In collaboration with Dorit Margreiter at the 11th Cairo Biennale

The theme of the Cairo Biennale 2008 addresses the dichotomous relationship of the self and the other under the title - “The Other Is No Other But Myself.”
Artists Roberta Lima and Dorit Margreiter take up this theme in the Austrian contribution to the Cairo Biennale in their work that will focus on the “Western” perspective on strategies of appropriation applied to Cairo as a site for experiencing cultural alterity. Using their examination of the city and cultural contexts of Cairo as a basis, the artists seek to create illustrative models as (re)constructions of the urban space as a mode of investigating its power to effect and create realities. The artists will address the employment of the copy, reproduction, appropriation, authenticity and desferral as figures within in (architectural) monuments and (textual) documents: these are “figures” that particulary bring to light the ambivalences in the relationships between territorialism, imagination and the politics of representation. The spatial coordinates inscribed in such relations here are conceived less in terms of socio-geographic statistical data that has been shaped in an artistic process and then presented in a ‘readable’ format and more in terms of dynamic relations that generate agency. A key idea here is the “world as performance” based on Milton Singer’s concept of “cultural performance”. Singer's idea refers to the interconnectedness of text and performance, bringing awareness to the transformatory character of culture incorporating within it the possibility to endow identities and notions of the subject with new meanings that can also reflects moments of intercultural interchange. Within this context the concrete experience of the spatial relations within an exhibition space plays a constitutive role in terms of aesthetic and cognitive experiences of the elements and facts the space is composed of; hence, the focus on performative praxis is to be understood as bodily from of perception regarding the performativity of the space itself. This particular artistic/thematic approach is also a point of connection for Roberta Lima’s and Dorit Margreiter’s artistic practices. Through employing different kinds of media, for instance film, video, layout drawings, photography, performance and bookmaking, the work will do justice to the complex languages of the material relevant to the artistic and curatorial research and production process, related to Carl Gustav Jung’s definition of “Synchronicity”.

Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein


Photography: Anja Manfredi