Location: Art Room / Contemporary Art Platform
Deena Machina Qabazard
“The cyborg is resolutely committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, and perversity.It is oppositional, utopian and completely without innocence. No longer structured by the polarity of public and private, the cyborg deﬁnes a technological polis based partly on a revolution of social relations in the oikos, the household.”
Donna Haraway, A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology,
and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century,"
in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of
Nature (New York; Routledge, 1991): xxii
“Stitching Cyborgs” is a set of meditations on the complex inter-relationships between the organic and the technological, the traditional and the new and the social and the fictional. Starting from the conceptual category of the cyborg as a genderless posthuman, this show aims to relocate the role of contemporary women within a blurred position between being natural traditional creators with the ability to biologically give birth and on the other hand, being inventors of hybrid creatures inflected by technology. The process of creation examines the formation of an invented cultural identity through re-imagining the traditional assumed one. “Stitching Cyborgs” explores the intermingling dimensions of knowledge, identity, technology and tradition, seeking to find a location for women within these contradictory yet overlapping worlds.
The exhibiting artists in this show provoke questions about the broader implications constituting contemporary women originating from the region referred to as the Arab. The aim of the show is not to engage in a discourse on the politics of gender rotating loudly through this area of the world; but rather this exhibition is interested in exploring the richness of the possibilities of creation itself. Meanwhile creation is immersed in the tensions between the sublime and the ordinary, the fine arts and the crafts.Yet, the female artists in this show are presenting the variations and disquieting relationships between technology and nature, space and perception, identity and image. Positioning the female as a conceptual entity of and for creation, the five Arab artists seek to reimagine and reinvent the traces of what it is to be a creator belonging to this part of the world; where religions and their prophets surfaced.
The artists of “Stitching Cyborgs” present contemporary meditations to the female and its expanded cultural and technological body. In the works of Aya Haidar, the dramatic stitched shoes impose a rather melancholic atmosphere contemplating on the aftermath of labour; an afterimage of hardships on paths, perhaps, motherly. In the same maternal sense, the paintings of Emma Harake present a birthing of fantasy. Washed colors and subtle lines revealing the female figure as a creator of dreams. On the other hand, Deena Qabazard’s installation strikes the viewer with faces sliding as if almost melting from a human state into one belonging to the animal kingdom. Stuck in-between identities and creatures, the females in Qabazard’s work reject a static position but instead are in a condition of constant movement; caught in an ongoing situation of giving birth as it were.
Zeina Hamady explains her rejection of her own nostalgia that which she describes as “My adamant belief that tradition and craft will undoubtedly save us all.” The artist presents her artwork on chunks of wood displayed as woven traces and flutters of relationships left behind: “In them I mourn the loss of home, of an identity given unto me that I have accidentally and purposefully shed all at once. Meanwhile and on the other end of the room, Rima Chahrour’s video announces in a computerized voice overlapping a human voice: “This blessed operation is carried out on my orders,” describing the force of billions of sisters sacrificing themselves to save the world. The black and white video screening the artist in a slow motion act delivers a message associated with the sublime role of creation; that belonging to females.
Curated by Rima Chahrour and Abed Al Kadiri