Archives for the month of: July, 2011

Hatem Imam, co-founder of Samandal Comics, will host this week’s Bidoun LibrarySeminar about this tri-lingual quarterly comic magazine.  The Samandal Comics collection is on view as part of the Bidoun Library including the latest issue!

Hatem Imam is a visual artist and designer whose work includes print media, installation, photography, video, and painting. In 2007, he co-founded Samandal comics magazine. He is board member of the 98weeks research project, the artistic director of the Annihaya record label, and a founding member of the art collective Atfal Ahdath. Since 2007, he has been teaching at the Department of Architecture and Design at the American University of Beirut.

Samandal Comics is a Beirut-based magazine dedicated to comics, with contributors from all over the world. The goal of Samandal is to provide a platform on which graphic artists may experiment and display their work, generating contemporary reading material for comics fans.

Leading writers, scholars and artists in dialogue with the Bidoun editorial collective in a series of Saturday seminars. All of these 3pm Saturday Seminars are free and occur at the Bidoun Library installation at the Serpentine Gallery.

This week’s seminar will be hosted by Nawal Al Saadawi who is in London for the week in advance of this talk. We are so excited to have her in town… this could turn out to be a busy one so do arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Nawal El Saadawi (born 1931) is an Egyptian feminist writer, activist, physician and psychiatrist. She has written many books on the subject of women in Islam, paying particular attention to the practice of female genital mutilation in her society.
She was among the protesters in Tahrir Square, Cairo in 2011 and was very active in the international media in helping raise awareness of the demands of protestors and the history of struggle in Egypt.
As an activist, Saadwai has spoken and written prolifically against corruption and the foreign policy of the Egyptian Government under the rule of Anwar Sadat. Saadawi was detained at Qanatir Women’s Prison and her incarceration formed the basis for her memoir, Mozakerati fi signel nissa (Memoirs from the Women’s Prison, 1983). Earlier, contact with a prisoner at Qanatir served as inspiration for her earlier novel, Emra’a enda noktat el sifr (A Woman at Point Zero, 1975). In 1988, when her life was threatened by Islamists and political persecution, Saadawi was forced to flee Egypt. She accepted an offer to teach in America at Duke University’s Asian and African Languages Department in North Carolina as well as the University of Washington in Seattle. She has since held positions at a number of prestigious colleges and universities including Cairo University, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, the Sorbonne, Georgetown, Florida State University, and the University of California, Berkeley. In 1996, she returned to live in Egypt. She was awarded the 2004 North-South Prize by the Council of Europe.

(c) Ahmed Kamel

We are really excited for the Bidoun/Edgware Road Project’s Shaabi-Music-Wedding-Dance-Party at the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011 tomorrow night!  To mark the opening of the Bidoun Library at the Serpentine, the Pavilion will host Cairo-based shaabi musician Sadat accompanied by the music of Amr 7a7a and Figo. Shaabi music, which comes from the word shaab, or the people—approximates street music, marked by extremely heavy bass and often improvised lyrics. It is not unlike “toasting” in Jamaican dancehall and is most often played at weddings and street parties throughout Egypt. 

Here you can see an amazing article from Inanities blog on street parties in Egypt with links to videos:

Friday 22 July 2011

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, Kensington Gardens, London


Tickets £5/£4

Available from the Gallery Lobby Desk or Ticketweb

The Shaabi-Music-Wedding-Dance-Party is part of the Bidoun Library Project, up at the Serpentine Gallery until September 17th.

Edgware Road Project artist-in-residence Rania Stephan presents the UK premiere of her film The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni (2011), which recently won the Sharjah Biennial Prize 2011.

The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni is a rapturous elegy to a rich and versatile era of film production in Egypt which has lapsed today, through the work of one of its most revered actress and star: Soad Hosni, who from the early 1960 int…o the ‘90s, embodied the modern Arab woman in her complexity and paradoxes.

Born in Cairo in 1943, Soad Hosni committed suicide on the Edgware Road in London in 2001. Between the ages of 19 to 49, she played in eighty-two feature films with thirty-seven directors. Inspired by her rags-to-riches story, she was given the nickname ‘The Cinderella of Arab cinema’; she was the daughter, sister, friend, fiancée, lover and wife to illustrious stars of Egyptian cinema when it was the chief purveyor of cinematic fiction in the Arab world.

