Momentarily Learning from Mega-Events
"Momentarily Learning from Mega-Events" is an exhibition curated by Ala Younis for Makan, opening on Sunday, December 4th 2011 at 6 pm. The exhibition features new and existing works by Banu Cennetoglu, Mohssin Harraki, Maha Maamoun, Evariste Richer, Oraib Toukan, and General Idea.
Exploding the doubts and curiosities imposed by the indefinite state of flux in the Arab region, "Momentarily Learning from Mega-Events" is an exhibition that explores priority versus urgency in art production. Questions on the position of artists and their reconditioned processes are contemplated in relation to changes in the social and political contexts. The artistic production presents itself as document on the affect of the oscillating political environment in 2011. The project does not track the impacts of mega-events in artistic presentations, but rather investigates the contemporaneity of art production itself in relation to the contexts they emerged within.
The curator worked in dialogue with five conceptual artists towards proposing projects to be developed or finalized by December 2011. Reflecting the exhibition's conceptual parameters, the project aims at engaging and urging art production despite/within the limits of constantly changing realities. The promise to produce in 2011, whether as a poetic thought or an act of defiance, fore-casted projects that brought forward a set of variables; images within images, images versus narratives, narratives reinterpreted in the emergence of new forces, investigations on powers in natural and political environments, and the power that artists are offered in moments of collective awakening.
A lecture-dialogue in 3 parts titled: “Gardening a pitiless mountain dreamed of faraway with its owner only a passing shadow” (2011), is presented by Oraib Toukan on Saturday, December 10th 2011 at 4 pm at Makan.
Banu Cennetoglu (b. 1970, lives in Istanbul) collects in one volume the printed Arabic newspapers published on November 2nd, 2011 across the Arab world. The work allows a moment to reflect on differences the Arab nation newspapers’ content, visual language and prominent features.
Mohssin Harraki (b. 1981, lives in Paris and Tangiers) embodies the idea of historical transformation by confronting the viewer with a live process of the disintegration of knowledge.
Maha Maamoun (b. 1972, lives in Cairo) shows her new video "Night Visitor, Counting the Years" (2011), an archaeological excavation of Egyptian State Security buildings through videos found on Youtube that recorded the raid on March 5th 2011 in Cairo.
Evariste Richer (b. 1969, lives in Paris) investigates the Dead Sea valley, the geographical fault line that spreads from Mozambique to Syria, being a potential site for a seismic event, through conversations with local geologists and field research.
Oraib Toukan (b. 1977, lives in New York) structures a discussion around the representation of a Palestinian revolution through neighbouring landscapes. Scenes get probed and borrowed from Abdallah Kawash, Masao Adachi, and Jean-Luc Godard among others films that were partly shot in Jordan.
General Idea (1969 – 1994) worked a conceptual collective of three Canadian artists who assembled all their work within a structure that recreates the art world, and the world of media that surrounds it. The show features a 1984 retrospective issue of their influential “FILE” magazine, their videos “Pilot” (1977) and “Test Tube” (1979), as well as blueprints for the Miss General Idea Pavilion.
The project was developed with the partnerships and support from an international network of institutions and individuals; Greater Amman Municipality - Department of Culture, French Institute in Jordan, The General Idea Estate, Embassies of Turkish Republic in Algiers (Algeria), Khartoum (Sudan), Nouakchott (Mauritania), Sana (Yemen), Tripoli (Libya) and Aydin Selcen, Aramex, AirFrance/KLM, TV5monde, Ford Foundation through the International Institute of Education, and Netherlands Media Institute.
The title of this project is used with permission from the co-editors of the book of the name "Momentarily: Learning from Mega-Events", published by Western Front, Vancouver, Canada in 2011 the book is a research on the impacts of the 2010 Olympic Games on Vancouver at a time when this city has been noted as especially livable. This title responds to Venturi, Izenour and Scott Brown's pivotal “Learning from Las Vegas”. Momentarily: Learning from Mega-Events is freely available for download at http://front.bc.ca/momentarily/momentarily.pdf.