exhibition

LONGING FOR COMMUNITY

Fanni Futterknecht, Soukaina Joual, Seba Kayan, Nourhan Maayouf, Engy Mohsen

Online at SUMAC SPACE: 24/01 – 22/03/2022

Billboards at FLUC: 16/02 – 05/03/2022

curated by Aline Lenzhofer

 

Opening: Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 8 pm

Venue: FLUC, Praterstern 5, 1020 Vienna

Nourhan Maayouf, “Tea for Two”, 2021, digital photography.

How do we come together? What communities do we form? The exhibition points to the difficulties of coming together and shows how artists and collectives face this challenge and experiment with new forms of exchange in public or virtual space. Various projects address commonalities despite geographical distance, linguistic and cultural differences as well as dissonances.

Due to the rise of the Covid pandemic, physical encounters and moments of togetherness became difficult and were even considered a threat for each other’s well-being. As humans, however, we always long for social contact, exchange and community following the urge to learn, develop, understand and be understood on an emotional, intellectual and experimental level.

 

The participating artists found ways to connect with each other, their audience, the public, participants and strangers, creating sounds of togetherness that are presented in this online exhibition. Whether it is an invitation to drink tea together, a search for a common non-verbal language or a reflection on the complexity of a language and its dialects when it comes to collective activities, the artworks tackle different approaches to togetherness in a time when community is being called into question.

 

Certain sounds of togetherness can be found in Engy Mohsen and Soukaina Joual’s joint project „Machy, mashi: A H(ij)acked text“ (2022). While the artists––both part of the collective K-oh-llective––have over the past years repeatedly exchanged ideas online in chat rooms, collaborated at a distance and communicated in their common mother tongue, Arabic, they developed a project revolving around the linguistic specifications of the Arabic language, which is often presented homogeneously in the European context. Driven by a shared interest in trap and rap music from North Africa, they trace the differences in their mother tongue(s)––Moroccan Darija and Egyptian Aamiyya––to better understanding of each other’s dialects and examine different terms for collective activities.

 

DJ and artist Seba Kayan usually works with sounds that she collects, creates, resamples, rearranges, reinterprets, redefines and remixes. Her project „Genesis of a Soundteller“ (2022)  brings together those who are passionate about techno and those familiar with the Anatolian sounds. On a dance floor she usually gives both groups the possibility to meet, dance and learn from each other. Here, she shares her collection of sounds inspired by her Kurdish-Anatolian heritage, uses songs by musical storytellers called dengbejis and introduces them to the world of techno.

 

The wish for exchange and collective action prompted Nourhan Maayouf to conceive the performative action „Tea for Two“ (2021)––at a time when Switzerland, her current place of residence, was under lockdown. She invited strangers in public space to share a cup of tea. She sought to interact with those that she did not know before, to talk with new acquaintances and share a hot beverage. As in other works from hers, food and drinks played an essential role in creating moments of exchange and togetherness. Following her performance, she wrote down her experiences in a diary. In five chapters she reflects on the role of drinking tea––in Egypt and elsewhere––and its social relevance.

 

While Nourhan Maayouf’s work focuses on action-based communication, Fanni Futterknecht dives into language-based communication in an attempt to find a way to use a common language without words. In her work „Power to the unspoken“ (2021)–– a scribble protest, she demonstrates that exchange or joint action do not necessarily require words. The artist raises the questions: Is it still possible to communicate when language dissolves? What forms of communication can be created without language? The collective act of public rebellion, manifested in actions of protest marches in public space as well as performances in the exhibition context, was thus staged and transformed into a poetic gesture of collective wordlessness.

 

The ways in which artists long for community and their sounds of togetherness are presented online in cooperation with SUMAC SPACE and in public space on billboards at the walls of FLUC Vienna.

artists

has been studying fine art, contextual painting and video at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Amsterdam and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. She participated at CNDC in Angers in France researching live performance, space and the body. Fanni Futterknecht's works adopt a position that spans media, ranging between video, performance and installation. In her works she reflects on sociological and social questions, converting them into poetic interpretations. In spatial and plastic realizations and translations, and by means of language, the artist works on – in the form of performance, demonstrations, videos and installations – the construction and deconstruction of scenarios.

SOUKAINA JOUAL (MA)

is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Rabat. She graduated from the National Institute of Fine Arts Tetouan in 2011. Her works (video, performance, painting, installations) break down boundaries between public and private space, individual and community, the inside and outside of our bodies, and artistic and everyday actions. The human body plays a major role in her work. She investigates how the body changes, connects to identity constructs or can also become the site for ideological debates. Soukaina Joual is 1/5 of the artist group K-oh-llective.

SEBA KAYAN (AT)

Based in Vienna, Seba Kayan is a viennese DJ and artist. Her music has a forensic, political and metaphorical approach. By digging into various music archives she collects lost pieces. In her musical spectrum, techno meets Anatolian sounds. A binary vision of an occidental vs. oriental world is not aimed to be created, but both cultures are tried to be embodied and become interwoven. By seeking the past in archives, an imagination of tomorrow is getting shaped into a hybrid music. Acquiring ascriptions and deconstructing them in the musical process, as a collective improvisation process. This method of relating to the ancestors, to a collective memory, tells also an a-linear historical narrative.

NOURHAN MAAYOUF (EG)

Born in Cairo in 1990, Nourhan Maayouf lives and works in Cairo and Sierre. She works with different mediums such as photography, illustration, performance and text. Her work is mostly autobiographical exploring themes of home, body and relationships. Recently she started to grow an interest in socially engaged art practices that involve conversation and participation. She is currently studying Arts in Public Spheres at the Valais School of Art and Design.

ENGY MOHSEN (EG)

Born in Cairo in 1995, Engy Mohsen is an artist, architect and graphic designer. While spatial design remains at the core of her interdisciplinary practice, she works -solo and collaboratively- with text, drawing, photography, performance, discursive acts and conversation as a medium. She explores the notions of ‘participation’ and ‘collectivity’ by hosting formats of meeting that invite non-artists and artists to think about how spaces can be organized to include the ‘other’. Engy Mohsen is 1/5 of the artist group K-oh-llective.

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