Festival: This is not Lebanon
This Is Not Lebanon
Festival for Visual Arts, Performance, Music and Talks
Frankfurt LAB, SOMMERBAU
Within a short time Lebanon has suffered a quadruple disaster: the revolution grinding to a halt in October 2019, the hyperinflation caused by the Lebanese Lira going into freefall on the currency markets, the explosion in Beirut harbour in the summer of 2020 and lastly the pandemic.
‘This Is Not Lebanon’ gives artists a platform to contradict simplistic reporting on the situation in Lebanon and to develop nuanced perspectives on the country. The three-week festival from 26 August to 12 September 2021 in Frankfurt will primarily present leading younger figures in the fields of performance, visual arts, choreography and music.
Initiated and curated by Matthias Lilienthal, the festival provides the opportunity to discover a new generation. Lilienthal, who lived in Beirut in 2012/2013 and taught at the Ashkal Alwan arts centre, has devised the programme in close collaboration with his co-curators Christine Tohmé, Director of Ashkal Alwan Beirut, Rabih Mroué, performance and media artist, Anna Wagner, Dramaturg at the Mousonturm and the members of the Ensemble Modern Jaan Bossier, Uwe Dierksen and Christian Hommel.
‘This Is Not Lebanon. Festival for Visual Arts, Performance, Music and Talks’ is a co-operation project by Frankfurt LAB with Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and the Ensemble Modern in collaboration with the Goethe Institut Lebanon. It has been funded by the Federal Cultural Foundation, the Goethe-Institut, the Ensemble Modern Patronatsgesellschaft e.V. and its accompanying talks programme is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb.
The festival will open with a world premiere by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, who is currently one of Lebanon’s most interesting artists. Abu Hamdan‘s audio-visual installations and performances examine where sound meets politics. He rose to prominence as part of the group Forensic Architecture with an acoustic reconstruction of Assad’s torture chamber in Syria.
This will be followed directly by new productions from four other exciting artists: the performer and trained architect Ghida Hachicho impresses with the precision of her thinking – along with four other performers she will explore the dynamics of group behaviour at the Sommerbau. Marwa Arsanios, the star of the last Berlin Biennale, will continue her feminist work with a performative video installation on the issues of inheritance, property and value. In a film and text-based artistic work, Bassem Saad will scrutinise the distribution of violence and desire and, in his multidisciplinary practice with contemporary forms, the artist Ali Eyal will investigate contemporary forms of conflict and collective injury. Saad and Eyal will both present performative works for the first time as part of the festival.
These four new artistic works will be developed in Frankfurt in the course of production residencies as part of ‘Frankfurt Moves!’, a co-operation between the KfW Stiftung with the Frankfurt LAB to promote rising international artists in the fields of dance and performing arts.
The Ensemble Modern has devised a music programme for the festival in several parts, providing commissions for both compositions and productions. One part is a collaboration with the composer Saed Haddad – another is a commission from the Lebanese composer and visual artist Zad Moultaka. Other Ensemble Modern co-operations are being developed with the pianist, composer and installation artist Cynthia Zaven and with the sound designer and film-maker Nour Sokhon. In addition, a collaboration is also planned between the jazz pianist Florian Weber with Rabih Lahoud, singer with the successful jazz band Masaa.
An accompanying talks programme, curated by Rabih Mroué, will look at the latest developments in Lebanon more deeply with discussions and lectures. Among other things, it will highlight the activist media platform Megaphone, where young intellectuals combine poetic language and polemical criticism in surprising ways.
Individual events from ‘This Is Not Lebanon’ will be streamed, thus facilitating participation and dialogue between a range of locations.
The festival in Frankfurt will be followed by a second part of the festival in Beirut in October 2021, in collaboration with the Goethe Institut Lebanon and Ashkal Alwan, a leading centre of the Lebanese arts scene.
A press conference presenting the detailed programme for the festival in Frankfurt is planned on 23 August 2021 at 11 h at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm.