The start of the school year in Egypt has taught us about authoritarianism, counter-revolution and the systematic restriction of freedom, through the relentless intimidation by government of NGOs, civil rights and cultural bodies. We are also learning how—despite their extreme fragility—independent institutions constitute a resilient front and an alternative infrastructure that defend social justice, the right to expression and the autonomy of thought and practice in all disciplines.
The Imaginary School Program
ongoing until May 2015
Mindful of this political degeneration Beirut dedicates herself to the Imaginary School Program (tISP), an eight-months educational enquiry on institutions and forms of organizing (including collectives, non-movements, informal groups…) in Egypt. Imagined by Beirut and collaboratively shaped with political theorist Amr Abdelrahman, artist and activist Jasmina Metwaly, and with other experts, friends and pedagogues, the curriculum deals with the legal, political and economic frameworks in which institutions exist. Together with 12 participants, we look into matters of legality and legitimacy, economy and ownership, infrastructure and language, both in practice and philosophically. For more detailed information about the program click here.
A Guest Without A Host Is A Ghost: Collection in Residence
with Kadist Art Foundation
ongoing until January 2015
Beirut’s fantasy of being a collecting institution continues. The prelude to the second chapter of this project deals with appropriation and surrogate biographies, through the work Photographs of Dr. Joseph M. Carrier 1962–1973 by Danh Vo. Further into this phase we slowly depart from the exhibition-as-form, encouraging the artworks to have a life of their own, and to feel at home. Local and visiting curators, artists and spaces are invited to feature artworks as special guests in other projects. Contributions appear in various locations and on Beirut’s online Observatory, by Anneka Lenssen, Bassam El Baroni, CLUSTER, Aleya Hamza, Maha Maamoun, Mia Jankowicz, Nile Sunset Annex and others.
White Paper: The Land
11 November 2014–10 January 2015
Adelita Husni-Bey investigates the conditions and tensions that emerge when urban redevelopment schemes come into conflict with existing communities with the chaptered research and exhibition project White Paper. Starting in Egypt, followed by the Netherlands and Spain, the project delves into the language of legislation, housing rights, questions of ownership, and notions of the commons. The first chapter, White Paper: The Land, is presented in Cairo and features a corollary body of works commissioned by Beirut and realized in the city over the course of the last year. White Paper is shaped in collaboration with Casco, Utrecht.
Egyptian Secrets or Pawel Investigates The Afterlife Of James Lee Byars
29 & 30 November 2014
In spirit of séance and storytelling Pawel Kruk evokes the ghost of James Lee Byars in Cairo, at the Mena House Oberoi hotel where Byars allegedly died in 1997. The limits of knowing while performing a desire to know more, is something of a private conversation evoked through the encounter of both artists, one living, one dead…both present.
Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk
18 January–1 March 2015
There is a community in revolt. Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk’s forthcoming film Barra fil-shari’ (Out in the Street), features workers that stage an act inspired by their struggles and stories. Here, Metwaly and Rizk are particularly concerned with the performance of the state and the manifestation of opposition. The exhibition Masraheya, Masraheya, a work in progress, is the backend to the making of the film, a space that negotiates the relationship between “the theatrical” and “the real.”
Happily Ever After
Beirut welcomes to its team Alexandra Stock as Managing Director, Lotta Schäfer and John Hanna as Curatorial Assistants. Beirut is currently on the lookout for a new Artistic Director (perhaps this is you?). The founding family Sarah Rifky, Jens Maier-Rothe and Antonia Alampi will continue as the thinking institution’s Advisory Board, based in Cairo and other cities.
The Imaginary School Program is supported by Arts Collaboratory and Beirut. Photographs of Dr. Joseph M. Carrier 1962–1973 is realized thanks to the collaboration with Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin. A Guest Without A Host Is A Ghost is made possible with the generous support of the Kadist Art Foundation and the Embassy of France in Cairo. Adelita Husni-Bey White Paper: The Land is produced with the financial contribution of AFAC, YATF, Kamel Lazaar Foundation, and Movin’Up Fund. Pawel Kruk’s Egyptian Secrets or Pawel Investigates the Afterlife of James Lee Byars is made possible by the collaboration with Corner College in Zurich, Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw, Juliette Delventhal, Jon Brunner and Peter Orner.