Someone is leading a life parallel to your own. This person looks like you, answers to your name, lives in your house. But they are not you.
This publication by Alex Reynolds brings together her epistolary project But They Are Not You (2014) in which volunteers began to receive letters ‘from’ themselves, via the return-of-post system, penned after extensive research by the artist. The addressees in the letters are all other volunteers in the project. They never met each other.
This is intended as a postscript to the project, published alongside full details of the project, all the research surveys, and the letter transcripts themselves.
Huge thanks to Alex Reynolds and Gabriel Pericàs at Biel Books.
In June 2015, Cairo’s new and exquisite alternative film centre Cimatheque opened its doors in the first of its public events (though not the first of its activities at all). For this they invited Ala’ Younis and Rana ElNemr to co curate screenings and works from their extensive archive.
ElNemr approached me to reflect on the choice of four film works that she selected for screening, with a loose theme of working, appearing, and making art in the streets of Cairo. The works referenced are: Giran (Neighbours), dir: Tahani Rached (2012); The White Line, dir: Hossam and Ali Moheeb (1962); The Sad Song of Touha, dir: Atiat El-Abnodi (1972); Monument of the Buzzwords, Samir El Kordy (2012).
The publication included an essayistic use of images, laid out as part of the design work of Ahmad Aiyad, which cannot easily be reproduced here. Instead I use generic images as illustration, but you should pick up the print publication to see Aiyad’s work.
Some small contextual notes have been added to aid the comprehension of an international readership. The Arabic translation will be uploaded soon.
I am involved in this exhibition opening tomorrow night at Nile Sunset Annex
التبلور في شكل
أو التبخر إلي ذكريات
الـ “كاللو” في رجلي من المشي علي الـ #أرض قرب يختفي
في أعلي قمة الليل
هؤلاء الحمقي المتوحشين
ينزلقون علي الأهلّة
بيضتا طائر طنان انحشرتا في حلوق
أجزاء مولدات الغاز الجديدة مُصنّعة من
لا يوجد سوي همهمات بعيدة
to crystallize into form or to
evaporate into memories
the calluses on my feet from walking on #Earth are almost gone
all the way up, to the top of the night
those feral fools’re sliding down crescent moons
two hummingbird eggs got stuck in our
into an emergency of languages
new gas generator parts are fabricated
from the scans
there’s just a distant hum
Nile Sunset Annex invites you to the opening of a solo exhibition by Sarah Samy at 7pm on Saturday 13 September, which will also see the launch of the publication for our previous show, Museumish, with Mariam Elias, Paradoxia, Sobhy Guirguis and Wadiaa Shenouda. For the preparation and duration of Sarah Samy’s exhibition, Nile Sunset Annex includes Mia Jankowicz. Nile Sunset Annex would like to thank Jens Maier-Rothe for helping to make this exhibition possible. Bring your own drinks. Exhibition open until October 11, Saturday 12-6pm or by appointment.
Here is my review, for Afterall Online, of Malak Helmy’s beautiful show at the Sharjah Art Gallery at the American University in Cairo earlier this year.
Malak Helmy, Records from the Excited State – Chapter 3: Lost Referents of Some Attraction, 2012, HD video, sound, 6min 54sec, still. Courtesy the artist
Sharjah Art Gallery, located in the New Cairo campus of the American University in Cairo (AUC), is reached by car approximately an hour and a half out of Cairo’s city centre. Shaking off the asthmatic yellow city, you reach malls, villas, gated and serviced compounds with perfect masonry and conditioned air, surrounded by irrigated, emerald-green gardens. Here those who can afford it buy the quality of life not provided by the deteriorating state infrastructure.
Click here to read more at Afterall Online.
My overall review of D-CAF for frieze (which can be read here also but you need to register).
There are two places in the world where cats seem omnipresent: the internet and downtown Cairo. At the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF), street cats were everywhere: there was the one that specifically targeted the feline sculpture in Hassan Khan’s delicate mixed media work The Agreement (2011); the one that helped itself to refreshment from the table during Nida Ghouse’s talk, The Artist as a Portrait of a Young Man; and the one that weaved through the dancers’ legs during a performance by the ensemble The100Hands, Running Nucleus (2014).
The100Hands, Running Nucleus, 2014, performance documentation. Image by Mostafa Abdel Aty.
Lotte Sigh, Remind Me, 2014, performance documentation. Image by Mostafa Abdel Aty
The article here has been revised to reflect a factual error brought to me after submission: the text originally said ‘a delegation of international technical specialists’ when in fact one technician was flown in. The article was also modified to more accurately reflect the decision making process around Hassan Khan’s show. A thorough fact-check was made prior to submission.
Eight minutes after the start of “Running Nucleus,” I’m late and bothered. Late because I subconsciously invent special, reassuring laws of the space-time continuum and apply them to Cairo traffic. Bothered because I’ve so far garnered lavish harassment, rich in imagery of creaminess, hotness and prostitution.
Review of the ‘Urban Visions’ programme as part of D-CAF. Read more over at Mada Masr.
Two dancers in ‘Mashy’ by Ex Nihilo. Photo courtesy of Mostafa Abdel Aty and D-CAF