Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fwd: Taabir | Aomori Contemporary Art Centre


Zied Ben Romdhane
Taabir: Interpretation of Dreams

Exhibition and Film on view from 5pm-10pm | Thursday 14 February | Clark House

Caption: Studio of Zied Ben Romdhane


Fallega 2011
Rafik Omrani / Tunisia / 2011 / 52 min.

Tunis's Kasbah Square was where demonstrators in the Arab world first came together to demand democracy and an end to dictatorship; it also was the site of a long-term occupation following an attack by President Ben Ali. Many Tunisians were satisfied when the dictator was ousted and hoped for an easing of tensions. However, those who risked their lives during the first wave of protests demanded genuine change: the government's resignation and free elections. A second revolution got under way as young people from all corners of Tunisia flocked to the capital and occupied the square for more than a month. When this documentary was being filmed, police were still prepared to use violence and the chance of success was uncertain. Director Rafik Omrani does not record the protests chronologically but instead attempts to capture their atmosphere. He interviews demonstrators and pieces together moments from the revolution: hot declarations, cold nights, shared meals and clashes with police.

Caption: Chokri Belaid photographed by Zied Ben Romdhane

Harakat Al Nahda or Ennahda has ruled Tunisia since the deposition of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. It seeks an Islamic Renaissance and since 2011 has been opposed by the Popular Front a coalition of the Labour Party and the far left Democratic Patriots - which is lead by the now slain Chokri Belaid. As a way to silence criticism over the last year many supporters of the Left coalition were targeted in violent attacks by a militia loyal to the Ennhada legitimised by a committee for the protection of the revolution. The revolution - the Arab Spring began as a student movement led by an underground left wing opposition triggered by the self-immolation of a vegetable vendor Mohamed Bouazizi in the Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid. Bouazizi's act was in defiance of corruption and the mass unemployment people faced in a stagnant economy under a dictatorship unable to retract its populist mistakes that now ailed the economy. The Arab Spring aimed at producing a state that provided social equality to its citizens and bring an end to widespread unemployment of the youth in Tunisia. Having its affiliations to Hassan Al Banna's Islamic Brotherhood which had imported the revolution into Egypt, the Ennhada has its loyalties to a free market economy and is not concerned in serious efforts towards reducing unemployment and bringing about a system that is equitable. Issues such as unemployment, a social and economic divide, health and education are ignored using the rhetoric of religion. Rhetoric that is supported by indoctrination and mindless violence attracting disgruntled young men into their fold, which last Wednesday on the 6th of February culminated in the assassination of Chokri Belaid. Tunisia beckons another change as a new spring approaches, as protests against Belaid's assassination gained momentum and reacting to the crowds that gathered at his funeral, the present Ennhada government has been dissolved to form a new National Unity government in order to hold fresh elections.  

Zied Ben Romdhane had been awaiting this change since he sees the establishment of a state that recognises the objective of social equality as urgent and most important. Right after the fall of Ben Ali's regime Zied along with his friends, Rafik Omrani - cinematographer, Islem Omrani - lawyer, university professor and electoral observer and Narjes Torchani - a journalist who covers culture, decided to formalise the activities that they had been organising but were unable to form an organisation due to restrictions under the regime. They formed Taabir, The Tunisian Association for Artistic and Digital Expression, a non-government organization aimed at promoting individual freedoms in communication and expression of ideas whatever their specificities. Taabir or Tabeer means the interpretation of dreams. Here, they probably denote dreams of change annotated though photographs and videos. Through its different activities (organization of workshops, training internships, development of digital archives), Taabir wants to contribute to the advancement of digital culture and supports the freedom of knowledge, its production, access to information and justice, whether it is in creative form, artistic form, or in technical terms. Since then Zied has travelled around Tunisia organising workshops on photography and cinema in remote villages, collecting and collating images for an archive, and his present works on view at Clark House - Zones D'attentes / Awaiting Zones and the cinematic production 'Fallega' arise from these deliberations.

Talk by Hiroyuki Hattori
Curator of Aomori Contemporary Art Centre (ACAC) of Aomori Public College Japan:

Introduction to the ACAC program and curatorial practice

Friday 15 February | 11.30 | at CONA, 4B, 1989 Panorama, Hrishiwan, Borivali, Mumbai
Friday 15 February | 5pm | at Clark House, 8 Nathalal Parekh Marg, Fort, Mumbai 
For more information contact 9820213816 | 

Caption: Aomori Contemporary Art Centre

Aomori Contemporary Art Centre was designed by the world renowned architect Tadao Ando. Taking care not to destroy the geographical undulations of the site, and in an attempt to make the best use of the surrounding natural features, the construction was designed on the theme of "invisible architecture", with the buildings buried deep inside the surrounding forest. The linear shaped "Creative Hall" and "Residential Hall" shaped like a bridge stretched across a valley, and the horseshoe-shaped "Exhibition Hall" comprising of galleries and a circular open stage, make up the 3 buildings on the site. This unique space is stimulating the artists' creativities, and will be a place of new kinds of art experience for visitors.

Hiroyuki Hattori, born in 1978, is curator of Aomori Contemporary Art Centre of Aomori Public College. Recently he curated an art project "24 Hour Television (2010)", involving more than 100 local participants with a Japanese artists' unit "Nadegata Instant Party". He curated one year of the Artist in Residence program, inviting eleven artists "Re-Modernologio (2011-2012)", and Yusuke Asai's solo exhibition "Countless Stories, Living Boldly, Repeat (2012)".
Aomori Contemporary Art Centre [ACAC] was established with the purpose of helping to shape the original art culture of Aomori City offering local citizens the opportunity to appreciate art, as well as participate in exchange activities, taking "art and nature" as its main theme. The main program is the Artist in Residence program, in which artists are invited to hold an exhibition. 

The purpose of the Japan Foundation is to contribute to the improvement of a good international environment, as well as the maintenance and development of the harmonious foreign relationships of Japan, through deepening other nations, understanding of Japan, promoting better mutual understanding among nation's encouraging friendship and goodwill among the peoples of the world, and contributing to the world in culture and other fields through the efficient and comprehensive implementation of activities for international cultural exchange. 

Clark House Location & Directions

Ground Floor, Clark House, 8 Nathalal Parekh Marg (Old Wodehouse Road), opposite Sahakari Bhandar, and Regal Cinema | near Woodside Inn, Bombay 400039 | +919820213816

Bus or Taxi from the nearest stations, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Central Railway) and Churchgate (Western Railway)
Bus Numbers from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus: 14, 69, 101,130
Bus Numbers from Churchgate: 70, 106, 122, 123, 132, 137 

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