Berit Schuck Opens up on Visual Arts Program

Berit Schuck

With D-CAF just around the corner, Visual Arts Curator Berit Schuck outlines her plans for the festivities…

 

Can you introduce this year’s D-CAF Visual Arts Program?

When the director of D-CAF, Ahmed El Attar, asked me to be the Curator of this year’s Visual Arts Program, I proposed to look at exhibitions differently, considering that the act of showing contemporary art in Egypt has become increasingly difficult over the past six years, specifically for artists and art institutions that work across disciplines, cultures, and media. To do research, create a new work, develop an exhibition format, and discuss it with various audiences has become a critical, performative, without even looking at the content of the works. So, I decided to show present manifestations of contemporary art that reflect on the current circumstances and to present them in the form of an imaginary museum.

Can you elaborate on the format of your exhibition?

The artists I have recently worked with produce on the spot, process-oriented and site-specific. The thread that binds them together is their interest in defining new spaces for research, production and discussions. For instance, Adelita Husni-Bey, an artist who was born in Italy and now lives in New York, creates learning spaces by using experimental pedagogy in her work. This inspired me to look at what the artists do more closely. I found out that in addition to Adelita’s spaces that I call learning spaces, other artists I am interested in work with the idea of the museum. It almost seemed natural to combine what they do and give it a title. So, the title of my exhibition, the Cairo Museum of Contemporary Art, originated from the artists’s proposals.

Does that mean the program will have a theme?

Yes, I have invited three artists who are all interested in the question what contemporary art does and more specifically what kind of social and political spaces it performs. Which means the CAMOCA is not an actual site, but rather an auctorial device. When you think about my programme as a programme of a museum, it all over the sudden open the possibility to talk about an imaginary institutional space that we don’t have here in Cairo, but which would allow to show art projects and exhibtiions by contempoaryr artists more regularly, speak about themes that are not addressed by the museums we have, and preserve what contemporary art practices make visible for the next generation.

Can you elaborate more on that concept of responsive, or site-specific work?

Let’s begin with Manuel Pelmus, a Romanian choreographer who has worked in the field of visual arts for the past couple of years. Manuel is known for the immaterial works that he has staged with the artist Maria Alexandria Pirici at the most renowned art institutions for contemporary art, for instance the Centre Pompidou and Tate Modern. In 2015, Manuel was asked to create a new performative action for the Kyiv Biennale, and he chose to work at the National Museum of Kyiv, which was super political since he invited only female performers to respond to the current exhibition of that museum called ‘Heroes’, an exhibition about significant male characters of the country throughout history. Last year, he worked with non-professional performers at SALT in Istanbul and asked them to re-enact, one of his earlier works called Public Collection of Modern Art. Here in Cairo he will work with local performers, dancers and writers and ask them to enact a museum of contemporary art for Cairo. His work fo rthe BVisual Arts Program will be exploring and reflecting on art museums. I am happy that Manuel decided to work with performers and artists who live and work in Cairo and are aware of where art museums and public collections stand here.

Which other artists have you invited to take part in the Visual Arts Program?

The second artist is Adelita Husni-Bey whom I have mentioned already. Adelita won’t be able to come to Cairo (Note: Adelita Husni-Bey has been invited to represent Italy at the Venice Biennale which opens in May), but has agreed to show two of her recent works with Arabic translation. So, I will show her film After the Finish Line and her book In the Cloud – two of her most recent works – for the first time in Cairo. Both have been realised for Movement Break, the artist’s first exhibition in the United States at the Kadist Foundation in San Francisco (2015). Both are based on constructive research using experimental pedagogy and reflect on the culture of competition embodied by American teenager athletes. There’ll be space for a discussion of the works and of questions like “where does the pressure to continuously perform really stem from”?  The third artist that I have invited is actually an artist duo, the British artists Noor Afshan Mirza & Brad Butler who have been working together for almost twenty years and have until now published their practice as part of the Museum of Non-Participation (2008-2016), a multi-layered project, that started when they saw a demonstration of Pakistani workers through the window of an art museum that featured an exhibition about inclusion and exclusion, but not the workers’ struggle. For the 6th edition of the D-CAF, Noor & Brad will now connect earlier works including two video works from 2012 and 2014 and The Ectoplasm of Neoliberalism, a series of digital prints on silks, with their current research project that looks into the state of the state of Turkey. Called Mother, loosen my tongue or adorn mw with a lighter burden, will be thus an exhibition-in-progress. The artists will animate their installation with private and public conversations as well as a production-oriented workshop on the collages and the political and social function it performs.

What are the spaces that you envision using for the Visual Arts Program?

We will use the Kodak Passageway to show Manuel’s work and host discussions. Adelita’s work will be in installed in the Kodak Gallery facing the street. Noor & Brad’s exhibition, the first exhibition of their practice in Egypt, will occupy a 12-room apartment on Hoda Shaarawi Street, which is great. Hoda Shaarawi was the first first female activist to organise a demonstration in Cairo. Three additional rooms on the same floor of the artists apartment will be used by writers who live and work in Cairo to cover the events that will complement the exhibtions and to produce various online publications over the duration of the Visual Arts Program.

