Makan @ Speak, Memory - Townhouse Gallery - Cairo
Speak, memory is a three-day event structured around presentations, panel discussions, screenings, and artist talks exploring the rich array of methodologies that can be adopted to unearth, revisit or reactivate past artistic practices.
The Symposium speakers were varied and included artistic and curatorial projects, and performances which were particularly interesting in changing the dynamic of the format of the presentation of an organization's work, and more importantly perhaps, it was a way to bring the topics at hand into consideration from the perspective of the producer / artist and through their respective practices.
Over the three days, particular terms and definitions would get stuck in the debate. For day one it was -expectedly- "archive". For day two it was "intimate" which was actually translated from the turkish محرَم (muharram) which got people a little stirred up possibly due to the terms' different applications linguistically in Arabic and Turkish, and then in was questioned in terms of the exact definition when translated to English. Intimate was the boundaries one participant placed for what would be included or excluded from a public archive. For day three the word "spiral" as a form; then later as a metaphor, circulated the discussionsAlso, there was chance to have good conversations, as the Laura (the curator) and Townhouse made sure to get people together by -easily- luring the participants and the attendees for drinks right after the last presentation. It was an excellent way to get people to mingle, talk, and reflect.
Then after the symposium, on the last night Hamdy Rida took me and a few other poeple to visit Art-Elliwa in an area in cairo call Ard Illiwa. Great small place in a very popular place in Cairo. The space is basically a shop of few meters squared. Hamdy has recently started a residncy program for artists to work and produce. We also went into Hamdy's 'office / home' and got fed an excellent meal of home-made egyptian food (a treat considering street food is potentially dangerous in Egypt).