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September 9–October 9, 2022
The multifaceted project May Amnesia Never Kiss Us on the Mouth (2020–2022) by Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, who have studios in Ramallah and New York, combines live performance, sound installation, and moving-image installation.
The project highlights Abbas and Abou-extraordinary Rahme’s personal collection of found video snippets and transient recorded film, which the artists have amassed from the start of the Arab Revolutions in early 2010 and. The videos, which are frequently spontaneously recorded on mobile devices and posted online and on social media by regular citizens of Palestine, Iraq, and Syria, focus on song, dancing, protest, and performance—affirmative actions of vocalization and bodily gesture.
Only sounds that shake through us, an installation by Abbas and Abou-Rahme, is built on this gathered material (2022). With new performances made by the artists who collaborated with dancer Rima Baransi and musicians Haykal, Julmud, and Makimakkuk, working in Ramallah, Palestine, the digital remnants of these performing bodies are brought together. Images of solarized landscapes and demolished homes are overlaid with footage that has been repeated, altered, and layered. The rhythmic projections are enhanced by a shattered Arabic and English script that describes experiences with violence, trauma, displacement, and resistance. The sound, which the artists created, alternates between a lone voice singing in a dirge-like style and a rebounding audio that is replete with bass notes. As sound and moving picture assemble, a testimony of common experience and subsequently a corpus of communal knowledge start to take shape.
May Amnesia Never Kiss Us on the Mouth bears testimony to geopolitical upheavals, forced migration, and community disintegration while also acting as survival strategies for individuals marginalized by colonial-capitalist conditions, reclaiming space for the persistence of alternative political logics. The overall title of the project, May amnesia never kiss us on the mouth, is taken from the English translation of Chilean author Roberto Bolao’s Infrarealist Manifesto (1976), and is used by Abbas and Abou-Rahme as a call to action to fight forgetfulness and the erasure of histories that are all too quickly erased from consciousness.
Abbas and Abou-Rhme will launch the installation with a live performance that is an echo that has been buried and is still beckoning (2022). including additional audio, visual, and text materials from the artist’s greater archive, as well as live singing, electronics, sound sampling, and projections. Through song, this new piece explores the value of voice and embodiment as a testament to the tenacity of communities under pressure.
Tickets to an echo buried, buried, but calling still are free but limited. Book here.
This is the most substantial presentation of the work of Abbas and Abou-Rahme in the UK to date. The project has been commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art and DIA Art Foundation.
Basel Abbas (b. Nicosia, Cyprus, 1983) and Ruanne Abou-Rahme (b. Boston, US, 1983) have had solo exhibitions at, among others, the Art Institute of Chicago (2021); Kunstverein in Hamburg (2018); Art Jameel Project Space Dubai (2017); Alt Bomontiada, Istanbul (2017); and Carroll / Fletcher, London (2016). Their work has been included in major international biennials such as the 12th Sharjah Biennial (2015), the 10th Gwangju Biennale, the 31st São Paulo Biennial (both 2014), the 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013), and the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009).
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