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Sharjah Biennial 12: Uriel Barthelemi's Souls' Landscapes

Souls' Landscapes is a three-part performance produced by Uriel Barthelemi in collaboration with Entissar Al Hamdany, Joel Lokossou, Rigo 23, and Fabrice Taraud. It is loosely inspired by Frantz Fanon's 1961 book The Wretched of the Earth and incorporates music, dance, shadow, and text, developed using a personal and improvisational approach by the artists involved in the project. The artists performed parts I and II of the triptych during the opening week of Sharjah Biennial 12. They performed Souls’ Landscapes: Violence, magical superstructures & invisible guardians at the Mirage City Cinema, and Souls’ Landscapes: The great mantle of night which has enveloped ...

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Then and Now: LCPS Interviews Jadaliyya Co-Editor Ziad Abu-Rish on State Institutions in Lebanon

[Jadaliyya Co-Editor Ziad Abu-Rish]

In the following interview with the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS), Jadaliyya Co-Editor Ziad Abu-Rish discusses the history of state institutions in early independence Lebanon, and some of the legacies they left behind. The interview was conducted over email, and first published on the LCPS website. Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS): There have been discussions over the last few years concerning the Lebanese state, or lack thereof, in terms of public policy, public interest, and national development. As a historian of state formation and institution building in early independence Lebanon, what are some of the ways you believe a ...

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Olivier Roy on Laicite as Ideology, the Myth of 'National Identity' and Racism in the French Republic

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]

Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Professor Olivier Roy, Head of the Mediterranean Program at the European University Institute discusses the development of the concept of laicite in France, from its emergence as a tool for the management of diversity, to its rebranding as an ideology of exclusion. In this interview, he questions the notion of national identity as a politicized concept and identifies a profound crisis of identity at its root. He also outlines the double-bind faced by French Muslims, called at once to hide their faith, but then speak as representatives of it during periods of crisis, thus leaving them open to accusations of communalism. Roy calls for a ...

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What's the Vision Behind D-CAF's 2015 Music Program?

In this video, journalist and Dandin.me co-founder Abdel-Rahman Hussein interviews Mahmoud Refat about the vision for the music program in the 4th Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF). Refat, an acclaimed musician from Cairo and founder of 100Copies label and 100Copies Music Space has been curating the music component of D-CAF since its inception, bringing in a range of local, regional and international artists such as Emel Mathlouthi, Yasmine Hamdan, Ali Talibab, El Rass and of course the growing Mahraganat groups. This year, several of the international acts were DJs such as Boris Brejcha and DJ Why Be, while local and regional musicians included: Ismael, ...

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Jadaliyya Co-Editor Mouin Rabbani Interviewed by Al-Jazeera English on UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura

[Jadaliyya Co-Editor Mouin Rabbani in Al-Jazeera English Office. Image from screenshot of below video]

In this interview with Al-Jazeera English Diplomatic Editor James Bays, Jadaliyya Co-Editor Mouin Rabbani discusses the failure of the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, to make any headway with an initiative to negotiate a ceasefire in Aleppo. Based on his own personal experience with the mission, Rabbani highlights the absence of preparatory work, and concludes that the UN special envoy was operating out of his depth and lacked the background required for the complexity of the task. These challenges were compounded by a cronyism in which vital tasks were assigned to staff members incapable of discharging them. De Mistura's central role in the ...

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On Palestinian Cinema: The State of Israel vs. Suha Arraf

Suha Arraf is a Palestinian filmmaker based in Mi’ilya in the Galilee in Israel. Arraf is a journalist by training. This interview with Arraf was conducted following the recent screening of her debut feature film, Villa Touma, at the Cleveland International Film Festival in the United States. Isis Nusair (IN): Where did the idea for the film, Villa Touma, come from? Suha Arraf (SA): I got the idea for making the film in 2000, during the Oslo Peace Process (and before the start of the second Intifada). I was working as a journalist at the time, and wrote a profile on the city of Ramallah. The early Oslo years were full of hope, where some Palestinians were allowed to ...

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Sharjah Biennial 12: Nikhil Chopra's Use like Water

Use like water is a nine-day performance by Indian artist Nikhil Chopra. It starts as a journey he undertakes through the deserts and seaside areas of the UAE and Oman and culminates with a performance, re-presenting his travels to audiences in Sharjah during the biennial's opening week. Chopra explores the layers beneath the region's shiny veneer by focusing on nature and how relationships developed over the centuries. The performance's surprising ending is also meant to send a message as to how things have developed in the UAE, a country he lived in as a child. Medrar.TV met with Chopra during the biennial's opening week and spoke to him about the journey he ...

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On Developments in Yarmouk: France 24 Interview with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Mouin Rabbani

[Screenshot from below interview with Mouin Rabbani by France 24]

In this interview with France 24, Jadaliyya Co-Editor Mouin Rabbani speaks about the situation in the Yarmouk district of Damascus. Yarmouk has historically been the primary center of Palestinian life in Syria, and much of it was recently seized by the Islamic State movement. Rabbani discusses the situation of the Palestinian community in Syria, the failure of Palestinian leaderships to serve their interests, and also the efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Syria. 

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Performing 'An Iliad' in Cairo

Like 'The Iliad', 'An Iliad' is a story about the glory and horror of war. Homer focused on the last few weeks of The Trojan War in his epic work, and director Lisa Peterson and actor Denis O'hare did the same in their theatrical adaptation. A major goal for them was to actively engage contemporary audiences with the work. So for three years, they met and read different parts of the text to one another before discussing and expressing the events in their own words. Over time, a script was formed that included parts in Latin, as well as the formal English translation of the poem, but also similes and metaphors that are very powerful, relatable and contemporary. O'hare, ...

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Sharjah Biennial 12: Adrian Villar Rojas' Planetarium

Argentine artist Adrián Villar Rojas is known for his large-scale, site-specific sculptural installations that attempt to transform spaces and take visitors to a post-human moment in the future. Invited by curator Eungie Joo to take part in the 12th Sharjah Biennial, he picked one of the furthest locations from the emirate's center and created Planetarium, 2015. In an abandoned salt and fish factory in the city of Kalba, he collected, along with his team, stones, shells, roots and a range of organic materials from all around the emirate, and used them to build colorful columns that act as independent eco-systems and change over the three-month exhibition ...

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Five Decades of Painting and Innovation: An Interview with Samia Halaby

[Samia Halaby,

Last month, Samia Halaby’s retrospective, Five Decades of Painting and Innovation, traveled to Lebanon. Organized by Ayyam Gallery, the retrospective was held at the Beirut Exhibition Center, where it was shown from 2 to 26 February. For the Beirut installment, Halaby added nearly two dozen rarely seen drawings and several more paintings, significantly expanding the original list of included works. Lebanon’s Agenda Culturel interviewed Halaby about her artistic practice shortly before the show opened. The text below is the original transcript of the interview, which was conducted in English via email. Halaby’s Paintings from the Sixties and Seventies, a selection of ...

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Illicit Sex in Ottoman and French Algeria: An Interview with Aurelie Perrier

[Postcard depicting street of Ouled Nails, Biskra. Image via Ottoman History Podcast.]

The association of the Arab world with Western sexual fantasy figured prominently in the artwork and literature that was critiqued so famously by Edward Said in Orientalism. Yet beyond the fantasies embedded in Delacroix’s paintings of odalisques, what did sex actually mean in nineteenth-century Algeria? In Ottoman History Podcast #188, Aurelie Perrier begins to answer this question. Building on the groundbreaking work of scholars like Malek Alloula and Christelle Taraud, her research explores the nature of illicit sex in nineteenth-century Algeria under both Ottoman and French rule. Perrier situates the topic in the fluid boundaries of Ottoman-administered sex ...

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Naema’s Office is Bleeding

Medrar for Contemporary Art started its new workshop program this year with a painting and collage workshop led by Cairo-based artist Hany Rashed. The workshop aimed to introduce participants to different practices and techniques in painting and collage and to train them in conceptualizing artworks, inspired by media and the internet. Guest artists Huda Lutfi, Mohammed Taman, Shady El Noshokaty, Mohamed Abla and Ahmed Sabry were also invited to share their personal and professional experience, as well as ...

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This is the Time. This is the Record of the Time

Curators Angela Harutyunyan and Nat Muller take the cue for their latest exhibition 'This is the time. This is the record of the time" from Laurie Anderson's 1982 song "From the air" where she describes the duration between becoming conscious that the plane will crash and its actual impact - a moment when time and space collapse. It represents the ultimate loss of control, over time or anything else for that matter. The curators argue that this idea and feeling resonate with our time, ...

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Farida El Gazzar's Dream City: Drawings and Paintings from Cairo

Gypsum Gallery celebrated the launch of its new space with a solo show by Egyptian-Greek artist Farida El Gazzar. Titled 'Dream City,' it brings together a collection of small-scale drawings and paintings produced between 2012 and 2015. The exhibition acts as a visual memoir of Cairo for the Athens-based artist, and is based on old family photographs, as well as snapshots of Cairo and Alexandria taken on annual summer vacations. One group of work activates her family album of photographs ...

