on celebrating the launch of in ramallah, running with a panel at the mosaic rooms 25th october

More details: http://www.mosaicrooms.org/in-ramallah-running/

In Ramallah, Running began with a writer’s residency at A.M. Qattan’s Ramallah base in 2010, so it gives me great pleasure to invite you to this launch-related event at al Qattan’s elegant Mosaic Rooms in London, part of the Nour Festival.

Intended as a celebration, it will include a short reading followed by a discussion with the esteemed critic and introducer of the book Jean Fisher, and the Abraaj Prize-winning Jananne al-Ani, whose contribution to the book is so subtly affective. The panel will be chaired by writer and critic Sheyma Buali of Ibraaz, etc. [  http://www.mosaicrooms.org/in-ramallah-running/  ]

I hope you’ll be able to join us and am sure The Mosaic Rooms would appreciate it if you were also able to RSVP: rsvp@mosaicrooms.org / 020 7370 9990

For interviews, early reviews and further UK events, check here: http://www.g-m-a.net/index.php?/ramallah/news/

on the publication date for in ramallah, running, july 26th 2012

In Ramallah, Running by Guy Mannes-Abbott – July 26 2012

A brief word to celebrate the release of my book at last!

I’m attaching a copy of the Press Release which went out today with details about the book and its contents as well as contacts for review copies and further information.

In Ramallah, Running by Guy Mannes-Abbott | Press Release July 2012

I will update with news as well as details about a launch we will be having in early September, along with other readings, launch-related events, discussions and festival appearances in London, the UK and beyond.

More soon…

notes from a meeting – on commissioning and reconfiguring risk [day one pt 3]

Image

Shezad Dawood Framed Photo G Mannes-Abbott

CLICK on image to link to SAF & more images or read on below…

Continued…

Highlights of other sessions included Samar Martha’s marshaling of interesting tales from the frontline of smaller organizations, including MASS, the space that Wael Shawky -Abraaj Prize Winner 2012- created from his old studio in Alexandria. Run on a shoestring, it’s now in its second year with twice as many students covering a wide age range. An inspiring story, presented by Daniella Rose King, I hope to watch it survive and flourish. This is when and how artists can generate step changes… Continue reading “notes from a meeting – on commissioning and reconfiguring risk [day one pt 3]”

on in ramallah, running – cover artwork, advance info., etc.

In Ramallah, Running cover artwork – click on image to expand

In Ramallah, Running

Guy Mannes-Abbott

Edited by Guy Mannes-Abbott and Samar Martha

Introduction by Jean Fisher

Contributions from Jananne al-Ani, Francis Alÿs, Najwan Darwish, Emily Jacir, Olaf Nicolai, Paul Noble, Khalil Rabah, Adania Shibli, Mark Titchner, Sharif Waked.

Co-produced by ArtSchool Palestine & Sharjah Art Foundation

Published by Black Dog

“I read it in one breath. A cunning simplicity of writing the complexity of today’s Palestine, through the alleys, roads, streets, hills, valleys, days and evenings in and around Ramallah, charged me with love of the art of writing, of Palestine… You showed me my place and made me hear my story. I loved the piece without limits.”

Mourid Barghouti, Palestinian Poet and author of classics memoirs; I Saw Ramallah & I Was Born There, I Was Born Here.

In Ramallah, Running represents Guy Mannes-Abbott’s uniquely personal encounter with Palestine, interweaving short, poetic texts with exploratory essays. International artists and prominent writers have been invited to respond both directly and indirectly to the texts with newly commissioned works.

The principal text is a series in 14 parts, alternating running within the limits of the city and walking out from it to, along, beyond and off limits, discovering how insidiously mobile those limits are under Occupation. With singular style and compelling force, Mannes-Abbott generates a very special intimacy with a rarely seen or experienced Palestine; the actual place itself, the people in their place.

Jean Fisher contributes a substantial introductory essay, while the poet and critic Najwan Darwish and novelist Adania Shibli have written further captivating responses. Visual contributions include a project linked to a pair of paintings by Francis Alÿs, drawings of stoney aridity with ambiguous structures by Paul Noble, and a searingly intimate journal-based piece by Emily Jacir. Jananne al-Ani, Khalil Rabah and Mark Titchner contribute varying photography-based projects focused on the place and its relationship to the body and word. Olaf Nicolai contributes an angular text-based project and Sharif Waked highlights the abysmal ambiguities of the political context.

