Special Edition April 2020 / Neumarkt Zurich x STATION Beirut

Nouvelle Nahda
النهضة الجديدة

A publication of a theatre production that moves with the times.

What if this line could
start a movement?

Index

[About]
[Process of Becoming]
[Renaissance & Revolution]
[Imagination]
[Change]
[Trauma Geotrauma]
[Fire]
[Loss and Uprising]
[Activism]
[Biographies]
[Impressum / Imprint]
What if the movement
could rewrite our story?
What if the story could
show us the way?
What if the way could
lead us to the truth?
What if the truth could
unlock our throats?
What if our song could
cast a spell?
What if the spell could
break the illusion?

Seven Possibilities, Ibrahim Nehme, publisher, writer & curator

About

Nouvelle Nahda النهضة الجديدة

By and with: Myriam Boulos, Nabil Canaan, Sarah Calörtscher, Hayat Erdoğan, Anna Hofmann, Sophie Krayer, Ayman Nahle, Yara Bou Nassar, Jeremy Nedd, Ibrahim Nehme, Kenza Nessaf, Antje Schupp, Nour Sokhon

The work with the title “Nouvelle Nahda” is an international co-production between Neumarkt Zurich and STATION Beirut that was originally planned to premiere on April 2, 2020 at Neumarkt Zurich and on April 23, 2020 at STATION Beirut. Due to the global situation with the Corona pandemic the theatre production has been postponed until unknown. The collaborating artists and institutions have decided to present an intermediate work, in the form of this online publication, which gives an insight into the realm of “Nouvelle Nahda” — a theater production that didn’t take place yet. The publication captures the changing times and is one possible answer to the question: how to make theater in times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Theater has always been seen as a vehicle for ideas.”                         “Theater has always been seen as a vehicle for ideas.”                        “Theater has always been seen as a vehicle for ideas.”                        “Theater has always been seen as a vehicle for ideas.”

Kassir, Samir: Being Arab. Verso Books, NY / London 2013.

Process of Becoming

Text by Hayat Erdoğan, Co-Director & Dramaturge

Preface to Preface

21.03.2020
When I wrote the following preface to the actual theatre production “Nouvelle Nahda” that would have premiered on April 2, 2020, we, the artistic team, were still imagining the possibility of staging it. Four days later, after I had written the preface which would have been part of the production leaflet, on Friday March 13, 2020, we, i.e. the Neumarkt theatre, followed the announcements of the Bundesrat and postponed our program until after April 30, 2020. A few days later, we also shut down the internal operations and shifted them — as far as possible — to home officing. So, there we are now since March 17, sitting in our homes, paying our respects to social distancing aka physical distancing, while staying connected and trying to move on. Where to? We don’t know yet.
Maybe, we never have been so present and so historically aware as now, in this very specific moment in history. To answer the question where we are going from the perspective of “Nouvelle Nahda”: towards a future that is yet to come. A future that we can only have, when we start rethinking almost everything. So, let’s start somewhere and make a beginning.

Preface: Potentials, Possibilities & the Principle of Hope

09.03.2020
As I write these lines, we are a good 3 weeks away from the premiere of our international co-production “Nouvelle Nahda”. A lot can change in 3 weeks and this text may have completely lost its meaning, which would be nice in view of our dark times and in terms of the artistic intention of “Nouvelle Nahda”, if we decided to be optimistic about the future. Because let’s imagine that on April 2, 2020 we read the newspapers and it is full of good news, everything is in order, no wars, no racism, no injustices, no power games, no pandemics and hey, we have also got climate change under control. If that were the case, “Nouvelle Nahda” — and all that is worth fighting for — would indeed be outdated.

But in three weeks it will be like this: We will open the newspaper, consult our news apps, check Social Media, watch a few Late Night Shows to laugh at the American president, and in the meantime some new catastrophe headline will be thrown at us — whether the headlines will still be Corona-heavy or will deal with the inhuman situation at the European borders, or whether the media spotlight will have turned to another crisis is uncertain. It can be assumed that due to the reader click numbers and the declining number of newspaper subscribers the media will push a new topic by means of headlines. A topic that is at least as bad and end time atmospheric as current headlines. Seen from this point of view, the following text may of course have lost all its topicality and relevance, because news on the state of the world today, at least how I perceive it, have a half-life of almost 24 hours. Let’s be honest, when did we last read or hear about the protests in Lebanon? I ask this today, on March 9, 2020 ...
And so, while the news about our world are outdoing each other with bad news being smashed down on us, and while that, which was considered important yesterday, doesn’t even have the time to arrive and stimulate us to reflect upon it and make us take action, on the ever-following todays, a change of lighting is taking place. And with maximum media spotlight power, the yesterday is being blended over, and we here, in the world, at “Nouvelle Nahda”, blink and try to see blinded and to make visible, what has been blended over and to bring into the light what’s in the shadow, since Corona seems to have colonized the news, too.

Today, on March 21, 2020, I can hardly imagine a catastrophe headline other than a Corona related one. While at the same time there are massive humanitarian catastrophes happening unnoticed ... for example in Yemen, for example at the refugee camps in Greece. I am thinking of what Nour Sokhon, sound artist and artistic collaborator of “Nouvelle Nahda”, had said recently when we were zooming in the team to talk about how to proceed with our production. She said: “It’s also a question of privilege to stay at home and practice social distancing. Some people don’t have a home, some countries can’t afford a shut- and lockdown ...” (Nour Sokhon via Zoom on Wednesday, March 18, 2020)

“Nouvelle Nahda” is being created in a collaborative process involving all artists, living partly in Beirut and partly in Zurich. The production brings together different artistic voices, all of which are accompanied by the questions:
How does it actually work to make art in our times? What does it mean to be an artist today? What can art do in times of unrest, upheavals and uprisings?
While “Nouvelle Nahda” tries to keep up, to keep the overview, to locate itself and take a stand, the global state of emergency has become the normal state.
Collapsology at its best.
So, sad but true, none of the questions that accompany us in this production will have lost their relevance and topicality, because, I assume, it is a long road from here towards change for the better.

The sky above us is heavy and there is only one sky, a shared sky, and so we all are responsible for what happens under it, says Didi-Huberman and refers to Bertolt Brecht, who called it dark times when he wrote about his time and resumed that in dark times the songs sung about those same times would be extremely dark. A few years later Hannah Arendt also spoke of dark times and saw something positive in it, namely the possibility that humanity would show itself and that thinking, poetry and the arts could rise above political barbarism and set something hopeful.
Can we do that? Can we propose something hopeful? Can artists, the arts change the world significantly? Or what role does it, do they, do we play?

Arendt, Hannah. On Humanity in Dark Times: Thoughts about Lessing. (1959) trans. Clara and Richard Winfton, Men in Dark Times. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace 8c Company, 1983.

The French philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman writes in an introduction to an art catalogue “Uprisings” that the arts not only have a history, but appear as the eye of history itself. And what can we do in the dark times?

Didi-Huberman, Georges. Uprisings. Paris: Jeu de Paume & Gallimard, 2016.

“You can wait, quite simply: you retreat, endure. You say that it will end at some point. You try to manage. [...] And as you get used to it — and this will happen soon, for humans are animals that adapt quickly — you start to expect nothing at all. The horizon of expectation, the temporal horizon, ends up disappearing in the gloom, just as any visual horizon does. Where there is limitless darkness, there is nothing more to expect. This is called submission to obscurity (or, if you prefer, obedience to obscurantism). This is called the death impulse, the death of desire.”

But that is not the final answer that Didi-Huberman gives. He continues with holding up the survival of desire, which shows itself and is brought about by the word uprising and by the gesture which it designates. “Should we not, at every instant, raise up our many lead screeds? And for this should we not rise up ourselves and, necessarily — for the screed is so vast and the lead so heavy — rise up in numbers?”, he then asks as a conclusion. To see desire and rebellion not disappear in our dark times, we must rise up and either move faster or stand still. To be able to see in the darkness, we must follow the lights in the distance, because dark times try to darken our view, but it is not deep black around us. If we make an effort, we can see through the dark grey, we can see lights, the lights of the fireflies, which symbolize the principle of hopethis is what Pier Paolo Pasolini wrote in “L’articolo delle lucciole”, one of his last political essays, published shortly before he was murdered.

Pasolini, Pier Paolo, ‘1º febbraio 1975. L’articolo delle lucciole’, In: Scritti corsari, Milano 2013.

The cooperation with Nabil Canaan, director of STATION Beirut, is based on common interests that are most likely to be articulated through questions such as: What role can artists and cultural institutions play in times like ours? How committed and engaged must and can they be? Do they have to intervene directly and be confrontative or show other ways to initiate socio-political change? What narratives do we have to create for this?

“Arts for social change” is one of Nabil Canaan’s credos and he believes in the transformative power of the arts. When we started to exchange ideas in January 2019 about how we could start a common project based on these questions, Nabil mentioned a book, which he calls one of the founding documents for STATION: “Being Arab” by Samir Kassir. The book was published in 2004 under the original French title “Considérations sur le malheur arabe” — one year before Kassir, journalist and one of Lebanon’s most prominent public intellectuals, was murdered. In this book, Kassir takes Western double standards to court just as harshly as the growing Islamism. He points out the democracy deficit, which shows itself in religious fascism, rejection of all ideologies of progress, hatred of the West and, as a result, illiteracy, poverty and regression. His appeal is clear: instead of creating images of the enemy and lamenting the fatefulness of one's own future, take it into your own hands and become active, act, start changing the world.

Kassir, Samir. Considérations sur le malheur arabe. Arles: Actes Sud Sindbad, 2004.

