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98weeks: Our Lines Are Now Open

A Radio Series on the Poetics and Politics of Language

005 / 28 August 2013

This group of edited recordings were produced in collaboration with 98weeks, Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Nora Razian in the framework of Home Works 6 (18th-22nd May 2013). These recordings are part of Our Lines Are Now Open, a series of interventions that aims to look at reading and writing in its different forms and using radio as a means of exploring the poetics and politics of language. The series was launched during Home Works6, lasting four days in an abandoned storefront facing the 98weeks Project Space.


The program in this temporary radio production house looked at the tension between silence and speech and explores questions such as: What happens to language when violence provokes the act of speaking? When nation building silences a language or creates a new one? How does language shape our relationship to the future? How can we think gender through literature? How can words be smuggled, banned and recreated?

The short 15-minute radio programs presented on Ibraaz were edited by Rayya Badran and Lawrence Abu Hamdan and first broadcasted through Ziad Nawfal's 'Ruptures' show on radio Lebanon 96.2 FM. They include:

May 18: Midnight; Reading the diaries of others - Rayyane Tabet 
A reading of a text constructed from the diaries and notes of known figures that use the first person to narrate their quotidian. The reconstructed text becomes a re-appropriation of different "I"s that melt into a singular voice.

May 20:  On the Politics of Silence and Speaking 
A live conversation moderated by Sidsel Nelund with Nikita Dhawan and reading group participants on the idea of silence and speaking and how they have been used as strategies by feminists.

May 21:  How to be in the future – Nora Razian 
Panel Discussion with Tarek El-Ariss (Moderator), Yazan Al Saadi, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Sophia Al Maria, Ahmed Naje, exploring constructions of the future, the politics of imagination and the poetics of projection.

May 22:  SpeakWriteRadio – Lawrence Abu Hamdan 
Open Studio, Readings and Publication Launch. Airwaves were dedicated to broadcasting banned material and smuggled literature in combination with voice recognition dictation software to create a publication out of all the combined readings, phone-ins and audience participation.


98WEEKS research / project space

98weeks research project is an artists' organisation and project space founded by Marwa Arsanios and Mirene Arsanios on 31 October 2007. It is conceived as a research project that shifts its attention to a new topic every 98 weeks. Focusing on artistic research, combining both theoretical and practical forms of inquiry, 98weeks' projects take multiple forms such as workshops, community projects, seminars, reading groups, publications and exhibitions. Today, 98weeks team is Mirene Arsanios, Marwa Arsanios and Zeina Assaf

Two years after its founding, 98weeks opened a non-profit project space in the Mar Mkhael area of Beirut. The project space is a 50 sq storefront in Mar Mkhael distributed over 2 floors; A library and a reading room presenting 98 research archives as well as an archive on historical and contemporary arts and cultural publications; A space that invites artists to think their practices as research and develop ideas, exhibitions and projects; A platform where artists, cultural practitioners and neighbors are welcome to propose ideas; A space to enhance self-organized initiatives and the sharing of artistic resources.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan

In 2012 London based artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan has had two solo shows featuring new commissioned work The Freedom Of Speech Itself at The Showroom, London and The Whole Truth at CASCO, Utrecht.  His ongoing project Aural Contract has been recently exhibited at Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (2012) and The Taipei Biennial (2012). Other works include Model Court presented at Chisenhale Gallery, London (2011) and Marches for Artangel, London (2008). His hybridised practice means that he has written for Cabinet Magazine and the 10th Sharjah Biennial and is part of the group running the arts space Batroun Projects in north Lebanon. Abu Hamdan is a PhD candidate and tutor at the department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths College.

Tarek El Ariss
Tarek El-Ariss is Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at University of Texas at Austin, and EUME Fellow (2012-13) at the Forum Transregional Studien - Wissenschaftkolleg zu Berlin. He received a BA in Philosophy from the American University of Beirut and a PhD in Comparative Literature from Cornell University. His research and teaching interests include contemporary Arabic literature, visual culture, and new media; eighteenth and nineteenth century French and Arabic philosophy and travel writing; and affect and poststructuralist theory. His research focuses on contemporary Arabic literature, visual and popular culture, and new media. He is the author of Trials of Arab Modernity: Literary Affects and the New Political (2013), co-editor of Queer Affects, Special Issue of International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (2013), and editor of The Arab Renaissance: Anthology of Nahda Thought, Literature, and Media (forthcoming 2014). He also edits a series on literature in translation for the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas Press entitled, Emerging Voices from the Middle East. His new book project examines new media's effects on Arabic artistic and political practices by exploring the way modes of confrontation, circulation, and exhibitionism shape contemporary writing practices and critiques of power.

Sophia Al Maria
Sophia Al Maria is an artist, writer, and filmmaker. She studied comparative literature at the American University in Cairo, and aural and visual cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her work has been exhibited at the Gwangju Biennale, the New Museum in New York, and the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. Her writing has appeared in Harper's Magazine, Five Dials, Triple Canopy, and Bidoun. She originated the concept of 'Gulf Futurism'. Her memoir The Girl Who Fell To Earth (2012) is be published by HarperCollins.

Rayya Badran (editor)
Rayya Badran (b. 1984, Beirut, Lebanon) is a writer based in Beirut. Her first publication, Radiophonic Voice(s) was published by Ashkal Alwan during Home Works 5 in 2010. She is currently working on short form sound pieces and a radiophonic essay.

