PERFORMANCE ART: FIELD OF EXPRESSION
The space of Al-Baraha has always been the place for public social and communal activities. It is the stage of life. Today, the concept of this sig- nificant public space is dissipating in the face of modernization, which is why occupying Al-Baraha as a stage for public performance can revive the sense of community and normalize the idea of creative public ex- pression for the citizens and visitors of Jeddah. The aim of this exhibi- tion is to act as a stepping stone towards the evolution and enrichment of our culture in the arts, and in the spirit of activating a public space for performance for the first time in Jeddah, it celebrates the concept of performance as the utilization of the human body as an instrument of artistic expression and storytelling. Since performance art might be a novelty for most of the local public, the performances are produced to be as interactive as possible, so that every person feels welcomed and encouraged to engage, participate and witness this space.
MAMMAFOTOGRAMMA | AL-BALLOON
For the first summer edition of 21,39, Mammafotogramma have been commissioned to design and build the performance stage situated at Barahat Al-Hazzazi. For their first commission in the Kingdom of Sau- di Arabia, Mammafotogramma have envisioned an installation bearing opposing characteristics: public versus private, inside versus outside, underneath versus above.
Imagining the movement of a parachute descending, then being lifted by a helium balloon creating a ceiling for a space scattered with objects that blur the boundary between what’s public and private, welcoming actors, dancers, performers and any passersby, Al-Balloon (2019) is an unconventional scenic space that can mutate during the day, evolving continuously thanks to the effects of the sun, the wind and the people. After studying and designing a series of tools and dynamics able to generate a variety of stages for the different performances, Mammafotogramma have deconstructed and scattered the concept of the baraha (or piazza) into different shapes and forms depending on the needs of users, be they performers, audience, members of the local community in Al-Balad, or passersby.
The fluidity of the design means that it can come together or be tak- en apart depending on the use. Constructed using local materials and skills, the stage is built on the idea that the components of its system will eventually be absorbed by the city around it, modified, digested and lived in.
AHAAD ALAMOUDI | I’M HERE NEXT TO YOU;CAN YOU HEAR ME?
In I’m Here Next to You; Can You Hear Me? (2019) artist Ahaad Alamoudi has placed a tête-à-tête chair in a space fitted with speakers broadcast- ing a conversation between two people who cannot be seen by audience members. Broadcast in five different languages, the installation plays with notions of unity and separation as audience members can hear what seems to be a private conversation, although it is broadcast in a vast space as though it were a public announcement. The speakers are unknown, complicating our understanding of privacy and public space and life.
If I’m Here Next to You; Can You Hear Me? is a portal through which messages are disseminated, consumed and acted upon, how will au- diences act upon them? How are these messages understood and pro- cessed by observers? In this work, Alamoudi presents a play or a satire on contemporary methods of communication, challenging notions of ownership and prompting us to think about how information is distrib- uted today, and how this affects us.