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Tips from the culture desk: Art, film and a bit of law

There are plenty of exciting films to watch this week as the Panorama of the European Film continues. You can catch the end of the Greetings to those who asked about me exhibition at the Contemporary Image Collective, but there are also two new art events opening this week, one a promising-looking exhibition and the other something more complicated — Something Else. Also, a broad conference on law and society will likely have some fascinating content.

Law and society in Egypt conference — Saturday, Sunday 

Although this event is perhaps not technically culture, we at Mada reckon culture falls into a wider frame, and inevitably, a conference tackling law and society will also touch on the arts. Held at the American University in Cairo, it explores several topics and how Egyptian law deals with them, including education, health, freedom of expression, religion and personal rights. On Saturday at 5.30 pm, a session on everyone’s favorite topic in relation to arts in the Arab world — freedom of expression — will feature researcher on law and security Mostafa Shaath, Townhouse curator Sara El Adl, researcher Ingy Hegazy, editor Fadi Awad al-Said, and journalist and author Ahmed Naji, who is currently facing a trial due to published content. 

The conference is ongoing at the AUC Tahrir campus Oriental Hall, and is open and free to the public. It is also streamed live on this channel. Find the full program here.

A Worthy Degenerate — opens Sunday

A Worthy Degenerate

A Worthy Degenerate

For young Townhouse curator Sara El Adl’s first curated exhibition, she has put together an impressive line-up of seven Egyptian, mostly Alexandrian, artists: from writer and artist Malak Helmy and filmmaker Jasmina Metwally, both of whom have exhibited widely in and beyond Egypt, through Sarah Samy, whose poetic, often digitally-inspired art is increasingly in demand in Egypt and in Germany where she is currently based, and Walid El-Sawi who recently completed Ashkal Alwan’s Home Works program and is known for his darkly humorous cryptic works, to emerging artists Sidy Benamar, Yuseph Bashat and Ikon Chiba, all of whose work to date has centered around fashion and photography. 

Taking its cue, as many an art endeavor seems to have done in recent years, from a text by German artist and author Hito Steyerl, A Worthy Degenerate centers around the low-resolution internet image, and as such can be seen as continuing previous Townhouse curator Ania Szremski’s interest in internet and post-internet art.

Opens November 29 at 7 pm, and on show until January 12, Saturday to Wednesday 10 am – 6 pm. 10 Nabrawy Street, off Champollion Street, downtown Cairo.

Something Else — opens Sunday

This sprawling exhibition-cum-institution organized by Cairo’s Darb 1718 was originally slated as an off-biennial, curated by well-known Swiss writer and curator Simon Njami, to coincide with the perennially postponed Cairo Biennial. After a year or so of planning and modifications, it now bills itself as both a one-month art event, a work in progress, and “a non-profit independent visual arts initiative that attempts to support Egyptian and international contemporary art.” 

For the next two weeks, it has organized various exhibition openings, screenings, performances and talks, involving an impressive number of artists — 110 — from different places, as well as eight international curators, including Njami. Here is the program, although it doesn’t yet say which artist is in which exhibition. The events are mainly taking place at Darb 1718 and four Ismaelia-owned downtown venues. The Facebook page has regular updates.