The Noise Of Cairo
Film Start TC 10:00:00
TC 10:00:35 – 10:00:49
Our education, the media and our culture prevented us from expressing ourselves... we were voiceless.
TC 10:00:56 – 10:01:03
Raise your voices up high...
He who chants, will not die...
TC 10:01:04 – 10:01:10
The revolution brought everybodys talents into light. People started to talk from their hearts.
TC 10:01:11 – 10:01:20
Welcome Welcome Welcome Men...
Welcome Welcome Welcome Heroes...
TC 10:01:24 - 10:01:27
Go away oppressor!
TC 10:01:32 -10:01:36
Don’t be like Nero. Back off before you burn egypt.
TC 10:01:45 – 10:01:48
70 Billion where do you got that from?
TC 10:01:49 – 10:02:10
Egypt is changing. This is a new Egypt. Everyone´s speaking freely without fear. There is respect for different ideas. Some true and some unheard of. What we’re witnessing now is historic. You have to come and see Egypt changing.
TC 10:02:18 – 10:02:28
President Muhammad Husni Mubarak has decided to leave the office of the President of the republic.
TC 10:03:25 – 10:04:41
These are two pieces from the revolution because the Bassem is an artist who took part in the revolution. This is the advertisement of Coca Cola. And it says: „Be happy!“ And this is for Coca Cola to be happy. So he he he took the opportunity of having this tank...and this tank is written on it: „Corruption“. And this is the police tank and those are the youth of the revolution. They are happy, standing on it and he put just (arabic word), it’s written: „Be happy!“
And can we see the other one? Thank you!
Ah! This is very important! This was written on the Tahrir square. It’s written here: „25th of January. The most noble, beautiful day of Egypt“ and it says here: „The square of the martyrs“ And they have written the names of some of the martyrs.
TC 10:04:41 – 10:05:10
The expression of dealing with ...uh... with this great event of the revolution was really fantastic for us Egyptians. And for the artists to express themselves because... We couldn’t believe our eyes that it will ever ever succeed. And when it did succeed then everything is boosting and... there is a new...a new life, a new expression and art is part of it.
TC 10:05:45 – 10:06:44
The idea of this project is to change the way society looks upon arts. We want to bring art even to the poorest people. It’s the first time that something like that happens in this street. Since the 25th of January everything is different. The revolution is in everything. Even in the colours. I want to get rid of the chains that bind my hands and feet. I want to open up to the world, see what the people think. I will not spend the rest of my life run-of-the-mill, which was forced upon me. It was a big wall that collapsed in January.
TC 10:06:56 – 10:07:08
After the revolution in Egypt everything is changed. Everything is...it’s like a freedoms speech now, you do with art like a freedoms speech. So even with colours.
TC 10:07:16 – 10:07:26
Revolution make us more interested to help people and to get...to do a lot of things. This is all new for us. We wasn’t used to do it.
TC 10:07:35 – 10:08:15
When you leave your house you see these paintings on the walls. It makes you feel calm. It’s the first time that I walk past things like these that express hapiness and contentment. I’ m an 65-years old man. I think the youth here won’t litter the streets when they see these art. They will take care of it. It’s giving the young kids hope.
TC 10:08:59 – 10:09:20
When I am thinking about Cairo in the last two or three weeks there is one word that automatically pops into my mind and that is „fluent“. The situation is incredibly fluent. Uhm...I think what happens at this moment in time, you know literally as I am speaking to you, it can be different in half an hour from now. You can’t predict in a way that we used to be able to.
TC 10:09:23 – 10:09:38
I think the...the work that will be reflective of what we are going through right now or what we are gonna go through next year. It won’t be produced seriously until maybe 2016. That people can really stand back from it ...that people know what conversations did take place.
TC 10:09:45 – 10:09:52
I would worry a little bit if people did feel the pressure to start reflecting too early.
TC 10:09:54 – 10:11:04
If all of a sudden you have people going out and painting on walls... I mean... for example you may actually find... because art and public spaces was forbidden you know until February... uhm and you find people going out into squares and they will be doing graffiti on really quite a beautiful facade that doesn’t need that graffiti, they are not being critically about where they are putting it but people will learn and people will gonna start to appreciate like...“actually that’s quite nice ….. we don’t need to scribble on them“. Uhm...and that will come through experience but... but right now the very fact that so many people are producing so many different things it can only benefit peoples criticality, because you are going to be seeing so much of it. And people will themselves start to doubt... you know...like...or sort of filter out what...okay, this is really interesting. These people are really serious and there is something behind the image, there is something behind the signs, very thoughtful messages coming through art. As oppose to just this joyful expression of the flag on the walls.
TC 10:11:28 – 10:11:51
Street artists at the moment are reflecting up on the emotional level of our state of mind and everytime there is a scandal street artists are definitely on the ball waiting to put these signs out there in order to increase the awareness and make people understand that these aren’t just small events and that everything influences everything else.
TC 10:12:01 – 10:12:16
I’ve always had the... a bad relationship with authority and with capitalism and the people are marginalized and victimized by it. So these are very strong motifs that make it much more easier for me to come up with the ideas.
TC 10:12:30 – 10:12:55
When it comes to censorship it seems people have throughout the ages have sometimes created their own prisons without somebody actually doing it to them. And it will take time for them to actually open themselves up to a newer Egypt and this is something the government can not do and something that can not be talked. It has to be a self-realisation.
TC 10:13:11 – 10:13:38
Before the revolution there seemed to be at least maybe let’s say one or two artists that took it seriously... did a few works around the walls in the city. After this transition we have seen a lot of bursts of creativity from writers, directors, artists because somehow it felt like the wall of censorship suddenly fell. And from that point onwards everybody has been releasing as much as they can.
TC 10:13:53 – 10:14:09
People want a defined thing to follow and what I like about at least my style and some of other graffiti artists in our town is putting a thought-provoking message with a universal thread that hits everybody.
TC 10:14:15 – 10:14:40
There was an instance when one person told me: „Why don’t you give us some instructions under the image so that we know how to think or what to think and uhm...it’s very interesting because they... it seems that thinking now at these has become an exhausting process. Something that we take for granted and something that really annoys us but I am sure in the future it will become an easier process.
TC 10:14:50 – 10:15:19
I think after the revolution is done there will be just as much work to do just as it was during the revolution. Me being part of this revolution and absorbing the energy around me everytime I go to Tharir of course prepares me to do more artwork that is related to the current events. After the revolution is over who knows, maybe my work will take a much more progressive, optimistic site to it.
TC 10:15:39 – 10:15:53
Egypt is such a... complex... you know... country and society and it is impossible to be able to... you know... pinpoint it and say this it what it is.
TC 10:16:10 – 10:16:39
I know it’s very tempting especially from the outside world to box it and frame it and... you know... say yes it’s this you know ...islamic and dadadada where women dressed like this and look like that, you can’t do this and you can’t do that and I would not be honest if I also played along with this. We have veiled women but we also have women like me and this is how I am in my country like I am outside, it doesn’t change and I am a dancer after all working with the body in my country.
TC 10:16:47 – 10:17:36
I am not particularly interested at the moment to create work that is necessarily or directly related to the events or to the... you know... revolution.
It’s a fine line between ...you know ...using it to ...you know ...you know sell something which I personally feel would be first of all too easy, second of all cheap and ...you know... we try as much as possible to avoid that and what lot of the participants in the workshop said to me ...you know... without me saying anything., I just said ...you know... „what do you think we need to do?“. And a lot of people said: „ You know we want to do something but we don’t want to do something about the revolution.“
TC 10:18:02 – 10:18:20
When you see the work you see that it’s there but it’s not forced. It is really... it’s a much bigger thing. It’s about ...you know... the before, during and after those... you know... moments of chaos, moments of joy, moments of... you know... really... you know... exhaustion, it’s all related to that.
TC 10:18:25 – 10:18:35
But I also think it’s very related to Egypt and particularly the city of Cairo because it does do that to you.
