image © Untitled - from the series Surface Studies, Oraib Toukan
A program of different encounters that takes time to look closely at the critical language, and forms of resistance in artistic work. We come together in a series of events and conversations to experience artworks, discuss and engage with different artists, to reflect on the choices they make in their work when dealing with politically charged materials and different forms of coloniality.
Presented by SoundImageCulture. In partnership with Chair Mahmoud Darwich, BOZAR, Pianofabriek and Beursschouwburg. Supported by VGC, SCAM, SABAM for Culture, Kunstenwerkplaats, OMAM/MSH. Design by Miriam Hempel/daretoknow.
Aesthetics of the Political is an on-going research by Samah Hijawi: https://www.samahhijawi.com/aetheticsofthepolitical.html
Saturday June 19, 2021, 11:00 - 22:00 - BOZAR
SoundImageCulture is happy to invite you to Aesthetics of the Political, a program of collective reflection on how artists translate their political ideas into aesthetic form in their work. The day is centered around creating collective encounters to watch films and reflect together on the different strategies artists use in their work.
We begin the day with Samah Hijawi and Maxime Jean-Baptiste who will map out some thoughts and ideas around how we define ‘the political’. Together they will invite us into the subject by sharing their reflections on things that inspire them; quotes and images they keep close to heart when dealing with politically charged stories in their work. This will be followed by a screening of Maxime Jean-Baptiste’s film.
In the afternoon, we will come together for a screening and a reflection guided by Oraib Toukan that explores our ‘consumption’ of mediatized images from colonised contexts around the world. This will be followed by a performance by Sana Ghobbeh that unpacks the multiple histories embedded in just one simple image. We break and continue the conversation together in The Royal Park, ending the day with the premier of Odyssey by Sabine Groenewegen.
11:00-13:00 Opening discussion, screening and reflection
Conversation between Samah Hijawi and Maxime Jean-Baptiste
(Avant Premier) Moune Ô - Maxime Jean-Baptiste
Lunch in the Park (Royal)
15:00-17:00 Screening and Talk
When Things Occur - Oraib Toukan
Thinking through Cruel Images, Oraib Toukan
This Wall Grows at the Root - Sana Ghobbeh
Light Dinner in the Park (Royal)
21:00-22:30 Film screening
(Premier) Odyssey—Sabine Groenewegen
Buy your PASS for the day here: https://www.bozar.be/en/calendar/aesthetics-political
Information on Films and Artists:
Maxime Jean-Baptiste ‘Moune Ô’ (2021) > TRAILER
17 mins, Creole with English subtitles
In ‘Moune Ô’, Maxime Jean-Baptiste continues the research he started in Nou Voix (2018) concerning colonial memory, the Guyanese diaspora, and the staging of Black bodies. By questioning how “official” narratives are constructed, the film Moune Ô encourages a shift in perspective regarding the link between colonisation and extractivism.
Maxime Jean-Baptiste (1993° FR) is a director and performer based in Brussels and Paris. Having lived in the context of the Guyano-Antillean diaspora in France, a French mother and a Guyanese father, his work as an artist sees himself as an exploration of the complexity of Western colonial history by detecting the survival of past traumas in the present. Her audiovisual and performative work focuses on portraits (artists, dancers or members of her own family) using the form of reenactment to conceive the potentiality of a living and oralized memory. He obtained a Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts at the erg and a Master's degree in Media Arts at K.A.S.K. School of arts (Ghent, BE).
Oraib Toukan ‘When Things Occur’ (2017)
28mins, Arabic with English subtitles
‘When Things Occur’ is based on Skype conversations with Gaza inhabitants who were behind the images that were transmitted from screen to screen in the summer of 2014. The film probes the face of mourning and grief—its digital embodiment, transmission, and representation. It asks how the gaze gets channeled within the digital realm, and how empathy travels. What exactly is viewing suffering ‘at a distance’? What is the behavior and political economy of the image of war? And who is the ‘local’ in the representation of war?
Oraib Toukan is an artist and EUME fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin. She holds a PhD in Fine Arts from Oxford University, Ruskin School of Art. Until Fall 2015, she was head of the Arts Division and Media Studies program at Bard College at Al Quds University, Palestine and was visiting faculty at the International Academy of Fine Arts in Ramallah. Between 2015 and 2017 she taught at the Ruskin School of Art’s University of Oxford Graduate Teaching program. In Autumn 2018 she was Mercator fellow at the Cultures of Critique program at Leuphana University, Lüneburg. Toukan is author of Sundry Modernism: Materials for a Study of Palestinian Modernism (Sternberg Press, 2017), and the essay-film When Things Occur (2016). Her writings have appeared in a number of publications, collected works, and biennale readers. Since 2011 she has been analyzing, and remaking works from a found collection of film reels that once belonged to now-dissolved Soviet cultural centers in Jordan in 1990-1991.