In an email from February 5, 2019 Nabil Canaan wrote: “Most importantly for me, and for why STATION exists, is Samir Kassir's call for a new Nahda (Renaissance) through culture.” Nahda refers to the epoch of the Arab Renaissance (mid 19th century to mid 20th century), Nahda is Arabic for Renaissance, also translated as Enlightenment and Awakening and literally describes standing up, moving from bottom to top, straightening up. With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and after the turmoil of World War I, the ideas of Nahda were lost. Kassir picks up on this and recalls in his book that in the Arab heyday universities and theatres were founded, literature and art forms boomed, critical journalism developed, in short: progress and an optimistic view of a common future was the driving force. More recent Nahda studies refer with Nahda (also Al-nahdah) not (only) to a historical epoch of originality, but to a kind of event in which Western ideas were also imported, which made the Nahda-as-event appear as a seam between different ideas, epistemologies, subjectivities. An idea of a seam that describes the Nahda not only as an epoch, an event, historical fact, but also as a concept of modernity, as a kind of methodology, a way of becoming progressive, an ongoing process of becoming through ideological invocation of modern, critical subjectivities. The production “Nouvelle Nahda” ties in with all these ideas and questions.

In May 2019 we started the research. Together with the director Antje Schupp, who we at Neumarkt had appointed to lead the artistic process, we met various artists associated with STATION Beirut. The first concept imagined a project that would tell the story of the “Nouvelle Nahda” as an avantgarde in the narrative structure of Futur 2. Together with the collaborating artists from Beirut and the Neumarkt Ensemble the project was set up as a fictional, historical avant-garde movement from the future. Starting from speculatively fabulating and the idea of Nahda and the arts, we looked at marginalized Renaissance movements, which we perceived as revolutions of the imagination. In that sense, the movement “Nouvelle Nahda” would have joined together forces to form a global movement to bring new future models and narratives into the world through art that would have crossed genres and borders, which would have been called "inclusive art".

See inter alia Stephen Sheehi: The 10-Point Nahda Manifesto.t In: Lucian Stone, Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh (Ed.), Manifestos for World Thought. London/New York 2017, 131-145.

“Per definitionem ist ein Ereignis unvorhersehbar. Überraschend hält es Einzug in die Wirklichkeit. Und doch geschieht es nicht durch Zufall. Im Nachhinein lassen sich Kausalketten rekonstruieren, doch das Ereignis sprengt die herkömmlichen Interpretationen. Es lässt sich mithilfe der Kategorien, die vor ihm galten, nicht begreifen und wird daher von allen missverstanden, die auf vorgefertigten Meinungen beharren. Zudem ist das Ereignis unberechenbar. Es verläuft nicht nach Plan. Niemand kann erahnen, wo es hinsteuert. Seine Dynamik besteht aus der Entfaltung von Ambivalenzen und Widersprüchen. Für alle Verfechter des Status quo ist das Ereignis ein Skandal. Zu ihrer Empörung werden Zustände angefochten, mit denen sie sich wohl oder übel abgefunden haben.”

Paoli, Guillaume. Soziale Gelbsucht. Berlin: Matthes & Seitz, 2019.

In October 2020, director Antje Schupp and costume and set designer Sophie Krayer travelled to Beirut to work out initial ideas for the production during a week of preliminary rehearsals with photographer Myriam Boulos, performer Yara Bou Nassar, filmmaker Ayman Nahle, sound artist Nour Sokhon and author Ibrahim Nehme, all artists from Beirut. On October 17, 2019 , the day Sophie and Antje returned to Switzerland, the protests in Lebanon began. The speculative-fictitious, revolutionary Renaissance movement “Nouvelle Nahda” was caught up in reality.

The protests have been going on for over 5 months and changed the initial conditions of the “Nouvelle Nahda” production. “Nouvelle Nahda” is since then developing in line with developments in Lebanon, in line with developments in the world, while at the same time admitting to itself: We cannot negotiate everything, we cannot refer to everything and maybe and unfortunately, we cannot even change the course of history. But we can tell stories, stories that are personal and emotional, stories that are information, stories that are news, stories that are attempts; attempts to understand the events and processes, to put them into a chronology that is multilayered and not linear, attempts that don’t mean closures to the processes, but open up new fields to think them further, to spin them on. So, whose chronology, whose timeline, whose stories, from what perspective can we actually tell? Who speaks, who listens?

“The social and political situation is tense. Since 17 October 2019, there have been demonstrations, some of them violent, across the country, with roadblocks, strikes and clashes between various groups. Public life is being disrupted: banks, schools and shops are temporarily closed, and traffic jams are to be expected.

The riots claimed several lives and injured people. In Sur (Tyr), demonstrators set fire to a hotel.

The country is suffering from a financial crisis. It cannot be ruled out that cash withdrawals will be temporarily impossible.”

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA; as of 09.04.2020

And how can we narrate and create art without aesthetically commodifying real political and social demands. How can we capture the complexity and the parallelism and simultaneity of personal stories, experiences and memories in relation to the master narratives, the shared heaven? How can we do this without distorting? Can we do it at all? Isn’t telling a story also selecting and thus also excluding?
But selecting is also enlarging.

“Nouvelle Nahda” zooms in, takes a bird’s eye view of the thematic complexes of Renaissance and Revolution, looks from the orbits of the stars and planets at attempts of social upheaval, questions rebirths of past ideas that could hold potential, potentials that could be reawakened as possibilities.


“Nouvelle Nahda” questions its own position and complicity in the whole, overtaxes itself, gives a voice to speechlessness, deals with anger, hope, despair and grief, it processes, reworks and dares a projection into a more utopian future.

We are interested in: The personal narratives, the many lights of individuals circling like fireflies in the darkness, opening up a more complex horizon despite the need for simple messages and monomythical narratives.
Yes, the world is on fire — literally and metaphorically. And we can no longer see. Because the light of the great fire, i.e. the great media spotlights on one catastrophe at the time, crossfades the many catastrophes in the world, crossfades the individual stories, blinds and confuses. “Nouvelle Nahda” tells some of the stories; personal stories become micro-histories, and put together they may form a narration and a complex image that will perhaps look different from the narrations and images that go around the world, images that are meant to represent the situation of a city, of a country, images that are meant to symbolize violence and misery and suffering, images that are meant to symbolize departure ...

“Nouvelle Nahda” will also produce images, but a bit more in the questioning mode, like for example: what is that, which is portrayed as an anonymous mass by the news? What images and stories do we need to show and hear? Who is We? What potential could a We — imagined as a Maximum-We — develop? Masses are only as anonymous as the powerful gestures that cut them out as such.
A Maximum-We is not a mass, but rather forms itself into a political subject, a collective subject made up of singularities that join together to form a We, the people yet to come.

So, maybe for this utopian We-to-come the task of artists, the arts and cultural institutions will have been this: to have put themselves at the service of a greater cause, but each and everybody from his/her own point of view and self-understanding. In that sense, perhaps “Nouvelle Nahda” would have been a global renaissance movement. Who can look into the future anyways?

I would like to thank all the artists involved in “Nouvelle Nahda” for their inspiring thoughts, for their commitments, for their creativity, which all made this process an extremely promising collaboration, so far. Maybe this production will in the end “only” have been that: That over a longer period of time a dozen or so people will have dealt with relevant and urgent questions uttered in their own artistic ways and in a beautiful polyphony of voices and so, their/our self-images will have changed, from which other and new actions will have been derived.

The following is an excerpt from the Radio Meedan Manifesto, written by Amahl Khouri and published in the 4th edition of the magazine “The Outpost” by Ibrahim Nehme. The Manifesto was based on a fictious Radio Station that never existed and called for action and listed many reasons to do.

“The first step of change is awareness. Where do we live? Who are we? Where do we belong?
The first step of awareness is a story.
The first step is a story small or big.
I hear your story. You hear mine.
Meedan* is all of our stories, together becoming something stronger.
We are at a turning point in our history. This place is ours. This time is ours. A line has been crossed. There is no going back.”

*Meedan is Arabic for “public square” and refers here to the idea of what a democratized public space could mean in its best sense.

In the following I share a selection of texts, photos, videos and audios with you, all which were created by the “Nouvelle Nahda” artists, as well as texts, which have inspired us.
In the following you will read and see texts and artworks that range from personal-internal, speculative-inventive to theoretical-abstract. The selection attempts to open the thematic horizon of “Nouvelle Nahda” and at the same time tries to give an insight into the work in progress and the process of becoming it.

Enjoy the publication.
Rise Up and Love Play Fight!

“To rise up, as when we say “a storm is rising.” To reverse the weight that nailed us to the ground. So it is the laws of the atmosphere itself that will be contradicted. Surfaces- sheets, draperies, flags-fly in the wind. Lights that explode into fireworks. Dust that rises up from nooks and crannies. Time is out of joint. The world upside down. [...]” Didi-Huberman, Georges. Uprisings. Paris: Jeu de Paume & Gallimard, 2016.

Renaissance & Revolution

A revolution is not a performance

Text by Antje Schupp, director & performer

25.03.2020
As much as I love the title “Nouvelle Nahda”, strictly speaking it makes little sense. New Renaissance. What is a renaissance, a rebirth, other than new? It’s nonsensical, a classic case of pleonasm. But given the amount of changes this project has already gone through, maybe there’s some truth to it. Nomen est omen: “Nouvelle Nahda”. The new rebirth. The constant process of becoming. Or: theory is not practice. Because Renaissance and Revolution suddenly change their meaning when you happen to become part of them.

What began as a somewhat complex work on the creative power of art — including the project’s own Renaissance movement “Nouvelle Nahda” — became, after the outbreak of the protests in Lebanon, an even more complex work on the question of how art can be done in times of an actual revolution (and whether it should be done at all or whether it would be better to be in the streets.)

For many months almost all cultural institutions in Beirut were closed, in solidarity with the revolution. “Nouvelle Nahda” should have been the first production at Station Beirut after a pause of almost half a year.

After the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus, we have now arrived at the question of how not only theatre and art, but also revolutions, can survive and inspire in times of international lockdown. In view of the new pandemic, one may have almost forgotten that only a few weeks ago there were many active movements and protests in different countries of the world, some of which were maintained for months: in Hong Kong, in Chile, in Lebanon, in Iran, in Iraq, in India, but also in France, in Germany and in Switzerland. They have gone quiet, because in most of these countries the rights of assembly are currently either partially or totally restricted. At this point, #staythefuckhome has meaning and urgency.

