Merry Men, Ahmed Bouholaigah, 2010, Courtesy of Ahmed Bouholaigah,
Positioned as an abstract and sometimes absurd investigation into institutional critique, the inaugural Performance Night at Art Dubai, co-produced by Art Dubai Projects and Traffic, was inspired by Marina Abramovich’s paraphrased philosophy of ‘nothing to sell but memories’.
Led by Traffic founder Rami Farook, the evening combined words, photos, film, music and performance. Featured “performers” included artists, poets, musicians, academics, curators, collectors and gallerists, most of whom were UAE-based.
The Programme included:
Ahmad Makia and Sharmeen Syed: Are you [Actually] Here to Talk About [Art]?
In between what happened ‘then’ and what is happening ‘now’—the installation retrieves, deconstructs and finally reconstructs oral memories in relation to an anticipated performance…
Ahmad Makia is a writer and editor at THE STATE. He currently lives, researches and works in Dubai.
Sharmeen Syed studied Architecture and Urban Design. She is currently a practicing architect and researcher as well as being engaged in independent social and urban research projects.
Shumon Basar: Do you Often Confuse Love with Success and with Fame?
Shumon Basar is a writer, curator and Editor-at-Large at Tank magazine and contributing editor at Bidoun magazine. In London, he directs the Cultural Programme at the AA School. Recent projects there include Format: The Shapes of Discourse, and the exhibition Translated By (with Charles Arsene-Henry), which tours to CCA Kitakyushu and SALT in Istanbul. He is writing a novel, set in Dubai, entitled World!World!World! Shumon Basar is the director of Global Art Forum_6.
Ahmed Bouholaigah: Meanwhile...
A camera will be filming the audience from the beginning of the night and playing back a time lapse of the progress between each screening or performance.
Ahmed Bouholaigah's recent works take a diminutive stab at politics, ego and fame while primarily attempting to call into question the intrinsic value of art, the role of the art institution and the relationshsip between artists and their audiences.
Luca Immesi and Esperimentocinema: 4Ever Young
4ever young is a reflective piece featuring hypnotic techniques, addressing the post-modern world of women.
Luca Immesi is a filmmaker, director, red specialist, editor.
Esperimentocinema is an independent digital production studio. Since 2003, it provides production, editorial, color grading, and finishing services of feature films, short films, documentaries, television, and commercial projects. It is to the vanguard in research and technology.
The Bruce High Qualty Foundation: Artstar
Bruce High Quality's diarist video about his audition for Jeffrey Deitch's Artstar reality television show.
The Bruce High Quality Foundation, the official arbiter of the estate of Bruce High Quality, is dedicated to the preservation of the legacy of the late social sculptor, Bruce High Quality. In the spirit of the life and work of Bruce High Quality, they aspire to invest the experience of public space with wonder, to resurrect art history from the bowels of despair, and to impregnate the institutions of art with the joy of man’s desiring.
Nada Dada: Speech
Nada explains the state of a modern human muted by their personal and practical life and rendering innate feelings, such as fear, jealousy, contempt and selfishness.
Nada Dada is a performance artist and writer. She uses self-portraits as her crucial device to comment on the problematics of the UAE art scene, the personal tragedies of the Muslim Arab woman and the demise of good food, music and religion in the present age. She refers to herself as a “recovering Sharjahian”.
Isak Berbic: Collectors Co-Op
Isak Berbic is a photography, video and performance artist from Sarajevo. His research and creative practice deals with art, politics, histories, memory, tragedy, humor, exile, and the limits of representation. Isak studied at the University of Illinois at Chicago and he currently teaches at University of Sharjah, UAE.
Isak Berbic is a photography, video and performance artist from Sarajevo. His research and creative practice deals with art, politics, histories, memory, tradegy, humour, exile and the limits of representation. Berbic studied at the University of Illinois in Chicago and currently teaches at University of Sharjah, UAE.
Nargis Dhirani: 'Where are you from?'
"The dilution of cultural identity is a relatively recent phenomenon that will progressively continue as new generations find new ways to define themselves."
Nargis Dhirani is an artist born in Dubai, UAE, and raised in Vancouver, Canada, who graduated from American University in Dubai. Her work addresses concepts that centre fear, comfort, self-representation, and cultural and female identity. In terms of media, she works in soft sculpture, installation, video, and photography. She also has an interest in kinetic sculpture and installations that interact with the public.
Lantian Xie: This is Not a Visa
A performer fills out and submits online a visa application via laptop as quickly as possible.
Lantian Xie currently lives and works between Chicago, USA and Dubai, UAE. He is an MFA candidate at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as well as a recent recipient of the Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award.
Anahita Razmi: White Wall Tehran
On a trip to Iran in January 2007, Anahita was stopped by revolutionary guards, because she had been filming them with her video camera. They erased 27 seconds of her video by filming the white inner wall of their headquarters.
Anahita Razmi is based in Stuttgart, she works mainly with video, performance and photography. Her artistic work is dealing with issues concerning identity and gender, employing objects with a national and cultural significance.
Ahmed Bouholaigah: Merry Man
A montage of Ahmed stealing random items from Traffic. Shot between January and March 2012 using Traffic's own CCTV cameras. The stolen items will be distributed to the viewers on the screening night.
Adel Abidin: Hamada
This is the story of a unique individual, both humorous and self-aware, living his life in the margins.
Adel Abidin was born in Baghdad, where he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts before moving to Helsinki, Finland in 2000. Having started his career as a painter, he began to work with video and completed an MF A in New Media at Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts in 2005. Adding sculpture and installation to his repertoire, Abidin uses humour and irony to look at themes of cultural identity, marginalisation, nationalism, war, terror and heroism, surveying different experiences of living in a conflicted and precarious world.
Nicholas Karavatos & Adrian Matt Zytkoskee: Give Me Space
Poet Nicholas Karavatos recites in collaboration with musician Matt Zytkoskee on the guzheng. Both artists are professors at the American University of Sharjah. They will perform a poem titled "Give Me Space" which is a deconstruction of celestial and terrestrial nomenclature.
Hala Ali: Untitled
Spoken word poetry performance by Hala Ali
Hala Ali was born in Saudi Arabia, studied in the United Kingdom and currently resides in the United Arab Emirates. Hala's poetry, often composed within the forms of spoken word, is direct and argumentative, reflecting on contemporary society and speaking to ideas of female invisibility, human relations, politics and social dogmas.
Wolfpakistan: Show Cancelled
Native born Emiratee Indian Slash Mexican dance rap group, WOLFPAKiSTAN have carved their own niche with a blend of poetry and gangster rap with an emphasis on all things pork! Often combining live tuba, hula hoops, fake instruments that don't actually make any sound, African tribe dancers and animals into their performance.
Bunty and Metaluna: Multimos
Live, Bunty uses her renegade mullti- instrumentalism, voice, effects pedals and a mash of real and made-up languages. She whispers, bellows, beatboxes, claps, stamps and produces frenzied harmonies to create her music from scratch. Bunty flits deftly from beautifully serene choral soundscapes and psyche folk to stomping funkadelia and Arabian disco.
Jennifer & Kevin McCoy
Artists are asked to present the work of different modern and contemporary artists as if it were their own.
Jennifer and Kevin McCoy are a Brooklyn, New York-based married couple who make art together. They work with interactive media, film, performance and installation to explore personal experience in relation with new technology, the mass media, and global commerce. They often re-examine classic genres and works of cinema, science fiction or television narrative, creating sculptural objects, net art, robotic movies or live performance.
Khunying Tobnom: Thai Slapping Beauty Treatment
After almost two decades of dishing out slaps in the name of image improvement, the techniques of the 44-year-old beautician better known as "Khunying Tobnom" are as popular as ever.