Notes for a choreography premiers Arsanios’s new film, OLGA’s NOTES, all those restless bodies (2014), a co-production between Kunsthalle Lissabon and Art in General, New York.
This film takes an article on the establishment of the ballet dance school in Cairo that appeared in Al Hilal magazine (January 1963) as its starting point. The article describes the ballet school as the “factory of the bodies”. The ballet school being part of the Egypt’s modernization project and Nasser’s nation state building at that time. Supported by Russian directors such as Lavrosky, the ballet school became an important institution in this state project.
The film script juggles between different dances and small stories linked to this history. Looking at dance from a historical and political perspective and looking at the body from the perspective of dance, labor and exploitation. Dance becomes an excuse to think about labor, and labor an excuse to think about dance and movement. Also to think about the violence of nation state building and how this can be directly perceived on the body of the dancer. The damaged dancer after years of training, rehearsing and performing becomes a metaphor of the violence of state projects, nation state building that comes with a capitalist ideology and its consumerist relation to the body.
This film is part of Arsanio’s long term research project “Al Hilal” that takes the collection of magazines from the 50s and 60s as its starting point to look at questions of decolonization, nation state, violence and the marginalization of feminism.
The exhibition also presents I’VE HEARD STORIES (2008), a short animation staging a story that took place at the Carlton Hotel in Beirut. The Carlton Hotel was an iconic modernist building designed by architect Karol Shayer. The animation tries to explore different ways of narrating an event, using diverse sources, voices, and the way they have been circulated. The beauty of modern architecture is filled with crime, violence and death.