Independent researcher and curator Adam HajYahia has been specially invited by Bilna’es to co-curate the public programme running in tandem with the exhibition In the shade of the sun. He writes:
The public programming for In the shade of the sun builds on what Bilna’es’ exhibition conception already proposes. Methodologically, we need to radically rethink the formulations within which cultural and artistic work is produced, circulated, and consumed. For the burdensome demands of the art market and industry, the invisibilised labour of artists and cultural workers, as well as hierarchies and mediation configurations as we know them, are not conducive to thriving and sustainable futures. Aesthetically, and therefore politically, there is a need to continue the search for a new language to tackle the particularities of our present fascist neoliberal predicaments while also devising alternative assemblages, economies, and relations for an otherwise.
Bilna’es is the Arabic word for ‘in the negative’. The term evokes a politics of being and producing from within the moment of catastrophe, forging from beyond it, the multitude of possibilities across the impossible. This public programme borrows from this methodology to consider the potentialities that could materialise in the cracks of the crises of the present.
Poetry belongs to none is an evening of short films celebrating the newly commissioned video works by Dina Mimi and Mona Benyamin. The films are positioned in conversation with films by artists Onyeka Igwe, and the New Red Order. By viewing these works side by side, and sometimes dialectically, the program seeks to examine the various political strategies and aesthetic mechanisms contemporary artists have been using to subvert colonial power structures from within.
In a performance entitled BASICTENSION, SERAFINE1369 (Jamila Johnson-Small) moves through dance, text, and music, as an invitation to study how the conditions of our time permeate across and within our bodies, and how out of that conditioning one can navigate being in the world.
Moving onto a more discursive format, A Choreography of Infiltration, is a panel discussion with Akil Scafe-Smith (RESOLVE Collective), Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme (Bilna’es), Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung (Decolonial Hacker), and Zoé Samudzi about institutional censorship. Taking Germany, the UK, and the US as study cases, the conversation will lay out how large contemporary art institutions have been reproducing state politics of silencing, erasure, and illiberalism when it comes to anti-colonial Palestine organising, black radical traditions, and proletarian struggles, and propose thinking lines through which we can strategise as cultural workers in navigating these violent patterns.
If you’re reading this, it’s not too late is a panel discussion with Bahar Noorizadeh (Weird Economies), Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfos (Werker Collective), and Joud Al-Tamimi (Asphalt Coop). They panelist will speak about their respective publishing practices and share what organising for and around textual outputs within a contemporary art framework enables them to effectuate. Through each unique publishing model, the conversation will examine how contemporary art infrastructures have been used to produce negative speculation, open collectivities, and revolutionary pedagogies.
The programme and exhibition will conclude with a special music performance to be announced soon.
Adam HajYahia is an independent writer, curator, and culture producer from Palestine. Adam’s current work and research focus on images and performativity in the revolutionary context of Palestine and the region, psychoanalysis and capitalism, as well as negative speculation and Marxist economics within contemporary art.
Bilna’es (meaning ‘in the negative’) is an adisciplinary platform that seeks to find new models for artists to redistribute resources and support one another in the production and circulation of work. Functioning as an adisciplinary publishing space with releases ranging from music to video games, web projects, publications, performances, installations, and other yet-to-be-developed forms. Bilna’es was initiated by Ruanne Abou-Rahme & Basel Abbas, Muqata’a, and other anonymous figures as a way to support artistic communities in Palestine and beyond.
Joining up with the programme for Tools for Solidarity, we launch STUART issue 2: The openness of the horizon to that which I am not – a visual pull-out poster newspaper designed by Rose Nordin of STUART, bringing together poetic reflections, excerpts of works and notes from artists Al Wahat Collective (Areej Ashhab, Gabriella Demczuk, Ailo Ribas), Dina Mimi, Disarming Design, Elias Wakeem, Fana’ Collective, Karmel Sabri, Hajra Waheed, Islam Shabana, Ismail Nashef, Jumana Emil Abboud, KURS (Miloš Miletić and Mirjana Radovanović), Mohammad Sabaneh, Mo’min Swaitat / Majazz, Mothanna Hussein, Nika Autor, Qusai al Saify, Radio AlHara, RESOLVE Collective, Rouzbeh Shadpey, Shayma Nader, Tai Shani, The School of Mutants (Hamedine Kane and Stéphane Verlet-Bottéro), and Xaytun Ennasr.
Other events include the performance and conversation Solidarity Re:Verb with artist and sound researcher Bint Mbareh, curated as part of a programme by MACC Collective highlighting sonic practices as tools for nurturing solidarities. Another highlight is The Mosaic Rooms Young Collective will organise their first public event for 2023. In a year-long collaboration with Open School East, artist Sarah Al Sarraj will conceive a special event.
Our Bookshop Programme includes an offsite collaboration for the indie publisher and label fair as part of Another Sky‘s festival programme, as well as the UK launch event of My Port of Beirut, followed by a conversation with author and artist Lamia Ziadé.
The annual Edward W Said Lecture is delivered by Francesca Albanese, alongside respondent Nadia Abu El-Haj. The lecture explores Said’s profound legacy by delving into Israel’s settler colonial rule in the occupied Palestinian territory. Through a rigorous examination of international law within the context of global empire, Albanese confronts Israel’s colonial injustice and charts a course of action for legal and humanist resistance. Embracing Said’s work within the legal discipline entails upholding the principles of human rights and dignity, challenging oppressive systems and advocating for justice.
Sign up to our newsletter for all updates and check our overall 2023 programme here