Conference “Co-Changing Maps…”
Conceived and Organised by HaRaKa Dance Development and Research
In partnership and with the support of Goethe Institut Kairo
26 and 27 April 2011
(Attendees Registration only on firstname.lastname@example.org)
Etymology | Change: alter, barter, exchange, bend, crook, turn…
Context | This conference comes at a critical junction in time and space where practice, theory and policy conflate and conflict. For longer than the past three decades the Arab World and the Middle East have existed and operated in an oppressive political milieu that was assisted and sustained by a network of specific interests that had very little to do with the true needs of the actual populations inhabiting this region, but had to do instead with serving certain alliances and certain distribution networks beyond the geography of the so-called Middle East. This “network” scripted and suspended change, in a way that aspired to gauge the possibility of cataclysmic and unforeseen ruptures, the generation of potent new thought, or of unstable grounds
Change of Context | Socio-demographic changes and unforeseen effects of certain developments reversed the course of history and created a cataclysmic rupture within the paradigm through which the Arab world has been viewed, from within or from a distance.
In a moment described by many analysts to be very similar to the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, the Arab world succumbed to a wave of revolutions that swept away these ailing and aging regimes replacing impotent tissues with the physical presence of, or with the mere thought of, a new tissue of change
The conference works on two planes
On Change: Looking at what it could stand for historically, politically, culturally, or philosophically.
On maps and meshes: Addressing policy, practices, representation, objects, subjects and their positions. Addressing how maps of exchange, of survival or of hegemony are generated, utilized or short-circuited.
Through the brief examining of history as a context for policies and of the creation of maps or networks- where history is not an independent variable but rather one affected by multiple factors such as post-colonialism, post-capitalism, globality and supra-cyber awareness- and by inviting key figures in the fields of art theory, cultural policies, political science, law and culture making, the conference aims at generating thought, publishing texts and initiating processes of practice: on historical, cultural, and political constructs -that were/are being made - and how change breaks epistemological edifices across time and space, opens dense-information, redefines objects and positions, while addressing (re)presentation as a pivotal site in how these policies used to manifest, how policies or dramaturgies of exchange (or scripts that gauge change) co-author artistic processes, products, subjects positions and sometimes the frame of looking.
In the light of the so-called Arab Spring, how do we continue with these pre-manufactured cultural, artistic and political practices and maps that used to obscure the Arab subject (and perhaps the Mediterranean subject also), wondering are we witnessing the replay of old fetishisms and misconceptions, or could we exist in a new map of embodied subjects with articulated (even if fleeting) positions, needs, links and zones of possibilities.