98WEEKS Past Events - 2013


Context and Institutional Practices from the Cultural Scenes in the Middle East

DATE: 12 December 2013; 4pm

Curators presentations organized by Nat Muller in collaboration with the Mondriaan Fund’s Visitors Program and SMBA.

Speakers: Zeina Assaf (independent curator, arts administrator, working with 98weeks , Beirut), Hoor Al-Qasimi (president and director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah), Dia Hamed (program director at Medrar, Cairo).

The MENA (Middle East and North Africa) art scenes have risen to international prominence in the past decade. From Cairo to Ramallah, from Sharjah to Beirut, the travelling international art crowd has been increasingly finding its way to exhibitions, biennials, art fairs and other events on offer in the region. Though these events fit seamlessly within a globalized art discourse, institutional practices and organizational models differ widely in this heterogeneous region in terms of scale, resources, production of audiences, relation to urban fabric, and positioning within local, regional and international developments. In other words, context and its many challenges are key when considering the variety of ways art organizations run their operations and shape their content in the MENA region, whether this means conceptualizing bottom-up reading groups, providing hands-on tech workshops, or organizing the largest biennial in the Arab world.

Artist Talk and Screening by Clarisse Hahn
DATE: 18 November 2013; 8 pm

LOS DESNUDOS - Our body is a weapon, 13 minutes, 2012
The MENA (Middle East and North Africa) art scenes have risen to international prominence in the past decade. From Cairo to Ramallah, from Sharjah to Beirut, the travelling international art crowd has been increasingly finding its way to exhibitions, biennials, art fairs and other events on offer in the region. Though these events fit seamlessly within a globalized art discourse, institutional practices and organizational models differ widely in this heterogeneous region in terms of scale, resources, production of audiences, relation to urban fabric, and positioning within local, regional and international developments. In other words, context and its many challenges are key when considering the variety of ways art organizations run their operations and shape their content in the MENA region, whether this means conceptualizing bottom-up reading groups, providing hands-on tech workshops, or organizing the largest biennial in the Arab world.

Artist Talk and Screening by Clarisse Hahn
DATE: 18 November 2013; 8 pm

Clarisse Hahn's film "Kurdish Lover" will be screened at Metropolis Cinema on Saturday 16 November at 6 pm.

Clarisse Hahn was born in 1973 in Paris. Through her films, her photographs and her video installations, Clarisse Hahn develops a research on communities, behavioral codes and the social role of the body.

Artist Talk by Jonathas de Andrade
DATE: 13 November 2013; 8 pm

Image from Museu do homem do nordeste (“Museum of the northeast man”) project
Jonathas de Andrade was born in 1982 in Maceió and lives and works in Recife, Brazil. De Andrade’s work has been commissioned for significant group exhibitions including the 29th Biennial of São Paulo (2010), the Sharjah Biennial 10 (2011), the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011) and The Ungovernables, New Museum Triennial, New York (2012).

Artist Talk by Adrian Alecu
DATE: 11 November 2013; 8 pm

Adrian Alecu is an artist and filmmaker living in Hamburg, Germany. Selected exhibitions include at Brukenthal National Museum, Bonnefanten Museum Maastricht, Curators’ Network at Matadero Madrid, DA FEST Sofia, Sies & Hoeke Galery. He attended Jan van Eyck Academie.

Performance by Rana Hamadeh: "And Before It Falls It Is Only Reasonable To Enjoy Life a Little"
DATE: 10 November 2013; 7 pm

Inspired by Sun Ra's 1974 film Space is the Place, Oskar Schlemmer's 1926 Diagram for Gesture Dance and Paulus Fürst's 1656 engraving of Doctor Schnabel of Rome, this performance is an exhaustive deliberation on the notion and gesture of 'falling': falling as a form of legal apathy; falling as a choreographic gesture; and falling as a dynamic of virulence. Hamadeh leads a journey amidst the legal coding of the terms ‘falling ill’, ’immunity’ and ‘quarantine’, to outer-space and land-sea relations plotted through science fiction projections, geo-political territory formation and cross-border travel. Thinking through the conjunction of the legal and the spatial, the work plays out an intensive scrutiny of the shared lexicons of criminology, epidemiology and theater.

"The Big Board...or And Before It Falls It Is Only Reasonable To Enjoy Life a Little", originally commissioned by the Lisson Gallery for the Magic of the State exhibition, and later adapted into a lecture form upon the invitation of Landings within the exhibition "Sensing Grounds: Mangroves, Unauthentic Belonging, Extra-Territoriality" at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, is a theatrical/cartographic and choreographic work-in-progress, part of the umbrella discursive project, Alien Encounters, that Hamadeh had initiated in 2011.

The Event of 1860: From Fratricide To Babel
In the Framework of Volume
Talk by Nadia Bou Ali

DATE: 8 November 2013; 7 pm

The 1860 wars of Mount Lebanon instituted sectarianism and civil war as the founding principles of nationalism in Lebanon. This talk will discuss the type of knowledge production or nationalist pedagogy that ensued from these events and the fantasy structure to which this knowledge production hails its subjects. It will specifically look at the emergence of language as an object of desire at the moment of crisis and social fragmentation. 

After a brief discussion of the 1860 context, the talk is divided into two sections: in the first section I show how the first commentator on the 1860 wars Butrus al-Bustani (1819-1883) promulgated a pluralist discourse that described “sectarianism” as a condition of internal fratricide to which the solution was posed as a return to ‘ulfa or familiarity [from fratricide to familiarity]. The terms through which the violence is articulated in Bustani’s works are all within the domain of the private, the intimate, the bodily, and the affective. He called for the “love of the enemy” and the “love of the nation” during the moment of violence. I analyze this as a moment of psychosis in which the paranoiac (the national subject here) clings to the delusion (of the internal other) as though it is himself: this clinging or attachment instantiates a symbolic relationship with the other. 

Sectarianism read through fratricide signifies a psychotic subject who is stuck in the mirror-stage failing to recognize the other as other. As though pre-empting the perception of modern subjectivity as a world of no others Bustani proposes the metaphor of Robinson Crusoe as a motto of instruction for society: a book to replace all books. I analyze the metaphor of Crusoe as proposed by Bustani and its implications for national pedagogy showing how a distinctly liberal subjectivity premised on labor, exchange, and production emerges from the violence that is read under the terms of ‘sectarianism’.

The second section of the talk proceeds to discuss the obsession with language as a “mirror of the nation.” It discusses the recourse to the Arabic language as a mirror of the nation that in turn was only born out of social fragmentation. It analyzes Bustani’s warning that the nation’s worst fate would be it becoming “not only a Babel of religions but of languages as well” (Nafir Surriya 10). This section of the talk argues that the obsession of Beiruti intellectuals to collect the books of the Arabs and to order their words and meanings in dictionaries, lexicons, and encyclopedias constituted a sustaining fantasy of nationalist thought. It is the fantasy through which 19th century intellectuals learned to desire a nation and through which in nationalist pedagogy the student subject was to learn how to desire. 

This fantasy of an impossible nation of language has direct political implications. The proclamation of Arabic as “unfathomable sea”, as the object of utmost desire produces a sense of enjoyment in the Arab subject, and this enjoyment or jouissance to borrow from Lacan, becomes an end in itself. Seeking the mastery of Arabic and the enjoyment that comes from never attaining it is an example of a point de capiton, a stitching point that hails the individual to become an obedient subject. As though in a dream, the abna’ al-watan to whom 19th century intellectuals wrote were meant to perceive external stimuli (historical conditions, hegemony, oppression, etc..) but only interpret them from within the fantasy of the nation. Like there is something about Arabic that makes it unique and unattainable (an object of desire), there is something about being a national subject that makes the nation farther away with every step towards it.

Nadia Bou Ali is Post-Doctoral Research Fellow for the Arts and Humanities Mellon Initiative at the American University of Beirut. She has a Doctoral degree from the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Oriental Studies. Her research focuses on the relationship between modernity, nationalism, and language in her work on Arab intellectual history. She has written on the subjects of lexicography and nationalism, translation and ideology, the Arab Nahda, and sectarianism and political economy in nineteenth-century Mount Lebanon.

The VOLUME Project is a collaboration between Vision Forum, 98weeks and the Assabil Association and is curated by Sara Giannini together with 98weeks. Ten artists, both European and Lebanese, are invited to develop artworks, interventions and performances for Assabil's three municipal libraries in Beirut.

I Am Glad that Things Have Changed
Exhibition by Setareh Shahbazi

DATE: 8 October 2010; 6 pm

98weeks is happy to present Setareh Shahbazi's new exhibition

For exhibition text http://mirenearsanios.wordpress.com/2010/10/15/on-setarehs-work/

Setareh Shahbazi was born in Tehran/Iran in 1978 and moved to Germany in 1985. From 1997 to 2003 she studied Scenography and Media Arts at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe. Framed by a Scolarship from the DAAD, she spent one year in Beirut/Lebanon, where she worked on the project „Oh, no, no... – The Crystal Series“ in cooperation with the Arab Image Foundation. She lives and works in Berlin, travels regularly to Iran and Lebanon and dreams of moving to LA one day.

“On Books and Translation”

DATES: 15 July 2013: Opening 6:30 pm
16 July 2013: Roundtable 6:00 pm

For the Beirut edition of “Platform Translation”, artists were invited to develop artists’ books and publications. The participants explored the book format using it as an end object in itself, as a way of organizing research and sketches in a poetic manner, or even as a platform for collaborations and correspondences. The process of producing the books was addressed in different manners, its possibilities stretched, often departing from a story or an archive. The issue of words, images, movement and distribution being inherent to books and printed material were also explored through the set format of books. “On Books and Translation”, convened by 98weeks, aims to constitute a large travelling library of artists’ books, adding up along the way.


In this edition participants are: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Dimitris Ameladiotis, Marwa Arsanios, Elena Bellantoni and Daniela Alloca, Víctor Hugo Bravo, Federico Cavallini (invited by Silvano Manganaro), Hatem Imam with Jana Traboulsi, Interactivité Povera (collective), Daniel Jacoby, Manos Kornelakis (invited by Zoi Pappa), Mariagiovanna Nuzzi, Zeynep Oz and Suna Kafadar, Zoi Pappa, Iordanis Papadopoulos and Nana Sachini (invited by Zoi Pappa), Katia Roumbou, Soledad Pinto and Loes Heebink, Javier Rodríguez, Tom Robinson, Mihalis Theodosiadis,Vaticanochico​ Publishers, Karine Wehbe and Mirene Arsanios.

Opening: 15 July 2013; 6:30 pm

A one day video screening titled “Short voyage” will be presented by Curating Contexts (Sidsel Nelund and Pamela Prado) on July 15th at 98weeks' 2nd floor starting from 6:30pm.

"Short Voyage" is a video screening that evolves around the concept of hospitality and translation. On the one hand, the videos deal with the situation of someone coming to a place for the first time and on the other hand, the screening of the programme will be a one to oneencounter in a homely setting, where the spectator is invited to watch and discuss one video of own choice together with the curator. Short Voyage thus enhances both the artist as a translator of place and the curator as a mediator between artist and spectator.

With: Valentina Serrati, Nicolas Sanchez, Amilcar Packer, Johanna Unzueta, Renata Padovan

Roundtable with Platform Translation, Daniela Allocca and Sidsel Nelund:
16 July 2013

Platform Translation was initiated in 2007 by a group of artists - Marwa Arsanios (Lebanon), Elena Bellantoni (Italy), Soledad Pinto (Chile) and Mihalis Theodosiadis (Greece) - that were studying together in London. The main idea was to carry on working together and developing their respective practices outside of the university context. “We wanted to create a space where we would experiment with our art and travel to various cities in order to get inspired, to test and challenge our practices in new contexts.” This act in itself necessitated a translation process, where each artist’s practice had to be adapted to a new context.The project delves into ideas of translation through its very organizational and travelling structure.In each city, a curator takes on the responsibility of inviting artists to participate in that specific edition, and each curator is also invited to make an intervention in the preceding and following destination.Until now, we have developed 3 editions of the project: in Athens (2008) curated by Zoi Pappa; Santiago de Chile (2009) curated by Natalia Arcos; and Rome (2010) curated by Silvano Manganaro and Barbara D'ambrosio. In 2012 the project will be in Berlin at NGBK and Kunstlerhaus Bethanien and it will be curated by Elena Agudio and Paz Guevara.

Godzilla and the Phoenix, by OuUnPo
Reading Performance by Zeina Assaf/98weeks

DATE: 21 June 2013; 4pm
LOCATION:131 Creative Hub/ Publicus, Tokyo, Japan

98WEEKS was invited to take part in OuUnPo's Japan Session with a reading performance by Zeina Assaf. OuUnPo is a group of artists, curators and researchers, and operates like an itinerant laboratory co-creating and sharing knowledge through artistic production. Two or three times per year, the group organises sessions in different countries, focusing on a different topic in each location. Each session merges aspects of the festival, the art exhibition and a scientific symposium.

For more info, visit:

Artist Talk by Charlotte Bosanquet
DATE: 10 June 2013; 7:30 pm

Belfast based artist Charlotte Bosanquet will talk about her practice including her new project in Belfast's last Victorian swimming pool and the Bath House with the PRIME Collective. She will also discuss opportunities for international artists to work in Belfast.

Charlotte Bosanquet graduated from Glasgow School of Art in Painting and Drawing in 2004. After graduating she worked as a curator for Cabin Exchange in Glasgow and Melbourne before working for Orta Studio, Paris. In 2009 she became a Director of Catalyst Arts, Belfast before co-founding the Artist Collective PRIME in 2011 with Alissa Kleist and Tonya McMullan.

Post Apollo Press
Presentation by Simone Fattal

DATE: 5 April 2013; 7 pm

Simone Fattal founded The Post-Apollo Press in 1982, specializing in poetry, experimental writing and translation. Post-Apollo has published major American, European and Middle-Eastern poets and prose writers including Barbara Guest, Lyn Hejinian, Leslie Scalapino, Robert Grenier, Etel Adnan, Marguerite Duras, Jalal Toufic, Tom Raworth and many others.

AIR Traces
Talk by Alan Quireyns
Moderated by Mounira Al Solh

DATE: 3 April 2013; 8 pm

Alan Quireyns' talk is an open invitation by NOA magazine to think about the schizophrenia that exists in a country with three official languages, such as Belgium. In his talk he will present two examples of projects that deal with this specific use of language. One by current resident Darren Roshier named "Darren Roshier essaie de (re)presenter ses trois maanden van residentie", and the other project is named "Raymond" and is a theatre production by KVS (Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg) and Théatre National, where a monologue is held in a mixture of Dutch and French, without really translating or repeating. The talk will also give an idea of how AIR Antwerpen works and will give an insight in AIR Antwerpen's publication "AIR Traces."

Alan Quireyns is artistic director of AIR Antwerpen, freelance curator and writer. He studied art history at Ghent University and the Freie Universität Berlin. He curated the following exhibition: Cité-Action, Assenede, 2006; Body Fluids, Conflict Room, 2008; Strategies of Confidence, NICC, Antwerp, 2009; Platform 4, Design Center de Winkelhaak, Antwerp, 2009; NUCLEO-The Connection, Ghent, 2011 and New Ways to Work, Extra City Kunsthal Antwerp, 2012.

Mounira Al Solh In her artistic practice, a series of interconnected problematics and questions are mapped out and deconstructed across a constellation of embedded media and formats, namely performance, video, installation, and drawing. Her videos were screened at Centre Pompidou, the Sharjah Biennial, the Tate Modern in London and at Videobrazil in Sao Paulo, where she won the jury’s award in 2007. In 2008 she won the Uriot Prize at the Rijksakademie where she was a resident artist for two years. In 2012 Mounira Al Solh was residing in AIR Antwerp to research around "schizophrenia and language", the topic of the third issue of NOA magazine, a variation of performative and reading gestures disguised under the title and sometimes shape of a magazine.

