Conversations with some of the most engaged artists and thinkers working today.
Jad and Tarek Atoui: Through Rust and Dusk
Sanna Almajedi talks to Jad and Tarek Atoui about their experimental music duo, Through Rust and Dusk. The conversation is followed by an excerpt of their performance at e-flux on September 26, 2022 that incorporated improvisation, custom made instruments, field recordings, and electronic sounds.
Read more about Tarek Atoui‘s The Whisperers (October 1–December 10, 2022) at Flag Art Foundation here.
Jad Atoui is a Beirut-based sound artist and improviser. He composes and performs electronicand electro-acoustic music and has worked with musicians like John Zorn, Pauline Oliveros, Laurie Anderson, Chuck Bettis, and Anthony Sahyoun. During his formative years in New York, Atoui found interest in the New York avant-garde scene. He began working closely with NYC downtown musicians and learning improvised music techniques, while also working at the Stone and the Guggenheim Museum. In 2015, Atoui spearheaded the “Biosonics” project in collaboration with scientist Ivan Marazzi where they used bio-sonification of behaviors as compositional tools. The project was later published in John Zorn’s Arcana Book Vol. XVIII and premiered at National Sawdust as part of The Stone’s commissioning series. Atoui has given and co-directed workshops at Marfa Sounding, Ashkal Alwan, and Beirut Synth Center, and has been a resident at The Stone, The National Sawdust, Beirut Art Center, Arab Image Foundation, and Sharjah Art Foundation.
Tarek Atoui is an artist and composer born in Beirut. His work stems from performance and looks into how sound can be perceived with sensory organs other than the ear, how sound acts as a catalyst for human interaction, and how it relates to social, historical, and spatial parameters. The point of departure for his works is usually extensive anthropological, ethnological, musicological, or technical research, which results in the realization of instruments, listening rooms, performances, or workshops. Atoui has presented his work internationally at the Sharjah Biennial in the United Arab Emirates (2009 and 2013); dOCUMENTA 13 in Kassel, Germany (2012); the 8th Berlin Biennial (2014); Tate Modern, London (2016); CCA NTU, Singapore (2017); Garage Moscow (2018); the 58th International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia (2019); the Okayama Art Summit 2019; the Sharjah Art Foundation (2020); The Fridericianum (2020); And Pinault Collection (2021). He was appointed co-artistic director of STEIM studios in 2007, and of the Bergen Assembly, a triennial for contemporary art in Norway in 2016. He is the recipient of the Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize 2020. Tarek Atoui currently lives and works in Paris, France.
e-flux music is curated by Sanna Almajedi.
Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams: Diego Garcia
Ben Eastham talks with authors Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams about their novel, Diego Garcia (Fitzcarraldo Editions, Semiotext(e) / Native Agents).
“Through the intricately woven histories and the corresponding fictions within fictions, the compassion expressed in Diego Garcia highlights the absence of it in those who, forsaking their obligations towards other human beings, exiled the Chagossians from their home. We see that until the Chagossian people are home, nobody is home.” –Vanessa Onwuemezi, author of Dark Neighbourhood
About the book:
August 2014. Two friends, writers Damaris Caleemootoo and Oliver Pablo Herzberg, arrive in Edinburgh from London, the city that killed Daniel—his brother, her frenemy and loved by them both. Every day is different but the same. Trying to get to the library, they get distracted by bickering—will it rain or not and what should they do about their tanking bitcoin?—in the end failing to write or resist the sadness which follows them as they drift around the city.
On such a day they meet Diego, a poet. They learn that Diego's mother was from the Chagos Archipelago, that she and her community were forced to leave their ancestral islands by soldiers in 1973 to make way for a military base. They become obsessed with this notorious episode in British history and the continuing resistance of the Chagossian people, and feel urged to write in solidarity. But how to share a story that is not theirs to tell?
Natasha Soobramanien is based in Brussels. She is a writing tutor on the Lens-Based Media Masters Programme at Piet Zwart Institute Rotterdam.
Luke Williams is based in Cove, west Scotland. He teaches creative and critical writing at Birkbeck University of London.
More information on the Chagos Refugees Group can be found at thechagosrefugeesgroup.com.
Miriam Hillawi Abraham & Nasra Abdullahi on “The Afro-Cosmologist's Treatise on the Astrolabe”
Hallie Ayres talks to Miriam Hillawi Abraham and Nasra Abdullahi about their text, “The Afro-Cosmologist's Treatise on the Astrolabe,” published in the Cosmic Bulletin 2021.
Miriam Hillawi Abraham is a multi-disciplinary designer from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. With a background in Architecture, she works with digital media and spatial design to interrogate themes of equitable futurism and intersectionality. She holds an MFA in Interaction Design from the California College of the Arts and a BArch in Architecture from the Glasgow School of Art. She is a CCA-Mellon researcher for the Digital Now multidisciplinary project, a 2020 fellow of Gray Area’s Zachary Watson Education Fund and a Graham Foundation 2020 grantee.
Nasra Abdullahi is a designer, writer, and editor based in London. She is currently a junior writer at Wallpaper* magazine, the 2021 guest editor of The Avery Review and a member of the second cohort of New Architecture Writers. A student at the Bartlett School of Architecture, she is interested in ways we can seek equitable futures through material cultures away from projected architectural and urban desires. Seeking a multiplicity in spatial practice, she is interested in what modern architectural technology can look like when innovated and reappropriated through and in relation with various knowledge systems. Currently her work is centered around exploring the possibilities of using analytical tools from black and indigenous radical traditions to inform us about design and technological practice.
Isabelle Fremeaux and Jay Jordan: We Are “Nature” Defending Itself: Entangling Art, Activism and Autonomous Zones
Andreas Petrossiants discusses We Are “Nature” Defending Itself: Entangling Art, Activism and Autonomous Zones (Pluto Press/Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, 2021) with authors Isabelle Fremeaux and Jay Jordan. An excerpt from the book was published in e-flux journal issue 124.
“Since 2004, through the work of the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, we have questioned how to radically transform and entangle art, activism, and everyday life amidst the horrors of the Capitalocene. A decade ago, we deserted our metropolitan London lives, rooting our art activism in a place that French politicians had declared “lost to the republic,” known by those who inhabited it as la ZAD (the “zone to defend”). On these four thousand acres of wetlands, turned into a messy but extraordinary canvas of commoning, an international airport project was defeated through disobedience and occupation. This is an extract from our latest book, where an art of life is populated by rebel farmers and salamanders, barricades and bakeries, riots and rituals.”
—Isabelle Fremeaux and Jay Jordan
Isabelle Fremeaux is an educator and action researcher. She was formerly Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Birkbeck College London.
Jay Jordan is an art activist and author, cofounder of Reclaim the Streets and the Clandestine Insurgent Clown Army.
Shimrit Lee on Decolonize Museums
Hallie Ayres talks with Shimrit Lee about her forthcoming book, Decolonize Museums.
Shimrit Lee is a writer, educator, and curator based in Philadelphia. An interdisciplinary scholar working at the intersection of visual culture, performance, and critical security studies, Shimrit’s research interests relate to the cultural production of security narratives in Israel and the US. She holds a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from NYU, and currently teaches high school history as well as community-based adult education at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. Her book, Decolonize Museums, will be published as part of the series “Decolonize That” by Warscapes and O/R Books in 2021.
Wet Togetherness —Lubricating: Tabita Rezaire and Aiwen Yin presented by Shanghai Biennale
Bodies exceed humanity. They remind us that we are part of something vaster—and smaller—more complex, more connected than our mere existence as an atomized species. Our bodies, and bodies in general, are comprised of heterogeneity and multitudes. All bodies are wet collective bodies defined by how they link to other bodies, places, environments, technologies. Think of breathing, clogging, decomposing, discharging, flushing, lubricating, melting, menstruating, transfusing. Bodies exist as trans- and extra-territorial beings. They live in hybridity. This porous condition produces a planetary wet-togetherness, a “commoning” force that constitutes all bodies as collective hydro-subjects.
Wet-Togetherness is a collaboration between e-flux and the 13th Shanghai Biennale, Bodies of Water, curated by Andrés Jaque, Marina Otero Verzier, Lucia Pietroiusti, Filipa Ramos, and YOU Mi, and organized and promoted by the Power Station of Art. It consists of nine sound pieces in which 21 artists, activists, and researchers enact aqueousness through sound. The series has been edited by José Luis Espejo and Rubén Coll, with sound design by Tomoko Sauvage, coordination by Roberto González García, and locutions by Yang Yang.
Episode 9: Lubricating. With two independent sound pieces by artists Tabita Rezaire and Yin Aiwen
Smoothness drives contemporary technological regimes: frictionless experiences, immediate gratifications, a promise of a world of flows without disruption. We are enchanted by a slippery seamlessness, mediated by sleek surfaces. A visual order accommodating the idea that the world, and capital, run painlessly. An order enabling control over collective imaginations, bodies, and natural resources. One that oils the relentless infrastructural libido.
Tabita Rezaire sends her blessings and wishes for a New Moon day. A new life cycle. An opportunity to create anew. A time for identity seeking and becoming a seeker of the depths of existence. The New Moon meddles to remind us that the possibilities for change are infinite.
Aiwen Yin is member of the ReUnion Network collective, a group of people operating from different modes of engagement to both promote and speculate with non-familiar forms of kinship. In Yin’s words, support, mutual care, grief, healing, and affection are not exclusively allocated among blood-related beings, but instead become a fundamental feature of human associability and of social-making at large. Aligned with ReUnion Network’s engagement with the daily formation of social bonding, Aiwen Yin imagines her practice as providing a frame where non-normative forms of inclusivity can be nurtured.
Appreciated the Bifo blast! Keep finding the real ones.
I really enjoyed listening to the bifo podcast. Thank you for the great content!
Interesting and entertaining
The e-flux podcast is off to a good start with episodes featuring McKenzie Wark and Vivian Ziherl. The conversation is interesting and entertaining. I'm looking forward to more!