“We are not going to allow it to happen,” Egyptian actor and megastar Hussein Fahmy told ICA’s Friday Forum. He was talking about the private prosecutions currently being brought by Islamists against actors for defaming Islam in movies, sometimes movies nearly a decade old. The comedic actor Adel Imam had been convicted for his roles in films like Terrorism and the Kebab (1993) and sentenced to a three-month jail term that was changed into a fine of $170 in July. Continue reading
Long before the ousting of Mubarak, football, like the call to prayer, is an activity that brings Cairo’s teeming metropolis of nearly seven million to a standstill. Following the interwoven lives of eight characters, Kamla Abu Zekry’s compelling ensemble film One-Zero (Wahed-Sefr), takes place on the eve of the Egypt v Cameroon match in the 2008 Africa World Cup Final. Subtly addressing conflicts of class, gender and religion, this realistic and gripping movie foreshadows the social and political complexities that unfolded in Tahrir Square last year. Continue reading
After a 15-year-long civil war, one way Lebanese artists reflected on the experience was the use or subversion of documentary archives to somehow suggest an alternative reality. Continue reading
There has been a long tradition in the West with musicals, either staged or filmed, that tackle complex subjects – Chicago by Bob Fossie is about female murderers and the rise of tabloid culture; Sweeney Todd by Stephen Sondheim tells the story of serial killing and cannibalism, while The Scottsboro Boys addresses rape and racism in 1930s America. Few Arab musicals have ever attempted to tread the ground of Bosta, a film about the aftermath of the Lebanese civil war, exile, lost love and the generational struggle between tradition and modernity. Continue reading
Just like today’s pressures on young men and women in the Middle East to conform to an acceptable Muslim lifestyle, there were similar social pressures in the 1970s for what some would say represents the polar opposite – towards secularism and liberalism. Those who didn’t agree with the compulsion to become modern and areligious were deemed out of the step with the times, feudal in outlook, excessively conservative, unimaginative and simply not progressive. Continue reading
What follows is an excerpt from Stone’s further thoughts on Headroom and the cultural climate in which he was created, from his point of view… Continue reading
Yo, m8, go!
Sometimes people ask “why is rap so angry?” When hip hop artists speak candidly of the misery and hardships of their youths, it is not hard to understand why. But hip hop is a whole lot more than the expression of rage. As with other kinds of protest poetry and art, it offers the affirmative refusal to be defeated; it offers sharp social critique and satire; it offers solidarity with embattled others; it offers the inspiring expression of individual and collective aspirations.
Throughout the exhibition Remote Control, the ICA’s Lower Gallery is temporarily reconstructed as a symbolic archive of material – both audio-visual and physical – that looks at mapping the structure of information dissemination and offers a possible prehistory to the networked environment of today. Within this newly commissioned installation designed by Berlin-based artist Simon Denny, the artist has brought together a matrix of ideas surrounding alternative approaches to media, spatial distribution and ecology, as well as conceived a platform for displaying a selection of video works from the past 40 years.