Nikita Dhawan
Nikita Dhawan is Junior Professor of Political Science for Gender and Postcolonial Studies in the Cluster of Excellence Formation of  Normative Orders at Goethe-University Frankfurt. She was visiting scholar at the Institute for International Law and the Humanities, The  University of Melbourne (Spring 2013), Program of Critical Theory,  University of California, Berkeley (Fall 2012), University of La  Laguna, Tenerife (Fall 2012 and 2011), Pusan National University,  South Korea (Spring 2011), as well as Columbia University (Spring 2008). She was Maria- Goeppert-Mayer Guest Professor at the Institute of Political Science, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Germany  (2006-2007). She received her doctorate in philosophy from Ruhr-University Bochum (2006), Germany and holds a double M.A. in  German Studies (1995) and Philosophy (2000), from Mumbai University,  India. Her publications include Impossible Speech: On the Politics of Silence and Violence (2007) and Decolonizing Enlightenment: Transnational Justice, Human Rights and Democracy in a Postcolonial World (ed., 2013).

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige collaborate as filmmakers and artists, living between Beirut, Lebanon, and Paris, France. They have directed documentaries including Khiam 2000-2007 (2008) and El Film el Mafkoud (The Lost Film, 2003), as well as the films Al Bayt el Zaher (Around the Pink House, 1999), A Perfect Day (2005) and Je veux voir (I Want to See, 2008), which features Catherine Deneuve and Rabih Mroué. In 2011, they were included in the 10th Sharjah Biennial, the 11th Biennale de Lyon, France, and the 12th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey. In 2012 they presented their feature documentary The Lebanese Rocket Society, the strange tale of the Lebanese space race  and a series of artistic installations around the space project of the 60'. In 2012 they had solo exhibitions at The Third Line, Dubai and The Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut.

Ahmed Naje
Ahmed Naje is a writer and journalist. Currently he is writing weekly column in Al masry – Al youm. He won The Arab Journalism Award 2012. In 2007, Naje published his first literary work Rogers. He has also written Sabaa doros Mostaka Min Ahmed Makky (Seven lessons learned from Ahmed Makky), an art criticism book, and blogs from posts to tweets, and a historical book about Arabic blogs from 2003 to 2010, which was translated to English and published by The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. He is presently working on his new novel. Naje started blogging in 2005, his blog Wasa khaialak (Widen your imagination) is about sociology, pop art, cultural and human rights issues.

Ziad Nawfal (radio show host)
Ziad Nawfal is a DJ, radio show host, independent music producer and music critic. He worked for a number of years in Beirut's alternative record shop La CD-Thèque and its production house, Incognito. He began working independently in the field of music production in 2006, producing records for Lebanese rock band Scrambled Eggs and electronica project Munma.

Since the early 2000s, Nawfal has regularly hosted live performances by Lebanese folk, rock, electronic and experimental musicians on his Ruptures show, broadcasting from Radio Liban 96.2FM. These performances are released on a regular basis on the Ruptured label, which Nawfal founded in 2009. He lives and works in Beirut. www.rupturedonline.com

Sidsel Nelund
Sidsel Nelund is an art writer and PhD fellow currently working on the notion of knowledge production in contemporary art. She lives and works in Copenhagen and is invested in collaborations and art projects in Beirut and Santiago de Chile. In her academic and performative writings as well as curatorial projects she likes to address concepts and practices like cinema/sound/video, collective and critical knowledge production, politics of labour, south-south strategies and the role of the researcher in contemporary art production.  She holds a BA in Comparative Literature, an MA in Modern Cultures and a Mads Øvlisen Scholarship, is a PhD student in Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen, as well as an MA in Aural and Visual Cultures from Goldsmiths University of London.

Nora Razian
Nora Razian is a curator and part of the group that initiated and runs Batroun Projects, in north Lebanon. Nora is based in London where she is Curator of Public Programmes at Tate Modern and Tate Britain.

Yazan Al-Saadi
Yazan L. Al-Saadi is primarily based in Kuwait and is a freelance writer and researcher with interests in a number of subjects from pop-culture to politics, sociological issues to economic theories. He is currently an writer for the Lebanese news site, Al Akhbar English.  Yazan holds a Bachelor's (Honors) degree in Economics and Development Studies from Queen's University, Canada and a Masters of Arts in Law, Development, and Globalization from the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Ghalya Saadawi
Ghalya Saadawi ls a PhD candidate at Goldsmiths University, London where she is writing about the intersections between different modes of witnessing and the politics of fiction, particularly in the work of some contemporary Lebanese artists. She is also an independent writer and critic. Her reviews, essays and texts have appeared in Bidoun, Ibraaz, Frieze, Third Text, Jadaliyya, Nowiswere, Art in America, Bidayat, among a number of other publications, as well as in artist monographs. In 2010 she co-edited the book Untitled Tracks: On Alternative Music in Beirut, and in 2011 she was editor of Plot for a Biennial, the 10th Sharjah Biennial Catalogue. More recently in 2012, she wrote (and led) a walking tour of Beirut in 2080 titled After the Future: Heritage Redux (in collaboration with 98weeks, Beirut and AIR International Research Programme/FARE, Milan). Saadawi lectures part-time in the art history and fine arts departments of the American University of Beirut (AUB), the University of St. Joseph (USJ), Lebanon and the Lebanese American University (LAU). She lives between Beirut and London.

Rayyane Tabet
Rayyane Tabet (b.1983) is an artist living and working in Beirut. He studied architecture at The Cooper Union in New York and fine arts at the University of California in San Diego. His work is concerned with researching hidden histories that are transformed and retold through objects and installations. His work was included in the Sharjah Biennial 10 in 2011, The New Museum Triennial, The Ungovernables, in 2012, and will be included in a collateral event at the Venice Biennial 2013. He was a Special Prize Winner of the Future Generation Art Prize 2012 and received the Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2013.


This project is produced with the support of Ashkal Alwan