Ahmed El Ghoneimy, Samir ElKordy, Saskia Holmkvist, Iman Issa, Hassan Khan, Basim Magdy, Elizabeth Price, André Romão, Ben Russell, Hanaa Safwat, Sarah Samy, Noura Seif, Mahmoud Tarek, and Sama Waly
Townhouse Factory Space (information point)
Contemporary Image Collective (CIC)
Mahmoud Bassiouny st shopfront
PhotoCairo 5 is about ways in which reality is splintered and shifts of subjectivity are made. Involving international and local, emerging and established artists, this exhibition explores the ability of art to trigger affective responses within the viewer.
PhotoCairo 5 explores forces at play in reshaping reality, such as paranoia, the act of recognition, and altered states of consciousness. Bodies, materials and knowledges radically unreconciled to their political, architectural, institutional surroundings appear across the show: from the tale of a hysterical dancing spree near the site of the European Parliament, to an impossible monument to the revolution, and the absurd power dynamics of a re-enacted citizen's arrest gone wrong.
The project takes its title from a passing comment in Harun Farocki’s Videograms of a Revolution, in which existing footage of the Romanian revolution of 1989 is narrated with attention to the position and motivations of the person filming. The comment refers to the decision – more out of curiosity than conviction – of a state TV camera operator to "glance" the camera sideways at an emerging protest, against instructions. Farocki’s treatment of the material calls attention to this gesture over the depicted event. If art is to handle "revolutionary acts," here the camera operator's innocent curiosity and bodily uncertainty takes the place of grand representational gestures, yet crucially, allow us to witness the awakening of a radical reality.
17 November, Goethe Institut, Bustan St
Contributors: Mia Jankowicz; Angela Harutyunyan; Malak Helmy; Noura Seif, Mahmoud Tarek, Sarah Samy, and Sama Waly; Basim Magdy, Jasmina Metwaly, and May Al-Ibrashi; Hassan Khan.
Since early 2011, in common with many of their international colleagues, Egyptian artists have been subjects of a debate concerning their relationship to politics as artists, activists, or citizens.
This symposium aims to expand upon the oft-cited truism that it is nearly always "too soon" to make art—not because this sentiment is not usually true, but because it tends to foreclose a reflection on what nevertheless goes on as a creative process in the exceptionally exciting "too soon" moment anyway. Through examining this critically neglected space, and from a position of near-exhaustion, we might locate a link between the revolutionary moment and the artistic one.
Harun Farocki screening programme
24-28 TBC November, Beirut
Harun Farocki is a German filmmaker and artist best known for his experimental documentaries produced since 1969. In more than a hundred films and installations he draws our attention to the visible and invisible complexities of everyday life, consistently pushing formal boundaries with the persistent eye of a critical observer to raise questions dedicated to social coexistence, power relations, politics, the cruelty of warfare, and the growing dominance of capitalism. With his distinctive camera and montage techniques Farocki assesses the fabrication of perceptual habits and how it is altered by the advent of new technologies. In collaboration with Beirut, Cimatheque and the Goethe Institut, PhotoCairo 5 will present a series of screenings of Farocki's works. The recurring theme of labour is the subject of the long-term international research project "Labour In A Single Shot" started jointly with film critic and curator Antje Ehmann. It entails a series of filmmaking workshops, the most recent being Cairo, realised by Beirut in cooperation with CIC, Cimatheque and the Goethe Institutes in Cairo and Alexandria. The screening programme will segue the concerns of the workshop and PhotoCairo 5.
The Edge of the Image screening programme
5-11 December, Cimatheque
The Edge of the Image is a work in progress programme that observes the filmmaker's attempts to deal with the technological transitions of the medium throughout the history of cinematic language. Through five films and a discursive platform, and in the context of a time of larger transitions, this programme re-questions the transitional periods in cinema history, and investigates moments when the image has pushed its edge and risen up against its given boundaries.
In keeping with the educational remit of many Egyptian art institutions, and with CIC's investment in peer mentoring in the last months, a number of artists are engaging in a process of peer mentoring in order to develop works specifically for PhotoCairo 5. Artist Doa Aly has mentored the artists Sara Samy, Noura Seif, Mahmoud Tarek, and Sama Waly. This process is also a form of research for Aly, who has been commissioned to write a text noting the tensions and issues of the formation of young artists; the process is a critically concentrated version of arguably the most successful way artists are 'trained': talking to other artists. The commissioned works can be found in the exhibition, and Doa Aly's text will be published alongside the PhotoCairo 5 catalogue in March 2013.
PhotoCairo 5 is dedicated to the memory of Shaymaa Sabra, beloved member of the CIC staff who passed away on 28 October 2012.
For more information see the PhotoCairo 5 Facebook page.
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