Younes Baba-Ali is an artist-alchemist who measures and mixes technology, objects, sound, video, and photography with political, social, and ecological issues in places uncommon to art practice. He makes art that is unconventional, intelligent and critical, mostly in public spaces or sites unusual for artistic practice. He is a sharp observer and raises pertinent questions aimed at society, the institutions and above all, his audience. As a free thinker he holds a mirror up to society and confronts it with its ingrained habits and dysfunctions. Baba-Ali’s work often assumes the form of the readymade, but underneath its facade of simplicity there is a complex exercise in balance at work. Baba-Ali was awarded the Léopold Sédar Senghor prize during the 2012 African Contemporary Art Biennial of Dakar and the Boghossian prize during the 2014 Belgian Art Prize Art Contest. He has participated in several international exhibitions, including Kunstenfestivaldesarts, the Biennale de Lubumbashi, Brussels Background, Brussels in Song Eun: Imagining Cities Beyond Technology 2.0, For a Brave New Brussels, Digital Imaginaries – Africas in Production, ZKM, One Place After Another, The Marrakech Biennale, documenta 14, Biennale of Contemporary African Art, Commissions, KANAL – Centre Pompidou, and Gemischte Gefühle, Tempelhof.
Listening to the Present
Time, Spaces and Speaking Voices
In: Pas de Deux: 5 x 2 x 2, Mediterranean dialogues. argobooks, 2014
A dialogue between Younes Baba-All and Anna Raimondo, with the special participation of the reader.
Before getting started, we’d ask that you try to be aware of whether you can hear these voices in your mind, and how they sound. Imagine their accent, tone, timber, and rhythm. Construct acoustic spaces and sound environments for them. To help you do this, we’ve put together a list of the noises we could hear around us as we talked: a computer running, a computer shutting down, bird calls, a cat opening the door, a neon light humming, a car passing by in the distance, a car passing by closer up, voices, a hearty laugh, meowing, a rooster, footsteps on the stairs, books being leafed through, a coffee maker burbling, a female voice speaking French with a heavy Italian accent, a pen scratching, a male voice speaking French, rain, hail, coughing, music of various kinds, a cell phone ringing, water being poured into a glass, a cookie being munched, laughter, silence, pauses, music from a CD, a pen clicking, a dog barking….
PAS DE DEUX: 5 x 2 x 2 was a residency project encouraging Mediterranean dialogues between artists from the southern Mediterranean and curators from the northern and eastern sides of the Mediterranean Sea.
Participating artists and curators: Anna Raimondo (curator and artist, Italy), Younes Baba Ali (artist, Morocco), Basak Senova (curator, Turkey), Simohamed Fettaka (artist, Morocco), Yasmina Reggad (curator, France), Ismael Leamsi (artist, Tunisia), Charlotte Bank (art historian and curator, Germany/Switzerland), Younes Atbane (artist, Morocco), Nora Razian (curator, Lebanon), Atef Berredjem (artist, Algeria). They met for a two-week residency to create a dialogue about artistic approaches to the question: “Where are we now?”. That question – central to the Marrakech Biennale in 2014 – prompted collaborative reflections focusing on the artist’s creative process as well as on the curator’s more theoretical reading of it. The conversations and themes of the residency finally took material form in a book: each artist/curator pair produced an essay evoking the key themes addressed during the residency. The first book launch took place in Marrakech in February 2014, during the Marrakech Biennale.