But where can protests shift to if public space is no longer available? Being “in the streets” is a classic and still very effective way to keep a revolution going. But if the masses are in quarantine, there is no revolution. And now? Do the governments that the people rebelled against continue to govern as before? Will activists start all over again after their forced break? Or — much worse — continue with tougher conditions than they had before, because now the fun of meeting with a whole bunch of strangers in the streets is gone? A virus keeps as little to deadlines as it does to borders. Even if theatres are allowed to reopen in a few weeks, even if people are allowed to gather again without restrictions: how many people will come? [...]

I’m not only curious about the creativity of society and governments in coping with this challenging time, but also about the creativity of activists* whose concerns have not become less explosive just because a virus allows itself the fun of turning half the globe upside down. By the way, have we already understood that even “economy first” doesn’t even apply anymore? That is downright revolutionary! But what the current situation means for the revolutions of this world, nobody can answer at the moment.

John Berger said: “Protest is primarily performative.” I say: A revolution is not a performance. “Nouvelle Nahda” can be postponed. A revolution can’t be so easily postponed. So what happens now? In Lebanon too, priorities have shifted and people are staying at home for the time being in fear of coronavirus. But the need for political change remains, the economic situation is still precarious. You cannot imagine what it really means as a society to embark on the event of a Revolution, with all the uncertainties and risks that this may entail, if you are not involved in it yourself. But 50% of our “Nouvelle Nahda” team can imagine, and even the most convinced activists sometimes have doubts. Revolution seems to me like a society’s collective leap into nothingness. The ultimate risk. You don’t know how things will continue, but you know that they can no longer continue as they have before. And after the jump nothing is the way it used to be. But that is theory.

Practice is, “There is no going back.” Ibrahim and his friend Amahl Khouri wrote these lines for the manifesto of “Radio Meedan” many years ago, and this is how it seems to have happened. “There is no going back.” For a society in Lebanon, but also in a very literal sense: Yara is currently stuck in Zurich, Sophie has caught Corona, Anna and Ayman possibly, too. Both Lebanon and Switzerland have heavy entry restrictions and are in lockdown. And now? I remember Nour saying a few weeks ago, laughing: “Oh no! The revolution is over, we got Corona in Lebanon.” I hope she was wrong.

Berger, John. The nature of mass demonstrations. London: Vietnam Solidarity Campaign, 1968.



“Uprisings give rise to narrative reconstructions after the fact. In the moment, uprisings are not always practical and calculated. Yet they sometimes embody ideals that live on in the accounts that postdate their failures. Even when they are crushed, uprisings still have the power to articulate ideals. The aftermath of defeat is also the time in which the story of the uprising becomes narratable. Only from the vantage of hindsight does an uprising become a discrete story with beginning, middle, and end, sometimes the story of a valiant struggle that exemplifies principles of freedom and justice.”

Butler, Judith. Uprisings. In: Didi-Huberman, Georges. Uprisings. Paris: Jeu de Paume & Gallimard, 2016.

It’s been wonderful working on “Nouvelle Nahda” with this team. I am deeply touched by what we have accomplished so far, and I am proud. This team (and this includes both institutions Station and Neumarkt, of course) holds together the ability to react quickly and to become creative in circumstances yet unknown. Whether or not this improves the quality of the work for an audience is yet unknown, too, at this point. I do think it is at least remarkable that we can work together as well as we do in this first collaboration, which is fragmentary, in different constellations and spread across two countries. Even before the flood of zoom conferences, this was our everyday life: working over distance, as autonomously as possible, as often as possible in close dialogue. This working method has always been part of the concept and perhaps “Nouvelle Nahda” has unconsciously taken visionary paths with it. Even though we certainly imagined them differently.

In a few years, perhaps some art historian will accidentally find this text. Few people will have read it, even fewer will have seen the performance. But that person will somehow be intrigued by the title “Nouvelle Nahda”. “Strange Pleonasm”, he/she might think. But perhaps will still choose it as a term for this possibly new era of society and art. A renaissance of which we all might be already a part of, helping to shape it.

#therenaissanceinyouistherenaissanceinmebaby

Imagination

Excerpts from a text by Ibrahim Nehme, publisher, writer & curator

“Inner liberty doesn’t wait for institutions.”
Etel Adnan

I am dancing in downtown Amman, on the rooftop of a rundown building, on a dance floor where men hold hands while a Palestinian DJ plays techno that keeps the neighbors awake. Around me are constellations of young people grooving and moving to an edgy new sound. We’ve come here to dance. The night is young and we are ready.

[...]

Every human is born with a song. The song holds the seed. The seed becomes the grounds on which we surrender to the dance.

When I dance, I access a state of being that makes me more susceptible to revelation. Which is why, perhaps unsurprisingly, the best lines of poetry come to me when I’m dancing. Which is also why I go prepared — phone fully charged and a little notebook in the back pocket. Just in case. Because you never know when revelation strikes. Much like you never know how a revolution really starts.

On the dance floor we travel in our imaginations to places we’ve never been. Our bodies become vessels through which we could access a higher state of consciousness. The imagination is indeed a fertile place. It is the land of poetry. In this land everything speaks and wants to be spoken. This is my motherland. Here I can sing my song.

A revolution is taking place on dance floors in Amman, Beirut, Cairo, and elsewhere, as more and more people are being awakened by the sound of their primal song. Every dance becomes a chance to reconnect with our original blueprint. The revolution here is inwards. It’s a revolution of the body and of the mind. It’s the revolution we need.

The dance floor in this way can be understood as a site of resistance against systems of oppression that want to tame our bodies and control our minds. Here, we practice joy and dance in opposition to those systems whose very existence is the antithesis to joy. Here, everything is in motion and motion gives birth to new networks that are based on trust. This is a field of possibility.

[...]

I am dancing and the lines are coming. I pull out my notebook and follow the flow.

1. What if this line could start a movement?
2. What if the movement could rewrite our story?
3. What if the story could show us the way?
4. What if the way could lead us to the truth?
5. What if the truth could unlock our throats?
6. What if our song could cast a spell?
7. What if the spell could break the illusion?

I am writing these lines on a dance floor in Amman two weeks before the revolution in Beirut sparked its fire.

Imagine you wouldn’t doubt that you can change the world you live in.
Imagine you would just do it and it works.
Imagine you can inspire yourself so much, that you inspire others by your actions.
Imagine, an artwork or text would create such an energy, that whoever sees or hears it gets them inspired. Contagious art, crossing borders.
Would this be a miracle or just bringing something to life that has been there already?

They say that bumblebees, according to the laws of physics, actually can’t fly. The size of their wings is too small in relation to the weight and size of their body. But bumblebees don’t know this. They just fly.

Excerpt from a text by Antje Schupp, director & performer


So, what is it that makes them fly?
Ignorance, Imagination, Invalidity of the Laws of Physics, Inexorable Will to cross limitations of any sort?
In a speech “State of the Youth” (2019) Luanda Casella said:
“I had a wonderful teacher in the university who once said something I will never forget about the historical power of imagination for our daily survival, he said: If you make the wrong fiction of the lion, it will eat you up. I think that’s exactly what we’re doing, we’re making, as a society, very wrong fictions of everything.”

[October 17, 2019]

Two weeks later, on October 17, I boarded a flight back home. I was without a phone, so I’d arranged for a cab to pick me up from the Beirut airport and asked him to await me at the arrivals section with a sign carrying my name.

Fifty minutes later I am at an empty airport in Beirut looking for a man holding a sign I could not find. I’d been looking for signs for the past nine years: signs to help me orbit around the planets in my head; signs from my fate or the future; signs that I cannot possibly reason with; signs I conveniently choose to follow or forget.

Today I am looking for a sign carrying my name that will get me home.

At home, everything was on fire. The roads, our rage, a million voices. At home, all the signs were saying one thing: this is it. The real revolution. The revolution our parents have long waited for. The revolution we grew up longing for. The revolution we dreamt up on the dance floors. This is the end and a new beginning. This is everything.

In the following days, the whole country transformed into a massive dance floor. Everything became possible. And then the possible became real.

[...]

Yet in the following months, some signs started to raise the alarm: Is this really it? It became apparent, at least to some of us, that the true test of revolution is whether it could inspire individuals to shed layers of fear and break through the limits of the self. Only then will we be really ready to imagine a revolution that is radical and all-mighty, one that could stand in the face of — and eventually defeat — all those oppressive systems that stand against us. Because it will be a revolution from within: fearless, playful, intentional, and mindful. Only then will we be ready for change.



Because it is only when we are ready to change the world inside of us that we can finally change the world outside.
Archive Rev. #1

Video and text by Ayman Nahle, filmmaker & video artist

The regime in Lebanon fell, fell apart, exploded from the inside, exploded.
These are his leaders, the leaders of its war, or so far to call them, "for the sake of accuracy" the previous leaders.

Representatives of the wealthy class, investors of our ruin of all kinds, are trying to deny this, and this, through a specific matter, which is of course expected: preventing the revolutionaries from seeing that fall, because, when they do this, they are overthrown.

Witnessing here is not just a look at the fallen regime, or standing on it, but rather freedom from it, such as the collapse of a prison and the exit of detainees from its cells.

The revolutionaries were the prisoners. All the dancing in the streets, all the humor, all the convergence, is nothing but a celebration of freedom, and because, as well, it indicates that they wanted it. There were no among the revolutionaries, and before they became revolutionaries, whoever felt this freedom when the regime has ruled by, or rather was taming, instead it was all for fragile covary.
All was resembled in giving ways and wearing masks in order to cover up its failures, and in the forefront of it, the path of fear.

As for the insults and all the cursing songs, of course ... it is the adoption of an immediate language to defeat the former leaders, an immediate very radical language.

But also, because the system has fallen, the revolutionaries no longer need a long conversation with them.