Century, Destruction and Philosophy
Fares Chalabi and Wissam Saade

DATE: 28 March 2013; 8 pm
Language: French

Wissam Saade and Fares Chalabi will both give papers related to the theme of fatigue in the twentieth century. The talks will be followed by a conversation between the authors and the audience.

Brain, Body, Destruction by Fares Chalabi

The Second World War, destruction, the interruption of a sensorial driving force leading to paralysis makes us wonder; what is left for us to do? The sensorial paralysis and the suspension of perceptual continuity and its system opens-up a higher-level practice of the eye: clairvoyance (voyance). Traces of a new politics opposing clairvoyance to a politics of action start surfacing. Two politics: one founded on action, truth, grand narratives and myths; and another, (serial), based on clairvoyance, falsification, and dystopian narratives (non- narratives).

Exists a thought from the aftermath of destruction, a thought coming from revenants, those having trespassed death who return to claim a new body and new brain, thus establishing another relationship between thought and perception, and another relationship between corporal attitudes and the discourses that regulate them. This presentation is based on Cinema1 &2 by Gilles Deleuze.

Fares Chalabi was born in Beirut in 1977, where he studied philosophy and architecture. Admiring the French contemporary philosophers, such as Deleuze and Foucault, he decided to continue his studies in Paris 8, where is now enrolled in a PhD program. Today Chalabi lives in Beirut where he teaches philosophy (AUB) and art theory (ALBA).

Century- Myth: Alfred Rosenberg And the Farce of the Twentieth Century by Wissam Saade

Can The Myth of the Twentieth Century by ideologue and Nazi dignitary Alfred Rosenberg still be read today? When rethinking the link between philosophy and Nazism, philosophy and destruction, philosophy and totalitarianism, we are drawn towards Heidegger. What if, instead of Heidegger, we started thinking about Rosenberg? Should the “nazi aspect” in Heidegger’s philosophy give way and acknowledge a “philosophical aspect” in Rosenberg’s racist, prophetic and nightmarish mystique? Can Rosenberg’s farce at the Nuremberg trial –where he suggested being considered as a philosopher- haunt the history of philosophy? Banality of Evil equals the Banality of Philosophy? Is Rosenberg a “philosophical martyr”? How does Rosenberg’s rectification and banal understanding of Houston Steward Chamberlain’s thesis in “Genèse du XIXème siècle” return and nourishes this century’s malaise, today? To what extent can we refer to the 20th century as “rosenbergian”, and what to say about our century, its fatigue and crumbling myths inherited through amnesic and anachronistic passions? Will this century, exhausted and colonized by the previous one also become a century of grand narratives or a century in search of a myth?

Wissam Saade is a political journalist and researcher in political thought born in Beirut in 1977. Since 2003, he teaches the history of Arab-Islamic civilization and political thought in the Arab world at the Université Saint-Joseph. In the past years, Saade has focused his research on three different subjects; the concept of Race in Western modernity; the concept of oriental despotism in the history of political thought and the history of Orientalism; and the ambiguity of colonialism. He is currently working on a study on intra-European colonial experience.

Marie Voignier

DATE: 1 March 2013; 8 pm
Film Screening (subtitled in English) followed by a conversation about the work with Stefanie Baumann

HINTERLAND, 2009, 49min
A few buildings in the middle of nowhere, then the camera delves deep into exotic, luxuriant vegetation. Here we were are in Tropical Islands, a leisure complex near Krausnick, a village 70 kilometres south of Berlin on the site of a former Soviet airbase. In this spot, and moving from one affectation to another, the upheavals of the last century pile up like so much sediment. – Europe’s scars and contradictions, its mental space, its dreams and illusions.
In this Hinterland, indicated in the title (which geographers would define as an area of economic development linked with the activity of a port), Marie Voignier unravels the currents of history

Marie Voignier spent a few years in Berlin after graduating from science’s university, then joined the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and filmed her first video-films. She directed Le Bruit du Canon (Prix du Court métrage – Cinéma du Réel, Paris, 2007), Hinterland (Prix des médiathèques FID Marseille, 2009) and Hearing the shape of a drum (Berlin Biennale 2010). In 2013, her second personal exhibition takes place in the Parisian Gallery Marcelle Alix. Marie Voignier also teaches Art and Video Art to the Ecole nationale supérieure des Beaux arts de Lyon.

