‘The art of getting lost in Alexandria and Barcelona’ is a work in progress project reflecting upon urban experiences of migration, nomadism and detouring from both a historical and a contemporary perspective. In the framework of Tandem Shaml Program, the collaboration between Gudran (Alexandria) and CeRCCa (Barcelona) proposes an interdisciplinary research-based project, aiming to reflect and challenge mainstream narratives of both cities through alternative histories and stories.
‘The art of getting lost in Alexandria and Barcelona’ develops through research, residencies, seminars, exhibition and critical film screenings. A publication will summarize the process and its outcomes.
The first residency organized by the project took place in Alexandria from the 15th April to the 30th May 2017. With the support of Gudran, CeRCCa invited Ro Caminal and Marta Vallejo to be part on a residency framed in the context of Nassim el Raqs Festival. The residency was accompained by the seminar ´Getting Lost in the City´coordinated by Ali al-adawy. The seminar bougth together 9 participants from Alexandria and Cairo to work on the idea of the Flaneur as descrived by Walter Benjamin. With a first sesion where Benjamin´s proposals on the flaneur were discussed, the Seminar developed in individual detourings through Alexandria. During the final exhibition the outcome of these detourings was preseted to the public.
These public presentation was acompained by the outcome of Ro Caminal, Marta Vallejo and Pau Cata residency.
Ro Caminal brought us Oblivion/Nasyan. Her installation aimed to evidence how the hegemonic narrative of the cosmopolitan Alexandria, which works like a veil that hides the other coexisting realities of the city.
Marta Vallejo presented an alternative mapping of Alexandria based on emotional landscapes constructed through the collection of intimate uses of space. This cratography operated both as an emotional map to get lost in the city and a ritual to survive the urban experience.
Taking as starting point the idea of the impossibility of knowing, through video, photo and sound, Pau Cata proposed a collage of experiences of Alexandria with the aim to reflect upon and challenge mainstream ideas of nostalgia and memory.
The second stage of ‘The art of getting lost in Alexandria and Barcelona’ took place from the 15th to the 30th June in Barcelona with ‘CONTEMPORARY CINEMA FROM EGYPT: Counter/hegemonic visualities from Alexandria, about Alexandria’.
In the aftermath of branded cities, our societies are left with a territory in constant digestion and reconstruction, where bodies carry the contradictions about being and staying in the urban experience. From a Mediterranean perspective, ‘The art of getting lost’ team launched a debate about the many ways of challenging dominant narratives of the city in Barcelona and Alexandria, digging in the potential of disorientation, practicing the art of getting lost.
The screenings were curated by Ali Hussein Al Adawy, film curator, editor and writer devoted to the critique of the moving image and urban, artistic and cultural practices. Ali Hussein Al Adawy was accompanied by the egyptian writer Ahmed El Serougui.
Alexandria ... why? - Youssef Chahine (1979) 133"
The Third stage of the project is a publication with several texts reflecting upon the process developed by the five members of the ‘Getting lost team’, the documentation of the several activities and comisioned texts on the topic.
‘The art of getting lost in Alexandria and Barcelona’ is part of Tandem Shaml , an exchange program between curators and art managers from the Arab World and Europe. The project develops through a research process, an artist in residency program with Ro Caminal, Marta Vallejo and Pau Cata in the framework of Nassim el Raqs Festival in Alexandria, a theoretical and practical Seminar with alexandrian artists and researchers and a series of film screenings in Barcelona curated by Ali Hussein Al-Adawy and a final publication.
'Tandem Shaml supports experimental and lasting collaborations between change makers from the Arab region and Europe. For one year cultural actors work in tandems and as a group: being part of a larger network and sharing good practice. Joint projects confront global challenges like migration and support local community development by linking local people, places, art forms and ideas.'