Rather, telling them: Your prison is being undermined
“Take!” "خذ!" يتبع …

CHANGE

Our timeline has changed

Excerpts from discussion-transcripts at “Nouvelle Nahda” rehearsals on February 17 and 18, 2020, Beirut.

.
In the beginning of the protests, there was no sense of time.

We were always there. You wouldn’t know what time it is.

This is the real time slap. It hits your emotional side. You are stuck in the loop of neverending news.

Everything feels like it is a long stretch of time.
It almost feels that you can’t remember how it was before October 17.

Deeper conversations are happening. People listen more carefully to each other.

Photo by Myriam Boulos, photographer

Video by Ayman Nahle, filmmaker & video artist

Circles, Motion & Change of Speed

Text by Jeremy Nedd, performer, choreographer & director

What if a revolution wasn’t the product of one of the many forms of subjugation and oppression.

What if a revolution could be just a circle. 360 degrees from point A to point A again.

Or should we say from point A to point A1.

Because I suppose no matter how many times you come back to A, as you revolve and then return to point A, you never come back to A as it was …

360 degrees from point A to point A1…

A2 …

A3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097494459230781640 …

Imagine if you could divide the circumference of a circle by its diameter and always get exactly the same number. It doesn’t matter how big or small the circle is. So, now imagine if you could divide the circumference of a revolution by its diameter and always get exactly the same result.

Change.

What if revolution could be as easy as “a piece of cake” or “a piece of Pi”.

Draw a circle and say revolution. Make a mass of circles. Did anybody count how many revolutions that was?

...628620899862803482534211706798214808651328230664709384460955058223172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196442881097566593344612847564823378678316527120190914564856692346034861045432664821339360726024914127…

Imagine if revolutionary change happened as fast as the speed of the revolution of the earth in space or its orbit around our sun, all while moving at the speed of Pi … 37245870066063155881748815209209628292540 9171536436 … as if hopefully without end for infinity …
7892590360011330530548820466521384146951941511609433057270365759591953092186117381932611793105118548074462379962749567351885752724 …

… all while trying to figure out, at what point things that which I hope to see cease, shall come to an end …

Imagine standing, not in defiance, but just standing still and letting the earth do the work … but the earth does the work, whether we stand still or not …
time passes … things stagnate … things decay … and some things stay still despite the earth’s revolutions … the politics of regimes stay the same or perhaps they decay … and then we … 89122793818301194912983367336244065664308602139494… can no longer stand still …
… yet somehow despite this …
my movements feel insignificant … futile … and I can’t seem to figure out, how after every revolution, I feel that not much has changed … maybe because I always find myself confronted by the same thing … come to the same point … or at a lost all together for what point we are currently at … 63952247371907021798 6094370277053921717629317675238467481846766940513200056812714526356082778577134275778960917363717872 …

Irrational numbers and irrational regimes.

…1468440901 2249534301 4654958537 1050792279 6892589235 4201995611 2129021960 8640344181 5981362977 4771309960 5187072113…

I would like to see a revolution as a blossoming entity of endless possibility …
a productive friction that sparks change.


But in order to arrive at that place where one can stand still, not in defiance, but in rest and repose, one must continue to move …

4999999837 297804995105973173281609631859502445945534690830264252230825 3344685035 2619311881 71010003137…

Circles have long been revered as symbols of perfection, reincarnation and the cycles of nature. But what if instead of being circular, a revolution was angular?

We are taught that the earth is moving about our sun in a very nearly circular orbit, and that It covers this route at a speed of nearly 30 kilometers per second … that’s about 67,000 miles per hour … or 838752886 5875332083 8142061717 7669147303 5982534904 2875546873 1159562863 8823537875 9375195778 1857780532171226806613001927876611195909 2164201989

We do not feel any of this motion because these speeds are constant.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                        You can only feel motion if your speed changes.                         You can only feel motion if your speed changes.

You can only feel motion if your speed changes. So how fast does one have to move to feel the motion, to feel change … to make change … from a movement … from a revolution.

Archive Rev. #2

Text and video by Ayman Nahle, filmmaker & video artist

The recognition of the importance in preserving tales of the war becomes the collective memory that settles as last in our daily images of random people we see roaming the city, not only unconscious of their present but blinded by the era when only violence and grudge ruled. The collective memory conjures, in a brief imaginary narrative, the original establishment of an order and the new violence of which it is inescapably a carrier. For one finds in this treatise the same interrogation. Why the violence, under the most varied of forms?

Uprising

Butler, Judith. Uprisings. In: Didi-Huberman, Georges. Uprisings. Paris: Jeu de Paume & Gallimard, 2016.

Who rises up when there is an uprising? And what is it that rises up when people rise up? We speak about an “outbreak” of frustration
or anger, and yet such visceral moments centrally involve modes of recognition and judgment that a group of humans have reached their limit. Humans rise up in numbers when they are indignant or when they have had enough of subjugation, and that seems to follow from the experience that a limit has been crossed. Something indispensable for living with dignity or freedom has been denied, and for too long. So, an uprising usually seeks to end a condition that has been suffered longer than it should have been. Uprisings come late, even as they seek to instate a new state of affairs. They take place past the time when the condition of subjugation should have ended. And when they happen, they expose the limit of what anyone should endure.

Mass Populism
eMOTIONs

Excerpts from a text by Anna Hofmann, performer and actress

I

Ich sitze in einem Taxi und fahre. Banner. Staub. Eine minikleine Autowerkstatt. Viel Gerassel darin. Palmen. Schöne. Wo sind hier eigentlich diese Zedern? Die Flagge wird mir erklärt als Blut, Schnee und Menschen. Bei Blut und Schnee denke ich immer an Kill Bill.
Ok. Die Worte, um die ich mich winde:
Revolution. Protest. Uprising.
Warum habe ich eigentlich so eine verfickte Angst vor Massen? Warum will ich gegen den Strom schwimmen? Apropos, der fällt eh immer aus. Für mich ist das dann Wellness. Eine Frage der Perspektive. Sowieso alles. Vielleicht auch falsch. Mich nervt jetzt ganz einfach die Musik, die bei mir läuft. Bin nämlich wieder in Zürich und für meinen eigenen Sound verantwortlich. Ist nix mehr mit rausgucken und observieren und nicht-entscheiden. Ich muss aufstehen! Meine Schulter tat einfach so aggro weh vom Fahne tragen. Die Fahne hat meine Schulter gesmashed. Viel zu tragen macht, dass meine Schulter ausrastet. Ich könnte ausrasten, dass wir alle Menschen emotional sein sollen. Populismus ist gefährlich, so denke ich und ich wage es verfickt nochmal anzuzweifeln, dass Emotionalisierung dem Populismus die Stirn bieten kann.


Na gut, ganz kurz ausgerastet. I’m sorry. Widmen wir uns wieder einem schönen Thema. Zum Beispiel Ramen. Ich sitze in Beirut (das ist jetzt eine Erinnerung) und esse die beste Ramen meines Lebens. War ja noch nicht in Japan. Ich ess also die gute Ramen und da fällt mir ein was Yara über das kontaminierte Wasser gesagt hat und ich schlürf das jetzt und dann noch die Pilze und sind die dann auch kontaminiert? Wie kommt man raus aus der Nummer? Wie wird das Wasser wieder sauber? Die Pilze, die Sprossen, die Algen, der Kohl, die Kohle, das Geld? Mir tun auch einfach die ganzen Pflanzen leid. Die können doch nix dafür. Ich meine Menschen, die können auch nix dafür. Dennoch sind alle Menschen Menschen und Menschen sind auch einfach mal schlecht.


II
Manchmal kann ich in die Zukunft gucken. Es ist so, als ob ich sie in meinem Bauch schon hab. Sie ist da.

Photo by Myriam Boulos, photographer

Umdrehungen Revolutionen Kreise Strahlen

III

Zu meinem 28. Geburtstag sagt mir mein Vater «Jetzt wird alles gut. Es ist die Revolution des Saturn.» Ich freu mich, denn die letzten zwei Jahre waren echt übel.

Revolution kann also bedeuten, dass etwas einen vollen Kreis macht. Eine ganze Umrundung. Dass etwas, in dem Fall Saturn einmal um die Sonne kreist und zu seinem Ausgangspunkt zurückkehrt. Ich hab den Begriff Revolution vorher immer anders gedacht. Mehr als einen Strahl. Vielleicht einen unendlichen. Wie ein Laser.

In Beirut sprechen wir also von Revolution. In der Schweiz/ in Deutschland spricht man von Protesten. Es ist eine Frage der Perspektive. In Beirut frage ich mich in welcher Phase wir jetzt sind/ ihr jetzt seid.

Was ist erreicht? Was fehlt? Ich frage mich aber auch was mir eigentlich fehlt. Zwischendurch bekomme ich extreme Schmerzen in Kopf, Schulter und Nacken. Wenn ich mich einmal von ganz oben nach ganz unten in der Mitte durchteilen könnte, um meine rechte Körperhälfte und die verfickten Schmerzen loszuwerden, würde ich es tun wollen. Ich beginne mich zu fragen, ob ich das Gefühl tragen kann. Das sind die Gefühle. Tiefe Gefühle, die es zu bezeugen gilt. Ich beginne mich zu fragen warum ich eigentlich so Angst vor Menschenansammlungen habe und ich meine keine Parties und auch keine Fussballspiele, sondern tatsächlich Massen, die alle für die Gleichen, für das Gleiche sind. Ich weiss es eh. Meine Familiengeschichte ist trüb. Zweifach trüb. Trüb, weil traurig. Trüb, weil diffus. Ich trage die trübe Suppe sicher in mir. Passt eigentlich gut zum kontaminierten Wasser in Beirut. Ich beginne mich zu ärgern, dass ich die Suppe der Generationen nicht einfach auslöffeln kann und that’s it.

Ich habe Angst vor Vereinfachungen. Ich mag das Komplexe, das Widersprüchliche, das Verdrehte. Den Knoten, mag ich den etwa auch?

