VR FILMS SCREENING PROGRAM

Under MedRX platform, and in collaboration with the French Institute, Medrar hosts a VR films screening program. The works were selected through the French Institute’s “VR Selections” program. We’ve selected a collection that features a diverse range of five exceptional works, each presenting a unique perspective through various ways such as narrative storytelling, interactive experiences, experimental art, and animation. These works explore intriguing themes that touch upon mental health and environmental development throughout history, delving into both the shadows and light of the human experience.

The films:

  • “Gloomy Eyes”, the production year 2019, Animated short film
  • “Goliath”, the production year 2015, a game.
  • “Mutatis”, the production year 2019, short film.
  • “The hangman at home”, the production year 2020, animated short film.
  • “Planet Infinite”, the production year 2018, animated short film.

All the selected films will be screened on December 6th and 7th from 4-9 PM at Medrar.
The fee to watch all films for the day per person is 50 EGP.

Dates: Wednesday, 6 December, and Thursday, 7 December from 4-9 p.m.
Address: Medrar for Contemporary Art, 10 Gamal Eldin Abo Elmahasen, Garden City, 8th Floor.

*First come served.

**VR Films screening Fall Under MedRX platform, and in collaboration with the French Institute.

Exhibition – Naema’s Office Is Bleeding 5

After 9 intense working days of experimenting with TikTok images in drawing, collage, and converting paintings into videos, the artworks created by the participants will be exhibited starting from May 21, 2023.
All artworks are available for acquisition for 500 Egyptian pounds.

Special thanks to the workshop guests: Hana El-Beblawy, Youssef Mansour, Yasmine El-Melegy, Marwa Ben Halim, Mohamed Abla, Ibrahim Abla, Hoda Lotfi, Karim El-Haywan, Malak Shenouda, Mayar Gaber, Rodina Fouad, Laila El-Farouq, Shahira Kamel, Farida Youssef, Dagmar, Elika, Farah Hallaba, Farah Barakat.

The exhibition is open daily from 1 to 9 p.m. at Medrar from Sunday, May 21 to Saturday, June 3 (except Friday).

The workshop, which took place in Medrar in May, was led by artist Hany Rashed and co-facilitated by artist Mona Essam El Din.

Collage Painting: Dina Al-Suda
Poster Design: Heba Tarek
Theme of the fifth edition of Naema’s Office is Bleeding (TikTok) was conceived by Ahmed Lesy

BETWEEN WOMEN FILMMAKERS CARAVAN WITH GLADYS JOUJOU AND AMAL RAMSIS

Medrar Studio is very happy to announce that it hosted the editing sessions of the Creative Documentary Workshop organized by Between Women Filmmakers Caravan from the 15th to the 19th of May. Throughout the week, editor Gladys Joujou and director Amal Ramsis discussed with the participants different narration techniques and tools to  create a language and a rhythm for their films during the editing stage. The participants discussed together the nine documentary films they are working on under the supervision of instructors and trainers in the Creative Documentary Film Workshop.

Medrar Studio is a space that invites independent filmmakers to reflect and innovate on the level of the cinematic form by supporting alternative storytelling. It is a post-production suite equipped with high-end equipment offering premium and affordable post production services to independent filmmakers. Furthermore, it is a space that hosts roundtable discussions around contemporary storytelling discourses and facilitates the exchange of knowledge and learning experiences around ground breaking editing and coloring techniques.

If you are interested in collaborating with Medrar Studio or wish to book our post-production suite, email us at: studio@medrar.org

WITH DOORS CLOSED ARTISTS GO VIRAL 2

Performing arts are back at Medrar with the 2nd edition of “With doors closed artists go viral”! 

This edition features a rich program of 16 online live performances by emerging and defining voices of the Arab scene selected through the open call process, as well as a number of performances by guest artists from different Arab countries and Switzerland. 

The program encompasses diverse approaches to performing arts – from dance, digital sound, visuals and spoken word, to multidisciplinary performances involving directly the viewers to become an active part of the creative process. Through a corona-free platform for cross-border artistic exchange, the participating artists give virtual access to new ways of making art, expanding the horizons of how artists and art enthusiasts can connect.  

 Check the program and artists 

  • 15/11 Mounir Saeed – Between black and white 
  • 17/11 Aly Abdullah –  Time has what it thinks
  • 19/11 Lara Dâmaso Rodrigues –  A Love Letter to You is a Love Letter to Myself is a Love Letter to All
  • 22/11 Leila Awadallah & Salar Ansari – What hands say when the body is gone
  • 26/11 Ola Saad & Asmaa Azouz – ECHOSELF 
  • 29/11 Abdelrahman Hussein – Scrolling Down Through Numerical Accumulative Fragments
  • 1/12 Rana Hamadeh & Alaa Abu Asad – A Stroll in Essenburgpark
  • 3/12 Axelle Stiefel with Elisa Storelli & Philip Klein- Codex Operator (vorstellen.network
  • 8/12 Youness Atbane – I LIKE THIS TITLE
  • 10/12 Fatma Elzahraa with Salvatore Cataldo and Yunis – Display 
  • 11/12 Moamen Mohamed & Mahmoud Mahmoud Siam – Folkture
  • 13/12 Soukaina Joual  – The Moroccan Sheikha Soukaina 
  • 15/12 Malak Yacout – A Crack As A Sign … of Guilty Silence
  • 17/12 Samar Ezzat & Ibrahim Abdo – Waves 
  • 20/12 Salam Yousry with Sedky Sakhr & Shadi El-Husseiny &Youssra El-Hawary – About love 

hat’s left between Black and White

What’s the stage when you think you are between white and black? Is it the thoughts that go back and forth in your mind? is it neutrality? Is it the thoughts that emerge when you think you are always right or being stubborn? When your thoughts come out of your head and face you in reality, what will you say? A solo contemporary dance show explaining the thoughts and anxiety that a person faces in their isolation.

Mounir Saeed is a dance and music artist. Started his career in 2007, he received the Cairo Opera house’s excellence prize in Modern dance festival for his first solo “The game” in 2009. In 2016, “What about Dante” was awarded the 3rd prize at the 20th International Solo Dance Theater Festival in Stuttgart / Germany and later toured in Italy, Germany, USA, Spain, Lebanon and Morocco. Saeed recently finished his fellowship with Akademie Schloss Solitude revolving around the relation between dance and sound and presented his video dance project “When the body talks”. 