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Studio Visit: Lebanese Artist and Musician Raed Yassin

In this video, we visit Lebanese artist and musician Raed Yassin in his studio in Beirut. He tells us about his ongoing interest in Egyptian cinema and how he uses it as a reference for many of his art projects be they video, photography, sound, installation or his well known neon signs. Yassin has been interested in Egyptian cinema because of its wide appeal in the Arab region. He borrowed a line from the famous Lembi film series to name the artist collective he formed with artists Vartan ...

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Highlights from the 4th Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival

In this interview, Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival Artistic Director Ahmed El Attar discusses the festival's vision and how it has evolved over the past four years. A main priority for D-CAF which is gradually being realized is expanding the contemporary arts audience base be it theater, dance, music or visual arts. Another priority area for the festival is bringing bigger and more exciting shows to Cairo's streets. To achieve this, Attar would like to build partnerships with state institutions. The ...

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From Khaled Kaddal's Trapped Sounds

Trapped Sounds is a conceptual sound art performance by Alexandrian artist Khaled Kaddal. Performed for the first time at Rawabet Theater in downtown Cairo, it aims to examine the relationship between the individual and collective intelligence, manifested in the mass-produced noises observed in our surroundings. The performance is accompanied with live visuals by Mohamed Abd El-Zaher - DADA.

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Twenty Wheelchairs Roam Downtown Cairo in Mission Roosevelt

Twenty wheelchairs driving through the city streets can feel like an invasion, says Diane Bonnot, the co-creator of Mission Roosevelt. As part of the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF), Bonnot along with Iacopo Fulgi adapted their performance to downtown Cairo's streets. And through an open call, 20 participants were invited to complete a mission, interacting along the way with the streets, traffic and passersby. We followed the group as they started their mission and spoke to some of the ...

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It’s a Kind of a Domesticated Wilderness: An Interview with Abbas Akhavan

People ask me, “What does it mean?” And I say: “It doesn’t mean anything.” Evidently, the work of Toronto-based artist Abbas Akhavan carries connotations, pointing the viewer to a certain direction. Yet the artist refrains from pedagogic messages, thus encouraging viewers to form their own opinions. At the core of Akhavan’s practice, which he defines as a declination of possible answers to the same problem, lies the idea of the sacred—the respect of nature’s welcoming tenderness, blended with a menacing ...

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The Present and Future of Climate Change in Turkey and Beyond: An Interview with Umit Sahin

[In this interview, Dr. Ümit Şahin, an Sabanci University Istanbul Policy Center Senior Scholar and an ecological, anti-nuclear, and human rights activist in Turkey, discusses the politics of climate change in Turkey and the globe. In November 2014, Şahin published a thorough report called “Mapping the Actors of Climate Change Policies in Turkey.” Şahin explicitly states that Turkey’s antidemocratic and neoliberal developmentalist policies are in stark contrast with what is needed to fight climate ...

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Reclaiming Academic Freedom: A STATUS/الوضع Special Segment

In this gripping special segment, host Tareq Radi speaks to Judith Tucker, Ilana Feldman, Nashiha Alam, Lisa Rofel, and Nadia Abu El Haj, who illuminate the challenges of passing academic boycott, as well as the evolution of the tactics of repression affecting both students and faculty. The segment is a culmination of five comprehensive interviews bringing together the narratives of professors and students directly engaged in issues surrounding political speech in academia. The special segment below ...

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Driven by Storms: An Interview with Sadik Alfraji and Nat Muller

Diluting the melancholic longing for unattainable dreams, which will only ever remain dreams, Sadik Alfraji injects the possibility of hope into his latest exhibition, currently on view at Ayyam Gallery Dubai’s Al Quoz outpost. Curated by Nat Muller, who also edited Alfraji’s first monograph, Driven by Storms (Ali’s Boat) stems from a drawing that the Netherlands-based artist received in 2009 from his nephew Ali. Alfraji drew on the aesthetics of Ali’s boat, symbolising a much-desired escape from the ...

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Yemen at Crossroads: An Interview with Activist Hisham Al-Omeisy

Yemen has grabbed the world's attention as the country’s political crisis appears to have been deepened with the Saudi-led military intervention. According to The Guardian and other news organizations, the U.S. is providing “logistical and intelligence support” to the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi forces in Yemen. In the absence of independent on-the-ground reporting by the major media outlets on the turmoil in Yemen, social media platforms are once again providing the much needed platform for ...

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About Interviews
Jadaliyya’s Interview Page is a hub for all interviews published on Jadaliyya, including those in print, audio, and video formats. It features three categories of interviews: interviews conducted for Jadaliyya publication; interviews featuring Jadaliyya Co-Editors; interviews published elsewhere but considered important enough to be republished on Jadaliyya.

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