IV

Ich bin da. Ich bin mit euch allen in Beirut. Ich will mich euch öffnen und eure Worte, eure Orte auf mich wirken lassen. Ich schreibe mir wenig auf, weil ich nicht weiss was. Entweder alles oder nichts. Ich fühle mich unfair, wenn ich eins aufschreibe und ein anderes nicht und unfair will ich nicht sein. Nach ein paar Tagen fühle ich mich aufgefüllt. Ich werde etwas unruhig und ich schlaf spät, obwohl ich früher könnte. Ich steige dauernd in Taxis und geniesse die Fahrten sehr. Ich liebe es wie das alles an mir vorbeizieht im Auto und wünsch mir nicht nur einmal die Fahrt würde mehrere Stunden brauchen. Ich hab viel Durst und vergess dauernd, dass ich nicht aus der Leitung trinken soll. Ich hab das mal gemacht, als es auch verboten war. Ich hatte dann über 40 Grad Fieber und habe meine Mutter aus Glas gesehen. Ich mach das nicht wieder.

Trauma      Geotrauma

Der Erdkern brüllt

V

Ich frage mich, was die Richtung hier ist. Wohin gucken wir? Ich hoffe nach vorne. Immer. Immer und immer wieder. Ich habe mir das so angeeignet als Lebensstrategie. Ich guck natürlich auch ins Jetzt, z. B. wenn mein Körper wehtut. Ich gucke auch zurück, klar, denn ich bin eine Menschin. Ich wünsche mir manchmal, mein Menschsein zu vergessen und nicht zurück zu gucken. Es einfach nicht zu müssen. Als kleines Anna-Tierchen. Ich denke viel über Trauma nach. Trauma ist so kräftig, so stark. Ich lese einen Text über Geotraumatics vor. Der Text sagt, dass der Erdkern der Ursprung allen Traumas ist. Er liegt begraben unter vielen Schichten, er will sich ausdehnen, er will platzen. Dieser Gedanke beruhigt mich. Er ist neu. Wenn ich mich überfordere, wenn ich mich klein fühle, wenn ich Angst bekomme vor den ganzen Gefühlen, vor der Absorption, vor der Malabsorption, hilft es mir, maximal weit und maximal gross zu denken. Ich beginne, von Planeten zu sprechen, von der Revolution des Saturn und eben vom Erdkern. Der brüllt. Ich will niemanden verletzen damit, aber es muss raus: Die Erde wird nicht ewig sein. Und dieser Gedanke könnte uns vielleicht trösten.

VI

Ein Freund von mir hat mal gesagt «Manchmal ist das Leben so richtig schön und manchmal ist einfach alles zum Reinkotzen». An diesen Satz hab ich jetzt ein paar Mal gedacht.

Wir fahren im Taxi zum Artspace. Der rohe Betonboden in Station Beirut erinnert mich sogar sehr an Zürich. Nur ist es kälter. Wir packen uns ein, wir kleinen Schweizer Frostbeulen. Wir bekommen AC the other way round und ich bekomm davon dick Migräne und fühle mich so lächerlich in meinem gesamten Dasein. Ich hau mich voll mit Ibu. Ich hau mich voll mit Ibu und Arak und fühl mich wieder ok. Ich hoffe dass es schnell vergeht. Ich hab Angst. Ich wache nachts auf und lege das Kissen aus dem Bett, weil es mir wehtut. Ich denke an alle Anderen. An alle Anderen aus dem Team, aber auch überhaupt an andere Menschen und frage mich wie sie das machen mit den Schmerzen. Ich hau mir noch eine Ibu rein und schlafe. Dann gehts besser. Der liebe Rezeptionist checkts eh und sagt ist psychosomatisch. Der Andere gibt mir eine Umarmung zur guten Besserung. Danke.

“Trauma is body. Ultimately — at its pole of maximum disequilibrium — it’s an iron thing. At MVU they call it Cthelll: The interior third of terrestrial mass, semifluid metallic ocean, megamolecule, and pressure cooker beyond imagination. It’s hotter than the surface off the sun down there, three thousand clicks below the crust, and all that thermic energy is sheer impersonal nonsubjective memory of the outside, running the plate-tectonic machinery of the planet via the conductive and convective dynamics of silicate magma flux, bathing the whole system in electromagnetic fields as it tidally pulses to the orbit of the moon. Cthelll is the terrestrial inner nightmare, nocturnal ocean, Xanadu: the anorganic metal-body trauma-howl of the earth, crosshatched by intensities, traversed by thermic waves and currents, deranged particles, ionic strippings and gluttings, gravitational deep-sensitivities transduced into nonlocal electromesh, and feeding vulcanism…that’s why plutonic science slides continuously into schizophrenic delirium. Fast forward seismology and you hear the earth scream.”

The Ccru (Cybernetic Culture research unit). Interview with Professor D.C. Barker. In: Margarida Mendes, hg. Matter Fictions. Sternberg Press, 2017.

Resisting Turbulence

Text and video by Myriam Boulos, photographer and Nour Sokhon, sound artist & video maker

“Resisting Turbulence” is composed of a selection of photographs taken by Myriam Boulos and manipulated field recordings by Nour Sokhon. The project started with both artists conducting a series of interviews arbitrarily as they were walking across the streets of their war-torn city, their home, Beirut.

This interdisciplinary collective project, in association with the “Nouvelle Nahda” team, aimed to answer these questions: What if a renaissance happened in Lebanon? If so, what would that look like?

In a matter of just a few days, after the interviews had been recorded, the Lebanese revolution began. From that point on, it felt necessary to incorporate the events of the unfolding revolution into the questions that are a part of “Nouvelle Nahda”.

As carriers of intergenerational post-war trauma, both artists are fuelled by the notion of infinite possibilities for a reawakening to take place in a city that is burdened by a constant state of restlessness. The interviewees that willingly shared their personal narratives with meticulous detail shone light upon people’s desire to be heard. “Resisting Turbulence” morphed into a timeline of people’s state of paralysis before the revolution and awakening after it began.

Fire

Excerpts from texts by Yara Bou Nassar, performer, actress & director

2019
The world was on fire.
In the Amazon, an uncontrolled fire in the lungs of the earth, crimes against the indigenous people. Fire.
Garbage in the streets of Beirut, in the sea, in the water pipes. Fire.
More censorship on art, death threats, virtual fire.
Implementing more and more strict rules on borders, more closed nations, more hysterical limitations of mobility. Fire.
Boats in the sea. Fire.
Mass shootings in schools. Fire.
Terror attacks in the mosques in Finland. Fire.
Five consecutive bombings on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka. Fire.
Forests of Siberia. Fire.
Drone War. Fire.

Destruction in Syria. Fire.
More settlements. Fire!
One of the biggest famines of modern times in Yemen. Silence.
The world was on fire, in silence.
This is how it all started.

Spring 2019, I come to a point where it is absolutely clear for me that I need to leave, somewhere new. I need to be elsewhere, No idea where, anywhere but there/here. Anywhere where it is absolutely okay not to belong. It’s okay not to belong. It’s totally okay not to belong... I’d like to think of myself as a rational person, at least sometimes. I think I am. I am also impulsive but thoughtful, cynical but romantic, indecisive, emotional, incredibly independent and codependent at once, addictive but easily bored. I am sorry, I have no idea where I was going with this. It has nothing to do with the story, I am supposed to tell you or how it began, but I guess it is easy to fall in a self-involved, analytical, introspective rant.
I am full of doubt. So sure at a certain moment and easily in doubt the next. I see that clearly, I embrace it, I accept it and sometimes I might hate it. I am doubtful but also full of hope. Sometimes. Anyway, for me, it all started in doubt.

Photo by Myriam Boulos, photographer

DOUBT DOUBT DOUBT DOUBT DOUBT DOUBT DOUBT

I wrote those lines before October 17. Before, when it was all supposed to be fiction. In the fictional story, I was going to tell you about a change that suddenly took place, about how everyone everywhere decided to say enough and stood still for days and days to create a worldwide movement. It sounds utopic, unreal. Well, it was supposed to be fiction and it was supposed to be big. It sounded inspiring inside my head, I was going to describe it in visual details, but now anything I try to describe seems mundane in the face of what is actually happening and I find myself unable to reflect on the reality, especially a reality that is so surreal.

ما بدي احكي عن الثورة


I don’t want to talk about the revolution.




***

On October 17, I might have been cooking a root vegetable gratin.
On October 17, I might have been with an old friend and as she talked and talked I looked at her face and wondered who she was.
On October 17, I might have been making love all night with a stranger.
On October 17, I might have been watching a play that I don’t remember.
On October 17, I might have been running to the station with my luggage at 5 in the morning so that I would not miss my train departing from a beautiful town by the sea.
On October 17, I might have been thinking about not coming back.

Only some of this is true.

On October 18, I experienced for the first time the fear of passing through fire on a motorcycle. The speed of the motorcycle makes the fire seem more wild because of the wind.
The fire is very close to my skin and I feel overwhelmed. I cry. This feeling doesn’t last long neither does the cough caused by the smoke.

I don’t want to talk about the revolution.


***



February 24, I arrived to Zurich. The air is fresh. I arrive to the beautiful apartment, I unpack my things, I rearrange the kitchen tools, the cleaning detergents, the simple objects lying around. It becomes home for the next two months. I am under the impression that I only experience temporary moments of belonging depending on the space I occupy, depending on the city I sleep in.

February 26, the snow is falling in Zurich. I am so excited by this calm. I have never walked under the snow like that. It is so beautiful, falling so slow but covering everything so fast. The snow in slow motion turns into a storm. I am wearing running shoes, my toes are wet, my hands are freezing, my umbrella is ridiculous, I can’t find my way, my black coat is now white. But it is still beautiful. Inside it’s warm.

Also February 26, I am both troubled and relieved by the distance.

A list of coping mechanisms when in a state of doubt:
- exercise or obsess.
- cook or sleep it off.
- call a friend.
- discuss someone else’s doubts so that you forget your own.
- make art.
- drink it off.
- fuck it out.
- stay alert.
- think about someone or something that makes you happy or intrigued.
- fall in love.
- travel.
- wander around in a supermarket even if you don’t buy anything.
- procrastinate or make someone else decide on your behalf.
- don’t get into confrontations until you know where you stand otherwise, you sound unsure, and no one appreciates that.

Or just stay in doubt. It will pass. Something will happen. Something will change.


***



.كتير صعب نأفر شعور الغرام من اوّل ما يبلّش، أوّل لحظة، منكون بعد ما فهمنا شي من شي. ما فينا نوصفو، بس منحسّو بجسمنا، بنفسنا، بعدم قدرتنا على انّو نلاقي كلامتنا. او مثلاً، كتير صعب كمان مرّات نعرف و نعترف لحالنا لمّا نكون بعلاقة "توكسك" ، صعب نقدر نحكي عن الموضوع نحنا و جوّاتو. عايزين مسافة قبل ما نقدر نشارك و نحلّل و نفهم شو صار، و ليش بقينا او لا، و شو كانت آخر لحظة دفعتنا نفول خلص
.اي، الثورة لالي متل ال "توكسك ريلايشنشيب" صعب أفهما انا و بقلبا
.لاحظت اني جبانة بالشارع
.غاز، بهرب
.رصاص، بهرب
.ضرب، بهرب
.ردّة فعلي هي الهروب، التراجع. التراجع الجسدي تحديداً. ما بدّي اوجع
.كتير سريعة بالهروب، بصير متل الأرنب، بنطّ و بتراجع و بلطي و بنطر
.بالغرام غير، بشكّ على راسي بلا ما فكّر. غير نوع وجع، ما بخوّفني. بقدّم و بغطس، هجوم
غاز: تراجع / غرام: هجوم
ثورة: فشخة لقدام و فشخة لورا…فشختين لقدام
.ثورة على الفساد
.ثورة على الذكورية
.ثورة على الابوية
.ثورة على الطبقية
.ثورة على القمع
...ثورة لاسترجاع الاملاك العامة


[...]
Yeah, the revolution to me is like a toxic relationship, I can’t really talk about it while I am in it.

I noticed that I am a coward, in protests.
Gas, I run. Bullets, I run. Beating, I run. My reaction is to run away. Retreat, physical retreat. I don’t wanna feel pain. I am so fast in running. I am a rabbit. I jump, retreat, lurk and wait.
In matters of love, I am different. I jump head on, without thinking. It’s another kind of pain. It doesn’t scare me. I go forward and dive. Attack.
Gas: retreat / Love: attack (go forward).

Revolution: one step forward, one step back. Two steps forward…

“Yes, because love and revolution have something in common. The first thing which happens in revolutions is very similar to what happens when you fall in love. You find yourself at a public square and you experience an intense moment which is very specific, because it happens only in that precise moment, maybe only once in a lifetime. But in a way, this very special moment is already universal. And the same happens in falling in love: you can, of course, only fall in love with a person who is very specific, special and unique, but at the same time this is precisely the moment when you enter universality. And to truly arrive to the level of revolution or love, after the fatal Event, there is something Alain Badiou calls Fidelity. The true test of a revolution is the day after, and not the day in which the occupation is happening. The true test of a one-night stand is always the day after, or even the very moment after orgasm. The true value of love is to endure.”

love revolution
Revolution against corruption.
Revolution against toxic masculinity.
Revolution against patriarchy.
Revolution against classicism.
Revolution against oppression.
Revolution to reclaim public spaces.

Loss and Uprisings

Didi-Huberman, Georges. Uprisings. Paris: Jeu de Paume & Gallimard, 2016.

Forces make us rise up. Forces that are neither exterior to us nor imposed upon us: involuted forces in everything that concerns us most essentially. But what are they made of? What are their rhythms? On what sources do they draw? Could we not start by saying that they come to us, that they appear and reappear, more often than not from a loss. Is it not true that losing uplifts us, makes us rise up when loss has brought us to the ground? Is it not true that losing makes us desire when mourning immobilizes us?

But let us approach things from a different angle, from their state of emergence: when a people rises up (or even, in order for a people to rise up), the people must always start from a situation of “unpower.” To rise up would then be the gesture through which the subjects of unpower would give rise, in themselves, to something like a fundamental potency (puissance) that would erupt or re-emerge.

Photo by Myriam Boulos, photographer



Photo by Myriam Boulos, photographer

Uprisings, then: potencies (puissances) of, or in, unpower itself.

Could we not say that the uprising “leads us into the future” by means of the potency (puissance) of the desires that it realizes, knowing too that that future — which has become present for the one who has risen up — is itself modeled by the dynamics of the indestructible desire in the image of a past?

Activism

Anonymous

“I actually can’t talk here. I am responsible for certain groups in Lebanon in the revolution. A lot of things are happening with me. We are preparing for the 3rd wave. It is very important. On March 9, the Lebanese government will pay back Euro Bonds. This is money taken from the people. They stole our money and now they pay Euro Bonds with it. I actually can’t talk here.

The 1st wave of protest was in October. The 2nd in December, it was very violent, the police were violent. The teargas they bring in from France, it is expired. It’s poison, it makes you high. Not a good high. This time, it will be more aggressive. We need to bring this government down. They are not listening to us. My contribution to the revolution is important.

I actually can’t talk here. I prefer skype, it’s safer. Have you got skype? Ok.

I have a lot of responsibility. There is a campaign against me, they are waiting for one mistake I do. I have to be careful.

[...]

A lot of things are happening to me. When I was abroad, I got a call on my private number. It was the chief of the PR department of the government, telling me to delete 1 post on facebook. It had only 1 like, it was nothing. But they called me. You don’t know what’s happening. The military police called me in just before I was about to travel. They interrogated me for 12 hours. I am not panicking, but a lot is happening.

When I was away, I had to ask friends to come to my house and take everything out that could be related to the revolution, out of my apartment. I didn’t tell anyone that the military police interrogated me. I don’t want to make it a big thing for them. I don’t have money, I don’t do projects. I am postponing everything. My friend got killed. 2 hours before he got killed, we spoke on the phone. 2 friends of mine got killed. I postponed everything, I went crazy. I am not doing this a second time.

You remember this text we read in October? I wrote it in 2018. I hadn’t read it until then in October. It was a lot about the ring. People crossing the street and blocking the ring. Few days later, things went exactly like this. I went crazy. For two weeks I was going crazy, I nearly lost my mind. It happened exactly as I wrote it. We read the text for the first time since 2018 and a few days later it happened. We prepared ourselves psychologically for what happened. We knew it.

They wait for one mistake I make. There are counteractions against me. We do an action against groups, art institutions, that are all funded by the banks. We block those institutions and they wait for one mistake I make. A lot of things happen.

Everything is postponed. I would be physically with you, but mentally not.

Keep me posted. We talk later. Bye.”

Wir sitzen alle in einem Boot.

Excerpt from a text by Antje Schupp, director & performer

24. Februar 2020, Basel

Ich finde am Tag nach der Rückkehr aus Beirut auf dem Weg nach Hause einen Stein. Er liegt auf der Strasse so als ob man ihn mitnehmen solle. Wie diese Kisten mit Ramsch auf denen «Gratis» steht. Auf dem Stein steht: «Wir sitzen alle in einem Boot! Die einen rudern, die anderen angeln.» Darunter vier Herzen. Auf der Rückseite steht «CH rocks – C.W.»

[...]

Soll das ein Witz sein? Oder gar subversive Kritik?

[...]

Wenige Tage später kommt es an der griechisch-türkischen Grenze zu Szenen, die ich nicht für möglich gehalten hätte. Boote voll mit Menschen, die vor Krieg geflüchtet sind, werden mit Tränengas und Stäben attackiert, um sie zum Sinken zu bringen. Ein Kleinkind ertrinkt, Rechtsradikale machen Jagd auf Flüchtlinge, Mitarbeiter*innen von NGOs und Journalist*innen und verprügeln sie. Linksradikale verprügeln Rechtsradikale, die Polizei greift nicht ein. Viva l’Anarchia. Ich gehe am nächsten Abend auf eine Demonstration, welche die Aufnahme der geflüchteten Menschen in der Schweiz fordert. Viele Leute kommen zusammen, über 2 Stunden lang laufen wir durch die kalte Stadt.

[...]

Anderthalb Wochen später wird wegen des Coronavirus der landesweite Notstand ausgerufen. Veranstaltungen werden bis Ende April abgesagt, Versammlungen von über fünf Personen verboten, Schulen und Restaurants bleiben für Wochen geschlossen. Nur Supermärkte, Apotheken oder Tankstellen sind noch geöffnet. In den ersten Tagen nach Ausrufung des Notstands ist davon allerdings wenig zu spüren. Das Wetter ist frühlingshaft warm und an Rhein, Zürisee oder Lac Léman kommt es zu ausgelassenen Grillfesten, während die Beschäftigten im Gesundheitswesen schon am Anschlag arbeiten.

Wir sitzen alle in einem Boot! Die einen schuften, die anderen feiern.

Auch im Libanon ist Corona ausgebrochen und die Menschen haben grosse Angst. Auf die politische Krise folgte die Verschärfung der Wirtschaftskrise und folgt nun die Pandemie. Es gibt kein Geld, nicht ausreichend Medikamente und Hygieneartikel und die Meisten bleiben in Selbstquarantäne zu Hause. Die Revolution kommt zum Stillstand. Ich denke an die Menschen, die seit dem 17.Oktober den Märtyrerplatz besetzen und frage mich, ob die libanesische Regierung die Gunst der Stunde nutzt und jetzt das Lager räumen lässt.

Wir sitzen alle in einem Boot! Die einen wohnen in Plastikzelten, die anderen lümmeln mit Netflix auf der Couch.