Time has what it thinks 

When you own nothing but speaking up, you become like the drowned, you know nothing about the next moment but that it might come, You may look at your arm and think that you have owned the whole of seas, but you are still uncertain about the next moment. The performance tries to speak by the tongue of what’s yet to come and its provisions. As a continuation of his last project “Internal exit”, Aly reprocesses the original text while he also introduces a new text that demolishes the idea of raw expression, that he had searched for before the provisions of time were applied. 

Aly Abdullah is an audio artist and writer. His audio productions vary between ambient, drone and conceptual music with the use of heavy and violent sound design. Since 2015, he has presented several spoken word performances and music shows. His latest project was the sound installation “Internal exit”, as a participating artwork in the group exhibition “We are seldom in two places at once. ” resulting from the 5th edition of “Student’s council” program. 


A Love Letter to You is a Love Letter to Myself is a Love Letter to All (2020)

A Love Letter to You is a Love Letter to Myself is a Love Letter to All (2020) was initially conceived as a lecture-performance for the 7/11-Performance-Supermarket at Theater Neumarkt in Zurich, Switzerland, taking place in the format of a peepshow. The stage was surrounded by three transparent plastic curtains behind each of which two persons could sit for 15 minutes. The performance was shown three times each one after another.

For With doors closed, artists go viral 2,  A Love Letter to You is a Love Letter to Myself is a Love Letter to All (2020)  will be staged for the format of the screen, between in and outside. 

By making the intimate public, Lara Dâmaso reflects on the understanding of love as something private and personal, thus addressing the necessity to communicate and share individual as well as relational processes and insecurities in order to build a fertile ground in which trustful, respectful human bonds can flourish.

Lara Dâmaso (b. 1996) works and lives in Zurich. After several years of intensive training in ballet and contemporary dance, she studied at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig in the art and media section and at the Zurich University of the Arts, ZHDK, where she obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts. Her artistic practice varies between performances, videos, appearances as a performer for various artists and DJ-sets. Her work has been shown in various institutions and off spaces such as Kunsthalle Zürich, Cabaret Voltaire, Plymouth Rock, Kunsthalle Bern, Centre Pasqu’Art.


What Hands Say When the Body Is Gone

What do hands say when the body is gone’ dwells on the simplicity of witnessing hands dance, to invite in what is seen and felt. Hands that touch, that care, that hurt, that love, that build, that destroy, that weave, that break, that hold and heal, that gather and grasp onto one another, becoming sculptures of their own architecture. An ephemeral sculpture of skin, flesh, bone and joints that becomes, dissolves and rebuilds. Hands that have fingers – alien like? Each one of billions unique in their fingerprints. So much so that they are stolen as a tool of surveillance and identification… passports, visas… pulled from the body, to represent the body, without the body.

Leila Awadallah is a Palestinian-American dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker. Born and based in Dakota & Anishinaabe land of Turtle Island (Minnesota, USA), she splits her time in Beirut, Lebanon. Her work ‘Body Watani’ explores dance making from meditations on ancestral bodily rememberings through durational and repetitive trance inducing improvisations to understand the ephemeral, living archive of the body. 

Born and raised in Tehran, Salar Ansari comes from a rich background of Iranian Culture, where dancing and music are an ancient tradition of passing down the history of people and coping with everyday life. A trained engineer, Salar is exposed to the world of electronic instruments in a traditional form. His commitment to the music and sound culture brought him to Detroit in 2015. He is the music director of Poetic Societies, Studio Manager of Luis Resto’s Studio and a member of his band, the Holy Fools. As an educator, Salar has lectured at The Interlochen Center for the Arts, SAE, Redbull workshops and more. 


Scrolling Down Through Numerical Accumulative Fragments

As the written history goes on as time goes, what will students study in schools in the next century? What parts of our history did our institutionalized education skip in favor of a more linear- comprehensive history book? Why are most of the current pop films produced in the new millennium fast-paced film? Why are we suffering from scrolling down endlessly in social media? What kind of knowledge is produced by seeking tertiary sources? What if our brain functions similarly to hard drives? And finally, what kind of knowledge we construct and identity we have upon this fragmented knowledge?

Acceleration and accumulation are two prominent features in the modern urban digitalized world. It is the core of contemporary evolution.

The live-interactive performance invites the audience to participate to answer a group of questions collectively, the questions revolve around our personal memories in public and private space that constructs our knowledge and identity such as school, home, and streets … etc.

The performer receives the answers of the individual participants to form one inclusive answer to each question. The final answer will collect all stories that have been told in an attempt to discover the process of knowledge fragmentation: how does it occur? When does it occur? And what are its consequences?

Abdelrahman Hussein (b. 1998) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Alexandria, Egypt. He is interested in working with still and moving image on the multi-faced relation between humans and space and discovering ways to harness the image to investigate the surrounding structures in modern everyday-life. His practice aims to discover ways to be political without politicizing, and how institutions influence individuals in societies of control within his experienced world. 

Currently, he is enrolled in a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting at The Faculty of Fine Arts, Alexandria University. He participated in Mass Alexandria’s Independent Studio & Study Programme 2018-19 in addition to a number of workshops and exhibitions.


ECHOSELF 

Your inner world is full of voices that talk to you, argue with you, at times haunt you, and at others even wrestle with you to get out and reach their purpose. And as usual, they stop at the brink of the lips to return to where they’ve come from, to remain wandering in your mind until they dissolve. These sounds remain hovering inside you, not necessarily bouncing back to the source of their emission like sound waves that take the path of light and reflecting in accordance to the angle of the surface they hit.  

Ola Saad is a sound and visual artist, based in Cairo. Graduated from the Faculty of Art Education in 2009. She has been working with sound art since 2009 when she participated in a sound art workshop with Ahmed Bassiony. She has participated in several concerts and festivals inside and outside of Egypt and was a member of the Egyptian Female Experimental Band. She believes that sound in itself is an interesting material to create and build unknown mysterious worlds. 

Asmaa Azouz is a sound and visual artist. Her sound artworks are classified as experimental contemporary music that conceptually relates to humanity and it’s interaction with environmental elements, and the role of the auditory memory in recalling mental images. She’s used to experimenting with raw sounds and its symbolism to create different kinds of moods based on different conceptual ideas. She currently works as a film music composer, and since 2015 as a professional instructor, and sound and music curriculum designer. 


Codex Operator – vorstellen.network

Axelle Stiefel (Switzerland) 

The idea of Elisa Storelli, Axelle Stiefel and Philipp Klein

Supported by Pro Helvetia

Powered by Artist Network Theory

Axelle Stiefel aka: The Operator presents a performative journey, navigating through the platform vorstellen.network.

vorstellen.network is a digital platform for peer to peer exchange among artists. It is developed to facilitate the connection of art fragments in order to induce qualitative dialogue with poetic value.

Art is a performative act and this tool is made to enlarge its field of action: artists conceive while receiving, responding, combining, sharing knowledge, networking. On the platform, this performance will appear as a collective artists’ research.

Axelle Stiefel (1988, New York, based in Geneva) works as an embedded artist in organizations. Her multimedia practice is inspired by a research axis consisting of a “textile metaphorology”. She is publishing a magazine called Artist Network Theory, which will launched in November 2020.


I LIKE THIS TITLE

‘I Like this Title’ reflects on its own working process. It deals with the concept of different disciplines, the codes of the stage space and public perception on different levels. 

How can an action be repeated without really copying it? Adaptation, paraphrasing, digital reconstruction lend legitimacy to the act of copying according to the principle of cause and effect. 

In this performative practice, a debate on ideas, text and movement is evolving, guided and discussed along with three aspects: diversion, processing and phenomenology. The aim is to transport the audience into a space of ambiguity/ probability between realism and fiction, lost in the reference and without linear narrative. 

Youness Atbane was born in 1982, and currently lives and works between Casablanca and Berlin. His artistic practice is based on a critical relationship to the fields of art, its actors and its geopolitics. He began to follow different programs and gained artistic experiences in the fields of performance and visual art in France, Morocco, Belgium and, Spain. In 2008, he took part in the Master Performing Art program “EX E.R.CE08” at the CCN of Montpelier. In 2010, he graduated with a master in Art,  Literature and Museology from the University of Nice. His practice consists of three areas: live performance as a space of reflection, installation making as an outcome of the performance act, and photography and drawing as an archive. All three areas are interconnected and interdependent. The exploratory nature of his work, which brings together performative and narrative practices, and the nature of his work, which shows both discursive and formal qualities.

Youness Atbane has exhibited his installations and performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, the parallel project in the Venice Biennale in 2011, Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art Mohammed VI in Rabat, the Ostrale Biennale in Dresden and recently Headland centre for the arts in San Francisco and Massmoca Museum in Massachusetts. British Museum & Museum in Marseille.


Display

Idea, dramatology and direction by Fatma El Zahraa

Performed by Salvatore Cataldo and Fatma El Zahraa

Music by Yunis

“Molding” and “Canning” are two concepts that seem similar. Yet, a little disassembly, focus, research and play are required to find the difference and contrast in meaning. This show focuses on the stereotypes that society puts us in, its expectations from us and its continuous attempts to preserve conformity and curb those who are different. The former takes place through a research/discussion/game/fight between two performers –Salvatore Cataldo and Fatma El Zahraa – in the presence of Yunis’s music. 

Fatma El Zahraa has been a performance artist since her childhood. She has worked in several independent theatre groups such as Hala group, Fantasia Group and others and participated in several physical theatre performances. In addition to working with several directors, such as Nourhan Khaled, Hazem Haedar, Shady Emad, she has directed several performances including “Al Magnoun” and “Soap Chess”. In 2016, Fatma El Zahraa founded “Transit for Art”, a cultural management start-up that provides consulting services to culture and arts professionals in Egypt and the Arab world. 

Salvatore Cataldo has acted on stage in Italy since a very tender age and studied acting from the age of 11. He began his path in Dance at the age of fifteen with Anatolian Folklore, then Classical Ballet, Modern Dance and Contemporary forms. Dance and Theater have brought him through Turkey, Italy, Germany, U.S.A, France and Egypt. He currently teaches Dance Techniques and works as a freelance dancer and Choreographer.

YUNIS (b. 1994 – Kafr El-Dauwar) is an Egyptian Ney/Keyboard/Electronics player, Music Producer, and music researcher interested in traditional Egyptian music. He has composed the soundtracks of some short films and documentaries and released two albums until now; “The Blue Djinn Dance” and “Ya Khal” He is also a co-founder of Kafr El-Dauwar Records.

Special thanks to Amr Khadr for the space, and to Amina Abouelghar, Amr Abdelaziz, Islam El- Arabi, Tamer Abdul-Hamid, Shady Emad.


Folkuture 

Moamen Mohamed and Semo Siam (Egypt) 

Heritage, culture, and art, between past and future, Folkuture is the temporal link that works to keep the heritage alive.

This work is an extension of the contemporary revival of the ancient Egyptian heritage. By preserving heritage we preserve identity and humanity. And we see nothing more apt than music to unite humans with one another in a time of crisis. Despite its evolution, music will remain the only language that man himself has created on earth and which all other languages ​​in the world understand, with rhythms and tones that the whole universe follows.

This work is an extension of the revival of ancient Egyptian heritage in a contemporary way with an electronic and visual twist. It was produced during quarantine in Egypt through joint cooperation between a group of artists taking part in a workshop.

An Alexandrian musician and songwriter, Semo Siam plays roots music such as reggae, Gnawa, and Egyptian folklore. Interested also in jazz and electronic music, he tries to integrate these genres with each other. Semo is the founder of the Safsafa band and has played with many other bands, in addition to participating in both local and international workshops. Semo released his first album “Farewell” in 2019.

Visual artist Moamen Mohamed started his artistic career in 2017 as an analogue photographer for raw 16mm and 35mm films, and in 2018 he moved to the field of visual arts. He has participated in many independent visual shows and in more than 20 photography exhibitions. Besides, he has held more than five solo visual projects. He is one of the graduates of the Jesuit Film Schools.


The Moroccan Sheikha Soukaina 

 Soukaina Joual  (Morocco) 

Upon my arrival to Egypt, almost everyone I came across would assume that all Moroccan women are practicing witchcraft, or at least have the knowledge of spell-casting and tarot reading. A while after moving there, I randomly stumbled upon an Egyptian TV channel that was promoting spell casting services by a woman who shares the same nationality and name as mine, Soukaina. The Moroccan Sheikha Soukaina is known for her power of solving all marriage problems, curing the evil eye, bringing the love and unlocking all kinds of buried and bound witchcraft using the Holy Quran. 

