Beautiful SMRN Meeting of August 2020
SMRN had another passionate and beautiful meeting on August 30 with our members joining including: Bahar Akgün, Steven Baris, Çigdem Borucu, Millie Chen, Delinda Collier, Nina Czegledy, Gareth Davies, Siying Duan, Tarek El-Ariss, Azadeh Emadi, Jan Hendrickse, Farshid Kazemi, Somayeh Khakshoor and Laura Marks.
Our members Tarek El-Ariss and Somayeh Khakshoor presented their works in progress. Tarek is experimenting with a new style of writing to explore forms of materiality and questions of experience beyond theories based on linguistic approaches. This new way of writing allows him to investigate the body and experience at the center of the larger questions of modernity, which has long been his interest. In his recent book Leaks, Hacks, and Scandals: Arab Culture in the Digital Age, Tarek theorizes the rise of “the leaking subject” by focusing on a new generation of activists and authors from Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula. And in this current project, he continues to explore the repercussions of the collapse of the modern episteme such as the coherent narrative of subject. Tarek is developing a post-Foucauldian historical method that would break down the space-time continuum and travel to the past through the rips or “portals”.
Somayeh shared her beautiful film “لا” (Lā), Arabic for the moon. The word means don’t, no and not. Some consider it the nonexistent the 29th letter of the Arabic alphabet. The moon can be invisible from the earth, as if it is not there. The word لا (lā) and the moon allows Somayeh to explore paradoxical binaries, like black and white, day and night, awakening and asleep, life and death. In this film, Somayeh experiences the three phases of “لا” and the shape of moon: “لا” has three different forms of calligraphic writing, which can be playfully linked with the shape of the new moon, the half-moon, and the full moon. Somayeh uses the three connotations of “لا” to explore three statuses of the self: the shape of a sharp dagger that is correspondent with the connotation “don’t” as defining borders of the self, the shape of a sturdy pillar that is correspondent with the connotation “no” as strength and the sustention of the self, the shape of love that is correspondent with the connotation “not” as the annihilation of the self. Both of the presentations aroused enthusiastic discussion on the different understandings of the “portal,” self and other, among many other thought-provoking issues.