Mohamed Abdelkarim

video - objecten - schilderen - artistiek onderzoek - performance

Mohamed Abdelkarim is a performer, filmmaker, and researcher. His practice is performance oriented. He considers performance as a research method and a practice through which he produces texts and images that embody multiforms. He employs and reflects on performative acts like narrating, singing, detecting, doing, fictioning, and recently, speculating. His current umbrella project focuses on the agency of the landscape as a witness of "a history we missed and a future we did not attend yet". His works have been included in the Sharjah-biennial 11, Guild Master of Cabaret Voltaire, Manifesta 11, Live Works Performance Act Award Vol.5, IT and Berlinale 72 /Forum Expanded, 2022. He received his MA in Arts in public spheres from édhéa /ecav, CH, 2016 and is currently Ph.D. candidate at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna. Abdelkarim is living and working between Cairo and Rotterdam.

Floating Limb – the case of evolution - #1, 2023, pigment and ink on cotton paper 50 x 70 cm
A Gift To Those Who Contemplate The Marvels Of Renegades - The performance involves establishing a narrative archive featuring a selection of seven characters float between real figures and are marginalized from history, whether it be from the history from below, fiction, or almost fiction. The selection of these characters, with various statuses of renegades, has to do with "Queerness, Mercenaries, Myth, Forced Migration, and Diaspora," and the narrative will explore these various currencies of locomotion. The props and tools used in the performance play the role of the characters' archive. This archive consists of books, cartographies, poems, images, soundtracks, and objects. The performance narrative moves between all these materials as a means of storytelling.
Unfortunately, I Got Different Bodies, But One Tongue - The performance is structured around narrative and takes the form of poetry, songs, and lyrics. Fragmented narratives are utilized to complicate the relationship between the notions of body and performativity. Historical events are revisited and future crises are speculated upon in order to examine how a body is staged through performance. The performance includes a range of performative acts, such as seeing, mentioning, dying, dreaming, reincarnating, and automating, to explore the different ways in which the body can be presented through performance.
Isabelle Searches For Monad - Performance, 2016, 35 minutes. Starting from Isabelle Eberhardt's history: was a writer and traveler in 1898 she dressed like a man and left Europe to North Africa "Sahara" and called herself Si Mahmoud Saadi before she died, Isabelle was the leader of the Qadiriyya Sufi order. Through the research of Isabelle's biopolitics matter, within the notion of "Queer Diaspora" the performance questions the possibilities of the story as one of the unaccountable bodies of knowledge. Considering the medieval perspective of "Monad." as an intro to the mystical wolds of the body
Oh, I Am So Sorry! I Didn’t Mean To Scratch Your Face - Performance, 2017, 25 minutes. The performance is an episode of an ongoing performance project. The play delves into the exploration of the concept of "ugliness" and savagery, aiming to propose a redefinition of savagery in the context of times of crisis. Employing a combination of narratives, masks, and images, the play engages in a critical examination of the archetype of ugliness, drawing inspiration from both historical and contemporary drama productions. Within the subgenre of horror films, the Zombie is portrayed as an antagonist - an infected, decaying, and unsightly human figure that poses a threat of contagion to others. Similarly, in One Thousand and One Nights, also known as Arabian Nights, the Ghoul is presented as a fearsome creature existing between life and death, once again depicted as an unattractive entity. In these dramatic portrayals, Zombies and Ghouls are perceived as unsightly adversaries with monstrous forms, thereby presenting a menace to the protagonists. In contrast, the protagonists, often depicted as flawless individuals, emerge as the heroes who conquer these grotesque entities. Both of these dramatic narratives underscore the notion of the "ugly body" functioning as an antagonist deserving of elimination. This play utilizes the models of Zombies and Ghouls as a means to explore potential modes of existence during times of enduring crisis. Through a presentation that offers a darker interpretation of One Thousand and One Nights, the project delves into a fundamental question: "If savagery serves as a form of resistance, how can we contemplate its aesthetic qualities?" Through this performance, the complex interplay between ugliness, savagery, and resistance within a crisis-laden context is vividly examined and articulated.
Gazing…Unseeing - The video speculates a future scenario demonstrated in a climate fiction narrative. The narrative is based on a pseudo interview with an imagined fugitive in a post-disaster era. Through different positions, ideological turns, and economic sovereignty, the interview imagines the future of the greens, governments, and private sectors in a post-flood city. The landscape and fiction narrative complicates the relationship between infrastructure, privatization, ecology, surveillance, and migration.
I Almost Forgot The Roving Body…Let’s Call It The Future - In a world teeming with drones and devoid of humans, the film follows a drone on an immigration journey to the north. Through a conversation with an anonymous figure, insights are gained into conflicts and the contrasting power dynamics of infrastructures and geographies.
A Song For The Loose Destiny - In a distant future, a group of humans gather at a coal mining site to reflect on their past or our future. Against the backdrop of the abandoned Zollverein coal mining industrial site, they engage in dialogue and perform speeches, songs, and poems that convey a sense of sublimity, pain, and alienation. The film speculates on the complex relationship between technology, landscape, and the human body in a post-disaster world. The landscape bears witness to both progress and devastation, portraying potential emergences in the future.
To slacken the ocean!…over my thick skin - The work contemplates the water lexicon - crossing, floating, drowning, withdrawing... staging the objects, fabrics, and ropes, speculating on the sea in the time of post-crisis.