Listening Solidarities From Brussels with Love
Since February 22, 2019, every Friday Algeria has been the stage of massive and ever-growing peaceful protests. From the wind-swept streets of Bab El Oued, over all regions, back through the Tunnel des Facultés to the Audin Square, protesters have marched, danced, smiled, sang and chanted their demand to overthrow the regime. In April 2019 protesters take the street, as a Casablanca appeals court has upheld prison sentences of up to 20 years for dozens of activists linked to the Hirak protest movement that rocked northern Morocco's Rif region in late 2016.
From a diasporic perspective, historical questions of international solidarity re-emerge in Brussels, a capital city inhabited by diverse communities connected to the Maghreb, and the Global South in general and traversed by still very present colonial and imperialist power relations. How can solidarity be re-articulated in relation with the recent popular movements in the Maghreb, and the Global South? From where do we speak? What are we doing and what can be done differently in solidarity while listening to the demands enunciated in the streets in the Maghreb, and the Global South and elsewhere?
This discussion will be triggered by the performance ‘We dreamt of utopia and we woke up screaming #4’ by Yasmina Reggad, presenting her ongoing research in Algeria, Tanzania, Portugal and the Canary Islands. Inspired by the documentary radio genre, this performance plays out against the backdrop of the struggles of the 60s and 70s through the role of thethennewly established Algerian radio. Engaged in aesthetics and politics of listening, the performance re-enacts different modalities of engagement from exile and of mobilizing international solidarity through radio broadcasting.
Duration: +- 45 min,
Language: English, Arabic, Algerian Darija, French, Portuguese.
Author, concept & research: Yasmina Reggad
Performers: Yasmina Reggad, Rachida Aziz, Joachim Ben Yakoub, and others TBC
The performance will be followed by an open public discussion, inspired by the answers of among others:
**Soraya El Kahlaoui
moderated by Joachim Ben Yakoub.
The event ‘Listening Solidarities: From Brussels with love’ is supported by the Interpraxis research group of Sint Lucas School of Arts Antwerpen and is part of the research proposal ‘The archives of the Tout-Monde. In search of refuges for fugitive aesthetic experiences.’ It emerged from an ongoing dialogue between Yasmina Reggad and Joachim Ben Yakoub on how to address collectively common interests and inquiries on the intersection of politics and aesthetics, through an intensive and close collaboration with Le Space, an insurgent crossroad and autonomous safe space for artists and activist in Brussels.
About Yasmina Reggad’s research
We dreamt of utopia and we woke up screaming
We dreamt of utopia and we woke up screaming (named after Bolaño’s First Infrarealist Manifesto) is a polyphonic and polyglot durational performance that intends to explore new ways of 'exhibiting’ or of presenting and activating research and archival material. Against the backdrop of the Cold War’s bi-polar tensions of the 1960s and 1970s, Algeria was at the epicenter of utopias emerging from the ‘peripheries’. The Algerian capital hosted national movements of liberation, political exiles, rebels and disillusioned Westerners militants from all the continents and witnessed the forging of a ‘third way’ of possible futures.
Inspired from their own experience of finding haven in Cairo, Tunis, Damascus and Nador, and the voice of their revolution granted access on airwaves, the Algerian government offered militants and dreamers airtime on the newly established Algerian radio (RTA – Radiodiffusion-Télévision Algérienne). These radio broadcasts were intended to direct the liberation struggles from exile, communicate with emergent or ongoing protest movements at home as well as mobilize international support.
We dreamt of utopia and we woke up screaming seeks to highlight turning points in global history and the mapping of the mobility of otherwise invisible actors, ‘freedom fighters’ that plotted and contributed to avant-garde propositions such as the ‘Third World project’, Pan-Arabism, Pan-Africanism, the New Economic order or the Non-Aligned movement.
What can radio broadcasting in exile tell us about political activities, the relationship with the host country and notions of legitimacy, loyalty outside the nation-state, hospitality, soft power and moral guidance? To what extent did it contribute to the development of new ideas, the changing of policy and the dissemination of information? How did it shape the writing of contemporary ‘transnational and un-national histories’? Finally, how did they inform us of listenership, and of the politics of solidarity manufactured in the acts of listening?
Thanks to the support ofCentre national des arts plastiques (France), Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (Lebanon), and Sundance Institute Theatre Program Fellowship/Ucross Foundation.
Rachida Aziz is a writer, fashion designer and activist. She launched the clothing line Azira and is the founder of Le Space, a laboratory for the cultural centre of tomorrow. Le Space is a safe space at the intersection of different struggles where artists, activists, ecological start-ups and cultural organizations can meet. Rachida is also the author of the book ‘Niemand zal hier slapen vannacht’ (Nobody is going to sleep here tonight), a milestone in the anti-racist and feminist literature in the Low Countries.
Joachim Ben Yakoub is a writer, researcher and lecturer. His research is situated on the intersection of aesthetic theory and various postcolonial critiques, from where he investigates the aesthetics of revolt in Tunisia and Belgium. He is affiliated to the ‘Middle East and North Africa Research Group’ (MENARG) and the 'Studies in Performing Arts & Media' research group (S:PAM) of the University of Ghent and promotor of the research proposal “The archives of the Tout-Monde” at Sint Lucas School of Arts Antwerpen.
Ghaliya Djelloul is a researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World at the Catholic University of Louvain. A graduate in International Relations and Sociology, her research focuses on the reconfiguration of power fields in Algeria based on an ethnography of the spatial mobility of women residing in peripheral neighborhoods of Algiers. In parallel, she is also interested in questions related to Islam in/from Europe, and more specifically to "Islamic Feminism".
Soraya El Kahlaoui is a researcher activist and filmmaker. She is currently doing research at the Advance School of Social Sciences in Paris about forms of public spaces re-appropriation in the context of the democratization process spawned in Morocco since 2011. Soraya is also a political activist working on several issues such land expropriation and human rights violation and directed the documentary, “Landless Moroccans”. Since the beginning of Hirak, Soraya is involved in the solidarity campaign with the political prisoners
Yasmina Reggad is an independent curator, writer, researcher and, at times, performer and choreographer. She works between Athens, Algiers and London. She holds an MA in Medieval History from the Sorbonne University, France and is presently curator at aria (artist residency in algiers). She was previously guest curator of Art Dubai International Commissions 2016 and 2017, UAE and Exhibitions and projects manager at Delfina Foundation, UK. Reggad is a Sundance Institute Playwright Fellow 2019
Mohanad Yaqubi is an artist, film producer, researcher and lecturer at KASK, School of Arts of University College Ghent. He is co-founder of the Ramallah-based Production house Idioms Film, and the research and curators collective Subversive Films, which focuses on militant film practices. His latest film ‘Off Frame Aka Revolution until Victory’ (2016), won the Ulysse Award for Best Documentary.
Sami Zemni is professor in political and social sciences at the Conflict Research Group a multidisciplinary research unit at Ghent University. He coordinates and leads the Middle East and North Africa Research Group. His area of expertise is politics within the Middle East and North Africa region, with special reference to political Islam. He focuses on processes of neoliberalisation, globalization and political change in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt.