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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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 FestivalThursday, July 19th, 2018 at 8:33pm
We are Hiring !
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D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts FestivalMonday, July 9th, 2018 at 2:35am
We are proud to announce that duo 'The Architects' A Performance By Younes Atabane who preformed at he AAF- Arab Arts Focus during D-CAFs 7th edition will be at Zürcher Theater Spektakel in August 2018.

Congrats Youness Atbane!

https://www.theaterspektakel.ch/en/program18/production/youness-atbane-youness-aboulakoul/
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival
Medrar TV
This performance features a documentary made in the year 2045, where political conflicts have changed the world to a degree that only memories of #art remain. Youness Atbane looks back at the dynamics of contemporary Moroccan art and takes the audience to an ambiguous space between reality and fiction. The Second Copy: 2045 was shown in the Arab Arts Focus program of D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival. https://youtu.be/9_ptaYRo24w Basma Hamed Mohamed Allam Mohammad Helmy Mohamed Samir Saad Dina Jereidini Asmaa Zayed
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts FestivalFriday, June 29th, 2018 at 1:28am
Seven Years running and still strong !
How many Editions did you catch?!

سبع سنين و لسى مكمليين !
كم سنة بقلكم بتحضروا دي-كاف؟

#TBT #throwbackthursday #7 #festivals #contemporary #arts #DCAF
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts FestivalSaturday, June 23rd, 2018 at 2:30am
This Year D-CAFs Music Programme had three very diverse Music Concerts
-With Samira Said (Morocco/​E​gypt), Pink Oculus (The Netherlands), Elbi (France), And Shahira Welnas Elkhatira (Egypt)
-Tarek Yamani, Out Of Nations And El Sawareekh (Lebanon/usa/germany/egypt)
-Bachar Mar-khalifé, Bit-tuner & Andro El Hawy + El Sweasy And Teklife & Islam Chipsy + Sadat (France/lebanon/switzerland/usa/egypt)

Who do you think will be on stage at D-CAF19 ?

السنادي في دي كاف كان 3 حفلات مزيكا مختلفة من بلاد مختلفة متنوعة
(سميرة سعيد و فرق عالمية (بينك اوكيولس, إلبي ,شهيرة و الناس الخطيرة
الصواريخ/NATIONS OF OUT/طارق يمني
بشار مار-خليفة / بيت تيونر / ١٠٠ نسخة/ تك لايف

تتوقعوا مين هيكون في حفلات دي-كاف 19؟
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D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts FestivalFriday, June 15th, 2018 at 6:10am
The Orient for Film & Theater Productions family wishes you a Happy Eid
عيد مبارك
و كل عام انتم بخير!
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival
D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts FestivalThursday, June 14th, 2018 at 12:14am
D-CAF 18 is still rolling!

A group of lecturers and students from German University in Cairo visiting D-CAF visual arts programme// Roznama studio program Followed by entertainment night of the week here at The space held by and at one of the participating artists from our programme

دي-كاف 18!
مجموعة من اساتذة و طلاب الجامعة الالمانية فى زيارة الى ستوديوا روزناما و شاركوا فى عرض لاحدى الفنانين المشاركين بالبرنامج

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