 

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Joop Oank on the way to Cairo for the street performance. We can't wait to see the reactions of everyone in public. pic.twitter.com/kjhP…

D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival

Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF) is Egypt’s first international multi-disciplinary contemporary arts festival. The 6th edition of D-CAF (#DCAF17) will take place over three weeks from the 17th of March to the 8th of April 2017 at multiple sites in Downtown Cairo. D-CAF will include local, regional and international music, theatre, dance, visual arts and film by cutting-edge artists from Egypt, the Arab world, and beyond. In addition to featuring established Downtown cultural spaces and theatres, D-CAF uses non-traditional sites such as historical buildings, storefronts, alleyways, and rooftops as sites for performances, events, and arts installations, with the aim of bringing audiences and performers to engage with the city in a new way. With its diverse and first-rate programming, D-CAF aspires to become one of the most important annual Arab art events by reaching out to a broad spectrum of Egyptian audiences, creating bridges between Arab artists, international curators and programmers, as well as capitalising on Downtown Cairo’s unique cultural, social and architectural heritage. Furthermore, the D-CAF team seeks not just to bring the best in international contemporary culture to Cairo, but also to deliver a highly professional and well-publicised international festival. Follow us on: Instagram: @dcafegypt Twitter: https://twitter.com/DCAFEgypt Press: www.dcafpress.com Blog: www.d-caf.org/blog
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts FestivalWednesday, September 20th, 2017 at 1:56am
صور من برنامج الفنون المعاصرة بنسخة دي-كاف ٢٠١٧

متحف الفن المعاصر للفنان مانويل بلموس (رومانيا)
تكمن الفكرة وراء المشروع في تجسيد مجموعة دائمة محتملة أو متحف محتمل للفنون المعاصرة من خلال الحركة والأجساد والأحاديث والأصوات. وباستخدام مانيفستوهات وإشارات ووقائع من أربعينيات القرن العشرين حتى الآن، ركز متحف الفن المعاصر على الطرق التي اعتدنا أن نرى بها الفن الحديث والمعاصر في مصر. كذلك، مثّل بناية كوداك وممرها أيضاً نقطة التقاء للجمهور، بالإضافة إلى كونها منصة لسلسلة من المحاضرات المسائية والمناقشات وعروض الأفلام والندوات مع الفنانين.

Photos from D-CAF 2017 Visual Arts: Museum Of Contemporary Art MoCA

An art project conceived by Romanian artist Manuel Pelmuş.
The idea was to enact a potential museum of contemporary art through movements, bodies, speeches and voices. Using manifestos, gestures and incidents from the 1940s until today, the MoCA focused on the ways we are used to see modern and contemporary art in Egypt.
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts FestivalMonday, September 18th, 2017 at 9:31pm
مقالة الاهرام online عن نجاح الملتقى الدولي للفنون العربية المعاصرة ' بأكبر مهرجان للفنون بادنبره اسكتلندا رغم رفض كثير من تأشيرات فريق العمل والفنانين

D-CAF's AAF- Arab Arts Focus programme made waves at the 70th Edinburgh Festival Fringe last month, despite numerous challenges caused by visa rejections by UK." - Great Article! Ahram Online: Arts and Culture Thank you!

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2x8oHmJ
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts FestivalThursday, September 14th, 2017 at 9:59pm
Throwback to one of #DCAF17 most enchanting nights!
حفلة الشيخ ياسين التهامي و الفريق الدنماركي دان سورتي سكول في النسخة السادسة لمهرجان دي-كاف في مارس ٢٠١٧

Shiekh Yassin El tohamy brought his enchanting, soul-reviving Sufi songs out of El-Mouled into the The Greek Campus stage for D-CAF’s 6th edition. His performance was followed by Den Sorte Skole who brought their Electronic/Moroccan traditional/Reggae/tribal hymns music from Denmark to cairo for the festival.Den Sorte skole collaborated with Islam Chipsy and 100copies Music together brought us a duo performance for 10mins that was followed by Den sorte skole alone.
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts FestivalTuesday, September 12th, 2017 at 1:43am
Residency opportunity offered by CCA Glasgow for Egyptian Visual Artists:

CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS, GLASGOW is offering a good opportunity for Visual artists from Egypt. You can apply for a three-month self-directed residency at CCA: Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, Scotland from July 1 to September 30, 2018. The deadline for applications is December 15.

More info & Application: http://bit.ly/2wk7n9z
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts FestivalFriday, September 1st, 2017 at 1:58am
كل سنة و انتم طيبين. عيد سعيد🙂
Orient for Film & Theater Productions
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts FestivalThursday, August 24th, 2017 at 9:40am
The English laugher, presenter, political satirist and journalist Mark Thomas is on AAF- Arab Arts Focus 's performance: #ChillHabibi stage now and Reading outloud the Visa Refusal letters!

#HappeningNow #AAF #ArabArtsFocus #MarkThomas #UK #Edinburgh #Edfringe #Fringe
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival

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