Währenddessen leben auf der griechischen Insel Lesbos weiterhin 20000 Menschen in einem Camp, das für 3000 Menschen gebaut ist. Es laufen diverse Petitionen, die fordern die Geflüchteten auf dem europäischen Festland aufzunehmen bevor das Virus im Lager ausbricht. Aber das wird nicht passieren. Das Virus wird ausbrechen und man wird die Menschen ihrem Schicksal überlassen. Ganz Europa ist in Quarantänestimmung, aber in Moria veranstaltet es eine 20000 Menschen starke Dauerversammlung.

[...]

Wir sitzen alle in einem Boot! Die einen rudern, die anderen angeln.

Ave Europa, morituri te salutant.

«Wir sitzen alle im selben Boot. Doch das ist nichts Neues. Das 21. Jahrhundert ist nämlich eine Pandemie, das Ergebnis der Globalisierung. Das Virus offenbart lediglich dasjenige, was längst der Fall ist: Dass wir eine völlig neue Idee einer globalen Aufklärung brauchen. Hier kann man einen Ausdruck Peter Sloterdijks verwenden und neu deuten: Wir brauchen keinen Kommunismus, sondern einen Ko-Immunismus. Dazu müssen wir uns gegen geistiges Gift impfen, das uns in Nationalkulturen, Rassen, Altersgruppen und Klassen einteilt, die gegeneinander in Konkurrenz treten. Wir schützen gerade in einem Akt bisher ungeahnter Solidarität in Europa unsere Kranken und Alten. Dafür sperren wir unsere Kinder ein, schließen unsere Bildungseinrichtungen und erzeugen einen medizinischen Ausnahmezustand. Dafür werden Milliarden von Euros investiert, um anschließend die Wirtschaft wieder anzukurbeln. Doch wenn wir nach dem Virus so weitermachen, wie vorher, kommen viel schlimmere Krisen.»
Zitat aus dem Artikel «Wir brauchen eine metaphysische Pandemie» von Prof. Dr. Markus Gabriel.

Today, on March 28, 2020 we receive photos and information that say and show that the protest tents and the whole Martyr Square has been cleared.

Miracles Anger Tears Food

On October 9 and 10, 2019, Nour Sokhon and Myriam Boulos interviewed people they’ve met on the streets in Beirut. They extracted six interviews and made various photographs of the interviewees. They didn’t ask for the names of the interviewees to reserve their anonymity. But they created fictional names for them — based on what they felt made each of them unique. The interviews will become part of the theatre production “Nouvelle Nahda”, they will make their way into the live performance … Until then: Here are excerpts from three of the interviews.

CLOSET TEARS

He told me you want to understand politics

Read what is written on the walls
He told me this around 30 years ago
30 years ago he told me this
What is written on the wall that is how you read politics


.قلّي بدّك تفهم السياسة، أقرأ شو مكتوب على الحيطان"
. هيدي قايلّي ايّاها من شي ٣٠ سنة
. من ٣٠ سنة قايّلي ايّاها
“شو بكون مكتوب على الحيطان، هيك بتقرأ السياسة


Are you still in love?
What did she say?
In love
With you madam?
Yeah listen the word love is heavy
Yeah I know

“بعدك مغروم؟”
“شو قالت؟”
“بعدك مغروم بِمرتَك؟”
“اي، ليكي، كلمة غرام ثقيلة ”
“.اي بعرف”


[...] but if we want to lets talk about arriving to a point when we discover that the world could be easier


“.بس اذا بدّنا نحكي، بتوصلي لوقت بتكتشفي انّو الكَون كان بيقدر يكون أهون...”


THE SYSTEMATIC ELDERLY MAN


We would like to ask the officials not to use religion for trade
That is the most important thing not to use religion as a trade


“بدّنا نطلب من هالمسؤولين ما يتاجرو بالدّيانة. هيدي أه ّم شي، ما حدا يتاجر.”


How do you see the future and...? Future what haha
I hope the future will be good
I mean more than what we went through wont happen
Its not going to get worse haha
I mean no matter what happens with the situation with this or that we need to
We need to persevere


“...كيف بتشوف المستقبل؟ و”
.شو المستقبل؟ انشالله بكون خير. يعني أكتر ما مضي علينا مش رح يصيرمش رح يصير أسوء”
“.يعني بدّنا نضّل شو ما كانت الظّروف، بدّنا نضلّنا مستمّرين


MARILYN


When you are frustrated from something what do you do? What do I do?
Yeah what do you do?
I don’t do anything
I stay like this sitting alone
I go home I turn pale
I sit alone
I drink and remember how I was and how I am


“وقت بتكوني معّصبة من شي شو بتَعِملي؟”-
“شو بعمل؟”-
“اي، شو بتعملي؟”-
ما بعمل شي. بضلّني هيك قاعدة لحالي. بطلع عالبيت، بقعد بْصفُن لحالي،”-
“.بِشرب. بقعُد بتذكر كيف كنت و كيف صرت

Photo by Myriam Boulos, photographer

Rising up is a gesture. Before even attempting to carry out a voluntary and shared action, we rise up with a simple gesture that suddenly overturns the burden that submission had, until then, placed on us (be it through cowardice, cynicism, or despair). To rise up means to throw off the burden weighing down on our shoulders, keeping us from moving.

Didi-Huberman, Georges. Uprisings. Paris: Jeu de Paume & Gallimard, 2016.

Credits for the Theatre Production

Nouvelle Nahda النهضة الحديثة
Premiere: Season 2020/21
Neumarkt Zurich & STATION Beirut

By and with

Myriam Boulos, Nabil Canaan, Sarah Calörtscher, Hayat Erdoğan, Anna Hofmann, Sophie Krayer, Ayman Nahle, Yara Bou Nassar, Jeremy Nedd, Ibrahim Nehme, Kenza Nessaf, Antje Schupp, Nour Sokhon

Performers

Anna Hofmann, Yara Bou Nassar, Jeremy Nedd

Concept / Director

Antje Schupp

Sound Art

Nour Sokhon

Photography

Myriam Boulos

Video

Ayman Nahle

Stage and Costume

Sophie Krayer

Dramaturgy

Hayat Erdoğan

Feature

Ibrahim Nehme

Consultant

Nabil Canaan

Assistant Director

Kenza Nessaf

Dramaturgy Assistant

Sarah Calörtscher

Assistant Stage & Costumes

Anja Krummennacher / Anja Temperli

Biographies “Nouvelle Nahda”

Myriam Boulos

lensculture

Myriam Boulos, born in Beirut in 1992, Myriam Boulos graduated with a master degree in photography from the Academie Libanaise des Beaux Arts in 2015. She took part in both national and international collective exhibitions, including Photomed, Beirut Art Fair, Berlin PhotoWeek, Mashreq to Maghreb (Dresden, Germany), Beyond boundaries (New York), C’est Beyrouth (Paris) and 3ème biennale des photographes du monde arabe (Paris). She received the Byblos Bank Award for Photography in 2014, which lead to her first solo exhibition at the Byblos Bank in April 2015. Her second solo exhibition took place at the French institute of Lebanon in 2019. Myriam uses her camera to question the city, its people, and her place among them. Her photo series are a mix of documentary and personal research.

Nabil Canaan

Nabil Canaan is a Lebanese-Swiss filmmaker, cultural producer and curator.
Nabil Canaan is the co-founder and director of STATION art platform and initiator of the NextStop project. After an earlier career in international marketing and new media communication, his work for the past fifteen years has been driven by a documentary impulse and concern for the human condition through arts & culture. He has created short films for media organisations like the The New York Times, designed capacity building programs and multimedia content for the UN/development sector, ran a film production and post-production studio in Switzerland, and since 2013, is the co-founder and director of STATION’s venue in Beirut and it’s international art projects.

Sarah Calörtscher

Sarah Calörtscher, born in 1991, studied music and movement from 2011 to 2014. In 2018 she started studying dramaturgy at the Zurich University of the Arts and worked as a dramaturg and musician in various productions.

Hayat Erdoğan

Hayat Erdoğan is a humanities scholar, lecturer, curator and dramaturge. She holds an MA in literary studies and linguistics (University of Stuttgart) and in film and theater dramaturgy (Academy for Film & Performing Arts Ludwigsburg) - and she has started a PhD in Philosophy, which she might finish, some time. She has worked as interpreter (labor court, medical official) and translator (various fields), author, project manager and commissioner in different funding bodies and juries. She was a scholar at the James Joyce Foundation in Zurich and Trieste, collaborator of the International Institute of Political Murder - IIPM and a researcher in the interdisciplinary SNF-project "Das Spiel mit den Gefühlen" – a collaboration between performing arts and neurosciences. She led different projects, amongst them e.g. an artistic-research project within "Connecting Spaces" Hong Kong from 2014 - 2016. She has organized and curated different events, e.g. “Instant City Reloaded” in London in collaboration with Central Saint Martins and performance and discourse series at the Cabaret Voltaire Zurich from 2015 - 2018. She writes articles and theoretical essays for different contexts. Since 2010 she has been a lecturer for theory, dramaturgy and performing arts at the Zurich University of the Arts. Since the theater season 2019/20 she is Co-Director and dramaturge at the Theater Neumarkt.

Anna Hofmann

Anna Hofmann, born in 1990, is from Hamburg and studied theatre/acting in Zurich. After breaking off her law studies in Berlin, she was part of the Theaterjahr at the Burgtheater in Vienna from 2012 until 2014. During this time she worked with Matthias Hartmann and the visual artist Erwin Wurm, among others. In the following bachelor and master studies at the Zurich University of the Arts (2014 until 2019), she was influenced by works with Florentina Holzinger, Vincent Riebeek, Heike Götze and Philipp Becker. During her studies Anna Hofmann already gave guest performances at various theatres, e.g. at the Schauspielhaus Bochum and the Neumarkt Theatre. Here she could be seen in the 2016/2017 season in “Faust” (director: Tom Schneider). During her studies she also visited the HfMDK Frankfurt and the School for New Dance Development (SNDO) in Amsterdam. Since the 2019/2020 season she is a permanent ensemble member at Neumarkt.

