Let’s Play Something Let’s Play Anything Let’s Play

Curated with Karima Boudou

February 2019

Curated with Karima Boudou, the programme's series of panels, artist talks and screenings took its point of departure the life and work of Ted Joans (1928 – 2003), an African-American Surrealist painter, jazz musician and poet who lived in Morocco, and later Mali, from the 1960s. Bringing Joans back into the context of Morocco provided a rich ground to discuss the intertwined narratives of surrealism in Africa and its diaspora.

Participants and speakers included Alaa Abdelhamid, M'barek Bouhchichi, Jessica De Abreu, Noureddine Ezarraf, Vince Fraser, Vanina Géré, Olivier Hadouchi, Hassan Jouad, Yvon Langué, Boniface Mongo-Mboussa, Joanna Pawlik, Habib Tengour and UNTITLED (Soukaina Aboulaoula and Yvon Langué).

The Programme

Ted Joans in Context: Notes and Thoughts on Filmmaking

A unique opportunity to engage with rarely shown films featuring Ted Joans. Following her extensive research on Ted Joans, art historian and curator KARIMA BOUDOU (1-54 Forum Programme Curator) will introduce several films spanning the decade of the 1990s. What is the role of archives in generating discourse and understanding histories? What can we learn from the process of archiving film and the use of archived documentary films in contemporary cultural projects?
Language: French and English


Introductory Remarks by Karima Boudou

Ted Joans, Surrealist Traveller

Ted Joans’ engagement with surrealism was often removed from the movement’s supposed bedrock of Paris, and closely involved with broader transatlantic dialogues of anti-colonialism and anti-racism. Grounding the forthcoming programme and drawing on current research, Joanna Pawlik (Lecturer at the University of Sussex) discusses Ted Joans’ relationship with surrealism, what it offered him as an artist and poet and how these could be used as a lens through which to place surrealism in contemporary discourse.
Language: English

Keepin’ Words Surreal

How can language and word be used to liberate the unconscious? Boniface Mongo-Mboussa (Writer and Cultural Critic, Paris) draws on the life and work of Congolese poet Tchicaya U Tam’si (1931-1988) and his involvement with surrealism. M’barek Bouhchichi (Artist, Tahanaout) gives insights into his work and research around M’barek Ben Zida (1925-1973), a black Amazigh poet from Tata, south-eastern Morocco, while Noureddine Ezarraf (Multidisciplinary Artist and Poet, Aghmat) introduces several threads which highlight orality’s role in activating a playful and poetic approach to materiality and everyday life. Moderated by Karima Boudou.
Language: French

The Films of Kara Walker: Between Narration and Performance

VANINA GÉRÉ (Professor at Villa Arson National School of Fine Arts, Nice) will discuss Walker’s relationship to Afro-surrealism. With an Afro-feminist perspective Walker alters her lived reality as a black woman using imagery from a vast array of histories to confront issues of race, gender and violence. Having first met Walker in 2006 and followed her artistic trajectory ever since, Géré’s holistic lens will explore Walker’s relationship to Afro-surrealism in the context of the artist’s work up to 2015.
Language: English

Surrealism vs Scribbles: The Hostile Narratives Around the Surrealist Movement in Egypt

Since their rising in 1930s – 40s, Surrealist artists in Egypt have faced hostility. Alaa Abdelhamid (Interdisciplinary Artist and Writer, Cairo) will explore the nationalist and commercially grounded representations of Surrealist artists in film, press, and government communication. A reflection of their position in Egyptian society – where stories and official narratives collided – Abdelhamid will also explore the echos of these attitudes towards contemporary artists in this context.
Language: Arabic


Comic Sounds

How can sound and orality reflect and document our (sur)realities and processes of imagination? Panellists will address the Netherlands’ jazz history and archives, and discuss immersive listening practices and audio recordings in the context of Morocco. A panel discussion with Jessica de Abreu(Anthropologist and Co-founder of The Black Archives, Amsterdam), Abdellah Hassak (Sound Artist, Casablanca) and Hassan Jouad (Linguist and Anthropologist, Paris) moderated by Karima Boudou.
Language: French and English

Maghrebian Surrealism

Habib Tengour (Poet and Sociologist, Mostaganem and Paris) and Olivier Hadouchi (Historian of cinema, Paris) will depart from Tengour’s surrealist manifesto which subtly shows that surrealism – a movement considered to be of French origin – is in fact a recent European variant of much older Maghrebian traditions and practices. Tengour and Hadouchi will discuss Maghrebian roots of surrealism as a revolutionary means of disengagement, as a form of subversion of the language of power and a passionate pursuit of the practice of poetry, and the formation of histories and memory in relation to the Algerian context.
Language: French


Surrealism and Animated Photography

Vince Fraser (Digital Illustrator and Artist, London) discusses his work and practice with Yvon Langué (Curator, Marrakech). Fraser’s work, consisting of animated collages and photography, draws on both contemporary and past Surrealists as well as Afrobeat influences. How can one use surrealism and its narratives to celebrate numerous facets of culture and arts from Africa and the diaspora?
Language: English

Jazz is My Religion

A rare opportunity to engage with the work of Dutch filmmaker Louis van Gasteren. In 1963, Dutch writer and poet Simon Vinkenoog started a Jazz & Poetry night in Sheherazade, a nightclub in Amsterdam, on behalf of his American friends – including Ted Joans – who asked him “Hey man, where can you read Poetry here?” In 1964, van Gasteren directed the film Jazz and Poetry (1964, 14’) in which Ted Joans reads his poetry with jazz musicians Piet Kuiters, Ruud Jacobs, Cees See and Herman Schoonderwalt at Sheherazade. In response to the film, curators from the Marrakech-based collective UNTITLED (Soukaina Aboulaoula & Yvon Langué) will lead an intervention.
Language: French and English