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Wandering of a Collective

004 / 2 November 2012

So much is happening now, every moment a potential turning point, yet so much feels like it is at a creepy standstill. A long time ago when the story started, we were in our 20s, and now almost a decade into the adventure, feeling both older and smaller, more confident and deeply more confused, we continue to wander/wonder and talk, trying to make meaning, trying to create spaces for the possibility of change. There is a lot of love that binds us and is generated from our meeting. We are good friends, lovers and confidants and we want to have as many friends and lovers as we can across the globe. More is better. A dinner table is good for two, three and 50, in Amman, in San Francisco. In a private room and on a published page in black and white. Real and virtual. Vivid and mysterious. Familiar and terrifying. Please join us at our table. This is a conversation, attempts at mapping our dreams and confusions, and our celebration of change. The Makan Collective. 2012.


(Samah) Welcome to Makan! Here is your key. Please feel free to use the space at any time, but we have a few things we need to point out.


First of all, treat it like you would your home. We must make sure that it is presentable at all times. (Apparently Coco Chanel once said, you must dress like you may meet Princess (or Prince) Charming at any moment, so always be prepared.)


(Diala) Let us start with a coincidental meeting, a moment that is charged with recognition and promise.


(Ola) Our scattered thoughts and our fragmented state trying to maintain a long distance relationship are a reflection of how we imagine what it means to be nomadic.


(Samah) No self-censorship please, that would be very boring – to say the least.


(Ola) How can we respond to a time of crisis and change, how can we avoid repetition, be responsible to our audience, contribute to change without fear, continue taking risks just like when we were younger, with no inhibitions?


(Diala) One holds onto that moment, when one is least alone. Attraction, based on chemistry, a joke, a point of reference; I do not know and it does not matter. I have found a friend.


(Samah) Respect thy neighbour. Be careful when you water the plants on the balcony (she's particularly obsessed with her windows).


(Diala) In the end, life is a lonely path, right?


(Ola) Our polyamorous structure? Our belief in initiating open and multiple channels and platforms and networks, friendships, love affairs, communities and geographic locations simultaneously?


(Samah) Also, no parties please (aside from meetings of course). And no alcohol; well kind of … If you are working late and you want to have a drink, that's cool. And if it's a hot summer, you can grab a few beers at the end of the day and sit on the balcony as you finish your work. Actually, we also serve Arak at exhibition openings – sometimes – so I guess it is okay actually! Forget about the drinking rule; it's fine.


(Diala) No matter how developed a language is, how eloquent the interpretation, how sophisticated the code of communication, meaning is mostly lost between the moment of inception of the idea (an electric spark in what is assumed to be a part of the brain), and the tongue muscle trying to articulate it using a limited set of codes, i.e., language.


(Samah) And let's have lunch together tomorrow on the balcony. I will make something to eat; bring something if you like.


(Samah) In the meantime, the key is in the possession of at least eight different people. Some use it only occasionally, yet would be disappointed if we asked for it back. Probably the last step in the process of letting go is not to have the keys myself.


(Diala) Consequently one is left (at best) with a sense of humour.



Part of these sketches were presented at the Institutions by Artists conference, organised by Fillip magazine in Vancouver in October 2012. They are here updated and modified.

About the author


Makan is an art space, a project and a collective based in Amman, San Francisco and somewhere in between. Diala Khasawnih, Samah Hijawi, Ola El-Khalidi.