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An unpredictable expression of human potential, Chapter II, Sharjah Biennial 2017, Beirut Arts Center.


Recent riots in French suburbs in Seine-Seint-Denis provoked by the alleged rape of young Theo led to immediate protests and subsequent violent attacks against the police in the streets of many cities in France; a consequence of continuous distrust with authorities. Young people from second and third generation migrant families feel left out, not heard, not represented or protected by government and treated as pariah’s. In the same way young people but from a lower class white background feel left out, by government or country. A new patriotism is looming ahead, one that sees the migrant as the problem and seeks a nationalistic protectionist turn. These issues are being played out viciously by leaders and those who seek power, resulting in a further schism on the lines of race, color and religion.

Instead of asking for solutions, instead of sketching utopias, the exhibition seeks to respond to the present global moment, one in which a paradigmatic shift can be tasted on the air, where young people are frustrated, protesting, demonstrating against decisions imposed on them by older generations, sensitive to an inheritance they did not ask for and did not shape. Artists are invited, not just as sensing nodes, but as a fundamental part of this moment, expressing the milieu through art, literature, fashion, photography, performance. The exhibition thus aims to act an affective technology, immersing the viewer in an ‘esprit’ to realise the pan-global reach of feelings of entropy, failed-nationalisms, and received narratives that don’t fit and are rapidly re-mixed, shrugged off, moved past.

The exhibition asks if there is a radical potential in realising this commonality - can we write a new definition of ‘culture’, one that when ingested mutates its host into a new form? Can new solidarities be built between people from the Global North and South, ones that short circuit the tired tropes of identity politics and liberalism, rejuvenated through new languages and forms that take more from the street then from the academy. Can these forms resist rapid absorption into Capital, to become neutered, packaged and sold - or is this process so automatically inherent to making things public today, that it can be hacked, re-appropriated and re-distributed?

Curator: Hicham Khalidi Associate Curator: Natasha Hoare

Mohamed Bourouissa (France / Algeria), Gaelle Schoine (France), Rayane M’cirdi (France/Algeria), Sabrina Belouaar (France/Algeria), Laura Henno (France), Younes Rahmoun (Morocco), Sara van der Heide (Netherlands), Mostafa Saifi Rahmouni (Morocco), Pedro Barateiro (Portugal) & Quinn Latimer (USA), Jesse Darling (UK), CJ Clarke / Christopher Smith (UK), Randa Maroufi (Morocco), Dala Nasser (Lebanon).