Tandem Arab [2012/13]


“Now T_here”

Research and Performance Project

by Ettijahat. Independent Culture Damascus/Syria and kitev (Kultur im Turm), Oberhausen

«Reality is stronger than fiction these days» (Mohammad Abu Laban)
«I don´t mind if a sound is bombing or thunder, but I need to know which one it is in order to be able to (re)act» (Mudar Alhaggi)

«Now T_here» is a research on what is happening within the Syrian society. A dig into genuine everyday life experiences under the conditions of war. And a reflection on how this war is dealt with in other parts of the world, and with which motivation and interest.

In March 2011 the so called “arab spring” reached Syria. The Syrian people started a revolution that bursted 40 years of silence. The regime reacted. A tremendous amount of violence erupted, continuing for 2 years now, with no promise of an end or solution. The other way round: the fronts are getting less and less clear. Numerous groups with different interests are fighting against each others. Syria is also the site of proxy war.

War as steady-state. As a consequence, more then 1 million refugees fled to the neighbouring countries so far.

«Now T_here» is a research- and performance project dealing with the actual situation in Syria. With everyday experiences under the conditions of war. Should I stay or should I leave? What would my staying offer or what would my leaving change? What are the personal and collective effects of emigration /flight?

Everyone asks this question sometimes. In Syria people deal with it everyday, existentially.

Kitev and the syrian cultural initiative Ettijahat (Damascus) are following up this question and its potential answers. In Syria and in refugee camps in the neighbouring countries. In Germany amongst refugees and expatriates and in examination of the medial, the political, the strategic military discourse on the situation in Syria as well as in reflexion of our strangeness (as individuals and artists) towards the reality which our Syrian colleagues are daily living and artisticly working with. In collaboration with young syrian artists, writers and activists as well as german actors and students we collect stories, images, sounds, films, objects as a base for a common theatre piece.

Our aim is to find as much diverse material as possible in order to be able to show the complexity of social issues, of political and historical situations and every day life under certain conditions. The project supports Syrian artists to reflect on their everyday experiences and perception in order to publish them. Working together as Ettijahat and kitev (and lots of other partners) will give us the chance to look at these phenomena from the inside and from the outside. And to reflect on the intricate political situation and all the diverse interests that caused the complexity Syria faces these days.

The project aims to document, but also to raise concrete as well as universal questions, to make a political/social issue part of a public discussion. What is our role as civil society, as cultural activists, as artists in times of armed conflict, of crisis and transition?

How can we act in order to influence social development? But also: how to resist simplistic assertions, how to stay unprejudiced and without pre-censorship? What are appropriate artistic means to express what is going on?

A crucial part of “Now T_here” will be discussions with the audience and other interested people in Germany, Lebanon and, hopefully, Syria.
A first version of the performance "Now T_here" was presented as part of the final festival of TANDEM SHAML 15th of June 2013 in ZKU Berlin, a second version was shown in Nowember 2013 in Oberhausen, Bochum and Duisburg (see film-trailer above and cf kitev-blog).
The cooperation between kitev and Etijahatt and the artistic work on "Now T_here" is supportet by:
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