A year ago, we began working on the Performance Programme for Art Dubai 2020 and we had no idea – of course – what was coming our way. We came up with a programme that would look into healing as an act of togetherness and art; healing as a gesture of poetically restoring experiences, processes and memories which are part of our human existence, besides borders, power asymmetries and any other “temporal” conventions. Who could imagine that just before the opening we would be confronted with an unprecedented “temporal convention” such as the one we are living through now?
The programme would have evolved in two connected parts: the onsite (the venue of Art Dubai) and the online. The online section was intended and remains to be a curatorial experiment on how to enlarge the “corporeal” – within the realm of contemporary art performance – in ways that go beyond any kind of physical restrictions. During these extraordinary times, with the online being humanity’s window to the world, On(line) Healing takes a new dimension. Selected artists Angelo Plessas, Bahar Noorizadeh, Imaad Majeed, Tabita Rezaire and Tiago Sant’Ana and have been invited to engage their bodies and minds, as well as diverse communities and viewers in rethinking society. Taking into account the current constantly evolving readings of what healing means, the programme aims to give rise to unexpected relationships among diverse and heterogeneous knowledges and to establish a medicinal space for our collective therapy to exist.
With solidarity and love,
Marina Fokidis, Curator of the Art Dubai Performances Programme
Curated by Marina Fokidus
Bahar Noorizadeh (1988, Tehran)
During Japan Tsunami, a Strange Creature Was Caught on Camera, 2015, Desktop-Lecture-Performance, 7 min 55 sec.
During Japan Tsunami a Strange Creature was Caught on Camera is a desktop-lecture-performance inspired by the failed US hostage rescue operation at the Tabas desert in Iran-part of Iran-US diplomat relations post 1978 Iranian Revolution- and the geopolitics of oil and the gas pipelines connecting the southern and northern regions of Iran. The computer screen is treated as a form of desert, where acts of excavation and inhumation of narratives could render possible. (The work includes a quotation from A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, 1980 and Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials, Reza Negarestani, 2008)
Bahar Noorizadeh (1988, Tehran) is a filmmaker, writer, and visual artist. Her work has appeared in the Tate Modern Artists’ Cinema Program, Berlinale Forum Expanded, Transmediale Festival, Geneva Biennale of Moving Images, Beirut Art Center, among others. Noorizadeh’s current research examines the intersections of finance, Contemporary Art and emerging technology, building on the notion of “Weird Economies” to precipitate a cross-disciplinary approach to economic futurism and post-financialization imaginaries. She is pursuing this as a PhD candidate in Art Practice at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Imaad Majeed (1991, Colombo)
please share my self care, 2020. Video Performance, 4 min 24 sec.
Does ironic distancing help us talk more openly about what is difficult? What can we learn from Gen-Z and their forms of healing? Perhaps it is not to learn but to unlearn what we think of as healing, in order to truly heal. In the process of creating this work, the artist immersed themselves in the world of TikTok, where, worldwide, youth express and work through their trauma in ways so particular to the online terrain and meme culture. Please share my self care is an exploration of meme and ritual, set against the escalating planetary trauma of COVID-19, as each iteration of the ritual responds to graver circumstances.
Imaad Majeed is a poet and performance artist based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Their performance art has explored themes of identity, language, late-stage capitalism, commodity fetishism, sacred space, xenophobia, ethnoreligious conflict and healing. They have participated in the Eternal Internet Brotherhood/Sisterhood, documenta 14, and the Theertha Performance Platform 2019.
Tiago Sant’Ana (1990, Santo Antonio de Jesus)
Passar em Branco, 2018. Video, 8 min 6 sec.
In the work Passar em Branco, there is an attempt to identify continuity of the colonial systems with respect to the relations of work and race in Brazil. Friction between the ruins of an old sugar mill and materials that refer to the present – such as electric iron. The work highlights the existence of a structure in which race and division of labour are in full association and mutual reinforcement. The whiteness has a strategic presence in the work in a position of contrast with the ruins, with the blackness embodied in the artist and also in a chromatic data of how many domestic appliances have a light colour as an attempt to “neutralize” the manual work.
Tiago Sant’Ana (1990) lives in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, working as a visual artist, curator and doctorate student in Culture and Society at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA). His works emerge from the tensions and identitary representations that surround Afro Brazilian culture and population, taking on colonial dynamics in the country’s history and memory to provoke reflections on contemporary experiences. Since 2010, his works have been exhibited in solo shows and group exhibitions in different countries like USA, UK, Germany, Portugal and Colombia.
Angelo Plessas (1974, Athens)
MissionToTheNoosphere.com, 2017. Website based unique work. Collection Silvia Fiorucci Roman, Monaco.
MissionToTheNoosphere.com is a component of a broader project called The Noospheric Society which was started as part of Documenta 14 Public Programs. The Noospheric Society is a project that reflects on the spiritual sides of technology, merging concepts of the biosphere and cybersphere with the intention to touch issues on freedom of speech, social relations, environmental energies, healing, etc. The website here offers a “snapshot” of the usually opposing “energies” of technology and nature which can now coexist harmoniously.
Angelo Plessas work highlights the ambiguous approach of spirituality with technology opening up themes of freedom of speech, social relations, and identity. Plessas’ activities range from performances to artist residencies; from self-publishing to interactive websites; from sculpture to live-stream events and educational projects. He was a participant artist in documenta 14 (Athens/Kassel) and recent projects include exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the upcoming 10th Gwangju Biennale. He is the founder of the artist-run space P.E.T. Projects in Athens.
Tabita Rezaire (1989, Cayenne)
Deep Down Tidal, 2017. HD video, 18 min 44 sec.
Deep Down Tidal is a video essay in typical net. art style, weaving together cosmological, spiritual, political and technological narratives about water and its role in communication, then and now. It’s about how this cable network can facilitate the retention and expansion of power.
Tabita Rezaire is an artist-healer-seeker working with screens and energy streams. Her cross-dimensional practice envisions network sciences – organic, electronic and spiritual – as healing technologies to serve the shift towards heart consciousness. Navigating digital, corporeal and ancestral memory as sites of struggles, she digs into scientific imaginaries to tackle the pervasive matrix of coloniality that affect the songs of our body-mind-spirits. Tabita is based in Cayenne, French Guyana.