Crafting Wor[l]ds: For a Vernacular Economy of Art

Curated with LE 18 - Laila Hida and Francesca Masoero

February 2021

The hybrid in-person and online programme, curated by Laila Hida and Francesca Masoero (Founding-Directors of Marrakech’s independent art space LE 18), moved from the locality in which LE 18 is embedded to explore some of the many ways in which artistic, curatorial, and mediation movements are not only navigating through, but also engaging with the deep material and epistemic fractures produced and reproduced by capitalism, modernity, and (neo)colonialism over the past centuries. The programme invited the ‘undisciplined’ in every discipline. While questioning the very role of the artistic in a world in crisis, the programme looked at how new ecologies of cultural practices emerge and draw from vernacular principles and circular dynamics. The programme did this through performances, talks and screenings.

Participants included Nadine Atallah, Carolle Bénitah, Touda Bouanani, Nadir Bouhmouch, Rachel Dedman, Anne Delrez, Francesca Masoero, Emo de Medeiros, Ghassan El Hakim, Othmane El Kheloufi, Samba Gadjigo, Abdellah Hassak, Laila Hida, Aude Mgba, Jeanne Mercier and Yasmina Reggad.

The Programme

The Undisciplined #1: the Art of Crafting ‘Contextures’
Online Studio Visit and Discussion | Emo de Medeiros and Jeanne Mercier

Developed in dialogue with curator JEANNE MERCIER, co-founder of Afrique in Visu, the inaugural event of this 1-54 Forum opens a line of investigation into ‘undisciplined’ artistic practices that alternatively define themselves as digital shamanism, futuristic, mythological, and participatory.

To do so, join artist EMO DE MEDEIROS and Jeanne Mercier as they tour his studio and discuss his most recent work. De Medeiros’ practice fuses virtual reality and both tangible and intangible material to explore the hybridisation, interconnections and circulation of forms, technologies, myths and goods. By making ‘contextures’, his work offers a unique insight into our post-colonial, globalised and digitised 21st century world. As a concluding step in this first journey, a unique screening of Emo de Medeiros’ recently work Handroid City (2020) was shown on Sunday, 21 February.

Language: English and French


Webinar | SMILE!

Vernacular photography and the family album: a history of chosen moments, or performing the social.

Vernacular photography is a kind of amateur photography whose subject is everyday life, without aesthetic or artistic intent. For several decades, many artists have been interested in poor images, found photos, recovered albums, which do not belong to them and which tell stories, intimate, anonymous, constituting a raw material to be re-sculpted, fictionalized, in order to reinvent and re-present its function as an object of memory. A three-way conversation between LAILA HIDA, artist photographer and founder of LE 18, ANNE DELREZ, photographer and founder of Conservatoire Nationale de l’Album de Famille and CAROLLE BÉNITAH, photographer, whose practices converge towards the family album that they have in different ways, reactivated, manipulated, exhibited to explore.

Language: English and French


Instagram Live Performance | Sonic Archaeologies​

A live radio performance by ABDELLAH HASSAK in conversation with artist-performer GHASSAN EL HAKIM, initiator of Cabaret Cheikhat, and artist OTHMANE EL KHELOUFI, composer, saxophonist and theater director.


Turning to a history of sound allows one to “de-center” history. While political history draws us to the formal places of power (capitals, royal courts, parliaments, palaces), sound history takes us to much more varied places, both strange and wonderful. Political history is centripetal; sound history is centrifugal. 
– David Hendy, author of the BBC Radio documentary series entitled Noise, a Human History of Sound and Listening

Sonic Archaeologies is an invitation to experiment the multiple capacities of sound recording to re-construct and re-compose the historical narratives of territories, experiences, or policies. Proposed and animated by Abdellah Hassak, this spontaneous conversation, activated by a listening session of sound archives proposes to restitute the past, through an unconventional approach. A record, a voice, a song, a rhythm, or a sound archive can be listened to and discussed, from their socio-political context and through their sound practice, their production, and the recording context. What do recordings from the past tell us? How do they shed light on some important events of Moroccan history?

The conversation, live streamed from LE 18 in Marrakech, further reflected on the reciprocal influences between the recordings and the sociological, historical or anthropological evolution of Morocco.

Language: French, Arabic and English

Screening | Handroid City

Filmed in Nigeria, Benin, Tanzania, Brazil and China, Handroid City, by artist EMO DE MEDEIROS, investigates how mobile phone technology choreographs contemporary life via a series of close-ups of human hands using, fixing or selling mobile phones, déambulations in “digital districts”, as well as drone shots pointing at the homogenization of urban space triggered by technological capitalism. Originally a triptych, this unique presentation and screening is a mixing of the 500 video clips that make up the original work.

Webinar | Resounding Waves: on the making of sonic solidarities through radio

Departing from their respective research projects Radio Earth Hold and we dreamt of utopia and we woke up screaming, in this conversation RACHEL DEDMAN and YASMINA REGGAD explore the formation of sonic solidarities across different regions and liberation struggles, carried out by and through radio, sounds, acoustics and acousmatics in Palestine, Algeria, and beyond.

Webinar | An Oral Gaze: Between Bouanani and Sembene​

Led by NADIR BOUHMOUCH and bringing together artist TOUDA BOUANANI and filmmaker/film scholar SAMBA GADJIGO, this conversation situates itself at the intersection between African cinema and the popular oral arts which have sometimes inspired it. With a focus on Ousmane Sembene and Ahmed Bouanani, the discussion will revolve around how the oral arts have inspired or informed the works of African film pioneers looking to “Decolonise the Gaze.” Indeed, if Sembene saw in the cineaste a “Griot,” Bouanani saw an “Amdiaz.” As such, we will take the recent release of the book “The Seventh Gate: A History of Cinema in Morocco” as a starting point to this conversation which will address how indigenous cultures, stories and arts have contributed to create an African cinema which questions western codes and aesthetics.


Language: English and French

Webinar | Making and Unmaking Art Schools from The Nineteenth Century to the Present

In this conversation led by FRANCESCA MASOERO and guided by the research of curators and art historians AUDE MGBA and NADINE ATALLAH, we will explore histories of the making, unmaking, and remaking of artistic learnings and schooling institutes across the African continent. Through a historically-informed journey moving from pre-colonial forms of transmission, to colonial and post-colonial infrastructures of knowledge and artistic production, the conversation will examine on the one hand, the ways in which artists, collectives, and movements navigated dominant, institutional educational sites. On the other, by investigating the ways in which some of these actors attempted to recraft learning modes anew, grounding them on vernacular processes and spaces of knowledge-making, we will try to reflect on the situated futures of artistic education ahead.

Language: English and French