During this solo exhibition at Le Cube – independent art room, Marianne Fahmy presents her recent projects History as Proposed and 31 Silent Encounters, as well as What things may come, a new work in progress.
Pour History as Proposed, Marianne Fahmy researches an abandoned train station near the port of Alexandria. In fact, the artist could not have access to governmental documents that provide information about the station. Even though the architecture of the building has a great historical importance, a non-official activity is carried out to destroy it. Architects’ hypothesis and assumptions indicate that the building dates from 1885, when the first railroads were built in Egypt under British occupation. While significant resources were put at the service of the development of railways in the country, no resources were invested in teaching the maintenance of these infrastructures. Consequently, this has led to a poor maintenance of the railways and, thus, to their degradation.
The lack in documentation has driven the artist to create other hypothesis that respond to the destruction of the building. With History as Proposed, Marianne Fahmy created fictional narratives on the building, in a magazine intitled “Knowledge” “المعرفة” a reliable and well-known newspaper of the 1970’s.
The film 31 Silent Encounters relates the story of Communist activists in Egypt, which remains poorly documented to date.
After she led interviews with activists from the 1950s and an intensive research on unpublished stories, Marianne Fahmy created a non-linear conversation between a communist activist and his wife in the 1950s. The conversation in question speaks of memories in Alexandria and intellectual oppression at that time.
The film shows a specific cartography of the city based on the theory of architecture in the 1950s. The buildings are perceived as concrete archives, showing political and social changes.
Last but not least, her latest project What things may come unfolds throughout a research on water crisis in Egypt. In this video, Marianne Fahmy proposes a fictional narrative on the creation of a new society and how the rising sea will affect the topography in Egypt. This would lead to the relocation of people to the new desert city.
The film starts with a made-up prophecy by Proteus, a former god of the sea. Through interviews with families of oceanographers and found archives, the artist’s research on the history of oceanography in Egypt contributed to the creation of a oceanographic future and a new society revealed by and in the film.
This exhibition is a follow up to a residency at Le Cube – independent art room and part of the project travelling narratives. The latter is a regional program of art and research that aims at encouraging interactions between cultural agents in Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania and Libya.
Through the organization of a cycle of residencies, exhibitions, screenings, meetings, workshops and conferences, this project strives to cross and connect micro-stories from North Africa in order to discover and disseminate endogenous stories of these territories and to collectively imagine new social and cultural utopias from these alternative narratives.
Travelling narratives is supported by AFAC – The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, the Goethe-Institut Marokko, the Institut Français du Maroc, the Centre Jacques Berque and the Ministry of Culture and Communication in Morocco. The program is carried out in partnership with Townhouse, مؤسسة ورق للفنون – WaraQ art foundation and the cultural space Diadie Tabara Camara.
• Leaflet of the exhibition