TC 10:19:57 -10:20:25
One of the main differences is that this time I decided to do a showing and it was possible because in fact I have not shown my work in Egypt since 2004. So… you know… 7 years later, today, here and now was the first time and it was a very important statement.
TC 10:20:34 – 10:21:17
We are trying to close the gap between what you would call an independent artist and what you would call a state-run artist, so that the evaluation if you like becomes about the work and not about if you are an independent or an employee. We are trying… it has not happen yet but I am quite sure that it will… that this thing… you know …being an independent artist you don’t have access to the state-run theatres …I think this seriously has to change… you know. And if it doesn’t I think we just going to walk into the theatres and squad. I mean it’s the only way because I mean it’s enough.
TC 10:21:38 – 10:22:12
In any case you can still find a way to fight and find a way to go up but the problem is how hard it is. So before the revolution we were fighting for …to prove existence by different ways by building real strong structure that can stand against that huge kind that’s going on all the time. So it was a little bit very hard. So… this was before the revolution. After the revolution it was… it is like an open door.
TC 10:22:24 – 10:22:41
This video was shot at 2am. So it was in the curfew and in the same time there was like 200 meters beside me there was a kind of army tanks and people were watching what I am doing.
TC 10:23:21 – 10:23:52
And this performance was about what will happen next… for me. Uhm… each time I am waiting for this that will happen and this waiting is kind of provoking feeling which is fear and happiness. It was a mix of this, all this kind of feelings because I am happy because the situation is changing but in the same time you are afraid because it might get worse or get better… you don’t know. The fear of unknown.
TC 10:24:22 – 10:24:39
For me when I create something new it’s always coming from this confusion, this questioning of situation either it’s good or bad or do I fit or not or how does I feel about it. This question vibrates this artistic feeling inside me.
TC 10:24:42 – 10:24:53
Now it’s the time really to prove what we’ve been working on that really exist and to show it really to everyone and to help it to… grow up.
TC 10:25:31 – 10:26:06
You know the flag of Egypt played a very big role in the demonstrations in Tahir square. It was all… the flag was the symbol of… of freedom and of peace and of… revolution. And especially with the red, white and black and here the artist is very excellent in taking this angle where he shows the red flag and the people shouting for the revolution and the hands are up for it. And this is a lovely piece.
TC 10:26:06 – 10:26:36
I think contemporary art now is moving very fast in Egypt because now the young artists are more sure of themselves. They are young, they are full of hope, they are full of… believe. They believe. They have now… they believe in their country, they believe they have a wood, they have a sea, they can do something. So…this is a mood of expression that’s taking everywhere.
TC 10:26:38 – 10:27:36
You can see here in the background the face of Mubarak and it’s written down on the left side with the Arabic calligraphy “No”. “لا“ as you can see is written in red and you can see the fight taking place in Tahrir square between the helmets of the police and the people. And each trying to defend themselves. So… that was in the middle of the revolution. Really the middle of the revolution. And because of the expression of the faces that you can see it was really… the moment was very high at that time and expressing yourself and putting on exhibition “No to Mubarak” is a great achievement because it’s a sign of liberty that you can express yourself. Before that if you say “No to Mubarak” you would be out into jail.
TC 10:27:37 – 10:28:05
I think the role of the artists of any artists is the truth. If you are a true artist then express yourself truly. You have that one who is very quick and he wants to prove himself but you have on the other hand a real artists who knows how to express himself and like I told you, it’s the survival of the best. I mean at the end of the day the best one is the one who is going to live and the others will disappear.
TC 10:28:41 – 10:29:23
Immediately after the revolution I used a lot of images like those… here… on the paintings. The problematic happens when we are bombarded… when we are loaded with those images and we want to express but then the idea it falls into the literal. The whole surface becomes as if it’s…what every would see in a video with all those déjà vu images you would see in a painting with the same deja vu images. So the first few paintings they are always… I consider them Test-Paintings and I have done those Test-Paintings they are now like in London in the Shubbak Festival or in Dubai they were immediately in the art fair.
TC 10:29:30 -10:29:53
And then honestly five month after the revolution I discovered that it was too early to paint revolution now. It was too emotional for me because for instance here we lost Ahmed Bassiouny our colleague who was like a great artist and one of the people I have exhibited with.