Through this work, I’m trying to shed light on the stereotype and national identity, and question the position and exact role of the witch and how she is perceived by society, who their customers/clientele are, and the different kinds of knowledge transmitted, preserved and possibly transformed.

Soukaina Joual is a Moroccan multi-disciplinary artist born in 1990, graduated from the National Institute of Fine Arts in Tetouan, Morocco in 2011. Her various works showcase an interest in how one’s body can translate and reflect various tensions, dynamics and differences. Most of the artist’s projects translate her commitment to various forms of presence, and how she trades various shifts between visibility and invisibility, belonging and absence. 


A Crack As A Sign … of Guilty Silence

Malak Yacout (Egypt)

“A Crack As A Sign … of Guilty Silence” is a performance that juxtaposes eczema against a narrative of retreating into silence. Thus, it examines the nature of the relationship that causes feelings – when we attempt to hide them through repression, retreat and silence (and in spite of it all) – to appear nevertheless on the human body.

Somewhere between fiction and reality, I approach real therapists using a persona: a fictional witness to some unknown injustice, who has missed opportunities to speak out, and whose silence has potentially led to an outbreak of eczema (skin rash). As this unnamed character, the conversations I hold with doctors will thus organically attempt to get at the bottom of the trigger of this outbreak and follow in some depth the possible relationship between silence (i.e. repressing feelings, retreat, holding back), guilt (imagined or not), and eczema.

This series of performances is only the third part of a larger work-in-progress currently being produced, “A Crack is a Sign …”, which explores the notion of skin as a signifier carrying some unattainable indeterminate meaning…


Waves

Choreography and performance: Samar Ezzat & Ibrahim Abdo

Music: Mohamed Bonga & Mohammed Sami

A dance piece about how two individuals found themselves immersed in particular emotions as if waves had been hurling at them at convergent, unpredictable times. The two stopped, listened; sometimes they felt nostalgic for past memories, resentment, love, grief, or manifested inspiring visions. Could they be messages from the universe? They initiated an inner journey that they decided to share and found support from one another along the way.

In 2006, Samar Ezzat started exploring contemporary dance trajectories through independent workshops led by instructors and choreographers from different countries, along with Capoeira martial art in 2012. Between 2013 till 2015, she took part in the full-time professional dance program at Cairo Contemporary Dance Center (CCDC), and since then has continued to receive diverse dance classes and workshops. In 2016 she also started to explore circus skills or aerial dance, especially with fabrics. Over the same years, she has been a contemporary dance instructor at CCDC.

Over the past years, Samar Ezzat has participated in contemporary dance performances that were presented among local and international festivals.

Ibrahim Abdo is a director, choreographer and dancer with a BA in Philosophy. He studied contemporary dance in the full-time program of CCDC and in 2016 started his research on the movement flow in the body. In 2017 he received the “Step beyond” travel grant to attend the Impulse-Tanz festival in Austria. Between 2017 and 2018, he took part in two residencies at Alanus University, Germany. In 2015, he started a series of meetings and residencies between Egyptian and Italian choreographers and in 2019, he received support by the Dutch embassy to attend the HJS summer course in Amsterdam, in addition to joining Anikaya Dance theatre for the project “Conference of Birds”. In parallel to his career as an artist, he is also active in community work with both adults and children with the aim to give them an opportunity to further explore vital powers and practice a different process of learning.


About love 

Live interactive performance (60’) 

Salam Yousry with Sedky Sakhr, Shadi El-Husseiny, Youssra El-Hawary, Michale Emad and Loka

An interactive online performance where four artists are going to create together with the participating audiences a love song. Through an interactive process where the audience participates in the writing of the song and the music composition, a personal definition of love will be put together collectively to produce a song facilitated and played by the four artists.

As participants and founders of The Choir Project (Mashroua Chorale) since 2010, Salam, Sedky, Shadi and Youssra have travelled to cities and villages in Egypt, the Middle East and Europe to facilitate collective creation workshops for over 10 years. 

Salam Yousry is a Cairo-based multidisciplinary artist born in 1982. He founded Al-Tamye Theatre Group in 2002 and the Combo Independent Festival in 2012.  After graduating in 2004 from the Painting Department in The Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University, Salam worked as a Teaching Assistant in the same department. In 2010, Salam founded The Choir Project and has since led community-based workshops in songwriting and performance across the Middle East, Europe and the United States. He has also produced and directed several music videos, ads, documentaries and short films. 

Shadi is a pianist, keyboardist, composer, actor and translator. Besides composing the soundtracks of several short and long feature films by independent Egyptian filmmakers, he regularly performs with Youssra El Hawary’s band and Kahareb. He is also one of the core members that started in 2010 the Choir Project – a series of songwriting and singing workshops.

Sedky Sakhr is an Egyptian actor and musician. Hehas been a member of “AlTamye Theatre Company” since 2003. He has acted in several short and feature films. Recently, he has also participated in a number of TV series including “Multifaceted”, “Why not?” & finally, “Ansaf Maganeen” or “Partially insane”. He is a musician with the choir project, and a founding member of Youssra El-Hawary’s band since 2012. Sedky also sang and performed the voice of the Prince in the first Egyptian feature animation film “The Knight and the Princess” in its English version.

Yousra El-Hawary is a musician, accordion player, songwriter, singer, and actress.

In 2006, she graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Theater and Cinema Décor and between 2015-2017 studied the accordion at CNIMA J. Mornet School in France. In 2007, she joined the Mud Theater Troupe and in 2010, she co-founded The Choir Project (Mashroua Chorale). In 2012, she founded her own music project with the name “Yousra El Hawary” and in 2017 produced her first album, Basem Nacine, in 2017. Yousra El-Hawary has held several improvisation and songwriting workshops with children with cultural institutions such as “Work and Hope Caravan”, the Jesuit Fathers School, Menya, and Dawar Arts. Moreover, between 2014 and 2015, she worked as a presenter for the radio program “Qadet Mazika” on Nogoum FM. 

OPEN CALL – WITH DOORS CLOSED ARTISTS GO VIRAL 2

Medrar for Contemporary Art is excited to launch the second edition of “With doors closed artists go viral”. This time, it expands its program and virtual reach not only to Egyptians but also Arab artists.  

The first edition was held last May-June 2020, inspired by the ambition to boost the unheard artistic need of expression of artists grappling with ongoing global issues. An online program of live art performances gave the young participants the opportunity to come forth by performing live in front of global virtual audiences. https://staging.medrar.org/doors/

Following the success of the first edition, with this new edition, Medrar hopes to encourage cultural exchange among Arab artists, acknowledge, award, and promote outstanding performances created by artists through a wide variety of interdisciplinary approaches, and engage regional and international audiences. 

In this prolonged period of global and regional uncertainty and distress in which we are asked to reinvent ourselves, Medrar calls for artists to reimagine formats for artistic expression and invites them to present their most recent and innovative ideas for performances to stage live through Medrar’s online platforms. Applicants are invited to take creative approaches to performing arts – whether in an apartment or artist’s studio or an open space – and encouraged to collaborate with other participants and the public through shared online spaces. Artists are invited to reflect on the novelties – whether challenges or benefits – entailed by conceiving a site-specific work in a non-arts environment, and explore notions of space and situatedness in relation to their artistic practice, as well as to experiment and push beyond the physical borders of participation and interaction with the audience.  

Questioning the idea that the digital world is disrupting human connections, Medrar motivates artists to explore and benefit from available digital technologies to bring new enriching perspectives to arts practices. It may be surprising how performing live could be both artistically inspiring and an effective human way for people to connect, express themselves and share interests, perceptions, thoughts, and tastes. 

“With doors closed, artists go viral 2” online program will run from November to December, showcasing to Medrar’s social media platforms a variety of live performances by emerging and defining voices of contemporary art and culture in the Arab world. 

 GUIDELINES AND ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: 

  • The call is open to Arab artists living in the Arab region or elsewhere 
  • The call does not impose any age limit and welcomes participants from all genders, backgrounds, and religions 
  • There are no theme or discipline restrictions. The selection criteria will be based on originality, creativity, and authenticity of the proposed performances. The program selection will encourage a variety of genres and disciplines. 
  • The proposed performance can range from theater, dance, music, lectures, spoken word, circus arts etc, and/or incorporate some or all of these through an interdisciplinary approach. 
  • The duration of the performance should not be less than 15 minutes and not exceed 40 minutes 
  • You can present a new creation or a readaptation of a performance you created and/or staged not before 2019. 
  • The selected artists will not be allowed to pre-record their performance and share it. They must perform live in front of a camera using any of the software suggested by Medrar to go live to Medrar’s Facebook account. 
  • The artist(s) can complement their live performance with additional online material, such as videos, photos, and written content. 
  • The selected artists living in Egypt will have the possibility to be supervised by an expert technician, who will provide technical support with the preparation and setting up, in order to ensure the best quality possible for the live performance. The setting up will be either done at the location chosen by the artist or at Medrar’s premises according to the artist’s preference and the logistic capacity of the place in terms of internet connection and devices. 
  • Medrar will support artists with a symbolic fee for each performance(regardless of the number of artists involved) provided after the end of the program

To apply, the applicants are required to fill the application form including all the required material. 

-Only applicants whose artworks are selected to participate in the exhibition will be notified via email, no later than 4 November 2020.

 Apply here 

For any questions regarding the application contact: victoria@medrar.org 

The deadline for receiving applications is 21 October 2020 

We’re looking forward to seeing your new artistic creations!

WITH DOORS CLOSED, ARTISTS GO VIRAL

“With doors closed, artists go viral” 
Biweekly program of live art performances 
 9 pm on Medrar’s Facebook page 

The pandemic is changing the art world as we used to know it. 

Forced to imposed solitude between the walls of their homes, artists find themselves without a community to engage and interact with. In a state of emergency, artists, more than anyone else, have the capacity to reflect  on and reinterpret changing realities. What better time to search for new ways to connect and create?  

With this online initiative taking place twice a week, a dozen artists will explore new digital tools to virtually disrupt the current physical restrictions on congregating. Performing live behind closed doors, their artistic creations will go viral to reach wider audiences. 

 Save the dates and follow the performances! 

  • Thursday 28/05, Then I run away, Mohamed Abdelkarim + Salah Badis 
  • Sunday 31/05, #3: A deconstructed fantasy, NAFAQ
  • Thursday 04/06, Folkloric Songs: When Erotica Was the Norm, Mahmoud Atef
  • Sunday 07/06, Conspiracy, Mona Gamil 
  • Thursday 11/06, Death Spells, Mena El Shazly & ongoing project
  • Sunday 14/06, Chatrooms: Or, How to Set Up for a Group Discussion in an Online Space, Engy Mohsen 
  • Thursday 18/06, 22/17, Islam Elnebishy 
  • Sunday 21/06, The sound of memes, Soheir Sharara 
  • Thursday 25/06, Interweave,  Mercedes Melchor and Abdelraheem Mohammed
  • Sunday 28/06, Soap chess, Fatma Elzahraa

Then I run away 

Dj lecture-reading / playlist. By listening to Raï music and reading texts and songs, artists Mohamed Abdelkarim and Salah Badis look into notions of Diaspora, Migration and Eroticism.

Mohamed Abdelkarim
A Cairo-based visual artist, he is committed to performative practices through multidisciplinary research, concerning perceptions of narration, singing, dancing, detecting and acts.

Salah Badis
Based in Algeria, he writes fiction and essays and translates from French. He is interested in the history of Rai music and loves to swim in the Mediterranean.


 #3: A deconstructed fantasy, NAFAQ 

Nafaq is a dance duet consisting of Hanin Tarek and Amina Abouelghar. Both Hanin and Amina started dancing from a young age. They joined swaggers crew in 2015 and in 2016 enrolled in the 3 year full time program of Cairo Contemporary Dance Center.
‘Nafaq 2: under construction’ was their first staged performance created together, which was performed under CCDC and MAAT in 2019.
They have both participated in many performances in the last few years and continue to train, dance, and explore movement together and alone.
Nafaq works on merging a variety of dance types such as Hip-hop, African dance, tap, and contemporary all together and does not wish to be held under any category.
Hanin and Amina have also been leading and teaching their own groove workshops focusing on the basics of hip hop and African dance. This collective was built based on expression, exploration, pleasure, and passion towards movement and dance.


