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Seminar Cairo/Egypt

Direction: Catherine David, Nuria Enguita Mayo
Venues and dates:
- Seville: 23rd April 2004. Instituto Francés de Sevilla. C/ Lope de Rueda, 30
- Granada: 26th-28th April 2004. Centro José Guerrero. Diputación de Granada. Assembly room of the Palacio de los Condes de Gabia. Plaza de los Girones 1
Participants: Xavier Antich, Asef Bayat, Safaa Fathy, Golo, Gema Martín Muñoz y Lina Saneh
In collaboration with: Centro José Guerrero (Granada) and Instituto Francés de Sevilla




© Randa ShaathContemporary Arab Representations is a long term project which includes seminars, publications, performances and presentations of the works of various visual artists, architects, writers, poets, filmmakers and intellectuals who also play a central role in social and political life. The intention is to promote production, distribution and exchange between various Arab countries and the rest of the World. Thus, the project proposes to address situations and frameworks which are sometimes antagonistic or controversial with the aim of getting a deeper insight into what is currently going on in different regions of the Arab world, analysing the complex dimensions of aesthetics in relation to social and political situations, and focusing on a number of interrelated issues which are raised both here, and there, in a time of globalisation.

After Beirut/Lebanon, this second stage focuses on the current situation in Egypt/Cairo. Egypt, in this respect is different from the rest of the Middle East, as it has greater awareness of its continuity, with a tradition which is deeply rooted in geographical, social and historical terms. Although the issue of political and geographical identity is not raised in the current debate, literary and artistic expression can be conceived as a struggle to achieve individual freedom and political liberation.

Historically, the development of modern movements in the country has been hindered by innumerable structural limitations (mediocre education, limited access to information, a lack of public space for culture and little debate on cultural life). However, a new generation of Egyptian artists is emerging, who, encouraged by private initiatives, are benefiting from a broader source of references distributed by the worldwide web. They are using and applying very different methods and strategies to face up to the disconcerting political, urban and poetic realities of contemporary Cairo.

Thus, it is once again essential to articulate and consolidate platforms which develop a critical culture which is able to address the many complexities of Egypt's present reality, and is in opposition to the simplifying procedures of homogenisation and codification which are currently ongoing in the dominant visual culture produced by globalisation and, indirectly, by the "programmes" developed by some large organisations.

The project intends to explore contemporary cultural situations in the Middle East and investigate the new forms of solidarity, as well as the new political and social demands resulting from the survival strategies which are invented in Cairo and other megalopolises of the Arab and Muslim world.

Finally, in parallel with the preparation for the publication of Tamáss, as well as anthologies and monographs featuring individual authors (see already published works by Randa Shaath, Paola Yacoub and Michel Lasserre), we also intend to open ourselves to other regions of the Arab world and to certain political debates which are currently in progress, without disregarding the necessary return to other authors and places already visited, thus reinforcing our valuable network of collaborators and partners, without whom nothing is possible.

Catherine David





Friday 23rd April 2004
· 20:00 h.
Presentation of the publications Tamáss 1. Representaciones árabes contemporáneas. [Tamáss 1. Contemporary Arab Representations] Beirut/Lebanon (2002) / Tamáss 2. Representaciones árabes contemporáneas. [Tamáss 2. Contemporary Arab Representations] Cairo/Egypt (2004) / Paola Yacoub-Michel Lasserre. Beirut es una ciudad magnífica. Cuadros sinópticos [Beirut is a Magnificent City. Synoptic Pictures](2003) and Randa Shaath. Bajo el mismo cielo: Cairo (2003) [Under the same sky: Cairo (2003)], by Catherine David and Nuria Enguita Mayo.


Monday, 26th Abril 2004
· 19:00 h.
Cairo and its Subaltern. Asef Bayat

· 20:30 h.
Egypt: political and social landscape. Gema Martín Muñoz

Tuesday, 27th April 2004
· 19:00 h.
About the theatrical act: a matter of words and distance. Lina Saneh

· 20:30 h.
Presentation of the publications Tamáss 1. Representaciones árabes contemporáneas (2002) / Tamáss 2. Representaciones árabes contemporáneas (2004) / Paola Yacoub-Michel Lasserre. Beirut es una ciudad magnífica. Cuadros sinópticos (2003) and Randa Shaath. Bajo el mismo cielo: El Cairo (2003), by Catherine David and Nuria Enguita Mayo, Xavier Antich, Golo, and Safaa Fathy.

Also presentation of the publication La taberna de los recuerdos imaginarios by Golo, edited on the occasion of the exhibition Contemporary Arab Representations. Cairo at Granada, by the author and Pedro G. Romero.

