Aesthetics of the Political: Chapter one with SoundImageCulture
SoundImageCulture presents: Aesthetics of the Political
19 June 2020, 11:00am - 22:00pm, BOZAR
SoundImageCulture is happy to invite you to Aesthetics of the Political, a program of collective reflection on how artists translate their political ideas into aesthetic form in their work. The day is centered around creating collective encounters to watch films and reflect together on the different strategies artists use in their work.
We begin the day with Samah Hijawi and Maxime Jean-Baptiste who will map out some thoughts and ideas around how we define ‘the political’. Together they will invite us into the subject by sharing their reflections on things that inspire them; quotes and images they keep close to heart when dealing with politically charged stories in their work. This will be followed by a screening of the work of Miguel Peres dos Santos and Maxime Jean-Baptiste, who offer contrasting ways of exploring images conjured up from the familial narratives we inherit.
In the afternoon, we will come together for a screening and a talk by Oraib Toukan, that explores our ‘consumption’ of mediatized images from colonised contexts around the world. And, with Sandra Muteteri Heremans we revisit some of the ideas that came forward from the presentations throughout the day. We break and continue the conversation together in The Royal Park. The day ends with a screening of Odyssey by Sabine Groenewegen, followed by a final reflection.
Aesthetics of the Political is an on-going research by Samah Hijawi that takes time to explore the critical language and forms of resistance in artistic works. https://www.samahhijawi.com/aetheticsofthepolitical.html
Presented by SoundImageCulture. In partnership with Chair Mahmoud Darwich, BOZAR, Pianofabriek and Beursschouwburg. Supported by VGC, SCAM, SABAM for Culture, Kunstenwerkplaats, OMAM/MSH. Design by Miriam Hempel/daretoknow.
11:00-13:00 Opening discussion, screening and reflection (Hall M)
Conversation between Samah HiIjawi and Maxime Jean- Baptiste
(Avant Premier) Moune Ô--Maxime Jean-Baptiste
There Are No More Images—Miguel Peres dos Santos
Lunch in the Park (Royal)
15:00-16:30 Screening and Talk (Hall M)
When Things Occur—by Oraib Toukan
Thinking through Cruel Images, a talk with Oraib Toukan
16:30-18:00 (Rotonde Bertouille)
Performative Reflection with Sandra Muteteri Heremans
Light Dinner in the Park (Royal)
20:00-22:00 Film screening and discussion (Hall M)
(Premier) Odyssey—Sabine Groenewegen, followed by a discussion
Maxime Jean-Baptiste ‘Moune Ô’ (2021)
17 mins, Creole with English subtitles
In ‘Moune Ô’, Maxime Jean-Baptiste continues the research he started in Nou Voix (2018) concerning colonial memory, the Guyanese diaspora, and the staging of Black bodies. By questioning how “official” narratives are constructed, the film Moune Ô encourages a shift in perspective regarding the link between colonisation and extractivism.
Maxime Jean-Baptiste (1993° FR) is a director and performer based in Brussels and Paris. Having lived in the context of the Guyano-Antillean diaspora in France, a French mother and a Guyanese father, his work as an artist sees himself as an exploration of the complexity of Western colonial history by detecting the survival of past traumas in the present. Her audiovisual and performative work focuses on portraits (artists, dancers or members of her own family) using the form of reenactment to conceive the potentiality of a living and oralized memory. He obtained a Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts at the erg and a Master's degree in Media Arts at K.A.S.K. School of arts (Ghent, BE).
Miguel Peres dos Santos ‘Não há imagens’ (2014)
14 mins, Portuguese with English subtitles.
A proposal on a reflection upon a possible link between image and memory; between image and moment; and between image and death. A father, a son and a dead child engage in a monologue constructed departing from a moment : “does an image die?”; “and if an image dies”… “what will happen to memory?”
Miguel Peres dos Santos (°1976, Lisbon, Portugal) is an artist who works in a variety of media. By emphasizing aesthetics, Peres dos Santos reflects on the closely related subjects of archive and memory. His artworks sometimes radiate a cold and latent violence. At times, disconcerting beauty emerges. Moments are depicted that only exist to punctuate the human drama in order to clarify our existence and to find poetic meaning in everyday life. His works demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction over the latter half of the twentieth century.
Oraib Toukan ‘When Things Occur’ (2017)
28mins, Arabic with English subtitles
‘When Things Occur’ is based on Skype conversations with Gaza inhabitants who were behind the images that were transmitted from screen to screen in the summer of 2014. The film probes the face of mourning and grief—its digital embodiment, transmission, and representation. It asks how the gaze gets channeled within the digital realm, and how empathy travels. What exactly is viewing suffering ‘at a distance’? What is the behavior and political economy of the image of war? And who is the ‘local’ in the representation of war?
Oraib Toukan is an artist and EUME fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin. She holds a PhD in Fine Arts from Oxford University, Ruskin School of Art. Until Fall 2015, she was head of the Arts Division and Media Studies program at Bard College at Al Quds University, Palestine and was visiting faculty at the International Academy of Fine Arts in Ramallah. Between 2015 and 2017 she taught at the Ruskin School of Art’s University of Oxford Graduate Teaching program. In Autumn 2018 she was Mercator fellow at the Cultures of Critique program at Leuphana University, Lüneburg. Toukan is author of Sundry Modernism: Materials for a Study of Palestinian Modernism (Sternberg Press, 2017), and the essay-film When Things Occur (2016). Her writings have appeared in a number of publications, collected works, and biennale readers. Since 2011 she has been analyzing, and remaking works from a found collection of film reels that once belonged to now-dissolved Soviet cultural centers in Jordan in 1990-1991.
Sandra Heremans (1989, Rwanda) is an art historian and filmmaker. In her Master theses, she focused on the power and representation of the symbol in the art theory of Aby Warburg. Heremans later discovered experimental film and made her first short The Yellow Mazda and His Holiness (2018).
Sabine Groenewegen, ‘Odyssey’ (2018)
71 minutes, Dutch, Sranan Tongo, English with English subtitles
Two undefined intelligences are intercepting earthly footage of humans living in an area known as the LowLands. The researchers exchange their findings through a visual feed, in an attempt to understand the occurrence of extraordinary apparitions. The onlookers’ efforts to understand an enchanted human world are interrupted by another signal which imposes itself on the unfolding investigation, resulting in a play with the logic of the production of meaning. Through a combination of found footage, sci-fi and poetry, Odyssey interrogates the visual rhetoric of whiteness in the specific Dutch colonial project and evokes questions about the stories we are told, and our possibilities to disrupt them.
Sabine Groenewegen is an artist working with moving image, collage, and immersive experiences. She is currently exploring the ways in which the experiences of our ancestors are part of our present and future psychobiological reality.
Samah Hijawi is an artist and researcher currently completing her PhD in Art Practice at ULB and the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles, in Belgium. In her multi-media works, she explores the aesthetics of representation in artworks that allude to the histories of Palestine. Her works have been shown at KANAL Centre Pompidou Brussels, A.M. Qattan Foundation, Ramallah; The Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels; PS1 Gallery London, Nadine Art Space Brussels, The Hayward Gallery in London; BOZAR and Beursschouwburg in Brussels.