Sophie Krayer Babazadeh

Personal website
Atelier Klang und Raum

Sophie Krayer Babazadeh, born in Zurich, studied at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg, specialising in stage design. Since 2007 she has been working as a freelance stage designer, costume designer and scenografer. Her work can be seen in various contexts and collaborations in music theatre productions (Capriconnection & Freie Oper Zürich), dance theatre (Company Mafalda) and acting (Bram Jansen, Anna-Sophie Mahler). Sophie Krayer is co-founder of EZO, a restaurant and culture space in Tbilisi, Georgia. In collaboration with artists in Tbilisi, she organises readings, workshops, exhibitions and concerts. Two years ago EZO was extended by a Room in EZO. an inclusion project for children. Together with experts , courses are organized for children with special needs and their parents and teachers. In 2016, together with sound engineer Marcel Babazadeh, she founded Atelier Klang und Raum Gmbh. The focus is on spatial/acoustic design. The acoustic properties of a room are analysed, measured and evaluated and improved by specific interventions in the room. Sophie Krayer Babazadeh lives with her husband and two sons in Zurich.

Ayman Nahle

Ayman Nahle is a filmmaker, cinematographer, video artist based in Beirut, Lebanon. He studied Cinema and Theater at the Lebanese University Fine Art Department. Since 2007 he has worked on numerous experimental, documentary and fiction short films.
Combining his experience in filmmaking with his interest in electronic and experimental music, his work is focused on the creation of organic film images made of little details and patterns, that translate audio signals into visual images. Archive images, found images, glitch art, generative art, audio-reactivity and abstraction are the main fields in which he operates. Fundamental to his work is belief in art as a means of political intervention and social change. This is the spirit that drives all the artistic events and works in which he has participated in as a visual artist. His passion in moving images lies in exploring the liminal space between film and video (analogue and digital) aesthetics in filmmaking and video installations. Stimulated to experiment with new materials and techniques in digital media, he has produced a form of digital art that creatively combines the material and the digital, the real and the virtual. He has created music and sound collages for his own projects as well as externally commissioned ones, combining elements of Avant-gardism, Futurism, surrealism, mythology, structuralism. He is steadily collaborating with international artists, filmmakers, collectives, music producers, creating moving images, live visuals, video installation, 3D mapping. He has presented his works and participated in talks at art spaces, biennales, cinemas and galleries, besides performing in theaters and clubs.

Yara Bou Nassar

Personal Website

Yara Bou Nassar is a performer and theatermaker. Her work explores identity through deconstruction of memory, collective daily behavior, and manifestations of discomfort and violence in the body. She recently got selected for a residency at La Cité Internationale des Arts to develop her research for an upcoming creation. In 2019, she got a residency at WorkSpaceBrussels to develop part of another new creation that explores the fragility of the body in a private moment and questions the legitimacy of preserving memory through image by revisiting family footage.
Some of her previous work includes “Everything is Just Fine”,“The Wedding”, “Collecting Home”. She has collaborated with artists such as Annalena Froelich, Paed Conca, Dima Matta, Elie Youssef. She graduated from the Theater Department of Lebanese University with a Diploma in acting and directing (2008). She attended workshops at Strasberg Institute (NY), Esquella de Mimo, and with directors such as Nathalie Garraud and Federico Leon. As an actress, she has worked with various directors in theater and film since 2005.

Jeremy Nedd

Jeremy Nedd, born in 1985 and raised in Brooklyn (New York), he is a choreographer, performer and sound designer based in Basel. After completing his dance training at SUNY Purchase College, he received the New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award for his performance in “The Radio Show”, a work by the internationally acclaimed choreographer Kyle Abraham. Nedd has had engagements at the Semperoper in Dresden (2010 until 2012) and the Basel Ballet (2012 until 2016). As a guest performer he is associated with the Münchner Kammerspiele, where he has worked with Trajal Harrell and others. Nedd has realised and presented his previous productions at ROXY Birsfelden, Tanzhaus Zürich, Arsenic (Lausanne), Palais de Tokyo (Paris) and at the Munich Kammerspiele. Nedd was a finalist at Premio (Young Talent Award for Theatre and Dance Switzerland) in 2017 and recipient of the Atelier Mondial Scholarship in South Africa. Most recently, he obtained a Master in Expanded Theatre at the Hochschule der Künste Bern (HKB) and was involved in the Performance Prize Switzerland at the Kaserne Basel in October 2018. Since the 2019/20 season he is a permanent member of the ensemble at Neumarkt.

Ibrahim Nehme

Ibrahim Nehme is a creator, curator, and writer based in Beirut. His work is a cross-pollination between journalism, activism, and artistic expression. He is interested in producing and disseminating media that helps in raising the frequency of the collective consciousness. In 2012 he co-founded The Outpost magazine with the intention of producing and presenting a new narrative on and from the Arab region. Self-described as ‘a magazine of possibilities’, The Outpost was highly commended and recognized around the world. The Guardian called it “a successor to the Economist” and wrote that it is “a reminder of the power of the imagination to shift perspectives.” It won the Subscribers’ Choice Award at the Stack Awards 2015 and Magazine of the Year at the Magpile Awards in 2014. The Outpost stopped publishing its printed edition in 2016 and Ibrahim spent the next three years researching the relationship between cultural output and social impact. This experience subsequently led to the birth of Radio Mansion in Beirut and The Outpost café in Amman. During this time, he also helped conceive of ‘a Dance Mag’, a magazine about dance in all its forms and flows, and organized several workshops in creative writing, storytelling, and podcasting. He is currently working on uploading all The Outpost’s printed content to a new digital platform, a process which will result in the re-launch of the magazine. In the meantime, he is planting the seeds of a school of journalism as well as conceiving of a live show for the theater, two new projects he is super excited about.

Kenza Nessaf

Kenza Nessaf, born in 1993, founded the theatre collective The Hibbles and wrote stage texts for independent and theatre pedagogical projects before moving to the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern in 2017. There she assisted Oliver Haffner and Jan Langenheim, among others, and set up several staged readings, e.g. for the biennial Else-Lasker-Schüler award ceremony.
Since the theater season 2019/2020 she has been working as assistant director at the theater Neumarkt, Zurich.

Antje Schupp

Personal website

Antje Schupp was born in Munich (1983). She studied Theatre-, Film- and Media Studies as well as Cultural Studies in Vienna and Directing at the Bavarian Theatreacademy in Munich. Antje is working as a director, performer and author in theatre, opera and performance, often in collaborative processes and also with non-professional performers such as in “Blind Date Islam” at Impulse Festival 2019. Her interest of work is on transforming complex sociopolitical or ecological topics into performances, which offer the audience a direct involvement into the process or the performance itself. Her works range from large scale productions to 1:1 encounters or site specific projects. Antje has worked as a director with Theater Basel, Schauspielhaus Zurich, Kaserne Basel or Staatstheater Augsburg, among others. Her productions got invited to festivals such as Theaterspektakel Zurich, Antigel Geneva, Politik im Freien Theater or to Theatertreffen Berlins Shifting Perspectives. Antje regularly works in international collaborations, most recently for “Nouvelle Nahda”, prior in South Africa (“PINK MON€Y”), Kosovo or soon in Brasil. In Music Theater she staged works by Mozart, Massenet, Vivaldi and Menotti. Her recent solo performance “Loss & Luck” tours in 2020 e.g. at the European Centre of Arts Hellerau and Ballhaus Ost Berlin. Antje is the winner of the price of Festspiele Zurich 2020, which will host her new production “Revue 2020” and she is part of the Swiss Performing Arts Selection of Pro Helvetia.

Nour Sokhon

Personal website

Nour Sokhon is a Lebanese artist/sound designer/ filmmaker based in Beirut, Lebanon, her creative explorations have been in the form of sound performances, interactive installations and moving images. In 2014, she achieved an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from AUD and in 2017 she culminated a large-scale Masters project; a documentary entitled “People on Sound”, during her time at the GSA in the UK. In 2019, she received the Emerging Artist Prize at the Sursock Museum, for a moving image piece entitled "Revisiting: Hold Your Breath”, and has recently been awarded the Braunschweig Project Sound Art 2020 scholarship. Nour has exhibited her artwork in Dubai, London, Glasgow, Paris, Hamburg, Madrid, London, Juterbog, Sellasia, Bern, Soustons, Melbourne, Montreal and Lebanon. She has also performed in Berlin, Beirut, Dubai, Paris, Sellasia, and in different festivals such as the Al Quoz Arts Festival (Dubai, UAE) and the Other Worlds Festival (Blackpool, UK). She is a member of two collectives (Tse Tse Fly Middle East (sound), Glitch Artists Collective ) and part of an electronic sound duo with Stephanie Merchak under the of NSTANT.

Anja Temperli

Anja Temperli grew up on the outskirts of Zurich, rooted in the mountains, blossomed in various places (the latter including the Toni area, Stadionbrache, Heligoland). Probably soon to be awarded a Bachelor’s degree in scenography, thus a space/time lover whose expression is sought in all that is possible and impossible.
Since the theater season 2019/2020 she has been working as an assistant stage and costume designer at the theater Neumarkt, Zurich.

Impressum / Imprint

Publishing Concept & Art Direction

tetramorph.studio & Hayat Erdoğan

Editors

Hayat Erdoğan, Sarah Calörtscher, Ibrahim Nehme

Editorial Collaboration

Katharina Nill

Design

tetramorph.studio (Juan Ferrari, Pascale Lustenberger, Ahjin Kim)

Publisher

Neumarkt
Neumarkt 5
8001 Zürich
Switzerland

“The theater itself is not revolutionary: it is a rehearsal for the revolution.”                         “The theater itself is not revolutionary: it is a rehearsal for the revolution.”                        “The theater itself is not revolutionary: it is a rehearsal for the revolution.”                        “The theater itself is not revolutionary: it is a rehearsal for the revolution.”

Augusto Boal, Theatre of the Oppressed