Wednesday, 28th April 2004
· 19:00 h
Presentation by the author and screening of the following films by Safaa Fathy:
Ghazeia, danseuses d'Egypte, 1994, 52'
D'ailleurs Derrida, 1999, 68'

Seville: Instituto Francés de Sevilla. C/ Lope de Rueda, 30
: Centro José Guerrero. Diputación de Granada / Salón de Medios del Palacio de los Condes de Gabia. Plaza de los Girones 1



Xavier Antich (La Seu d'Urgell, 1962)
Doctor of Philosophy, teaches Aesthetics, and is the director of the Master's Degree course in Communications and Art Criticism at the University of Girona. For the past two years, he has been co-director of the Art Criticism Workshop at the Macba in Barcelona. He won the Joan Fuster Essay Award with his book El rostre de l'altre. Passeig filosòfic per l'obra d'Emmanuel Lévinas (Valencia, Editorial 3 i 4). He has published a book on Aristotle's metaphysics, translations of Merleau-Ponty, Lévinas, Franco Rella and Chantal Mouffe, and more than sixty articles on contemporary aesthetic issues in specialised magazines. He has also written texts for the catalogues of artists like Antoni Tàpies, Antoni Llena, Àngel Jové, Pep Agut, Domènec and Aureli Ruiz. He is a regular contributor to the Culture section and the supplement "Cultura/s" of the La Vanguardia daily newspaper, and is a member of its editorial board.

Asef Bayat (Sahriyar, Iran, 1954)
He is the Academic Director of ISIM (International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World) and ISIM Chair at the University of Leiden. He obtained his Ph. D degree in sociology and politics at the University of Kent in 1984 and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He has been teaching at the American University in Cairo for seventeen years and has served as a visiting professor at the University of California in Berkeley, Columbia University and the University of Oxford. His publications include: Workers and Revolution in Iran (London: Zed Books, 1987) and Street Politics: Poor People's Movements in Iran (New York: Colombia University Press, 1997). He is currently working on a new book on social movements and social change in the Middle East.

Safaa Fathy (Minia, Egypt, 1958)
She studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, where she was awarded her Ph. D for a thesis on theater. In 1994, she made her first documentary, Ghazeia, danseuses d'Égypte. In 1995, she directed a short film, Le Silence, and in 1997 she made Maxime Rodinson, l'athée des Dieux. Her most recent film is titled D'ailleurs Derrida (1999). This film was accompanied by a book, Tourner les mots. Au bord d'un film (Paris: Éditions Galilée/Arte Éditions, 2000), she co-authored with Jacques Derrida. She recently published a collection of poems titled …Où ne pas naître (Paris: Éditions Paris-Méditerranée, 2002).

Golo (Bayonne, France, 1948)
He is a leading cartoonist whose drawings have appeared regularly in the Cairo Times. His work includes comic adaptations of two novels by Albert Cossery, Mendiants et orgueilleux (Paris: Casterman, 1991) and Les Couleurs de l'infamie (Paris: Dargaud/Poisson Pilote, 2003). He contributed comics to L'Association en Égypte (Paris: L'Association, 1998) and Comix 2000 (Paris: L'Association, 2000) and published the comic book Made in Taiwan (Saint-Félicien-en Vivarais: Les Éditions du Pigeonnier, 2001), La Taverne des souvenirs imaginaires (Paris: Sketch, 2003) and Carnets du Caire - Samir (Paris: Les Rêveurs, 2003). He also illustrated Whatever Happened to the Egyptians? by Galal Amin (Cairo: AUC Press, 2000).

Gema Martín Muñoz (Madrid, 1955)
She is a professor of sociology of the Arab and Islamic World at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. She is a columnist for the newspaper El País on Arab and Islamic subjects, and is the author of various publications, including: Política y elecciones en el Egipto contemporáneo (1922-1990) [Politics and Elections in Contemporary Egypt (1922-1990)] (Madrid: Publicaciones de la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional, ICMA, 1992); Mujeres, desarrollo y democracia en el Magreb [Women, Development and Democracy in North Africa] (Madrid: Ediciones Pablo Iglesias, 1995); Islam, Modernism and the West: Cultural and Political Relations at the End of the Millennium (London/New York: IB Tauris, 1999); El Estado Árabe. Crisis de legitimidad y contestación islamista [The Arab State: Crisis of Legitimacy and Fundamentalist Protest] (Barcelona: Edicions Bellaterra, 2000); Iraq, un fracaso de occidente (1920-2003) [Iraq: A Failure of the West (1920-2003)] (Barcelona: Tusquets, 2003).

Lina Saneh (Beirut, Lebanon, 1966)
She studied Theatre at l'Université Libanaise of Beirut and Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris. She teaches theatrical aesthetics, stage design and playwriting at l'Université Saint-Joseph and l'Université Saint-Esprit in Lebanon. She has acted in, and directed numerous theatre pieces staged in various Arab and European countries. Examples of her theatre work include: Les Chaises, 1996; Ovrira, 1997; Extrait d'Etat Civil, 2000; Biokhraphia, 2002.

Catherine David (París, 1954)
She studied Spanish and Portuguese Literature and Linguistics, and History of Art. From 1981 to 1990 she was the curator of the National Museum of Modern Art, the Georges Pompidou Centre, and since 1990 of the Jeu de Paume National Gallery. Art director of Documenta X (dX) in Kassel, she currently directs Rotterdam's Witte de With Centre of Contemporary Art.

Nuria Enguita Mayo (Madrid, 1967)
Nuria Enguita graduated in History and Art Theory. From 1991 to 1998 she worked in Valencia's Institute of Modern Art (IVAM) as a curator. Since 1998 she has been the Head of projects of the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona. In 2002 she was part of a group of organisers responsible for Manifiesta 4, in Frankfurt. She is also a member of the team of directors of the arteypensamiento (artandthinking) programme of the International University of Andalusia.

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