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Hysterical Choir of the Frightened

009_09 / 10 March 2016



Doa Aly

Hysterical Choir of the Frightened, 2015

3 mins 45 secs


On 25 January 2014, thousands of people gathered in Tahrir Square to celebrate the third anniversary of the Egyptian revolution. On that day, only the supporters of the army and the actions of its commander in chief were admitted into the square. The Muslim Brotherhood and opposition protests taking place in the vicinity were immediately crushed with tear gas and live ammunition. The proximity of the celebrations and the killings led many journalists to call it a day of 'death and dance'. The festive crowd was likened to a 'hysterical choir of fear'.


Creating a choir of four women openly advocating murder is an attempt to reflect on the ethical and sociopolitical implications of what happened that day. And since no other writer in the history of literature blurs the boundaries between violence, ecstasy and morality better than Donatien Alphonse François, the Marquis de Sade, the arguments used in the 'Hysterical Choir' are taken from De Sade's novella Justine (1791). In these passages, de Sade's protagonists defend murder as a necessity for the regenerative forces of Nature, 'since it is proven that she cannot reproduce without destruction'.

About the author

Doa Aly

Doa Aly (b. 1976) is a visual artist working and living in Cairo. Aly's videos, drawings and sculptures are centered around the themes of the the body, performance and language.