Fehras Publishing Practices
Borrowed Faces: The Second Chapter
Soft Opening on Thursday, 5 August 2021, 2pm onwards
Installation: 6-29 August 2021
Opening Hours: Thursday-Sunday, 2-7pm
Guided tours: 12 August 2021, 4pm (Arabic), 5pm (English), 6pm (German)
Fehras Publishing Practices presents the new chapter of their long-term research Borrowed Faces. This project examines publishing culture in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa during the Cold War era, focusing on the interrelation between politics, funding, and cultural production. In this research, the collective follows the traces of individuals, publishers, magazines, and institutions to draw their connections and roles in shaping the cultural production due to ideological and conceptual ideas. Central to the work is the globalization of culture in the EMNA region in the early 1960s, among others as a consequence of the cultural policies pursued by the bipolar power, the United States, and the former Soviet Union. The project observes the influences of late modernism, as well as the impact of independent and non-aligned movements of individuals, publications, and groups. This era witnessed new institutional frameworks and formats of “universal” collaborations such as conferences and journals, which created the foundation of new global values. It also presented the rise of collectives, alternative projects, movements, and connectedness to re-constructed geographies such as the South-South connection. The project examines this period by looking at the common denominators between cultural practices then and today such as cultural policies, funding systems, the role of institutions, networking, the political role of intellectuals and their representation, the manipulation of cultural production, and the pseudo-equality between the cultural players.
In the framework of the Berlin Artistic Research Grant Programme, Fehras presents a tripartite work at Haus der Statistik. This installation connects the historical research of the collective with their personal relationship to the archive.
Fehras Publishing Practices (Sami Rustom, Omar Nicolas and Kenan Darwich) is an artist collective founded in 2015 in Berlin. It researches the history and presence of publishing and its entanglement in the socio-political and cultural sphere in the Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa and the Arab diaspora. It observes publishing as a possibility for creating, and accumulating knowledge and initiate projects in different formats such as installations, films, publications, lectures and performances aiming to extend the notion of publishing.
The presented installation runs parallel to the exhibition Borrowed Faces: Future Recall by Fehras Publishing Practices at the Mosaic Rooms in London. Parts of the displayed elements were developed for the London show. The research of Borrowed Faces is facilitated with the support of the Berlin Artistic Research Grant Programme for 2020/21.