We are intrinsically attached to objects and places that are valued through nostalgia and nationality. Yet the remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were. The collective memory sets up paradoxical obstructions, tempting us to overcome them by repairing a longing with a particular belonging. The nation develops from these common needs of the people, who consisted of different social groups seeking a “collective identity.” My work subversively challenges the misconception of Kuwait’s recent past by symbolically destroying and vandalizing national artifacts and heritage sites. My investigations aim to understand popular memory and the enthusiastic resurrections of our society.
A lecture-performance on the vision behind creating Bird on a Wire, a brand that invites the wearer to question everything, pushing the boundaries of the fashion world.
In July 2014 Bird on a Wire won the Woolmark prize for Middle East and India for its visionary introduction of new pieces to the wardrobe annihilating the known "shirt" "skirt" "dress" and suggesting a new layering system with pieces that have no name. The fashion world has been stagnant for more than 50 years – it is time for a revolution.
In our talk, we will explore the theme of 'Copy/Paste Syndrome' in relation to the urban spaces of the city of Cairo and to our book Sidewalk Salon: 1001 Street Chairs of Cairo. With the very original concepts of Imitation / Innovation developed by French sociologist Gabriel Tarde (1843-1904) we will try to explain what constitutes a recognizable urban landscape, constant in its defining features, shapes, objects and colors, but at the same time perpetually in motion thanks to the micro-interventions that citizens perform on a daily basis.
At the sidewalk level what differentiates one city from another? Why are some elements and patterns repeated ad infinitum in an urban space? How do these patterns and interventions come to be? How are new patterns and actions introduced and spread through the city like Chinese whispers? To answer these questions and illustrate these ideas we will provide examples from the research we conducted to produce our book Sidewalk Salon.
With the works of art critic Nicolas Bourriaud we will delve into a more self-reflective direction. How do we reorganize, edit, and mix up the materials collected from everyday life to generate emotions, ideas and meaning? We will explain how an art project and in our particular case Sidewalk Salon, produced meaning from the chaotic set of objects which we encounter daily. We will describe how while copy-pasting chairs from the streets of Cairo onto the pages of a book, we created a broader reflection on the capital of Egypt. In so doing, we aimed to trigger questions valid for anyone interested in the city’s urban condition today.
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In his paintings and illustrations, Hilmi Al-tuni repeatedly uses many icons. The icons are mostly products of Al-tuni’s own visual culture. He copy and pastes them in different contexts to create absurd/surreal compositions and stories.
Laura’s documentary photo project “I Read I Write” explores and documents the education journeys of Arab women. She will look at how women in the Middle East have changed their lives through education, while exposing and questioning the barriers they face to accessing education. These obstacles vary from poverty and cultural constraints, to lack of encouragement of critical thought and creativity. Laura’s talk will focus on teaching methods, where she will share examples and case studies from what she has witnessed during her travels across the Arab world.
A history of Arab comics is also a history of translation. Western comics heroes such as Superman, Tintin, and Mickey Mouse feature heavily in the regional history of Arab comics dating back to the 1920s. This lecture will explore the context around translating these characters for Arab audiences: how the site of translation is both one of imperial violence and one of unexpected cultural conversation.
Analytics of a creative movement transcending the genres of product counterfeiting & cultural appropriation, illustrated through some its various shifts & recents manifestations within the context of a globalized cultural economy & distribution apparatus.