“When sexuality was our normal routine in our songs,” Mahmoud Atef

The performance lecture explains the values of the bourgeois at the table of the language, by researching its exposed layers that were prevalent in songs of joy in the countryside, by knowing Khabib’s personality by reading it himself in his family of rural origin.

Mahmoud Atef, poet, Arabic calligraphy artist and free cultural journalist. Born in December 1983 in Najrij village, Basion Centre, Western Governorate. He loves Amr Diab, and he fears the sea.
Its first book, “This Time Has Won”, was released in August 2014 by Rawafed Publishing House, and its second book, “On the Edge of the World”, soon won the second prize in Al-Fahhi’s poetry with the 2016 Cairo Literature News.


Conspiracy, Mona Gamil 

Conspiracy asks the question: Who writes history in the age of the internet? Drawing on the tropes of science fiction and mystery, Conspiracy abandons the notion of an objective voice of history. Rather, it seeks to give a platform to the multitude of theories that arise in people’s minds, agitated by a lack of trust in the mass media, and repressed by censorship, theories inevitably channel their way into expression through one means or another. The safety of web anonymity offers an ideal environment for such theories to thrive. Conspiracy takes inspiration from these theories to create a multifaceted, multimedia performance that explores the lengths to which people will go to “make sense” of chaos, to create an archive of ideas that are as true as they are false.

Mona Gamil is a Cairo-based Irish Egyptian artist, and choreographer. Gamil earned her B.A. in Art from the American University in Cairo and M.A. from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, where she researched the applications of cyborg theory to augmented reality theatre and contemporary dance. Gamil draws on live performance, visual, and sound installation to explore questions of identity, ambiguity, and power. Her recent works include Safe Art Practice, a tongue in cheek guide to achieving professionalism and creative bliss in the arts (New York/ Berlin), and Notes From A Rehearsal (Dublin).


Death spells, Mena El Shazly & ongoing project 

Death spells is an international food and afterlifestyle TV channel owned by Mena El Shazly & ongoing project. The free-to-air channel broadcasts talk shows and advertisements dealing with parallel promises of immortality made by ancient Egyptian rituals and social media. The channel’s motto is “And you defeated mortality, and became a star in the sky, shining eternally”.

Mena El Shazly is a visual artist and researcher concerned with entropy, the body and sensitive surfaces that carry knowledge and memory.

ongoing project was founded by Chris Herzog, Lisa Schwalb, Alma Wellner Bou, Alexander Bauer and Ferdinand Klüsener at the Institute for Applied Theater Studies, Gießen in 2009. They use the field of performance to look into social concerns


Chatrooms: Or, How to Set Up for a Group Discussion in an Online Space by Engy Mohsen 

We navigate virtual spaces every day. Rooms, meetings, hangouts, groups, stories, posts, email threads, voice notes. Houseparty. These spaces are built on an internet connection and maybe a front camera. There was a moment in time when we would link up with others online just to pass time. Then, it became a necessity, to make up for our longing for any form of human connection.

A lecture performance in three acts that looks at how we used to interact with virtual encounters before, during and after socially-distant times.

Engy Mohsen (b. 1995, Egypt) is an architect and visual artist based in Cairo. While spatial design remains at the core of her practice, she also works with discursive acts, conversation as a medium, text, photography, painting, and performance. She is exploring notions of ‘participation’ and ‘collectivity’ by designing formats of meetings that invite non-artists and artists to produce knowledge about how spaces can be organized to include the ‘other’. She has a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and participated in Roznama Studio Program and MASS Alexandria. Her works have been part of group shows in Abu Dhabi, Alexandria, Amman, Beirut, Ramallah, Cairo, London, and Venice.


Don’t watch 

Directed by Islam Elnebishy
Performed by Amr Shalaby, Abdelrahman Ahmed, Islam Elnebishy

The crowd, so many opportunities, so much information, so much pain and frustration, tired of looking for something. War? War is war. Rattling, nothingness. Little value and meaning. Emptiness, hard to endure and to sit with yourself, unable not to do and not having to do.
I am tired!
How to reconcile and continue?
And what about all these videos everywhere, all these scenes, all these stories, where do I stand among all this.
The more you watch, the more lonely you will be.
This momentum, and the anger… in reality? Or just inside me?
Do not reconcile or watch.


The sound of memes by Soheir Sharara 

When the isolation began, we were ready. We spent the previous years building our new personas behind the closed doors of an alternative virtual reality. A new space to reflect and coexist together ruled by algorithmically organized chaos, where the only survivor is a meme. Encrypted, disguised way of communication hidden beneath humor and sarcasm. A defense mechanism in times of defeat; a confirmation that one is never alone. “The Sound Of Memes” is a live dance performance; a brief experience of the body, the vessel that carries scars, in which memes deconstruct, decrypt and re-encrypt our modern alienation.

Soheir Sharara, dancer, performer and visual artist. Soheir’s work is mainly based on research, investigating and interrogating daily life associated with the online public sphere. Sharara experiments with different approaches related to image, sound and text in the absence/presence of the body. Artworks were exhibited in Cairo Video Festival, Townhouse gallery in Cairo, Egypt, as well as MADATAC Festival in Madrid, Spain and Timeline BH International Video Art Festival in Brazil.


Interweave by Mercedes Melchor & Abdelraheem Mohamed 

Interweave is a piece that attempts to discover the interaction space between different types of dances, movements and cultures and evoke nostalgia for some traditional music genres and expressions while combining them with contemporary movements. This piece emerged from the idea of encompassing different elements and the possibility of finding the connection between them.

Mercedes Melchor is a Spanish freelancer Flamenco and Funky dancer and performer from Ávila. She started to dance Flamenco and Spanish dance at the age of 6 and became a dancer and member of the cultural association “Emma Lucena” in 2002. She is also a Martial Art practitioner and a full-time student at “Meshkah”.

Abdelraheem Mohamed is a freelance Contemporary Dancer and Martial Artist. He graduated from Cairo Contemporary Center and “Meshkah” Martial Arts School. Apart from being a Contemporary Dance teacher, he has performed with local and international choreographers since 2013.


Soap Chess – work in progress 

“Soap Chess” is a work-in-progress multidisciplinary performance. It explores aspects of the life of a twenty-year-old woman who puts herself in self-imprisonment to protect herself from what is happening in the outside world. A bearable self-imposed-quarantine that we are living in right now to avoid the wrath of the epidemic. We examine her monotonous reality and eventful imagination through a long letter in which she tells her diaries to her friend in prison.

Written and performed by: Fatma El Zahraa

Sound recording and editing: Heidi AL-Sabban “Daddou”

Audio Engineer: Amr Hashem

Queen piece designer: Mohamed Abou Elmaati

Special thanks to: Ahmed Fathy, Hend Moaaz, Mostafa Abdel Aty, Shady Emad.

Fatma El Zahraa has been a performance artist since her childhood. She has worked in several independent theatre groups such as Hala group, Fantasia Group and others. Fatma has worked in “Sawa workshop” in Townhouse Gallery as a trainer for the children’s theatre team for five years. While managing the workshop with the rest of the team, she participated in several physical theatre performances and worked with several directors such as Nourhan Khaled, Hazem Haedar, Monadel Anter, Shady Emad and others.

In 2016, Fatma El Zahraa founded (Transit for Art), a cultural management start-up that provides consulting services to culture and arts professionals in Egypt and the Arab world. Transit has contributed to the management of several art projects for actors, venues and artists. Fatma has worked for several cultural institutions as a culture manager such as Medrar for contemporary art, Bahgaga Band, Luke Lehner studios and Bashkateb Space.

Fatma has a huge interest in writing for theatre, and literary translation, she participated in the translation of films and videos of the ninth session of the Cairo Video Festival and currently, she is working on translating a novel by Inga Abele to be published with Al Mahrousa publishing house.

ARTIST TALK: NIKOLAS CHASSER SKILBECK

Nikolas Chasser Skilbeck’s work offers a singular vision into a pictural world of “poetic strangeness”. Through different devices (HD led screen, mapping on buildings, installation, hologrammes) and with a strong inspiration from art and film history, his videos share their different experiences of time and take us into a contemplative universe.

Nikolas Chasser Skilbeck will present the work created during his residency at the Fayoum Art Center in Tunis Village.

The residency was organized by the CCC OD art centre in France with the help of the Institut français d’Égypte in Cairo and was held last October.

15th of December, 6.30pm @ Medrar.

Still Frame from:
Lake Qarun
4K Video, 7’18”
Nikolas Chasser Skilbeck 2019

The closure Roznama 6 – studio program in collaboration with D-Caf

We invite you to a week of events with the public in the closer of Roznama 6 program, after seven months of meetings, discussions, work, and collective thinking, through the frameworks of fellowship, and partnership.

Roznama 6 Studio program imagines an educational and social space. At its first edition, nine participants joined the program which relied on several intersecting paths, addressing the location of artists and in their surroundings related to language and material, history, authority, and concepts of work. Through these pathways, we have worked to extract concepts such as beauty, authenticity, and fatigue from their familiar contexts, and to reshape them within the artistic contexts of the process. Over the past months from March to August, the participants engaged in workshops and work groups that extend the length of the program, in addition to individual meetings with external consultants. The program’s structure constitutes two sessions of collective criticism that meet and demonstrate the program’s trajectories and implications, during which fellows presented projects developed during their time.

These events are held at the end of the term and open the discussion to a more diverse audience, where we bring back the ideas and discussions that inspired us during the program period.

We would be delighted if you could join us for our six nights of self-reflection and discussion.

// Fellows of Roznama 6 Studio of the year 2018//

Esraa Elfeki, Engy Mohsen, Aya Elsayed, Shadwa Ali. Mohamed Esmail Shawki, Marwan Elgamal. Mariam Hamdi, Hadia Mahmoud, and Hend Moaz.

// 2018 Program designed by //

Ahmed Elbadry, Mohamed Abdelkarim, and Nour Elsafoury

// Program Coordinator //

Nada Fathy

Rosnama 6 Studio Program in collaboration with D-Caf is an initiative of Medrar for Contemporary Art under the framework of D-Caf Festival’s Visual Arts Program at its seventh edition. This program would not have been possible without the invitation and cooperation of the D-Caf Festival to hold and implement it. We would also like to thank gallery Gypsum and Ismailia Real Estate Investment Company for their continued support of Roznama.

Thanks to all the fellows and consultants who contributed to Roznama 6

The schedule:

Monday – September 24:

// From 7 to 7:30 PM// Snippets of the expert fellows of Roznama//

// from 8 – 10 PM//: open discussion about education and learning in art through Roznama 6 publication which will be distributed before the closure and will be available in the studios during the week.

// from 10 – 11 PM //: Internal Broadcast: 

Audio broadcasts that include songs, poetry, recordings, and discussions nominated by Roznama 6 fellows. 

Tuesday – September 25:

// From 6 – 7:30 PM// Open discussion with the audience //

Starting with Aya Elsayed. Esraa Elfekki, and Hend Moaz. Aya worked on a project that merges interest in educational pedagogies in artistic spaces with photography’s relationship to memory and our personal archive. Esraa began her project of genocide research and developed it to contain a study into the aesthetics of speeches that merge political power with conspiracy. Hend views the intersection between art and torture through concepts borrowed from historical narratives. As a start to the discussion, part of these projects will be publicly available.

Wednesday – 26 September //Off//

Thursday – 27 September:

//From 6 – 7 PM// Open discussions with the Audience: with Marwan El Gamal and Shadwa Ali. Marwan talks to us about his project in which he uses visual and audio language that he has developed throughout his previous projects and about the kind of experience that the audience aspires to have. You will be able to watch an installation that was made by Marwan during the program. Shadwa then takes us on a sound trip in her studio through her project in which she uses a sound medium and recorded metro materials.

//From 7, 30 M-9// Discussion with Nour Emam: In this discussion, Nour will tell us about her project “Islam in the 21st Century: Inserting Electronic Music into the Rituals of the Sufi circles”, which she had worked on for two years. It shows us her experience of inserting electronic music as part of religious ritual circles and its impact on participants’ experiences. Questions were also raised about the location of the ethnologist during the fieldwork and the artist’s ownership of the work she carried out within the framework of those circles. Nour Emam ran a workshop in July with the fellows of Roznama 6 on the history of sound practices.

