A series of talks in relation to Malak Helmy: Lost Referents of Some Attraction

On April 23, 2014, a performative public program will take place at the Sharjah Gallery with short responses by Antonia Alampi, Brian Conley, Jens Maier-Rothe, Nile Sunset Annex, Matthew Rana, Sarah Rifky, and others.

[Shuttle buses from Downtown Cairo will leave at 4pm to the new campus and will return at 8pm. Pickup point: AUC Tahrir, Mohammed Mahmud Street.]

A small but big public program around Malak Helmy’s Lost References of Some Attraction. The idea is loosely based on the concept of “Small Talks” used within the context of the Wattis Gallery at the California College of the Arts, where the artist studied. Playful and performative talks, readings, small concerts and short screenings in a short format of 15 minutes provide the opportunity for faculty, students and other audiences to spend more time and experience in the exhibition in new and unexpected ways. The program will take place in different locations on campus.

Meet at Sharjah Art Gallery at 5PM.

• On the Terrace with a view •
Antonia Alampi …stories of imagined cities…
Matthew Rana The Theory of the Square

• In the gallery •
Nile Sunset Annex Extend the Sunset Along the Nile: Malak Helmy Mirrors

• On the Terrace •
Hady Aboukamar AUCNCLBAA (Regionalism): A Sound and Light Show
Brian Conley Deep Flesh

• In the Garden •
Jens Maier Rothe …will walk us to the garden.
Matthew Rana …will read from “Total Décor”.
Sarah Rifky …feat. Nadah El Shazly with "Red"

Antonia Alampi will read different chapters 'Le Città Invisibili' (1972) by Italo Calvino. In the Italian accent of Marco Polo, some stories of imagined cities encourage thinking of the secret discourses, absurd rules and illusory perspectives that could be lying at the heart of Malak Helmy's work.

Matthew Rana will read from his forthcoming book of poems "The Theory of the Square", a comedy of invariance, geometry and humoral thought and will read from a new poem called “Total Décor”.

Jens Maier-Rothe will walk us to the garden.

Sarah Rifky will be speaking about not speaking, the color red, and reading Tao in Arabic.

Brian Conley will talk about indexicality and early theories of vision as extramission.

Nile Sunset Annex will start their Small Talk after mirrors are placed in various parts of the exhibition: "For the outstanding feature of mirrors is that they are fragile things capable of rendering truth as well as illusion, but inordinately prone to blurring and breakage. They are humanly made, and they can reflect and render what appears in front of them, for the duration of time that is usually determined by actual persons. Mirrors are instruments of reflection, but also of erasure. A slight movement, and the image is altered, even erased. It is in the human act, mirrored in the mirror, that the act of reflection is done - or undone."

Hady Aboukamar of Nile Sunset Annex will present a nine minute performative screening that will include the psychadelicization of a youtube video about the AUC campus, Maschine MK2 Groove Production Software and Hardware, a projector, speakers, and an as of yet unconfirmed surface. Shout to Karim Marcos.

For her first major solo exhibition Lost Referents of Some Attraction, Malak Helmy reformulates a selection of her texts and recent lens based works into a constellation of associations and forms that loosely respond to the site of the American University in Cairo’s campus in New Cairo, rendering its traits of distance, desert or mirage. An array of indexical elements in space act as placeholders and projections that revert images to texts and texts to images, via a bird's travelogue, movements in a room, and a gargling marble fountain. Malak Helmy (Alexandria, 1982) is an artist based in Cairo working most often with video and writing. Her work explores moments and locations in time through an archaeology of ideas, desires, the city and scientific possibilities around them. She also works with collective initiatives exploring areas between urbanism, architectural research and artistic production.

Exhibition View