|The new generation of artists and intellectuals in the Middle East are breaking the mould in creative circles. They reject all attempts to categorize them collectively and are as critical of the Western conception of the Orient as they are of the social conditions encountered in the region. The new art is political, one which reflects on moral values and the dominant religious and political codes. Arab artists and intellectuals ponder intensively over how to dismantle the Wests image of the Orient; meanwhile the stereotypical conceptions prevalent in the West live on. In rising to the specific challenge posed by this process of enlightenment the DisORIENTation programme endeavours to design a tableau that makes the diversity and exciting topicality of Arab art in the Middle East more accessible for a western public. This is no rarefied notion from the realms of theory; the sensory fabric of the projects themselves provide a change of perspective.
DisORIENTation is the product of direct cooperation between experts and cultural institutions in the region on the one hand and the House of World Cultures in Berlin on the other. Curator of the art exhibition is Jack Persekian, founder and director of the Anadiel Gallery and director of the Al-Mamal Foundation for Contemporary Art in Jerusalem. The film programme was put together by the documentary maker Omar Amiralay (Paris/Damascus/Beirut) and the performing arts section is the work of Tarek Abou El Fetouh, Director of the Young Arab Theatre Fund (Cairo/Brussels).
DisORIENTation is the attempt to forge a relationship between Berlin/ Central Europe and the Arab world and to show the contexts in which creative activity there occurs, with all its social and political implications. A key element in this endeavour are the interdisciplinary workshops in which selected artists from the region assemble in Berlin to work for DisORIENTation on their respective oeuvres and come to exchange ideas with German artists.
House of World Culures, Press office, John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, 10557 Berlin
Christine Regus Tel: ++49 30 397 87-153, Fax ++49 30 3948679, firstname.lastname@example.org
or for Literature and Conferences:
Petra Stegmann Tel: ++49 30 39787291, Fax ++49 30 3948679, email@example.com
The DisORIENTation workshops, supported by the Capital Culture Fund, will be acting as crucibles for many new projects in the fields of performing arts, fine arts and music. They will also be the base for discussions and lectures giving Berlin audiences an insight into the production methods of artists in the Middle East and the conditions in which they work: a new forum for cultural exchange has been set up under the broad roof that is DisORIENTation.
A number of public events, listed below, will be taking place before the opening of DisORIENTation on 20 March 2003:
Berlinale Talent Campus (Film)
>>> 10 14 February 2003
>>> Haus der Kulturen der Welt
The Talent Campus section of the Berlin Film Festival is designed to enable young filmmakers of all countries to interact with some of the established names of the business. Omar Amiralay, head of the DisORIENTation film programme, will be leading a workshop and the two young filmmakers Marwan Hamed from Egypt and Mona Merhi from Lebanon will also be taking part.
Mapping Sitting (Fine Arts)
>>>16 March 2003, 3pm,
>>>Gallery c/o Berlin, Linienstrasse 144
The photographic and video artists Akram Zaatari und Walid Raad will be presenting their Mapping Sitting photo installation.
DisORIENTation Video Forum (Fine Arts)
>>>19 March 2003, 7pm,
>>>Neuer Berliner Kunstverein
Artists Lamia Joreige (Lebanon), Jumana Abboud (Palestine) and Jananne Al-Ani (Irak/ UK) will be discussing the use of images of the foreign with regard to their own countries and clichés about women in Arab societies.
Backroom goes Egypt (Music)
>>>3 10 March 2003
A music project led by Jean-Paul Bourelly and Tarek Abou El Fetouh. In late February a new centre for the performing arts will be opening in the central Egyptian city of El-Minya. One of the first projects here will be a concert by four Egyptian singers backed by musicians from Berlin. Organised as part of the Backroom Music series, it will be performed in the House of World Cultures on 11 and 12 April 2003 alongside a range of other productions within the Performing Arts category.
>>> Please notify us if you would like further information on the DisORIENTation Programme and the workshop events.