Strangers on a Train
Visual essay by Atef Berredjem & Nora Razian
Published in: Pas de Deux: 5 x 2 x 2, Mediterranean dialogues, argobooks, 2014
What do revolution, rebellion, and war look like in relation to our relative motion? How fast do we need to be moving to create a simultaneous understanding of ideologies such as democracy, capitalism, and socialism? While being propelled through space and time, what language can we use to articulate this simultaneous moment?It seems that our current moment is one in which all guiding markers have either been moved or completely erased; there are no fixed goal posts to aim for, no yellow brick road to take us back home. Are we now firmly rooted in a century that has forgotten how to imagine where it wants to go? Or is it that the concurrent pulls of the past and the future have locked us into an inert present? Looking over the wreckage of the ongoing political struggles in North Africa, the Levant, and the Gulf, the future appears to have altogether evaporated…
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.
Atef Berredjem was born in 1982 and lives and works in Annaba, Algeria. He graduated from the Algiers Fine Arts Academy in 2007. His artistic practice spans painting, assemblage, sculpture, installation and performance. In recent years, his works have focused on immigration and colonization, combining images, objects (ready-mades), words or sentences with materials and scenography.
Nora Razian is the Head of Exhibitions at the Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai where she has curated solo presentations by Mounira Al Solh, Farah Al Qasimi and Chiharu Shiota. She oversaw the Jameel’s 2018 opening program of exhibitions and publications. Previous roles include Head of Programs and Exhibitions at the Sursock Museum, Beirut, and Curator of Public Programs at the Tate, London. She has an MA in Anthropology and Cultural Politics from Goldsmiths College, London, where she also designed and taught the MA course Critical Pedagogy in Contested Space at the Centre for Arts and Learning. She has curated several solo and group exhibitions, including I will return, and I will be millions as part of Homeworks 8, Beirut in 2019, Phantom Limb at the Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai in 2019 and Let’s Talk About the Weather: Art and Ecology in a Time of Crisis in 2016 and 2018 at the Sursock Museum, Beirut and the Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou.