- The Maghreb Connection. Movements of Life Across North Africa. Exhibition. Conference. Publication. The Townhouse Gallery, Cairo. December 2006 / January 2007. The Maghreb Connection is a collaborative art and visual research project on the North African migratory space. A special focus is placed on Sub-Saharan transit migration-now the dominant and undoubtedly the most highly mediatized form of movement in the region-which has turned the Maghreb into a transit zone. In response to the human conditions under which trans-Saharan migration takes place and the dramatizing media images and calls for border reinforcements that it has brought forth, The Maghreb Connection sets out to intervene in the current discursive and visual representations with a contribution of new videos, photo series and research essays. In the course of eighteen months, eight art projects were developed in dialogue with each other. They brought us out into the field and made us engage in collaborations with scholars, researchers, NGO activists on location and with many migrants who were on their perilous way through North Africa.
- Europlex (Ursula Biemann / Angela Sanders, 20 min. 2003) tracks distinct cross-border activities through the Spanish Moroccan borderlands and seeks to make these obscure paths visible. On their repetitive circuits around the check-point to the Spanish enclave, the video follows in three borderlogs the smuggling women who strap multiple layers of clothes to their bodies, the daily commute of “domesticas” who turn into time travellers as they move back and forth between the Moroccan and European time zones and the Moroccan women working in the transnational zones in North Africa for the European market.
- Sahara Chronicle 2006-2007 (Ursula Biemann) A collection of videos on mobility and the politics of containment in the Sahara.
- Geography and the Politics of Mobility. Projects: Frontera Sur RRTV/ Raqs Media Collective / multiplicity amongst others. Generali Foundation, Vienna, January-April 2003. Geography and the Politics of Mobility sets out from the transformative quality of geography in a time of increased mobility in which subjects are no longer tied to one specific location. These “transitory existences” constitute and transform the space that they cross or temporarily occupy due to migration or new working conditions. Human trajectories but also the traffic of signs, goods and visual information from particular cultural, social and virtual landscapes which inscribe themselves materially in the terrain. The resulting locations and non-locations re-articulate in their turn the relationship between social and territorial conditions. In a directly geographical sense, the exhibition traces the logic of human economic circuits within a changed world order: the feminized tele service industry in India, illegal refugee boats crossing the Mediterranean, smuggling routes over the Spanish-Moroccan border.
- Laurine Pierre
- Orphans of the Sahara
- Expeditions 01-02-03-04 Abdellah Karroum’s nomadic curatorial practice developed in 2000 through the initiation of a series of expedition projects. Karroum created portable art actions that took the progressive definition of the museum as a site of discovery, an encounter with art, and an invitation to enter discourse to various places that, in the words of Karroum were ‘territories that were far removed from the official contexts of contemporary arts’. Karroum’s curatorial practice is to curate cotemporary issues, not just objects, and through movement, nomadic exhibits invite a reorientation of visions on the part of the artist and the spectator, producing conversations with and within diverse environments.By the summer 2008, Karroum had curated four expeditions within Morocco with French and Moroccan artist, one expedition in Cameroon, and one expedition in France. For the first expedition, Karroum, Younes Rahmoun and Jean-Paul Thibeau traveled to Amazigh village in the Rif in June and July 2000. They rented two rooms in a local family’s house and used the flat area over a water tank for their art projects and discussions. As Karroum explains, the point was not to go into remote areas and display objects of art. Nor was the purpose to educate villagers about art and turn them into public spectators. Rather the aim of the displacement was to invite artist and local people to participate with one another in discussions about life, to see the artists as fellow creators in the world and hear how they talk about the process of creating. For the artists it was an opportunity to meet new people, learn about their way of seeing and comprehending the world, and crate new ideas together. The second expedition took place in 2001 in various marketplaces in the Atlas Mountains and the north of Morocco, and it included Karroum, FBWN (Joachim Desarmenian), and Pascal Semur. The three men set up a little white tent in each community market and held open discussions between themselves and various marketgoers. The main theoretical questions that fueled the artists’ discussions were What are new media in art? Is oral contact a new medium? And What are the differences between real and virtual contact? But as Karroum says ‘One of the most important objectives was to explore the gaps between expected exchanges and the real discussions that took place’. Before our eyes, other cartographies of the Rif
- Jordi Colomer ‘Arabian Stars’ 2005
- ‘Fluid Boundaries’ The residence at Le Cube is the first step in the project “frontières fluides – fluid boundaries” by Katrin Ströbel (Germany) and Mohammed Laouli (Morocco). It speaks of migration between the Maghreb and Europe, the Mediterranean as a cultural and geopolitical entity and foremost – the identity of an artist in the era of a more and more globalized art world.
