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Ibraaz Reader 009/10

009 / 27 April 2016

In the final reader of Platform 009, which has explored the genealogies of performance art in North Africa and the Middle East, Ibraaz presents a series of essays, interviews, and projects, including  texts by Shuruq HarbSamine Tabatabaei, Cristiana de Marchi; conversations between Sohrab Kashani and Taus Makhacheva, Amal Khalaf and Zoukak Theatre Company, and further projects by Kashani and Zoukak.


In Channel, we present, among other videos, Tania El Khoury's performance Maybe If You Choreograph Me, You Will Feel Better. We also publish reports and reviews from Brussels, Cairo, Cologne, Dubai, Doha, and Sharjah.



Encroachment on the Everyday

Samine Tabatabaei


Samine Tabatabaei looks at the photo-series Tehran's Self-Portrait (2008–10) by Mehraneh Atashi, and examines both the city through its monuments and urban environments, and positions Atashi as a modern day flâneur.


Mindful Body

Cristiana de Marchi


'It should be noted that performance art in the Gulf does not often happen with an audience gathering at a set place, date and time,' writes Cristiana de Marchi, who examines the diverse practices of performance art emanating from the Gulf.


Not so Silent

Shuruq Harb


Shuruq Harb examines Amal Kenawy's Silence of the Sheep (2009), framing the public performance within the context of WIlliam Pope. L's The Great White Way, 22 Miles, 9 Years, 1 Street (1990).



Spaces of Agency

Hero to Hero

Maya Zbib in conversation with Amal Khalaf

Sohrab Kashani in conversation with Taus Makhacheva

Maya Zbib, a founding member of Zoukak Theatre Collective and Cultural Association, talks about working with marginalized communities and broadening Lebanese audiences for performance.

Super Sohrab and Super Taus meet to discuss the idea of artistic resistance in public, in a conversation about how forms of public performance can engender a sense of 'invisible heroism'.


Arm Wrestling with Super Sohrab

Sohrab Kashani


Follow Sohrab Kashani's alter-ego Super Sohrab as he spends five hours arm wrestling with more than 50 Geneva residents passing by a busy street in Geneva.


The Battle Scene

Zoukak Theatre Company


'The stage is a raft on water / On stage there are remains of a shipwreck: deflated floats, piles of clothes / On stage the artist rests on the sand.' Read an online performance by  Zoukak.



Maybe If You Choreograph Me, You Will Feel Better

Tania El Khoury


Maybe If You Choreograph Me, You Will Feel Better is an interactive performance set between a street and a window. The show takes the form of a relationship between a male audience member and a female performer.


Hamletmachine 2

Zoukak Theatre Company


'Hamletmachine 2 (2010) emerged from a need to continue the research that Zoukak started in 2008 on Heiner Muller's 1977 piece, Hamletmachine. The piece explores the features of contemporary tragedy that murmur beneath the ruins of inherited ideologies.


Revisiting Genesis

Oreet Ashery


Revisiting Genesis (2016) takes the form of a web-series in twelve episodes, written and directed by Oreet Ashery. This installment is the first episode, after which, the online narrative unfolds.



Shirin Neshat


"An important aspect of Turbulent," writes Shirin Neshat. "Is that women in Iran are prohibited from singing in public, and there are no recordings by female musicians."



Windows on Work

Cleopatra Goularas


'Born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents, Tarek Al-Ghoussein's work has long dealt with issues concerning identity and belonging,' writes Cleopatra Goularas, in this review of Al-Ghoussein's most recent exhibition, Windows on Work.


Sounds as if

Mai Elwakil


Mai Elwakil reviews the centrepiece exhibition of the fifth iteration of D-CAF, the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival in Cairo, curated by Aleya Hamza and featuring the work of six international artists.


Sound and Vision

Ajay Hothi


Ajay Hothi reviews Earshot, Lawrence Abu Hamdan's first solo show in Germany, which presents a new work drawing on original research conducted by the artist with London-based research group Forensic Architecture.


Experiencing ‘Badke’

Samah Hijawi


Artist Samah Hijawi reviews Badke, a performance of a contemporary dance interpretation of the Dabkeh, traditionally performed in weddings throughout the Levant.


Stephanie Saade

Rahel Aima


Rahel Aima reviews a recent exhibition by Stephanie Saade at Grey Noise Gallery, Dubai. In this exhibition, the artist evoked memories of experiences of the Lebanese Civil war.



What About the Art?

Aimee Dawson


Ibraaz Editorial Coordinator Aimee Dawson reports on the 'Art for Tomorrow' conference, a joint project between New York Times Conferences and Qatar Museums.


Future Musings

Reema Salha Fadda


Reema Salha Fadda reports from Art Dubai's Global Art Forum 10, 'The Future Was', described as a speculative arena for thinking about the future from different vantage points.


Time Share

Stephanie Bailey


Stephanie Bailey reports from the 2016 March Meeting, organized by the Sharjah Art Foundation, and themed around education, engagement, and participation.





Edited by Anthony Downey, a number of recently published contributions to Platform 009, plus newly commissioned writing, will be included in Volume 04 of our Visual Culture in the Middle East series in 2017. Volume 03 in the series, Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East, will be published by Sternberg Press in November, 2016.


Platform 010 will launch on 5 May 2016 and run until May 2017. It will publish research into the shifting regional dynamics we have witnessed over the last 5 years across the region and beyond, and how they have affected the politics of cultural production on both a regional and global level. For the full remit, see here.




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