In Ramallah, Running
Paperback
160 pages
32 colour plus b/w ills
26.0 x 19.0 cm
10.20 x 7.5 in
ISBN 978 1 907317 67 5

NB: Advance proofs of the book have arrived and are really quite beautiful Continue reading “on in ramallah, running – cover artwork, advance info., etc.”

on the comma, between ramallah and running and everything else

In Ramallah, Running due Feb. 28th 2012

Gertrude Stein didn’t think much of commas, you remember? I think a lot of Gertrude’s work and Gertrude herself, as Fruit Store regulars will know, but disagree with her about the comma.

Commas break-up, complicate, deepen, add dimension to statements and any prose that takes ‘sense’ for granted. They elucidate, make-difficult, render actual complexity. The comma in In Ramallah, Running does these and many other things for me…

Above is a graphic rendering of a tiny part of the cover-image of the book [actual cover image coming soon], in which the sticking-out comma sticks out!

Commas are inconvenient, never quite fit, force you to notice that which you might not, condense and disrupt [presumed, heh Adania?] sense, etc. They are abyss and peak, add crucial [a]rhythms and make for the elliptical.

Writing without these things is almost literally nothing…

on ‘in ramallah, running’ -it’s official; publication is [NOT!] february 2012 [UPDATED]

In Ramallah, Running 2010′ by Guy Mannes-Abbott

Manuscript in first draft, 5 of 14 scrolls/parts

In Ramallah, Running is now contracted to appear in February/March 2012 with Black Dog, more details/announcements to follow [24.04.2012 UPDATE: publication pushed back into summer 2012, watch for update very soon].

I’m very happy because the book was conceived and developed independently and will appear within the kind of urgent time frame that is appropriate to its subject and hard to achieve without compromise -or at all. I finished my 20,000 word series of e.things -a unique conjuring of place as well as the people of Ramallah and almost the whole open-air camp that is Ramallah District- in mid-September 2010 [after my Residency at al Qattan Foundation in Ramallah]. The series is made up of fourteen parts, alternating running within the limits of the city and walking out from it to, along, beyond and off limits, discovering how mobile they are. How they really work.

e.things as a form were crucial to this project because they’re the only way I could say what needed to be said. Often exhibited or published in a visual art context [with the best visual minds of my generation!], they’ve grown into a highly singular body of texts; the shortest of which is a single line called ‘go’ from 1997, the longest is this series; In Ramallah, Running. Continue reading “on ‘in ramallah, running’ -it’s official; publication is [NOT!] february 2012 [UPDATED]”

notes from a biennial – on a day of words [one]

Screenshot 2017-05-15 12.38.25

Screenshot 2017-05-15 12.38.52

(Links to the original SAF site and these thumbnails no longer exist. UPDATED 2017)

Notes from a Biennial – On a Day of Words [One]

Sharjah Biennial 10

18.03.2011, 14:06

by Guy Mannes-Abbott

It should not be a surprise to find a lot of words -in the form of writing and image- at this Biennial in particular. Then again, it is quite surprising to find quite so many high quality publications; from the hulking sanctuary of the ‘Plot for a Biennial’ catalogue [ed. Ghalya Saadawi], to the thumb prints of individual artist publications and on to the stack of books entitled Manual for Treason.

Words flourish here as text and speech as well as in many languages, signing the Biennial site and as translations of the variously published texts. ‘Manual for Treason’ itself [Ed. Murtaza Vali] for example contains English, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and Kannada -at least. Manual for Conspiracy [Ed. Basak Ertur] is published in English and Turkish -and so on.

Throughout the Biennial works engage the world they were made to ‘breathe together’ with [to quote Ertur’s etymological elaboration on the word Conspiracy], to notable effect. It is to the credit of all involved that what these things mean has been taken seriously especially as it takes place at a time of real and systemic change in the region. In many places there is a radical revisiting of archives of revolution, from the large scale and actual [Harun Farocki & Andrei Ujlica Videograms of a Revolution 1993] through comic projection [Ahmad Ghossein My Father is Still a Communist 2011].