Both artists have chosen an installation of a ” nomadic-boat” (a temporary shelter built with local materials on the boat) as a symbol for the artist’s life today: nomadic, unstable, temporary, always in motion, in transit. Make passages, overcome or accept borders becomes an important part of everyday life for artists like Laouli and Ströbel.
As part of this project which will last several months, activities around the installation of a “nomadic-boat” take place in three different places: Rabat –Salé (Morocco), Playa Blanca (15 km from Tangier) and Lake Constance.
- “Embroiderers of Actuality” This collaboration between Aglaia Haritz (CH) and Abdelaziz Zerrou (MA) is a work of
exchange between the local population, “embroiderers women” and the artists, where
art is the tool to trigger a process of questioning.
The work is influenced by the literature of Moroccan women from today and the past. It is a large research project that aims to reach several Arab cities after Cairo and Rabat.“Embroiderers of Actuality” proposes an action that wants to be a subtle and important challenge, a discussion which is based on visual work relating the position of women in the Arab world and particularly in Morocco. It is a confrontation between yesterday and today, between politics and religion, between modernity and tradition. The first step of the project was conducted in Cairo. For the project in Rabat in collaboration with Le Cube, we tried to deal with the topic of sexuality developed from the embroidered image. The discussions with the women were rather reluctant, but the little exchange we could have was very strong and intimate.
Two videos express the opinion of two immigrant embroiderers on the position of women in Morocco, it is a provocative and interesting element that forces us to see the situation from another point of view.
The “Embroiderers of Actuality” project aims to stimulate through the method of contact, exchange, awareness of the environment as a meeting place between individual and collective sensitivity.
(Aglaia Haritz et Abdelaziz Zerrou)
- El Max Project by Gudran. It is an area west ofAlexandria, where most people work in fishing. TheVillageofFishermenhas its own architectural pattern. Its houses were built on the two banks of an agricultural drain canal which makes its way through a hill. These houses have the shape of reversed pyramids; as they become narrower the more they go down the hill. Fishing boats lie by these houses, ready for going out into the sea and coming back with everyday living. Meditating the nature of the place and its structure, we can discover the characteristics of the inhabitants and their closed community with its own history, culture, social structure and eventually its economic system which totally depends on the environment. For earning living is subject to the weather conditions and the gifts of the sea. Strangely, this torn area amid problems of being closed, pollution, low education, low sanitary awareness, poverty and its multiplying problems – still has what make it a charming spot; namely its nature and simplicity.
- ‘Videokaravaan’ The Moroccan artist Abdellatif Ben Faidoul, resident at the Rijksakademie in 2001 and 2002, developed in cooperation with Abdelaziz Taleb a Video Art Platform in Agadir (Morocco) under the name Taleb Cherche Midi. In the framework of RAIN. Aim of the video artists is to establish a platform for video art in Morocco that will stimulate the knowledge, possibilities and experience for video artists in the country. It wants to stimulate an open and critically debate and wishes to create an alternative space for a new generation of artists. The organisation of internationally video art workshops with European video artists and Moroccan video art students was a starting point in this process and wanted to make the connection between the art worlds from the east and the west. Videokaravaan Videokaravaan is curated by Abdelaziz Taleb and Abdellatif Benfaidoul, two Moroccan artists, now living in Cologne and Amsterdam. They see the project as a “nomadic program”, which, amongst other things includes a database of video artists and filmmakers from the Arab and North African region. Videokaravaan is travelling through various countries using presentations and discussions to expand the current aesthetics of video and media practices, diversify the Western perspective of art from the Arab world, and to acquaint the West with Arab artists. An additional goal is to generate a network of interdisciplinary cooperation. This website is only shows some of the activities.
- The Seminar Artworks & landmarks intends to approach the cross-disciplinary/inter-media practices of contemporary artworks, with the intention to breakdown its boundaries by studying and interrogating its cultural contexts rather than its disciplinary practices. Artworks & Landmarks are the two main subjects that inform and frame the activities, discourse and development process of the Seminar. The overall objective of the seminar is to invite a small group of participants to question and expand the notion of contemporary art practices related to the concept of displacement in different cultural contexts of the Mediterranean area. The program is based on applied artistic fieldwork research throughout a mobility period in the rural area of Tahanout (Marrakesh, Morocco), Barcelona (Spain) and Marseille (France) and is organized and coordinated by CRA’P Creation Practices and Artistic Research (Mollet del Valles, Catalonia)
The Seminar also provides a critical framework for contemporary practice that is concerned more with ideas of process, mobility, flow, displacement and transmission, than with form, object, materials, and techniques. Therefore its program seeks to provide an understanding that can reflect, position, or map the shifting role of artwork in contemporary culture.