A FEW IN MANY PLACES
Abbas Akhavan, Montreal
Burak Delier, Istanbul
Michelle Lopez, Philadelphia
Stéphanie Saadé, Beirut
Hasan Özgür Top, Berlin
Beginning September 26, 2020
Each location is open during their regular business hours.
Upcoming this fall, Protocinema will present A Few In Many Places, a group show which consists of five artist interventions in five cites, hyper-localized and globally interconnected. These artists: Abbas Akhavan in Montreal; Burak Delier in Istanbul; Michelle Lopez in Philadelphia; Stéphanie Saadé in Beirut; and Hasan Özgür Top in Berlin; address cycles of history, focused on the ruptures and realignments of these ancient ideologies, in their own homes, neighborhoods and countries.
In their interventions, the A Few In Many Places artists will each deal with inherited systems and display a willingness to “turn and face the fire”. They will each collaborate with local shop owners and/or empty spaces that will be open in or out of quarantine, using found materials and a limited scope of material consumption, eliminating need for flights or shipping. The artists’ newly commissioned works are each linked by Proto-Zine, a self-published periodical available at each physical location and digitally, with texts available in multiple languages.
Stéphanie Saadé will reverse actions of the common bullet-rigged metallic storefront, a familiar object from childhood in Lebanon, by piercing a new curtain with 38 new holes, using a gun and bullets, with the aim of reversing the cycle of violence associated to the stirred up history. The position of the holes on the curtain corresponds to end points of routes taken during childhood. The chosen number of holes corresponds to her age (37) and the extra hole to the departure point of all the routes: the family house. Seen from the inside, these holes let in sunlight and a celestial serenity, during nationwide protests and one of its harshest economic crises. Burak Delier will set up in a bakery, Ek Biç Ye İç, cultivating bread yeast by way of voice, sound and light/videos that reflect the history of the region, then baking and sharing his bread. Yeast inherently has memory that traditionally, before the industrialization of food, goes back many generations and carries with it its own stories and traumas, which work as a metaphor for corrosive lineages in other aspects of civic life.
Hasan Özgür Top focuses on the propaganda materials of the Islamic State and examines the similarities between the narratives of radical and totalitarian movements. His video is made with both found and DIY footage in which he constructs a fictional yet self-reflective work, tracing routes of masculine mythologies from the classica era to today. A new silent video by Abbas Akhavan will be projected onto the exterior windows of a new space called Parc OFFSITE. Located on Parc Avenue in Montreal, the project space recently founded by Eli Kerr will host a nightly projection of a short video work that uses text and images to cover a series of topics including the material poverty of poets and mimes. Muted flowers speak of the ability to do profound work out of the smallest physical means.
In Philadelphia, Michelle Lopez’s audio installation takes on the complicated symbolism of the American Liberty Bell as an emblem of freedom and equality, but also as one marked with failure: its famed crack rendered the iconic hunk of cast- iron broken and silenced at its arrival. This sound installation will resound the broken bell at the site of the historic treasure, by slurring pejorative uses of the word “ding-dong” in found music, and recorded conversations as a form of insult rather than of celebration. The mixed sound of the bell’s syncopated ringing, and simultaneous announcing of multiple slurs, will relentlessly question notions of freedom, by laying bare the violence of institutional racism and its degradations. The accumulation of slander will slowly ring the reality of the current American climate by one “ding” and one “dong” at a time.
All of these artists will each activate their own communities on a grassroots level, reflecting on our current context and the cycle of a long line of tragic human sagas. These interventions are for real-life audiences, hyper-localized and globally interconnected, for a few people in many places.
Special Thanks: Marfa’ Projects, Beirut; Grey Noise, Dubai; Gallery Akinci, Amsterdam; Galerie Anne Barrault, Paris; Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver; Third Line Gallery, Dubai; Ek Biç Ye İç, Istanbul; Haro Cümbüşyan and Bilge Öğüt;
Abbas Akhavan, catrionajeffries.com/artists/abbas-akhavan/cv
Burak Delier, burakdelier.info/bio-cv
Michelle Lopez, michellelopez.com/cv
Stéphanie Saadé, marfaprojects.com/artists/stephanie-saade
Hasan Özgür Top, hasanozgurtop.com/about
Study groups that I attended at Dutch Art Institute in 2018-2020: