“We need new models.”
This refrain inevitably concludes any discussion about arts funding, whether in the context of a formal panel discussion or a rooftop chat between culture workers. “SOCIAL SECURITY” is an attempt to see what those new models might look like.
Yazaan El-Zo’bi and Islam Shabana, two artists who share a live/work space in Heliopolis; Moshtarak, a newly formed design collective and Obada, a Cairo-based emerging filmmaker, have been invited to a month-long residency in the Townhouse First Floor Gallery. As they work on new and ongoing projects in their studio spaces (open to the public during regular gallery hours), these practitioners will experiment with new ways of engaging the community to build alternative tactics for sustainability.
From December until the second week of January, these artists and culture workers will present public programs to build grassroots support, raise money, and exchange services and goods through networks that bypass traditional channels of fundraising.
They are joined in the space by WAGBA (formerly known as Wednesday Wagbas), Townhouse’s community-funded micro-granting program that was launched in 2011. Weekly meals accompanied by artist talks and discussions will be served in the First Floor for a donation which will go into a general fund to support the artists.
Pushing the boundaries of the notion of an art space as a social space, “SOCIAL SECURITY” looks at how a gallery can function simultaneously as a production site, an event platform and a social space that engenders acts of radical hospitality, fostering an intense engagement between audiences and cultural practitioners. In addition to being a cornerstone of our 15 years events program, “SOCIAL SECURITY” continues in Townhouse’s vein of inquiry into how institutional transparency can manifest in curatorial practice in the 2013-14 season.
Yazaan El-Zo’bi is a Moroccan-Jordanian architect interested in the conservation of architectural heritage and fantasy. He shares a live/work space in Heliopolis with artist Islam Shabana, who employs digital practices of image processing and post/internet art techniques, adopting a spiritual mindset and doubting reality by researching the essence of the matter and energy as related to shape, space, color and time.
Designers Ahmad Aiyad and Deana Shaaban are launching Moshtarak, a collective in the making, that will act as a hub for production and discussion around issues of conceptual visual language and the design of everyday life.
Obada is a Cairo-based filmmaker developing a production team to shoot his first feature-length film. A graduate of the Higher Institute of Cinema, Obada’s short film, “With Love,” was screened at Townhouse in April 2012.
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