Free Cinema School Salons in Cairo and London

London Free Cinema School Salon: Wednesday 1 December, 7-9pm at the Centre for Possible Studies

In London, the Free Cinema School Salon will screen Maha Maamoun’s Domestic Tourism II, 2008. Taking the form of a video collage, the film considers how the Pyramids of Giza have been embedded in the narratives of Egyptian films throughout the country’s cinematic history. As in Domestic Tourism I, 2005, a series of digitally manipulated images of Cairo, Maamoun appropriates touristic representations of Egypt to provide a point of entry for exploring the city on a deeper social, political and psychological level. In this context, the ‘tourism’ of the work’s title refers not only to a means of navigating and discovering a place, but also to a relationship to one’s environment that is both intimate and distant.

Maha Maamoun lives and works in Cairo, Egypt. Working principally in film and photography, Maamoun often uses generic visual representations of Cairo to explore how these intersect with, and are negotiated by, personal experiences. She is one of the founding members of CIC – the Contemporary Image Collective- a space for contemporary art and culture in Cairo. Maamoun’s work has been shown in biennials and exhibitions including: Homeworks 5, Beirut, 2010; Past of the Coming Days, Sharjah Biennial 9, 2009; PhotoCairo 4, CIC, 2008; Global Cities, Tate Modern, 2007, C on Cities, 10th Venice Biennale of Architecture, 2006; Snap Judgments, ICP, 2006; DAK’ART 6, 2004; 5th Biennale of African Photography, Bamako, 2003. In 2005, she was co-curator of PhotoCairo3, an international visual arts festival in Cairo, and in 2007 an assistant curator for Meeting Points 5, an international multidisciplinary contemporary arts festival. She recently had a residency at Apexart, New York City.

Cairo Free Cinema School Salon: Wednesday 1 December, 7-9pm @ Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art, Cairo 10 Nabrawy Street, off Champollion Street, Downtown, Cairo

In Cairo, local actor Khalid Abdalla and London-based artists Brad Butler and Karen Mirza will show Free Cinema School, 2009, a 50-minute film involving over 60 participants, which the artists made during their residency at the Centre for Possible Studies in Summer 2009. Taking as its subject the local environment of the Edgware Road, the film has been described as one of the most thrilling films to be created in Britain this year’ (Vertigo Magazine, 2009). This Salon will provide the opportunity to ask questions that reflect not only on the work’s achievements but also on its limitations, and create a forum for debate on the issues affecting future proposals for projects with local specificity, in terms of both filmmaking and of ‘educational’ practices.

Launched in 2004, no.w.here is an artist-run space in London in which the place of the moving image within contemporary art is explored and expanded. Founded by Karen Mirza and Brad Butler, no.w.here has supported the production of numerous performances, screenings, residencies, publications, events and exhibitions. On the Edgware Road, no.w.here worked with actors Khalid Abdalla and Cressida Trew to recall histories of Britain’s Free Cinema movement, producing a collaborative film made by those with links to the neighbourhood.

Actor Khalid Abdalla, best known for his lead role in the film The Kite Runner, 2007, spent his youth on the Edgware Road. He is currently producer of In the Last Days of the City, a feature-length film shot in Cairo, Baghdad, Beirut, Alexandria and Berlin, scheduled for release in 2011. Abdalla and collaborator Cressida Trew the Free Cinema School to global independent cinema networks.

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