One morning artists and I breakfast on a headline reporting that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have sent military and police reinforcements to support the ruler of Bahrain. It’s clear that something must be said; next morning artists make a gesture of saying it. [For something of an elaboration on the wider context of this, see Notes from a Biennial – On Reflection] In the early hours of the next day, avid attention is paid to Blackberries for a New York Times report about a large group of distinguished artist friends, many of whom are present here, who have been working with Human Rights Watch to ensure or enable the coming Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi to pay all those who will build and service it properly. (A small cut of this last sentence, made live -by me, for an unnerved curator friend then involved both with SB and GAD- March 2011 is now restored. NYT link here PDF below. UPDATED 2017)

Words. CAMP are showing their 65 minute film; The Neighbour Before The House [2009]. I’ve seen a version of this before -in a show curated by Samar Martha at the Liverpool Biennial- and settle to watch it all here. It is a fascinatingly subversive use made of surveillance cameras to explore the view of the Occupied in Jerusalem/al Quds. As the security cameras are turned against the Occupation, zooming in and out on details in otherwise prohibited places, voices describe what I’m watching in Arabic, their words flashing up in English below.

In one section a family whose home has been stolen and who are forbidden to go close to it, narrate what is being shown close up from a significance distance away; “61 days they haven’t once cleaned the stairs” to the street. One notable thing is that the building has been extended, a right denied Palestinians in Jerusalem and elsewhere. All of a sudden the family’s children appear before the house, insistently ignoring the ban and pointedly refusing to leave. Then there’s another child’s gasp as the mother of the family appears in frame, pressed up against security infrastructure attempting to peer inside her own, confiscated home.

Another section focuses on security cameras mounted on a building, but also a series of signature holes in the wall where they’ve been removed, on one occasion by a Palestinian seeking reparation -an anecdote that provides a bitterly comical moment. The words tell a familiar story to anyone who has noticed the daily demolitions, expulsions, detentions and killings that define the Occupation. But they remain peculiarly raw when, as Amitava Kumar’s contribution to the ‘Manual’ observes, “the world watches cowardly and indifferent.” [See Appendix i – Camp & I for an interview and more details.]

Words as aural and visual elemental are central to Naeem Mohaiemen’s brilliant and widely admired 70 minute film piece; The Young Man Was… [Part 1: United Red Army] which is about the hijacking of a plane to Dhaka by the Japanese Red Army in 1977. Tense negotiations ended with the release of hostages and the escape of the hijackers and prisoners they’d sought to free -during which time a military coup takes place. The end of the film lists the fates of many of the ‘cast’ and it’s notable that a number of Interpol warrants remain open for some of the revolutionaries involved.

NM found and used the actual records of negotiations between the control tower and the plane and those cryptic and repeated words make up a significant amount of what I’m watching, the sound track clear despite faltering English and Bengali background chatter. Viewers hear both sides from the control tower, which reveals the panic, duplicity and episodic fury that is anticipatable but unnerving to actually witness. It also reveals the robotic iterations of the hijacker’s simple and unswerving demands.

It’s a poem of a piece, beautiful executed, difficult to describe, not least because, as Naeem says himself, to do so and to sketch the mountain of which the film is a very small ‘tip’, takes longer than the film and inevitably undoes it as a work with real potency. The piece revisits a time when hijackers said things like “we hurt bourgeois people” or “it is duty of revolutionary soldiers” but the approach is pointed in its sophistication.

That point is well sketched by a phrase in the piece about how histories repeat in unpredictable ways and at unpredictable times. It’s a point that reminds me of Mourid Barghouti’s response to the Tunisian uprising which ended; “When it happens, it will not have happened suddenly.” NM’s remark is a direct reference to revolutionary events in Bangladesh itself, as well as more of that ‘breath’ I referred to earlier.

These are just two of the films that any visitor to the Biennial should ring fence enough time to see. The fact that you can is, despite my need to mark the larger context of the day/s here and I think important to acknowledge too, a credit to all the curators and freedoms -granted by funders of the Foundation at a National level- that they have made such productive use of.

To be continued…

 


 

A pdf of the NYT article linked above, in case the link does into work:

Guggenheim Threatened With Boycott Over Abu Dhabi Project – The New York Times