Search archive


Ibraaz January Reader 009/07

009_07 / 29 January 2016

As part of our ongoing research into the genealogies of performance art in North Africa and the Middle East, Ibraaz is pleased to present a series of essays, interviews and projects responding to Platform 009. These include an essay on photographer Bruno Boudjelal, conversations with Magdi Mostafa and Coco Fusco, and an extensive interview with Seth Ayyaz surrounding his recent participation in the 50-week fig-2 exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. The latter interview is accompanied by channel documentation of Ayyaz's performance in addition to an exclusive project by the artist.


Elsewhere on Ibraaz channel, we publish a work by Nancy Atakan, and a condensed screening programme featuring Katia Kameli, Atef Berredjem, Neïl Beloufa, Taysir Batniji and Negar Behbahani. The latter was organized by Jenny Marketou and Berta Sichel as part of Visible/Invisible, Art & Politics, which will be presented at the Media Lounge in collaboration with the 104th International College Art Association Conference.



An Unknown Lover's Discourse

Mandy Merzaban


Mandy Merzaban starts this personal essay with a memory of Salah Abu Seif's 1962 Egyptian musical film Ressala Min Emraa Majhoula (Letter from an Unknown Woman), which tells the story of a woman's unrequited love for a famous musician in 1950s Cairo. The memory acts as a starting point from which Merzaban takes readers on a journey that is at once subjective, performative, and methodological.


In and Out of Algeria

Katarzyna Falęcka


Katarzyna Falęcka examines the work of Algerian-French photographer Bruno Boudjelal, who travels frequently to Algeria, often keeping 'travel diaries' along the way in which images consistently question personal and cultural identity. Through cultural and technical observations, Falęcka builds a picture of Boudjelal that places him within a network of complex trans-cultural concerns.



Performative States

Coco Fusco in conversation with Stephanie Bailey


Cuban-American interdisciplinary artist and writer Coco Fusco talks about her new book Dangerous Moves: Performance and Politics in Cuba (2015), which analyses performance art and political engagement in post-revolutionary Cuba. Fusco discusses how performance art can be defined; why performance art has been marginalized in Cuban society; and how this specific study might resonate with other regional histories.


Acoustic Encounters

Magdi Mostafa in conversation with Clelia Coussonnet


Magdi Mostafa addresses sound's capacity to unearth lost feelings and images in this conversation, discussing sound's potential to create spiritual experiences within exhibitionary frames that tap into the tactics of performance. Mostafa reflects on how uncertainty and chemistry play a vital role in his practice, enabling a permeation between himself, the public, and sound.


The Islamic Sonic-Social

Seth Ayyaz in conversation with Sheyma Buali


This interview with sound artist, composer and theorist, Seth Ayyaz, is broken into three parts. First, Sheyma Buali considers the artist's ideas on 'the Islamic sonic-social'. This is followed by a short discussion with artist and writer Lisa Skuret. The final section is an edited transcript of a panel discussion that took place as part of Ayyaz's week-long exhibition during the 50-week series at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, fig-2.



On The Admissibility of Sound

Author as Swindler

Seth Ayyaz

Burak Delier

Seth Ayyaz presents a series of interrelated sonic works form an auditory zillij that inquire into listening, interpreting and acting, which reflect on the artist's developing notions of cognitive opacity/translucency, the theme of 'listening without a listener', and the problematics of an 'Islamic sonic-social' in relation to current constructions of alterity and experimental Middle-Eastern sonic practices.

'The idea of a swindler that takes over the commons from below becomes more interesting if we consider the plundering of the city from above by big capital, state and bureaucracy,' writes Burak Delier. 'The tactic of the swindler may be imagined as an invitation to a horizontal, temporary world and a contract where everything is free to appropriate and use until power (capital, state, police, law and so on) interrupts.'


Passing On II

Nancy Atakan


'In 1980, my first Turkish gymnastic teacher gave me a tape of herself performing movements she had developed throughout her life,' writes Nancy Atakan. 'I selected four movements and taught them to my daughter-in-laws, my granddaughters, her former students, and my current Pilates teachers.'


Invisible Scent of History


'The Invisible Scent of History' is a screening programme of video works originally conceived as part of the project Visible/Invisible, Art & Politics. Presented at the Media Lounge in collaboration with the 104th International College Art Association Conference, it takes place from 36 February 2016 in Washington DC, and is co-hosted with the Middle East Institute in DC.


Listening Through a Beam of Intense Darkness

Seth Ayyaz


Performed live for fig-2 (48/50), at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London, 30 November–6 December 2015.





In the next few months, Ibraaz will be drawing Platform 009 to a close, with contributions from Sarah Abu Abdallah, Marwa Arsanios, Abdullah Al-Mutairi, Monira Al Qadiri, Meriem Bennani, Sussan Deyhim, Shuruq Harb, Sohrab Kashani, Yazan Khalili and Lara Khaldi, Hrair Sarkissian, Raed Yassin, Zoukak, and others. A number of contributions to Platform 009 will be included in Volume 04 of our visual culture series, edited by Anthony Downey, and due to be published in 2017.  


In May 2016, we will be launching Platform 010, which enquires into some of the more urgent issues affecting cultural production across the region and its broader global implications. Take a look at the full remit for this platform, here.



About the author