Pieced exclusively from VHS footage of Egyptian films starring Soad Hosni, The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni is constructed as a tragedy in three acts where the actress tells her dreamed life story in the first person singular.

The re-use of fiction, the most compelling register of her work and body over the years, ultimately becomes the closest to a documentary about her life and work. The coarse and scratched visuals are an ode to the VHS tape that revolutionised the wide dissemination of film for home and personal use.

Irreverent, playful, marvellous and serious, The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni underscores the saving grace of fiction. In seventy-minutes, the film proposes a singular and poetic rewriting of a golden period of Egyptian cinema, enacted by Soad Hosni, an exceptional artist, tragic star and symbol of modern Arab womanhood.

On Rania Stephan:
Rania Stephan was born in Beirut. She has worked as a sound engineer, editor, first assistant and producer with renowned filmmakers including Simone Bitton and Elia Suleiman. Her filmography includes: Tribe (1993), Attempt at Jealousy (1995), My First Camera (1998), Arrest at Manara (2003), Wastelands (2005), Lebanon/War (2006). Her residency is undertaken with Ashkal Alwan: The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts.

Tickets £6/£5 available from:
The Gate
87 Notting Hill Gate,
London, W11 3JZ

Please check with the cinema for information updates

or our the Serpentine Gallery website:


For our first research seminar of the Bidoun Library residency, Sophie-Therese Trenka-Dalton will take us through the processes leading to the development of ‘The Distance Narrows’, an artist publication project on the abandoned embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Berlin-Pankow.  The embassy was built in the GDR in the early 1970s and in use for about 20 years until the German reunification in 1990. Though in a state of deterioration, traces of the embassy period – furniture, books, files – can still be found inside the building today.


Over the last year Sophie-Therese Trenka-Dalton and Hannes Schmidt have collected books from the site, dating from the 1950s through the 1980s. The material shows Iraq´s development from a young, Ba´athist country to a militarized nation under Saddam Hussein. For the publication project the artists developed a series of collages and photographs from the found materials. 


The collected books from the former Iraqi embassy and sample copies of ‘The Distance Narrows’ will be on display as part of the Bidoun Library from 12July – 17 September 2011. 




Ahead of the opening of the Bidoun Library this week, a sneak peak of what you might come across if you visit the collection…

Serpentine Gallery’s Edgware Road Project Presents the Bidoun Library at the Serpentine Gallery 12 July–17 September 2011 

The Bidoun Library, a peripatetic resource of books, periodicals and ephemera dedicated to supporting contemporary cultural producers from the Middle East will be in residence at the Serpentine Gallery this summer. While in London, the Library will address the Revolution in Egypt and the swiftly changing state of UK Libraries. They will also launch a special issue of Bidoun magazine produced in and around the revolution in Egypt.

Bidoun will also be continuing their investigation into the diverse history of printed matter related to the Middle East, as well as exploring the swiftly changing state of UK libraries, focusing on London. During July and August, Bidoun will host a series of events at the Serpentine Gallery, including talks by leading authors and artists. The term ‘Middle East,’ by most accounts, was coined in an English newspaper at the turn of the century. Since then it has continued to exist more concretely as an object of discourse than a geographical region. The Bidoun Library is an attempt to survey this imagined territory through its manifestations in printed matter. Its strategy is in the consideration of books, periodicals and printed matter as objects; subject to the incentives of material production and beholden to complex and historically contingent objectives. It does this by collecting and arranging in one place, not the most apt or excellent materials on the Middle East, but those which are cheapest.

Talks and events

During July and August, Bidoun will host a series of events including talks by leading Middle Eastern writers and artists.

Launch Event: Bidoun Library and
Monday 11 July
Sackler Centre of Arts Education

A celebration to mark the launch of Bidoun Library’s residency at the Sackler Centre of Arts Education and the first volume of CAMP’s research for, an information bank and publishing platform created in collaboration with local communities.

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