26.10.23, 20:00, Bassem Saad

Bassem Saad is an artist and writer based in Beirut and Berlin. With an emphasis on past and present forms of struggle, they attempt to place scenes of intersubjective exchange within their world-historical frames. Explores concepts related to historical ruptures and connections and how the individual relates to and resists global processes of exclusion and inclusion. This exploration takes shape in film, performances, and installations, as well as written essays and fiction. Different forms of expression, often interwoven by Saad.

Saad speaks with others, as seen in 'Congress of Idling Persons,' where five characters 'play' themselves during the Arab Spring, the refugee crisis, the Black Lives Matter protests, and the explosions in the port of Beirut. The protagonists tell their own stories and live their own lives. Every individual maintains their own authorial autonomy in the script, in a collective process they work on crafting the script, performativity, costumes, and set together. The documentary avoids a naturalistic, straightforward, unmediated depiction, in doing so everyone becomes part of the stories being told. The personal becomes political, as a group of young people provides an intimate testimony of the current situation while sharing hope that the world can change.

Various voices overlap with the different forms in which Saad 'speaks.' Images overlap, resonate, and interpenetrate. Vertical frames, shot with mobile phones—the prototypical medium of ‘troublemakers’ filming themselves—are combined with the format of traditional film and with online-found and appropriated footage. What seems a formal element, becomes a signifier and part of the conceptual framework present in the work.

What binds the works together is an exploration of what democracy is and what it could be. The political struggles of different groups in different times and the question of how these struggles still resonate today. The subjects are weighty, the outcome is gripping, but at the same time, it is optimistic and combative.

Campus Bijloke
Louis Pasteurlaan 2
9000 Gent