The first week I arrived in Amman I met Amman's most renowned “she-male" (a transsexual) had a cigarette with her on the balcony as we conversed about Egyptian TV spy series Raafat ElHajan, a few days later I was invited to dinner with Ola's extended family who happened to be passing through. Amman thus instantly provided me with both warmth and excitement. During the rest of the month, I met Dina Bani Mustafa and Mohammed Alqaq whom I fell in love with and casted as actors for my most recent video, I met choreographer Abdel Rahman Barakat completely by coincidence and hired him. I prepared, rehearsed, shot a new video and still had time to tan on the balcony. By far, my most productive and serendipitous residency to date.
I came to Amman on a whim with no clear idea, and left with a finished project and beautiful encounters. I think what made the difference really is the quality of interaction between the host and the artist. Ola always seemed to have a solution to whatever obstacle I came across, complete with phone numbers and emails. And everyone, whether they worked with Makan or at the restaurant downstairs, every single person I called for a favor or interacted with on daily basis, was hospitable, resourceful and helpful. I don't think I have ever been to a place where everybody was so eager to help and collaborate, making me feel immediately settled. This attitude, which to me extended from Makan to the rest of Amman, is mainly what made this residency so productive, not to mention the city's landscape, which I found absolutely soothing and inspiring. I did spend a lot of time on the balcony.
The work in progress at the moment, entitled Girl Splendid in Walking, is loosely based on Gradiva; a Pompiian Fancy by Wilhelm Jensen, and Russian Folk Tales Marozka and Teryosha. It's a repetitive narrative which twists the premise of the novel; the enchanting manner of walking of the Gradiva. I use this premise, to explore the notion of the beautiful, romantic vs. awkward or ridiculous. The video is performance-based, centered around a very specific walking choreography through which I explore different types of reminiscence; remembering a movement, a sensation, a trajectory, and remembering a person and impression.