DATE: 21 February 2013
LOCATION: 11 Road 12 Mahmoud Sedky, Agouza, Cairo

98WEEKS has been invited to present a film program in context of this season to and at Beirut. The program that brings together a series of films that critically unfold the notions of resistance and state from different geographical and historical perspectives, thus inviting to reconsider these notions and what they could mean in different contexts.

For more info, visit: beirutbeirut.org

All the Other Lovers
Curated by Lara Khaldi and Yazan Khalili

DATE: 9 February 2013; 8 pm

The lecture performance and screening is a conversation between two lovers who are looking for a land to meet, but borders exhaust possibilities. Through images, letters, and other literature Lara and Yazan will be weaving together their personal histories with that of the United Arab Republic, Pan Arabism, love and marriage.

Basma Alsharif, The Story of Milk and Honey, 9min, 2011. It is a short experimental video belonging to a larger project, which includes photographs, drawings and text, detailing an un-named individual’s failure to write a love story.

Monira Al Qadiri, Oh torment (Wa Wailah), 10 min, 2008. A series of repetitive choreographies are set to Abdul Wahab Al Rashid’s woeful folk song of love and lament. Complete with over the top costumes, props and make-up, Wa Wailah is lodged somewhere between a Shakespearean play and an MTV music video.

Jumana Emil Abboud, The Diver, 4 min, 2004. The Diver is a video narrative that tells the story of a Diver whose gender, name, and nationality are ambiguous, and who is on an endless search to find ‘Heart’.

Alaa Abu Asad, untitled: extracts from ‘Harem’ 1984, 12min, 2012. Untitled is a video that is extracted from a porn film ‘Harem’ that was made in the eighties exposing the stories framing the porn scenes; a french man roaming the streets of Casablanca is looking for a fast fix of exotic love.

My hands in your sneakers
Jean-Charles de Quillacq

DATE: 7 February 2013; 8 pm
Language: French

Jean-Charles de Quillacq will present his work which is mainly based on self-imitation. "I repeat my shapes and I create “families” of objects that become even more elementary and self-referential with each of their materializations. I avoid establishing any hierarchy between them or strive for a logic to point at their improvement. These different versions mutually coexist and do not invalidate each other. Each one exists as alternative ways of being. They are in opposition to a world I find based on hierarchical order and in which the identities of people have been defined. Through repetition and self-imitation I can also resist the passing of time and contradict the idea of evolution. I renounce the progressiveness of time that carries me to adulthood and places me in the society with an almost finalized role. A primitive and immature state of mind is able to welcome alternative imaginations of subjectivity in life."

Jean-Charles Quillack took part in the Rijksakademie residency in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 2010/2011. He is currently living in Zürich. He has shown his work in galleries throughout Europe.


Spectres Of: part 2
Curated Film Screenings by Beirut in Cairo

DATE: 14 June 2013; 7 pm

Sven Augustijnen, Spectres (2004)
Abderrahmane Sissako, Bamako (2006), 115 min.
Sven Augustijnen, Spectres (2004)
Katarina Zdjelar, My Lifetime (Malaika) (2012), 6 min.
Sven Augustijnen, Spectres (2004), 104 min.
DATE: 16 June 2013; 8:30 pm

'Spectres Of: part 2' is a two-day film screening that expands on some of the core questions that lie at the heart of Beirut's past two seasons or programming. Season two offered a reflection on the concept of the nation state and the magical and mystical undercurrents that exist parallel to its supposedly rational disposition. Season three presently undertakes similar reflections on and from the perspective of institutions, their language and nature of existence as well as the future of (art) institutions.

These ruminations inevitably take into account colonial history and the colonized as constitutive outside for the modern nation state, and the negotiation between dependence, social rules and newly gained authority over one's own culture and identity in the colonial aftermath. The selection of films offers a varied perspective on the complexity and the implications of this condition and the ghostly matter at play in the states, debts and cycles of financial capitalism.

This program is part of an ongoing film exchange between 98weeks in Beirut and Beirut in Cairo.

Film synopses:

Katarina Zdjelar, My Lifetime (Malaika) (2012), 6 min.

The video piece My Lifetime (Malaika) features Ghana’s National Symphony Orchestra, which was established in the late 1950s under the government of Kwame Nkrumah, performing Malaika – an originally cheerful and empowering postcolonial composition. Being a part of this political and cultural legacy, the national orchestra today has become an institution which has witnessed this shift of one social rule to another. The film highlights the discrepancy between how Western musical tradition has never fully been integrated into Ghanaian culture and how the Ghanaian state continues sponsoring such an institution, which cannot be abolished without provoking political turmoil, but is also too insignificant in contemporary Ghanaian society to be supported financially. However, My Lifetime (Malaika) is neither a portrait of the musicians nor a documentary on the orchestra itself. Katarina Zdjelar, rather, deploys the orchestra in order to draw a sketch of a complicated state of affairs in which grand ideas and the mechanism of a nation state project takes root in and affects individuals.

                         ~ A summary review from

Sven Augustijnen, Spectres (2004), 104 min.

In this film essay, the title of which is derived from Jacques Derrida’s “Specters of Marx. The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International” (1993), Sven Augustijnen presents a controversial view of Belgian colonial history, but with questions that go beyond these national colonial events. How does a country or an individual deal with a colonial past? How does a nation process the suffering it has inflicted, dubious political acts or moral bankruptcy? “Spectres” focuses on one of the darkest pages in the colonial history of the Belgian Congo in about 1960 in a documentary thriller, set to the music of Bach’s St. John’s Passion. Augustijnen follows Jacques Brassinne de La Buissière, a French-speaking Belgian who is now 82 years old and who was a high-ranking official when the prime minister of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba, was murdered in 1961. With his delicate psychological portrait, Augustjnen shows how the friction between personal involvement and an objective writing of history, between fact and fiction, truth and conviction, wholly obscures the question of guilt which arises.

                        ~ A summary review from

Abderrahmane Sissako, Bamako (2006), 115 min.

In this courtroom drama, which takes place within a mud-walled compound and revolves around an unlikely cast of characters – the plaintiffs are the people of Africa; the defendants, charged with worsening the economic plight of the continent, are the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

– Abderrahmane Sissako investigates Africa’s social, economic and human crises. An oblique, delicate and sad story also threads its way quietly through the film, concerning a singer named Melé (Aïssa Maïga); her husband, Chaka (Tiécoura Traoré); and their young daughter. While their destinies are linked with the themes under consideration in the trial, these characters are not so much symbols or ciphers as reminders of the almost incomprehensible gulf between the general and the particular. Without engaging the pity of the audience through sad stories or terrible images, Sissako manages to tackle the central question — have the ostensible good intentions of the West, in particular the World Bank and similar institutions, contributed to the impoverishment and demoralization of the continent? — calmly and systematically, with evident passion throughout.

                          ~ A summary review by A. O. Scott

Spectres Of: Part 1
Film Screening Curated by Beirut in Cairo

DATE: 27 28 April 2013; 7 pm

Still from Vers Le Sud (1980-81) by Johan van der Keuken, courtesy of the artist
Spectres Of: Part 1 is a two-day film screening that takes Cairo as its point of departure and arrival via Beirut and its founding with a first season focused on labour and its (cinematic) representation: a timely detour traversing the connections between land and territories, journeys and coincidences, affiliations and social sentiments, moments of resistance and modes of representation.

"We've been wondering for a while why there is not much said about this film by Straub and Huillet in Cairo, especially since many debates here have been touching upon the question when it might be too soon for artistic practice to respond to ongoing events. Johan van der Keuken is simply a master of documentary filmmaking yet to be discovered by a large international audience."

This is part of an ongoing film exchange between 98weeks in Beirut and Beirut in Cairo.

