DI/VISIONS A programme by Catherine David HAUS DER KULTUREN DER WELT, Berlin Dec. 8, 2007 - Jan. 13, 2008
(Photos: Johannes Bock / nurart)
Voices of the Middle East
sound through the wide halls of the HAUS DER KULTUREN DER WELT in Berlin. On video-screens above the stair-cases, in the hall-ways, on concrete-walls and even outside underneath the cantilevered roof of the "pregnant oyster" artists and intellectuals from Syria to Egypt talk about society, politics, culture and its changing at the beginning of the 21st century.
Catherine David is the inventor and curator of this revealing programme. Thus on two weekends the Haus der Kulturen der Welt turns into a platform and forum for an intellectual discourse with films, discussions and meetings.
Berlin, December 2007, January 2008 by Irmgard Berner
What do we really know about the Middle East?
What do we really know about the so called Orient, countries like Syria, Lebanon, across to Irak and Egypt, and the way their societies actually are developing into modernism? Don't they might know more about us than we do about them? How do people deal with restrictions, repressions and religious fanatism? A whole lot of questions that can certainly not be answered in two weekends and a couple of weeks of film-screening. The programme in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt is, however, a try. And it is a step towards reducing klischees and prejudice that have certainly increased since 9/11 in 2001.
The European view on the Middle East is covered by a tenacious layer of violence that expresses the crises of the region. To uncover at least bits of that distorted and biased image, people of important voice on this platform get an organ to talk through: Yassin al Haj Saleh, writer and dissident, gives an analysis of present Syria, Safaa Fathy, Egyptian filmmaker and theoretician, tells about symbolic and political power in Egypt, Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, professor of Judaistics at Ben-Gurion University, is one of the most prominent advocates of Binationalism as a way out of the israeli-palestinian conflict. Also artists like Iraqui poet Saadi Youssef, and performer and filmmaker Rabih Mroué from Beirut show backgrounds of their work and circumstances under which they are forced to produce in politically conflict-riddled times and places.
Culture, Consumers and Religion
The resonating cavity of DI/VISIONS successfully and impressively echoes the actors' voices. They turn around the occidental view on the Middle East and open a wide range of considerations on a region that is struck by dictatory power, poverty, and painful restraint. The chorus of their voices give a differentiated picture of a society that is, nevertheless, connected to modernism, has its own behavior in consumism and is creating a new bourgoisie. Mona Abaza, Egyptian sociologist, Hala Al Abdalla, Syrian filmmaker who lives in Paris or Sinan Antoon, Iraqui born documentary-filmer, have been researching on these topics for a long time.