Sana Ghobbeh 'This Wall Grows at the Root' (2016)
Performance, 45mins, English spoken, no subtitles
This Wall Grows at the Root is happening in front of the image of the monumental entrance gate of the University of Tehran. The later added fence surrounding the campus is the central element in all the chapters of this performance. The work takes the socio-political feature of this infrastructure into semi-fiction.
Iranian-born artist Sana Ghobbeh lives and works in Brussels. She studied Architecture in Tehran and received an MA in Fine Arts in Sweden. She was part of the advanced performance studies of a.pass in 2016.
Sabine Groenewegen, ‘Odyssey’ (2018) > TRAILER
71 minutes, Dutch, English with English subtitles
Two undefined intelligences are intercepting earthly footage of humans living in an area known as the LowLands. The researchers exchange their findings through a visual feed, in an attempt to understand the occurrence of extraordinary apparitions. The onlookers’ efforts to understand an enchanted human world are interrupted by another signal which imposes itself on the unfolding investigation, resulting in a play with the logic of the production of meaning. Through a combination of found footage, sci-fi and poetry, Odyssey interrogates the visual rhetoric of whiteness in the specific Dutch colonial project and evokes questions about the stories we are told, and our possibilities to disrupt them.
Sabine Groenewegen is an artist working with moving image, collage, and immersive experiences. She is currently exploring the ways in which the experiences of our ancestors are part of our present and future psychobiological reality.
Samah Hijawi is an artist, curator and researcher currently completing her PhD in Art Practice at ULB and the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles, in Belgium. In her multi-media works, she explores the aesthetics of representation in artworks that allude to the histories of Palestine, and in her project ‘Aesthetic of the Political’ she extends that question to the histories of coloniality. Her works have been shown at KANAL Centre Pompidou Brussels, A.M. Qattan Foundation, Ramallah; The Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels; PS1 Gallery London, Nadine Art Space Brussels, The Hayward Gallery in London; BOZAR and Beursschouwburg in Brussels.
Saturday, September 26, 18:30 - 21h at PIANOFABRIEK:
Menu of Dis/appearance: Dinner Table Performance
Mirna Bamieh, Palestine Hosting Society
Menu of Dis/appearance, brings us together in a much needed setting—around the table to break bread. Mirna Bamieh’s work narrates stories about time, history, and the parts of ourselves that slip away with lost food traditions. In her dinner-table performance she takes us on a journey through the dishes that are slowly disappearing from the Palestinian table, as access to wild foraging is restricted by colonial appropriation of both the land and the foods of the Palestinians over time. In this work, the artist takes the audience through the violence embedded in the meticulous erasure of identity of the colonised, even in their food culture.
Secure your seat for the performance > tickets (from September 14th)
We ask a contribution of 15€ / person to be paid upon reservation.
*Menu of Dis/appearance worldwide premiere in New York, commissioned by the Fisher Center for Performing Arts, for the Live Arts Bard Biennial: Where No Wall Remains(2019)
Information on the artist:
Mirna Bamieh, Palestinian Hosting Society
Palestine Hosting Society is a live-art project founded and run by artist/cook Mirna Bamieh in which she seeks to examine the culture of food in Palestine that aims to construct and reconstruct their relationships to place, history, society and politics, through food. The research unfolds through eating, reading, and conversation. The research develops into culinary interventions that unpack social concerns and limitations vis-à-vis contemporary political dilemmas, reflecting upon the conditions that characterise contemporary Palestinian communities.
Mirna Bamieh is an artist from Ramallah/ Palestine. She obtained a B.A in Psychology from Birzeit University in Ramallah (2002-06). M.F.A. in Fine Arts at Bezalel Academy for Arts and Design in Jerusalem (2011-2013). Ashkal Alwan HomeWorks study program in Beirut (2013/14). Her work attempts to understand and contemplate the ever-shifting politics, while equally questioning notions of land and geographies of in-between temporality. Her work looks at scenarios that take the language of the absurd and the ironic and uses them as tools for political commentary. Currently, she is working on developing works that use the mediums of storytelling, and food for creating situational performances such as: Potato Talks Project, Palestine Hosting Society