Straub & Huillet, Trop Tot, Trop Tard (1982) 100 min.
Saturday, April 27, 2013; 7pm

Shot in the summer of 1980, this film from longtime directorial partners Straub and Huillet investigates the changing relationship between people, the land, and society in France and Egypt. The formal and structural basis for the film consists of two texts: a letter sent by Friedrich Engels to his disciple Karl Kautsky, and Egyptian intellectual Mahmoud Hussein's {-Class Struggles in Egypt}. At the center of each text is a discussion of the people's relationship to the land. What Straub and Huillet have done is to film the specific places mentioned in each text -- for the Engels section we see shots of Mottreff, Lyons, and Harville; for the Hussein section we see the area around Neguib; and these shots are synced with a voice-over reading of the texts. What emerges is a document that functions as a history of Marxist thought, a landscape film, and as commentary on current French and Egyptian society.
       ~ A review summary by Brian Whitener, Rovi

Johan van der Keuken, Vers Le Sud (1980-81) 160 min.
Sunday April 28, 2013; 7pm

'The Way South' is the account of a journey, a travelogue. The filmmaker leaves from Amsterdam and, two hours and 20 minutes later, looses himself completely in the Cairo crowd. He passes by Paris, the Drôme, Rome, Calabria. Those who he crosses paths with and respond to his questions have nothing in common except for this: they have accepted their environment, they don’t want anything else, they want to stay where they are.

Thus in Egypt, nothing much comes out of the interviews. One lies easily to the man with the camera. Aggrieved, he heads off to the road and starts filming the circulation. A packed train, a crowd in pyjamas, carts out of a sword-and-sandal film, cars threading slowly, astonished children, deranged animals, fine dust and, in between, faster than them, the eye of the filmmaker. Images without a stake, bath of images, images that have – finally – lost the North.
     ~ Excerpts taken from a text by Serge Daney, originally published as ‘Vers le sud. Johan         Van der Keuken’, Libération (2 March 1982)

" إحراج مع وقف التنفيذ: مداخلة في قضية ميشال سماحة"
"The Unease of Michel Samaha: An Intervention In A Court Case"
Reading Performance by Chaza Charafeddine and Roger Outa
DATE: 4 January 2013; 8 pm

في "إحراج مع وقف التنفيذ: مداخلة في قضية ميشال سماحة"، نسعى إلى مساءلة العلاقة بين الجريمة وخطاب مرتكبها، وهي تستقيم، في قضيّة سماحة، بين الفعل الإرهابي الذي اقترفه وتبريره اياه بظرف الإحراج ("أحرجت، فقبلت" [المشاركة في تنفيذ العمليات الارهابية]).

فهل إحراج سماحة ينفي ذنب ارتكاب الشرّ، أم أنه هو الجريمة بحد ذاتها؟ وهل هو محرج فحسب، أم أن ذاته تنطوي على أكثر من شخصيّة؟

OLANO: How to Write in the Future
With Noura Noman

In the framework of "Durub al Tawaya"
DATE: 2013

"Our Lines are Now Open” is a series of public interventions initiated by 98WEEKS in collaboration with Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Nora Razian. The project aims to look at reading and writing in their different forms, and to explore the poetics and politics of language.

“Our Lines Are Now Open” in Abu Dhabi will initiate a series of investigations through a writing workshop and a panel discussion on science fiction led by acclaimed writer Noura Al Noman. The workshop will investigate the forms of knowledge of the present that are produced through the act of collective writing and reading on the future. Through this exercise, we will explore the projection of desires of the future. In addition, the workshop and discussion will question the role that language plays in producing and inhibiting imagination and the role of fiction in shaping our future visions.

At the end of the workshop, audiences are invited to move through time and space on a commissioned boat for a public reading of the works produced during the workshop, and a reading of an excerpt of Noura Al Noman’s novel Ajwan. These will also be broadcast live on OLANO’s online radio.

Noura Al Noman is the recent recipient of the Sharjah International Book Fair, the Etisalat Prize for Arabic Children's Literature.

*To listen to the full talk click HERE.