Participating artists: Chiara Cartuccia, Onur Çimen, Mahmoud El Safadi, Sara Fakhry Ismail, Lodovica Guarnieri, Stella Ioannidou, Zeynep Kaserci, Nina Kurtela, Latent Community, Mark Lotfy, George Moraitis, Post Disaster, Omnia Sabry, Islam Shabana, Virgil b/g Taylor and Neja Tomšič.
How can we find new ways of responding to a city? What does it mean to suggest we should “think with Alexandria”? And can a city be a heuristic tool – a medium for self-learning?
Alexandria is a city with a complex past and a fraught present. Shaped through tension, contestation, violence and imagination, the city has played a key role in Egypt’s history. Since the nineteenth century, it has been embedded into the circuitry of the global economy, following centuries of serving as a node in the web of maritime commerce in the Mediterranean.
Caravan: Thinking with Alexandria is a showcase that comprises some of the video works, sound installations, sculptures and printed matter produced in connection with the Caravan Residency in 2022. This invited artists to articulate and configure new modes of understanding and relating to urban, infrastructural and social processes, and formations within the trans-Mediterranean region, through the lens of Alexandria and its contested imaginaries.
The Caravan Residency brought together sixteen international artists for six months. They initially stayed in Alexandria (Egypt) and Biella (Italy), followed by travels to either Athens (Greece), Brussels (Belgium), Nicosia (Cyprus) or Marseille (France). Through their research and conversations, and through their artistic processes and practices, the imaginary of the city has been remade. Collectively, the works provide meditations on landscapes and belonging, archaeology and imagination, forced displacement and ecological disaster.
The showcase is presented at Kunsthal Aarhus to show different impressions and perspectives on urban life through the lens of contemporary art, and to discuss how artistic research produces new knowledge – in this case about our cities. It is part of the international project “Alexandria: (Re)activating Common Urban Imaginaries”, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
The residency was conceived and realised by UNIDEE residency programmes at Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto in Italy. It was curated by Sarah Rifky in conversation with Edwin Nasr.
In Kunsthal Aarhus, the exhibition is also supported by Det Obelske Familiefond.
Mucem – Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations, Marseille (France).
Bozar – Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels (Belgium).
Royal Museum of Mariemont (Belgium).
Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella (Italy).
Onassis Stegi, Athens (Greece).
Leiden University, Leiden (the Netherlands).
Undo Point Centre of Contemporary Art, Nicosia (Cyprus).