Rania Stephan, train-trains (where’s the track), 1999 (film still)
Akram Zaatari, In This House, 2005 (film still)
Rabih Mroué, Sand in the Eyes, 2017
© Ammar Abd Rabbo
How can the past be inscribed into the present not as a relict, but as lived experience “here and now”? Adania Shibli, Mohammad Al Attar, and Rabih Mroué investigate key discourses that have underlined political, social and cultural transformations over the past century in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean.
They deliberately avoid the grand narratives like progress, civilization, or orientalism. Instead of generating knowledge about an irrevocable truth, they invoke new perspectives, seemingly minor details, undetected connections, and narratives not yet explored.
In After the Wildly Improbable, writer and cultural researcher Adania Shibli follows the traces of the Ottoman railway to disclose its potentialities as a witness to major shifts in the 20th century. Motivated by a desire not to yield to a language of loss, playwright Mohammad Al Attar asks with Aleppo. A Portrait of Absence, how it is possible to reconstruct Aleppo based on people’s testimonies about their beloved places in the city. Finally, with a series of “non-academic lectures” entitled How Close Could We Get to the Light and Survive? artist Rabih Mroué endeavors to find out how art can establish new forms to speak about the complexity of history.
Curated by Adania Shibli, Rabih Mroué, and Mohammad Al Attar under the direction of Katrin Klingan.
Part of 100 Years of Now