Sumac Space

Dialogues Exhibitions About Artists' rooms

Floating on a Surface of Words, and Never Drowned in Its Meaning–A Lecture Performance by Mohamed Abdelkarim

[You have to invent your archive (pseudo archive) and harmonize it with your personal history]

[You can replace the following paragraph with another one that reflects your experience with the notion of the archive, sublimity and the act of mentioning in a broader sense]

That is what I often ask myself when I get stuck in a flock of events represented by images: I ask myself what I have in common with these events, characters, stories and places, I ask myself what my eyes saw, and what I missed seeing. I am unable to see details; I am easily tricked by sublimity; to me, “sublime,” means a giant object, or a giant subject. I see many elements. I mention some and I ignore others, I mention what I see, and I mention what I pretend not to see. That is how stories are created; that is how I create stories. In this practice of mentioning, both the object and the subject are very contextual.

I see only a balloon,
I can’t see the sky or the tree.

I see towers,
I can’t see these small tiny buildings or the sky.

I see the sky,
I can’t see the bird or the flag.

I see a lighthouse,
I can’t see the mountain or the sea.

I see a sky,
I can’t see a lighthouse.

I see a yellow buoy,
I can’t see the sea.

I see a staircase,
I can’t see the sky.

I see a man.

I still see the man.

I see a surveillance camera,
I can’t see the men.

I see men falling,
I can’t see them laughing.

I see a life buoy and nothing else.

I see heat and I don’t feel it.

I see people gathered around the heat.

I see a man,
I can’t see the train.

I see a gate and I see the sea.
I can’t see the land or the people.

I see a boat.

I see the cold,
and I feel it.

I see nothing.

Now I see everything,
or I pretend to…

Certain practises of seeing ask:
What is sublime over the land?
And what in the sea?

Components align to create a landscape that asks: You like that, don’t you?
Aesthetics grab your gaze, to normalize you in a new landscape: take it or leave it, that’s up to you.
Oh, you take it
So “Hello! You integrated after being forced to flee.”

But listen
Then see
That was a collection of words, it was the poem itself that enchanted me
We sang images that contained violence
That’s why I’m going to stop the rhyme

As an attempt to return to the subject
The subject where I try to be more realistic
That’s why I go through introductions and never dive into the content, as if my text were a mystic
Follow a form, pretend to be artistic
Reality from my position is a collection of uncertain words, agonistic
I return to the rhyme, to aestheticize everything as fascistic
Those words create a surface like a rough liquid
I am not brave enough to dig in and go inside 

Although I am aware that there are many verses that need explaining
I float on a surface of words, and
I never drown in its meaning.

Mohamed Abdelkarim‘s practice is performance oriented. He considers performance as a research method and a practice through which he produces texts and images that embody the forms of poetry, scripts, sound, and video. Employing and reflecting on different performative acts like narrating, singing, dancing, detecting, and doing, his work is concerned with the performance of renegades in a time of crisis, complicating the relationship between geography and the fugitive. As part of his performative practice, he established “Live Praxes“ – a performative project that brings together lectures, debates, readings, critical responses, and creative quests, alongside with organizing performance nights.

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