13.05, 20.05, 27.05.2023

The Politics of Language

talks & encounters / poetry / lecture performance

Maison poème

Stair-climbing (up or down) | ⧖ 1h30 | €7 / €5

In line with a reflection on language learning that runs through this edition, the festival organises a series of talks on language taking place every Saturday at noon. Each encounter brings together theoretical and poetic words, exposing the porous border between them, and addresses a specific question on the politics of language. On the first Saturday, we gather around the link between mother tongue, transmission, and motherhood, with the Lebanese writer Mirene Arsanios and her Notes on Mother Tongues, excerpts from which appear in our brochure. This talk will be followed by a performance by Anouchka Oler Nussbaum. On the second Saturday, artist Ahilan Ratnamohan gives a lecture that delves into language and its relationship to migration and national identity. The final Saturday will have the theorist Louisa Yousfi presenting her book Rester barbare, which examines the invention of non-hegemonic language as a force of resistance to the idea of civilization, followed by a discussion with the artist and poet Tarek Lakhrissi and the audience. These three encounters take place at the Maison poème, a new home for poetry and language recently opened on the site of the old Théâtre Poème.

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Mirene Arsanios

Mirene Arsanios is the author of the short story collection, The City Outside the Sentence (Ashkal Alwan, 2015), Notes on Mother Tongues (UDP, 2019), and more recently, The Autobiography of a Language (Futurepoem, 2022). She has contributed essays and short stories to e-flux journal, Vida, The Brooklyn Rail, LitHub, and Guernica, among others. Her writing was featured collaboratively at the Sharjah Biennial (2017) and Venice Biennial (2017), as well as in various artist books and projects. Arsanios co-founded the collective 98weeks Research Project in Beirut and is the founding editor of Makhzin, a bilingual English / Arabic magazine for innovative writing. She teaches at Pratt Institute and holds an MFA in Writing from the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College. Arsanios currently lives in New York where she was a 2016 LMCC Workspace fellow, and an ART OMI resident in fall 2017. With Rachel Valinsky, she coordinated the Friday nights reading series at the Poetry Project from 2017 untill 2019. She lives and works in Brooklyn.

Anouchka Oler Nussbaum

Anouchka Oler Nussbaum (1988, France / Switzerland) is a visual artist who lives and works in Brussels. Her videos and performances are at once magic tricks, stand-up comedy and experimental philosophy. The sculptures, objects, animals and people who take part in them carry out exhilarating embodied investigations in search of ways of being in the world that are cathartic, reparatory and emancipatory. She co-founded feeelings with gladys gérenton in 2017, an artist-run-space working with economic and affective concerns. She has presented and developed her work in exhibitions, collective events and residencies.

Ahilan Ratnamohan

Ahilan Ratnamohan is a performance-maker working with non-classically trained performers to create cross-disciplinary pieces. He is inspired above all by sport and language-learning processes. In his early twenties Ahilan attempted to make a career as a professional footballer spending time in the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden. He began concentrating on contemporary performance in 2007, collaborating with a range of companies in Sydney, most extensively with Urban Theatre Projects, Branch Nebula and Martin del Amo. Since 2012 he has been based in Antwerp, where he began to lead his own projects. His work is disparate and straddles many different themes and aesthetics. In the last 10 years his work has developed into three trajectories: the choreographic investigation of football; language learning as performance; his collaboration with the Star Boy Collective, the performance troupe which grew organically out of his first production, Michael Essien I want to play as you… Since 2020 Ahilan is a member of the collectively, autonomous production house Robin vzw.

Louisa Yousfi

Louisa Yousfi is a journalist and an anti-colonial militant. She is the author of the book Rester barbare, published in 2022 by La Fabrique éditions.

Tarek Lakhrissi

Tarek Lakhrissi is a Paris-based French artist and poet who has a background in literature. He explores socio-political accounts and speculative situations of transformation and magic using words, films, installations and performances.His work was exhibited by numerous institutions and can be found in the collections of CNAP, FRAC Aquitaine, IAC, FRAC Grand Large, Defares and the Sandretto Foundation. He is represented by Galerie Allen and Vitrine Gallery.

Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Maison poème
Coproduction: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Midis de la Poésie, FrancoFaune
Performance Learning How to Speak Again by Anouchka Oler Nussbaum commissioned by Mophradat as part of the festival Read the Room in 2022
Lecture Ahilan Ratnamohan in collaboration with Passa Porta and Kaaitheater

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