Due to the 12-year blockade of the Gaza strip and the impact on its two million residents, the people of Gaza have been relying heavily on transmitting to achieve what they are unable to achieve by any other physical means. For them, transmitting no longer is a telecommunication term used to describe the essence of a communication process. Instead, it has become a powerful tool for resisting.
Resisting the vicious reality, primarily caused by the ongoing siege. Resisting the common stereotypes related to Gaza, such as generally being portrayed as a place of continual bombardment and a very low, almost non-existent, standard of living. The fourth edition of the New Alphabet School aspires to explore transmitting as not only a means of expression through technology, but also a space of transferal, translation and communication in poetry, music and literature. In enabling new, unprecedented spaces of interaction between otherwise separated locations (Gaza, Berlin and many others), social geographies and forms of expression, this edition tries not only to think, talk and discuss through transmission, but to also shed light on the cultural, artistic and creative aspect of life in Gaza and beyond.
For edition #4, workshops will take place both in Berlin and Gaza, Palestine. The workshops at HKW serve as a platform to rethink transmitting from a Berlin perspective. What social geographies enable or disable transmission and exchange? What strategies of solidarity can be employed without overlooking lived experiences of exclusion and limitation? Where does translation end and transmission begin?
The New Alphabet School is a collaborative format for artistic, curatorial, poetic and activist research practices. Over the course of two years and in eleven editions, the School will open up a space for research going beyond academic and disciplinary boundaries. Workshop participants become a part of the New Alphabet School and are invited to contribute to the programming of all subsequent editions.
In cooperation with 28 magazine
Venue: HKW Berlin
10am–3pm (CET) Workshops #1–#3:
3pm – 7pm (CET) Live broadcasting of and interaction with the public program in Gaza for workshop partcipants (English/Arabic)
Venue: Al-Helal Theatre, Gaza, Palestine
11am–4pm (EET) Workshops #4–#6:
4pm–8pm (EET) Public program
The voice – the original medium of transmission – holds an interesting instability between inside and outside, material and immaterial, body and non-body. This workshop puts the voice at its center and proposes to share practices that address the voice as a political instrument.
Participants will follow scores of the sonic meditations by Pauline Oliveiros, experience the materiality of sound as vibration and tune in with each other’s voice. In using voice(s), the concept of transmitting moves away from the idea of successful communication towards a more vulnerable and fragile understanding of transmission of meaning and message: an embodied communication of tone, energy, density, heat, excitation. This workshop aims at opening up to the opportunity to rethink corporality, shifting away from certainties and making other narratives appear.
Participants will collectively create a compendium of collaged bits and pieces of fragments and texts by Brandon LaBelle, Georges Perec, Noor Abuarafeh, Bhanu Kapil, Moyra Davey and many more in order to create an intertextuality between reading, sounding and space.
How and under which circumstances can poetry be political, or even constitute forms of resistance? This workshop welcomes anybody interested in that question, in exploring poetry as a mode of epistemic transfer, transformation and disruption. The workshop will feature close-readings of poems, engaging the workshop participants in their performance, as well as musical examples and a reading by the Palestinian author Ghayath Almadhoun. A focus will lie on the so-called muwashshah (from 11th Century Spain) which, while also incorporating fragments of Arabic and Hebrew, are the oldest written documents of Spanish, providing a witness of critical modes of art in a religiously and culturally diverse society. Setting these texts in dialog with modern poetry like that of Mahmoud Darwish will lead to a discussion about poetry as a form of cognitive activism, projecting its disruptive and community-making possibilities into the complex religious and political topography of nowadays Israel-Palestine. Within this context, the Palestinian poet Almadhoun will conclude the workshop with a reading of his poems that deal directly with his life as a refugee author.
Interest in Hebrew, Arabic and/or Spanish language is encouraged among the participants, but not required.
Convened by Nahed Mansour
This workshop questions the role of transmission as a creative tool of resistance and persistence, looking for forms of transmission that could be (or have been) used to confront socio-political barriers. Participants from Gaza are invited to create a fictional journey to the city of Jerusalem, inspired by either real biographical stories or fictional ways using text, clips, voice recording, images or poems. On the other hand, Berlin participants are requested to share textual or visual material, memories or insights of transmissions during the separation of Berlin before the reunification. What are the forms and practices of transmission adopted especially within the absence of the Internet as known today? How did transmission increase the chances or played a role in the fall of the Wall in 1989? Could virtual reality and fiction help enhance the act of transmission between and beyond the Palestinian territories and therefore be a tool of resistance-persistence against the present political barriers? The workshop carves out different modes of transmitting longings and possible futures and their role in transforming these inaccessible places into personal and collective realms of experience.
Convened by Mohammed Alzaqzouq and Raed Eshneoura
Is there a collective Palestinian identity? Why do Palestinians in exile, especially in more recent migration movements, feel a stronger connection to the Palestinian “nation”, to concepts such as “homeland” or “territory”? How is the Palestinian cultural identity formed inside and outside of Palestine?
Participants will enroll in reflective readings of literary texts by young writers from outside as well as inside perspectives on Gaza. The participants’ personal experiences, along with interventions by poets, writers and activists will be the point of departure. The workshop will discuss discuss the possibilities of achieving a collective cultural body (or bodies) that can express a Palestinian cultural identity through publishing and distribution of works by Palestinian artists.
Convened by Marei Bashir
Since 2006, travel has been impossible for any Palestinian youth living in the Gaza strip. Under these circumstances, knowledge of other communities, cultures and people relies heavily on a mainstream media, that in itself is directed to serve political and economical purposes. On the other hand, news and media outside of Palestine tend to reproduce similar stereotypes and clichés of daily life in Gaza. Digital technology and transmission has provided a way of surpassing borders and restrictions for Gaza residents in order to reach out to other communities, to transmit the reality of life in Gaza and to express a political, social and cultural identity to the outside world.
Participants of this workshop will reflect on how transmission helps overcome stereotypes and clichés, how it can produce authentic learning experiences despite its digital nature and how it offers spaces for imagination, experimentation and utopian vision in order to foster hope and resistance.
Details coming soon