still from "Purgatorium", work in progress by Didem Pekün
Picture: Zina Zarour
Cells of Illegal Education by Farah Saleh
Picture: Zina Zarour
Raising Lazarus by Kat Francois
Picture: Moira Ricci
Negus – Celebration by Invernomuto
Picture: Moira Ricci
Logo of the Hebbel am Ufer

Farah Saleh, Didem Pekün, Kat Francois, Invernomuto

Violence of Inscriptions #3

On Collectivity, and Its Boundaries – Day 2

Part of “Violence of Inscriptions. A Project by Sandra Noeth and Arkadi Zaides"


Farah Saleh: Cells of Illegal Education

A video dance installation (2016)

Cells of Illegal Education (C.I.E) is a video dance installation that revisits gestures of civil disobedience carried out during the First Intifada in Occupied Palestine. More specifically it reenacts, transforms and deforms gestures exercised by Birzeit University students between 1988 and 1992 while trying to continue their education process at a time when schools and universities were closed by Israeli military rule and students and teachers who refused to abide were labeled “Cells of Illegal Education”. The illegal classes were organized in alternative spaces, such as houses, the university entrance and the university itself. The video revolves around two group pictures and a painting documenting these three situations. It attempts to recreate the students acts before, during and after the pictures were taken. Intertwining archival materials, oral testimonies and imagination this installation is a gestural reflection on the phenomenon of civil disobedience and popular resistance during the First Intifada and their echoes in our contemporary times, from romanticism to reenactment.


Farah Saleh & Didem Pekün: Two Lectures and a Dialogue

Moderation: Sandra Noeth

Farah Saleh: Gesturing Refugees

The lecture will approach some of the questions that the dancer and choreographer Farah Saleh tackled in the interactive performance lecture “Gesturing Refugees” (work in progress). The performance intends to archive latent stories of refugeehood using the bodies of refugee artists and the audience as the main archive, while playing with other archive material, testimonies and imagination. The archives will include present, past and even future stories of refugeehood to try and interrogate collective responsibility and find bridges between the past and present of the West. The re-enactment, transformation and deformation of the alternative and personal memories of refugees by refugee artists will allow the re-appropriation of the narrative of refugeehood and develop a collective gestural identity that might challenge that of passive victimhood to which refugees are often subjected. The performance already faced many obstacles related to visa denial to artists and the impossibility of their physical encounter, which added up another formal layer to the performance.

Didem Pekün: A Soliloquy; 5 Thoughts on Inhabiting Purgatorium

This talk stems from a work in progress titled “Purgatorium”. “Purgatorium” is an essayistic road movie and diary of a semi-fictional character, Nayia. It talks about a radical instability we all share in one form or another.

Nayia has been in exile since the war and returns after 22 years. The film is guided by her diary notes of this journey, which merge with the myth of Daedalus and Icarus – Icarus being the name given to the winner of a bridge diving competition in her home country. Nayia often thinks of Icarus in reference to the politics of civil war: Icarus as a human being perfecting his/her bodily skills but due to over-ambition and repeated hubristic gestures ending in inevitable failures and catastrophes. Thus the figure of Icarus also involves body politics and speaks of all the members of a nation.  When we think of a civil war, we can think of a decaying body, like the wings if not body of Icarus melting in their too-close proximity to the sun.

But although Icarus failed, his father, Daedalus, like Nayia, succeeded and settled in far-off lands. This success is that of exile and leaving violence behind. But exile is also separation from the collective body, both physically and psychically.

By travelling through choices and dilemmas that typically scar the life of an exilee who finds herself at a historical impasse, the talk sits on the unstable ground of at once being ripped off from the practices and cohesion of belonging, at the same time freed from the violence and within new possibilities. It is at this ground zero of a new life that the fragile nervous ramifications for a new collectivity can emerge, where one can produce new “infrastructures for troubling times.” (Berlant, 2016) It is by thinking through possible moments of world-creating with others within this historical glitch that Nayia reflects on how to inhabit “Purgatorium”.


Kat Francois: Raising Lazarus

Raising Lazarus charts the true story of Kat Francois’ relative, Lazarus, from the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada, who joined the British West Indies Regiment and came to England during World War One. A journey that would take him to the Suez Canal and Africa to defend the Empire and Motherland. Kat Francois shows how she discovered she was connected to a part of British history she previously thought had no relevance to her, and in her performance weaves through time to expose a part of the journey undertaken by thousands of Caribbean soldiers who volunteered for King & Country.
The play was first performed in 2009 as part of Spokefest at Theatre Royal Stratford East, under the direction of Dawn Reid. Since then, the story has travelled worldwide.

The performance is followed by a talk between Kat Francois and theatre scholar Eike Wittrock.
Raising Lazarus by Kat Francois at Brighton Festival 2017


Invernomuto: Negus – Celebration (70min, OmeU)

Negus is a conceptual feature length documentary directed by the Italian art duo Invernomuto starring Lee “Scratch” Perry. The film explores the convergence of history, myth and magic through the complex and competing legacies of Ethiopia’s last emperor Haile Selassie I. In Italy during the fascist rule of Mussolini, Selassie was portrayed as a black devil, justifying Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia. During the same period the religion of Rastafarianism was emerging in Jamaica and claiming Selassie as their living God and the black Christ resurrected. Negus is powered from the void between these two irreconcilable realities.
Negus follows a circular structure, and its locations (the vertexes of the triangle: Vernasca, Ethiopia and Jamaica) are mixed constantly, almost superimposed, demanding that the viewer loose the limitations of geographical orientation. The film lingers on the in-between spaces uniting the narrative in a sensual contemplative mood. Negus proposes that the trajectories of peoples, ideologies and mythologies are never one way vectors, but always exist in the complexity of infinite feedback and recourse.
Past dates
November 2017