Next Month: ‘Politics Through the Looking Glass’

Next month in Berlin, the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture will be holding a forum in partnership with EUME and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, called “Politics through the Looking Glass” and featuring a wide range of writers and artists, including Mazen Maarouf, Raji Bathish, Abdellah Taïa, Nael Eltoukhy, Dima Wannous, Nadia Kamel, Alaa Hlehel, Lina Mounzer, Mona Kareem, Golan Haji, and Sahar Mandour:

Searching for Kikhia, 2019, film still | © Jihan Kikhia

The three-day event is being curated by Khaled Saghieh and Rasha Salti. According to organizers:

The recent years have witnessed a proliferation of first-person writing and film, where the author’s personal experience is the fount of narrative and representation, and where the “I” merges with the voice of collective consciousness. These works are not only the typical first autobiographical foray in film and writing, rather they also include seasoned and established artists. This ‘inward’ turn toward the personal reimagines the relationship between the real and the fictional, but also brings forward several questions about the present moment of turbulent changes in the Arab world. Do they incarnate a distancing from the “political”, or on the contrary, its reconfiguration in the aftermath of deceptions and defeats? Has the personal lived experience become the only source for forging new meaning in the collapse of patriarchy? What is the relationship of first-person works with identity politics? Has the gendered and queer “I” become a political and artistic choice in itself?

This forum will explore these questions and generate debate around them, bringing writers, filmmakers, critics and academics, to begin identifying the potentialities of the first-person as a regeneration of the political.

Panels are set to address imagined biographies, queer narratives and representations, gendering narrative, narratives of the self in cities, and the first person in family histories.

A full schedule of films and discussions can be found online.