My Nineties: A Panorama of Collective Memory Televised

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"My Nineties: A panorama of collective memory televised" poster © Courtesy of The Townhouse Gallery
My Nineties: A Panorama of Collective Memory Televised

6 El Nabrawy Street
Downtown Cairo
April 1st, 2013 - April 17th, 2013
Opening: April 1st, 2013 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

(+202) 2576 80 86
Sat-Wed 12-9
installation, video-art, performance


Documentary film, book, video installations and Audiovisual performance
Townhouse First Floor Gallery Space

- Opening reception: Monday, April 1, 2013 – Rawabet Space
- Signing of the book “My Nineties” by Hassan Elhalwagy: 7:00 pm
- Live audiovisual performance presented by Mohammad Allam and Rami Abadir: 7:30 pm
- Screening of the documentary film “My Nineties” directed by Emad Maher: 8:00 pm

On view at the Townhouse First Floor Gallery from April 1 to April 17, My Nineties is an art project that addresses the era of the nineties through a multi-disciplinary presentation, a book that documents some of what has been already written in the newspapers, magazines and research papers about the Egyptian television in this era. The project also includes the production of a documentary film featuring some of the symbols of the media industry of this era. A video installation and an audiovisual live performance will also take place. 

Through more than 4000 VHS tapes that have been collected from different scrap stores, random individuals and sellers in the Friday market in Cairo, Mohammad Allam was able to dig into the collective memory of the Egyptians over the last few decades. He was able to locate around 200 tapes with different recordings of TV materials from the nineties. These tapes sometimes carefully collected, while other times carelessly stored, constitute an accumulation of efforts that started individually, but then ended collectively. The existence of this material is, thus, not a result of meticulous digital lab work that took place in modern specialists’ labs. Rather, this is a product of a popular passion with the recording of TV programs, soap operas that flooded our TV screens in the nineties, and then re-used to record other TV programs, movies, plays or even family weddings. The owners of this collections of recordings were not concerned with copyrighting their collected materials nor did they expect the growth of an open archive of Egyptian collective memory. 

“My Nineties” exhibition includes video installations presenting the found VHS tapes (some screened raw and others remixed using the same analogue techniques used in the nineties) and an accompanying live audiovisual performance on the opening night using the found footage as a source material performed by Mohamed Allam and Rami Abadir. A documentary by Emad Maher featuring the icons of the 90s media industry will be screened, and the launch of a book by Hassan al-Helougy based on newspaper and magazine articles and scholarly texts examining the role of television during this decade.

* The project was produced with the support of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), the Young Arab Theatre Fund (YATF) and Townhouse.

Project team: Mohamed Allam, project manager; Hassan al-Halougy, writer and research; Emad Maher, film director; Peter Fares, production manager and exhibition coordinator; Adham Bakry, designer.
Special thanks to: Ahmed Sabry, Dalia Abd al-Aziz, Abd al-Rahman Allam, Mona Gameel, Mai al-Wakeel, Nadine Salib, Hagar al-Qadi, Hani Rashid, Hammam Hassan, Rasha Amin

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