A Familiar Place+

 

INTERIOR

(Part I of the installation)

Two videos inside, mirror one another.

On the left A Familiar Place, Cairo 1945-2011. Titi tells the tale of Egypt's history and his own.

On the right, At the balcony, Silent photography video with pictures taken over the course of 60 years.

A Familiar Place (main video)

A video about Titi, his political engagement, Prison and revolutions.

BALCONY & EXTERIOR

(Part II and III of the installation)

Al Bustan is the exterior video, projected on a suspended screen. The balcony is the transition space between interior and exterior, Past and Present in the making.

Al Bustan (The garden) A  mix of modern rushs and archives in the midst of Cairo's streets and uprisings.

(up) At Le Fresnoy. (down) At Muba Eugène Leroy)

Sequence At the balcony, projection photography (Scan photos 6x6, Caption stand)

It is the first visual door, the entry into the images of souvenirs.

Forty black and white photos of Titi and his family, taken on his balcony (1945-2013). Photography narrates the course of 65 years in the life of a family and a country. We see Titi as a young adult in 1946 (16 years old), a woman he loved before she left Egypt, then the experience of prison (1953-1964) illustrated by 19 photography taken as self-portraits in 1957. Titi his cell comrades, all political prisoners, manage to pass through a very small super 8 camera. Placed in a luminous part of the roof, the shadows of the jail bars are projected on their faces. This is the only sign of where we are. These shadows seem to echo with the balcony’s daily reflections on blinders and faces. Then a mature adult with young sons, back on his balcony and last an old man posing with his oldest grandson, 15 years old Omar, who is autistic.


Images appear and disappear to accentuate the passing of time and its ellipse between each image, each moment and its souvenir. The silent projection of still images enters in dialog with Titi’s words in the video A familiar Place. The proximity of both projections results in a non-narrative dialogue between these two types of remembrance (verbal and non verbal). The roundness of the structure (cylindrical) increases the proximity between the character and the observer all the while inviting to a confortable experience of intimacy.

Sequence Video- A Familiar Place 1945-2011

(3 sequences) Engagement/Prison/Generations

We enter the discourse of Titi. How words recreate the string of a life as it faces the history of a country. The camera follows Titi as he moves from one room to the next, a well-rehearsed habitus of life from the inside of the appartment to the balcony. Located in the heart of downtown Cairo and in direct proximity to Tahrir square, Titi’s apartment is directly connected to the city. Sound wise first as the sound of riots echo at the balcony, but also visually with an opening on Tahrir between two buildings. Titi says it’s his «little piece of Tahrir».

Titi unveils the course of his memory, that of a man in a country currently going through an amnesic phase. Must one forget to start again? How does one build a revolution while not remembering the ones, which lead to this moment? What is the meaning of a life dedicated to political engagement? With complete honesty and a fascinating memory, Titi talks.

 

I) Engagement: Titi speaks of his political identity, how it all started, his references

II) Prison: Titi narrates 11 years of life, talks of emprisonnement and collective social awareness.

III) Generations: Titi crosses the bridge to speak of now, the regrets he has not to have transmitted and exchanged more with younger generations, where they stand after 2011...

Vidéo 1 -A Familiar Place-Titi (PAL, 37’, couleur)

Conception/image/sound : Yasmina Benari

Editing : Laureline Delom

Editing/mix sound : Jerôme Petit

Archives photography : Albert Arié

Titi and Cooki, recording byTamara Ben Ari

Sweet Sir Galahad, words and music by Joan Baez, copyright © Chandos Music

 

Vidéo 2 -At the Balcony (HD, 17’47’’, noir et blanc)

Caption title/editing image : Yasmina Benari

Photography assistant : Ana Katharina Sheidegger

Vidéo 3 -Al Bustan (PAL, 10’30’’, couleur)

Image/editing : Yasmina Benari

Color grading: Ludivine Sibelle

 

Sound

Interior- Titi sans titre (Mono, 5 tracks, 29’59’’) with Albert Arié

Sound/Conception : Yasmina Benari

Edit sound/mix : Jerôme Petit-

 

Le Balcon - Letter written by Albert Arié, adressed to and read by Yasmina Benari

 

Installation produced by le Fresnoy, National studio for Contemporary Arts