At those terrifying frontiers
14. 11. – 24. 11. 2022
At those terrifying frontiers where the existence and disappearance of people fade into each other

At those terrifying frontiers

Basel Abbas + Ruanne Abou-Rahme

PYLON is pleased to present an online screening by Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, starting on Monday, November 14, 2022.

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme work together across a range of sound, image, text, installation and performance practices. Their practice is engaged in the intersections between performativity, political imaginaries, the body and virtuality. Across their works they probe a contemporary landscape marked by seemingly perpetual crisis and an endless ‘present’, one that is shaped by a politics of desire and disaster. They have been developing a body of work that questions this suspension of the present and searches for ways in which an altogether different imaginary and language can emerge that is not bound within colonial/capitalist narrative and discourse. In their projects, they find themselves excavating, activating and inventing incidental narratives, figures, gestures and sites as material for re-imagining the possibilities of the present. Often reflecting on ideas of non-linearity in the form of returns, amnesia and deja vu, and in the process unfolding the slippages between actuality and projection (fiction, myth, wish), what is and what could be. Largely their approach has been one of sampling materials both existing and self-authored in the form of sound, image, text, objects and recasting them into altogether new ‘scripts’. The result is a practice that investigates the political, visceral, material possibilities of sound, image, text and site, taking on the form of multi-media installations and live sound/image performances.

Basel Abbas was born in Nicosia, Cyprus, in 1983. Ruanne Abou-Rahme was born in Boston in 1983.

Their work was included in the 53rd Venice Biennale, Italy (2009); Home Works 5, Beirut, Lebanon (2010); the 2010 Liverpool Biennial, UK; ‘The Zone’, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK (2011); and, in 2012, the 4th Guanzhou Triennial, China. Earlier this year, the New York Museum of Modern Art hosted a solo presentation of their recent eponymous work 'May amnesia never kiss us on the mouth'.

Abbas and Abou-Rahme live and work in New York City.

The online screening is part of PYLON-Lab's program COLLATERAL EXTINCTION and funded by Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen. Gefördert durch die Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen. Diese Maßnahme wird mitfinanziert durch Steuermittel auf der Grundlage des vom Sächsischen Landtag beschlossenen Haushaltes.

At those terrifying frontiers where the existence and disappearance of people fade into each other

And so our need for a new consciousness at those terrifying frontiers where the existence and disappearance of people fade into each other

-Edward Said After the Last Sky

Fragments from Edward Said’s most personal and poetic work After the Last Sky are repurposed to create a new script that reflects on what it means now to be constructed as an ‘illegal’ person, body or entity. The script is turned into a song sung and performed by the artists as multiple avatars. Using a software that generates avatars from a single image the avatars in the video are all drawn from people who participated in the ‘March of Return’, that continue to take place on the seamline in Gaza, an area that has been under physical siege by the Israeli army since 2006. With the impossibility of the artists, who were also in Palestine, reaching the marchers and the marchers reaching them the avatars that are created create a composite between the original images and the artist as the performers of the avatars only a 100 km away. The work attempts to rupture this impossible imposed distance in an act of intense proximity and new becoming. The algorithm in the avatar software renders the missing data and information (due to the low resolution of images circulated online) in the original image as scars, glitches and incomplete features on the avatar's faces. By keeping and not ‘fixing’ these visible scars the work speaks not only to the violence of the material reality but to the often invisible and embedded violence of representation itself in the circulation/consumption of images and ultimately to the violence in the algorithm. At those terrifying frontiers thinks about how to continue, how to mutate, in order not only to survive but to generate resistant possibilities of being and breathing within impossible conditions of violence and erasure.