Friday – 28 September:

// From 6 – 7:30 PM // Open discussion with the audience: with Engy Mohsen, Mariam Hamdi, and Hadia Mahmoud. Engy is interested in social artistic practices. She will talk about her project “The Act of Conversing in a Space that Remembers” and interacting with an audience through a performance artwork. Mariam is interested in the medium of photography and is concerned with the relationship between social media platforms and predecessor images. Hadia works on her project with rubber and we will talk about her relationship with material and the concepts of beauty and ugliness. They will present their work in the studio space to start the discussion.

// From 8 – 9 PM // About the collective work: Fellows present their experiences of collective work through diverse projects they have undertaken during the program, along with some proposals related to the concept of collective work, policies, and tools. The discussion is moderated by Mohammed Abdul Karim.

Saturday – 29 September:

// From 6 – 6:30 PM // Open discussion with the audience: with Mohamed Esmail Shawki who will talk about the project that he made during the program and the action steps to work in public spaces.

// From 6 – 6:30 PM // About the artist, institution, and sustainability: A discussion on the economic relationship between artists and institutions, presented by the fellows through the presentation of materials from field research they carried out during the program period. We see this debate as a necessary complement to field research and an opportunity to initiate a dialogue involving art institutions for a more sustainable space. The discussion is moderated by Mohammed Abdul Karim.

ROZNAMA STUDIO PROGRAM IN COLLABORATION WITH D-CAF

Roznama Studio Program 
In Collaboration with D-CAF 

In November 2017, Medrar, in collaboration with jury members, issued a statement explaining the reasons behind the cancellation of the sixth edition of the Roznama competition. D-CAF responded to the statement by inviting Medrar to structure its visual arts program in 2018. The conversations between Medrar and D-CAF built on a shared interest to support Egyptian artists and facilitate the existence of more spaces for sustainable artistic production within our shared local contexts.

Ahmed Badry, Mohamed Abdelkarim, and Nour El Safoury have been invited by Medrar to design and run the program over a period of six months. Fellows in the program will engage together in a space that aspires to contextualize artistic practice within a critical, theoretical framework that supports the making of new projects. The program is structured around a series of individual and group exchanges, working groups, and visits from and to artists and academics. It supports production and defrays some of the costs entailed in participating through offering a symbolic scholarship and studio working spaces.

 About the program 

The program relies on several intersecting lines of inquiry. Together, they explore the situatedness of the artist within her or his surrounding environments and contexts, including matters such as language and material, history and power, and notions around labour and art. We will re-question aesthetic concepts such as beauty, originality, authenticity, and uniqueness by appropriating them within a speculative and investigative artistic process.

Over the period of six months, participants will engage in a number of activities that intersect with and feed into the artistic process. These include writing, watching, listening, tasting, moving, experimenting with materials, and site visits. The program includes both internal collaborators who will work together throughout the period of the program as well as a group of external advisors whom every participant will consult throughout the six months. Two group criticism sessions, to whom different visitors will be invited, will form the structuring backbone of this program and give it direction.

FEMALE – FemLink-Art, The International Video-Artists Collective

a video-collage: 30 videos – 30 artists – 30 countries, 62 min.

The structure is simple: one artist / one country creates a short video for FemLink (2 min. maximum) around a common topic.

The videos are included in video-collages. The collage is considered itself as an artistic video work made up with singular videos. Each video takes part definitely to the collage.

Femlink was created to in opposition to speech exclusion, boundaries between the works and the world so that other views, other ways to comprehend the world might be allowed.

Kikai de Mirukoto / the Pioneers of Japanese Videoart 

Art documentary on the early days of video art in Japan
Thurs, August 17, 7:30 pm

VCT/ VIDEOART CENTER Tokyo presents a documentary video “KIKAI DE MIRUKOTO- the Pioneers of Japanese Video Arts”, with oral history and video pieces of early video artists in Japan.

VIDEO became to be a medium that inspired us to discover the world…

In the late 1960s, between Tokyo Olympic in 1964 and Osaka Expo in 1970, portable video equipment became available on the market, giving people an opportunity to shoot moving images and replay them immediately.

The documentary includes interviews with artists Katsuhiro YAMAGUCHI, Toshio MATSUMOTO, Fujiko NAKAYA, Takahiko IIMURA, Hakudo KOBAYASHI, Keigo YAMAMOTO, Ko NAKAJIMA, Nobuhiro KAWANAKA, Mako IDEMITSU, Sakumi HAGIWARA, Kohei ANDO, Canadian artist Michael GOLDBERG, MoMA curator Barbara LONDON and Nam June PAIK’s life partner, Shigeko KUBOTA, and his engineer, Shuya ABE. Including a range of excerpts of selected video art pieces, this documentary reflects on the meaning of “VIDEO” which originally had meant “I see” in Latin. We present the roots of media art from the islands that gave birth to Sony and Panasonic!

HDV, 80min, 2012, Region free/ALL

Director: Kentaro TAKI, camera:Naoya OOE

Supported by The Japan World Exposition 1970 Commemorative Fund

For more information: http://kikai-de-mirukoto.vctokyo.org/


Second Comics Week in Egypt – Exhibition by Swiss artist Barbara Mauli

Second Comics Week in Egypt
Exhibition by Swiss artist Barbara Mauli

Opening 3 February 2015 7 p.m.
The exhibition lasts from 3 to 7 November 2015.

Exhibit daily from 3pm to 9pm except Friday

Medrar will host at 7pm next Monday 2 November 2015 the opening of the second edition of “Comics Week in Egypt” which this year sees entries from Switzerland, England, Germany, and the United States as well as extensive entries by Egyptian artists.

The organization of “Sefsafa” for the second cycle of COMICS Week is part of the Foundation’s attempt to publicize this area and promote the exchange of experiences between Egyptians and Europeans on the one hand, and Egyptian artists and some others on the other, as well as the most important challenges facing COMICS art in Egypt and the prospects it presents for young people.

This week was chosen as the “art of comics and freedom of expression”, where one cannot live without the other.

This year’s cycle includes two training workshops for amateurs and professionals, two round tables on the art of “comics and freedom of expression”, one on “Independent publishing in comics”, an exhibition by artist Barbara Moyle (Switzerland) and another exhibition compiled by a number of Egyptian artists.

Egyptian artist Khaled al-Safati will be honored on the closing day for his pioneering role in promoting the field of comics in Egypt.