TC 10:30:44 – 10:31:21
So it was very emotional at the beginning because I am quite... well… I am old. My generation is programmed that change will never happen because we thought we are the products of this regime. Uhm… you know like… we were not trained to demonstrate or express overtly. We were not programmed to confront actually. Not with censorship not with the political system. Always the expression happened in studios.
TC 10:31:29 – 10:33:04
Before January 2011 I personally taught and trained my younger peers or my students to avoid censorship. To do art that is intelligent enough to transcend the commitments and obligations and the constraints of standard Egyptian censorship. Of course the taboos the sex, religion and politics but how to do art that can touch this but being… you know …like the same time intelligent enough not to address those without intermediating censorship.
After the revolution… you know…like… there is a new language that I am learning myself still because this revolution was probably prepared for by people like me but they were done by younger artists and younger people and younger individuals who are born in the digital age. So eventually it is a new language that I am learning myself and I am decoding my own programming and deprogramming my own beliefs before that change cannot happen with confrontation. No, I am sorry. Now I know that I can demonstrate in the street and change can happen. The best lesson I ever learned in this revolution is to go and practice my role as a citizen and not just become the artist with like 48 mid-career artist who have been focusing in the past few years to go international and exhibit all over the world. So I enjoyed being a citizen for the first time in my life when I was like approaching
TC 10:33:10 – 10:33:23
I’ve never gone to an election. I’ve been to the last voting after the revolution even though I answered “No” and the answer came contrary to my wish but end of the day it’s the first time in my life to stand in a queue and go vote.
TC 10:34:29 – 10:34:41
A country devoid of a president, devoid of police... how should we… it’s really hard.
TC 10:34:42 – 10:34:54
There’s nothing! Against who are we at? What happened is new to us as artists. What shall we do? What topics do we have?
TC 10:34:57 – 10:35:58
2005 I did an exhibition about Cairo, about the police standing in the streets without protecting the people how they intimidate the people. I got a call from State Security at the vernissage. They said: “We want to see you!” I was asked why I was painting policemen. They threatened me and told me to stop it. I’m just interested in political topics, so I get into foreign policy… Bush, Obama, Palestine, Gaza. I was working on important foreign issues but they didn’t mean anything to me. I couldn’t express my reality, my country because of my fear of State Security.
TC 10:36:16 – 10:36:43
On January 25, what happened was a beautiful thing. I went down with my camera and I was scared to take photos and I discovered something new. I was able to take photos without anyone objecting. So I took a lot of photos of the police. I don’t know why but I wanted to. I experienced this new freedom of being able to take pictures.
TC 10:36:46 – 10:37:08
The police never experienced a demonstration of this size before. They were scared. The whole situation was so strange. At the same time it was beautiful. And you saw faces… they’re all real people that I photographed and then I turned them into paintings.
TC 10:37:19 – 10:37:36
Caller: “The country is ruined! History will write that we are ruining our country. Noo nooo. I swear no, I swear not us.”
TC 10:37:37 – 10:37:53
Egypt State Television: “You were saying, there are groups of people there who prevent people from leaving [Tahrir]. Weather they are Egyptians or foreigners… were you able to tell which group they belonged to? Specific nationalities?”
TC 10:37:53 – 10:37:58
Caller “They are foreigners and they speak good English.”
TC 10:38:11 – 10:39:01
Ali Abdel Mohsen
Maspero is just such a… you know for everyone who was growing up here it effected your life. So the idea for the exhibition came from basically just watching State Television throughout… you know… the four or five most intense days of the revolution. You see them kind of flip flopping back and forth not really sure how they address the people what to do if they should scare people which is exactly what they were doing in the beginning. Or they should claim more positive role which they failed that doing. So just seem like you watching that creature that…you know… you have known forever now it is in it’s death rows… it’s just kind of trying what to do …the best way to go out. Because I think they all knew that this was …if not the permanent end for them just like temporarily because peoples back clash was…you know.
TC 10:39:09 – 10:39:38
I was in close contact to the old system because I worked for state TV in Maspero for 15 years. I saw the routine, the corruption and the fake news. I couldn’t bear that anymore, so I quit.
TC 10:39:39 – 10:39:59
Hany Rashed explains his art to a visitor
These are my colleagues. That was my boss. The civil servants are like insects they gather around him. Black and white, because it should feel like an old movie.
TC 10:40:11 – 10:40:48
There are many young Egyptian artists that just occasionally exhibit in other countries and that’s why Egyptian art has no real face. But when I realize what happened on the Biennale in Venice where we presented our friend, the martyr Ahmed Bassiouny I see the beginning of the age of youth. We will be there. We will be there and produce art. The youth has a base now – the revolution.
TC 10:40:56 – 10:41:31
Ali Abdel Mohsen
After the fact that… on the 25th people were still making fun of the notion of a revolution and the notion of what they call Facebook-Kids… you know… starting revolution. And now that everyone saw what they were capable of people are more accepting and more …you know… curious to see who else are capable of. And that’s definitely opened up a lot of doors and potentially view points of people who weren’t necessarily interested in this kind of thing. Now they are curious about it, now they exploring more and they want find out more and I think that interest is definitely very much reflected in the current art scene.
TC 10:41:35 – 10:42:12
Art changed with the revolution. As a singer I always tried to produce lyrics that have a meaning to the people I often tried to unmask the corruption and the system in many songs. That got me into a lot of trouble. The old system oppressed art with a meaning, with depth.
TC 10:42:27 -10:43:12
The army arrested me, not the police and that after we have overthrown Mubarak that was weird. I think it was because I was singing against the system but the system didn’t change yet. It’s still Mubaraks people, they hate the demonstrations, the people on the streets. I was one of the people others gathered around on Tahrir.
TC 10:43:26 – 10:44:04
Just because we can talk about the issues doesn’t mean that we are completely free. I mean there are still a lot of instructions by talking about the army. In fact you never… you not really allowed to talk about the army in the media or whatever. And a lot of people got arrested because they wrote blogs, I mean they wrote articles on their blogs about the army or they criticized on TV. So they are either arrested or they get interrogated. So no…it’s not exactly a free country as we would like to see it and it’s because people lived for so many years under oppression it’s very hard for them to just all of a sudden feel and act freely.
TC 10:44:04 – 10:44:14
I wasn’t afraid. I felt a moment of peace knowing my path could end here.
TC 10:44:14 -10:44:33
After the revolution we were so much inspired by what had happened and the Tahrir square and the people, the millions who showed up. And we felt that we wanted to take after the president stepped down… we wanted to take the spirit that we witnessed during the 18 days of the revolution and put it into a box where we can walk with it anywhere.
TC 10:44:33 – 10:44:51
I cried for my friends who were arrested during the revolution. I cried because they were mocking me. I cried for the people who were tortured. I cried for a life that no longer had a meaning. If this is life I don’t want to live it.
TC 10:44:51 – 10:45:04
I thought of the idea of collecting true stories and testimonials from people and forming a performance that would tell the story of the 18 days of the revolution in the form of monologs. Just short monologs, one after the other.
TC 10:45:04 – 10:45:21
I will shout in my loudest voice. When they come. I will run. Steady steps, comfortable shoes and wide pants. I will run as fast as I can.
TC 10:45:22 – 10:45:33
The revolution wasn’t just about removing a president or regime or whatever …it was about giving you hope that you could change something.
TC 10:46:06 -10:46:18
Khaled Al Khamissi
The relation of culture and society. Very interesting. Is there a bridge between culture and society?
TC 10:46:27 – 10:47:35
Khaled Al Khamissi
This scene was told by the president of the public library of Alexandria. 28th of January: Police and security backed off and the library had no safety wall. It was very easy to enter, no problem and what happened? People formed a human chain to protect the library. We thought nobody was even interested in this kind of institution. But when the regime collapsed people became aware that this was their culture that they want to save. A very symbolic scene.
TC 10:48:24 – 10:49:08
The performance in Imbaba was one of the best in my life. The kids were between six and ten. Very young. Before I reached nobody with my voice. Now I know that I am not alone, there are many artists not just musicians but painters, poets and actors. All artists with a message have a better chance now of being heard.
TC 10:49:09 – 10:49:43
Rami Essam on stage
We will sing a song from Tahrir now. It’s a song we sang to motivate the people. We will sing: “One hand, we all want the same thing! Civil society!” Then we’ll say: “The people wants to bring down the regime!” Because there is still a corrupt system in this country. Then: “We’re not leaving, we won’t be judged.” Because Mubarak and the other bad people have not been cursed yet. Are you with me?
TC 10:50:25 – 10:50:48
You have to listen carefully to understand my lyrics. When I see all the kids reacting positively even if they don’t understand everything as long as they sing along, they will grow up alert and ask questions.
TC 10:50:58 – 10:51:12
Artists should put a lot more energy into the kids, for them to reform Egypt.
TC 10:52:23 – 10:52:48
I believe that the wonderful art created in that period will live on and develop so that it will be better in the future. Because we now present our art with the feeling of freedom.
TC 10:53:01 – 10:53:15
Everyone of us was a diamond covered with mud. Now the mud has gone and our true nature is visible. For the first time we have the feeling that we own the country.
TC 10:53:23 – 10:53:35
You could call Cairo a fresh bride, ready to start a new life. I hope it will get a lot better than in the past.
TC 10:53:40 – 10:53:51
It feels like when a baby is just born and then it’s struggling to walk and it’s struggling to move and… so that… sometimes this is how it feels that all the struggles are just because it’s a new birth.
TC 10:54:03 -10:54:23
I’m no longer afraid. This train can’t be stopped anymore. I am disgusted by the devious attempts to bring this glorious revolution down.
TC 10:54:28 – 10:54:37
If we have all egyptians aware with art they will not falling in the pit of fundamentalism for instance or they will not be influence able.
TC 10:54:46 – 10:54:53
This is our time. If we don’t get our due’s now, we never will and neither our children.
TC 10:55:04 – 10:55:24
Artists are very present and actually I think they are the most… not most but they are… they are feared by the government or the army or whoever it is …you know…that is present at the moment because artists are loud and they make a lot of noise.
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TC 10:00:08 – 10:00:18
TC 10:00:27 – 10:00:34
A FILM ABOUT CAIRO, ART AND REVOLUTION
TC 10:02:28 – 10:02:38
THE NOISE OF CAIRO
TC 10:04:42 – 10:04:48
SAFAR KHAN GALLERY
TC 10:06:01 – 10:06:08
TC 10:06:58 – 10:07:05
TC 10:09:09 – 10:09:16
TC 10:11:36 – 10:11:43
TC 10:15:40 – 10:15:47
CHOREOGRAPHER & DANCER
TC 10:17:19 – 10:17:25
WORKSHOP AT TOWNHOUSE GALLERY
TC 10:21:39 – 10:21:46
TC 10:22:13 – 10:22:21
BY EZZAT ISMAIL
TC 10:28:52 – 10:28:59
TC 10:30:02 – 10:30:30
"Please, O Father, O Mother, O Youth, O Student, O Citizen, O Senior and O more. You know this is our last chance for our dignity, the last chance to change the regime that has lasted the past 30 years. Go down to the streets, and revolt, bring your food, your clothes, your water, masks and tissues and a vinegar bottle, and belive me, there is but one very small step left... If they want war, we want peace, and I will practice proper restraint until the end, to regain my nation's dignity."
January 26 at 02:27am
TC 10:34:34 – 10:34:41
TC 10:38:00 – 10:38:06
TC 10:38:30 – 10:38:37
ALI ABDEL MOHSEN
CURATOR – MASPERO EXHIBITION
TC 10:41:37 – 10:41:44
TC 10:43:27 – 10:43:34
TC 10:47:03 – 10:47:10
KHALED AL KHAMISSI
TC 10:54:11 – 10:54:18
TC 10:55:24 – 10:56:03
TC 10:56:04 – 10:56:13
A scenesfrom FILM