The 2013 exhibition series in the Darkroom at Turku Art Museum showcases video art by artists from the Middle East. The first artist in the series is Maha Maamoun (b. 1972) with the work 2026 (2010, 9 min). The video takes us into the future, to Egypt in the year 2026. We see a man, connected to a virtual world, lying in a hammock and experiencing a breathtaking journey in time. In the enchanted night, the narrator’s hypnotic voice wanders around the pyramids, describing sights and events. The text is based on The Revolution of 2053 (2007), a futuristic novel by the Egyptian writer Mahmoud Osman. The visuals consist of black-and-white still pictures that reference Chris Marker’s experimental film The Pier (La Jetée, 1962).
2026 brings the eclectic utopia experienced by the time traveller on a cruel collision course with dystopia. Big Brother watches over a smooth artificial landscape that hides a decaying city. Paradise is meant only for the chosen, the outside is for survival. The themes addressed in 2026 and The Revolution of 2053 – widespread corruption, the rise of opposition movements and events leading up to the revolution – bring art close to reality.
Maha Maamoun works primarily with video and photography. Her works are often based on depictions of Cairo where she lives. In her earlier piece, Domestic Tourism II (2008), Maamoun searched Egyptian films for scenes shot at the pyramids, investigating their representation. The investigation also gave her the idea for 2026, in which her interest focuses on the boundaries of language and imagination. How are our ideas of the future limited by our current knowledge, language and concepts? At the same time, pictures are also seen as opportunities for moving from one time to another to solve the problems of the present.Meet the artist
On Thursday 24 January 2013 Maha Maamoun will give a talk in English about her artistic practice in the Kuvateatteri of the Turku Arts Academy (Linnankatu 54-60) starting at 2 pm. Admission is free and the meeting is open to the public.