[MKMAEL has just joined the room]
Mahmoud Khaled's alias logs in to explore controversial terrain
By Bassam El-Baroni
In a popular TV commercial for Nokia, actor Gary Oldman proclaims with a blazing casualness that "all the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." Indeed. In an ever-expanding world of wireless communication, internet addiction, and online communities, the Shakespearian quote resonates in many more ways than it used to.
MKMAEL is the title of Mahmoud Khaled's ongoing, process-oriented art project, launched towards the end of 2004. The stage this young artist from Alexandria has chosen is the intangible platform of the world wide web. MKMAEL is also the nickname Khaled uses as a login for the instant messaging system from which he communicates and shares conversations with male contacts from the Middle East. The letters that make up this nickname are the first letters of the artist's full name as featured on his Egyptian state identity card.
The many taboos and long-held assumptions surrounding sexual orientation and sexual identity in the Middle East have helped to create an artistic climate in which same-sex relationships and gayness are most usually referred to through the filters of self-censorship, metaphors, and other coded forms. The MKMAEL project is a discursive attempt at exploring the psychological and sociopolitical aspects of sexual identity construction and reconstruction in chatrooms. When eventually presented to the public, MKMAEL promises to be one of the first art projects emerging from the region to discuss issues pertaining to the psychology of cyberspace and cyber-relationships in the Middle East.
Over the span of the last two years, the part-fictional character MKMAEL has had both short-term and long-term online relationships, although to preserve his anonymity and to remain as emotionally uninvolved as possible, he never uses a microphone, real pictures of himself, or a webcam-and, of course, he never shows up on real dates. Khaled began the project with the intention of keeping it purely text-based, but gradually discovered that the introduction of specially designed avatars added to one-on-one dialogues the compelling power of the image and the almost infinite possibilities of self-representation. The driving force behind the endless hours of instant messaging is, as Khaled puts it, "a pressing need to create documents, eventually leading to the creation of an archive that seriously represents and disambiguates this type of relationship and interactivity."
The dialogues attest to the online reciprocation of lies, hidden desires, twisted social logic, and feelings of alienation among MKMAEL and his "buddy list." MKMAEL delineates the boundaries between interaction in physical space and interaction through electronic interfaces in an attempt to demonstrate the inscrutable nature of reality in these rooms without walls.
It is in chatrooms that we find definite symptoms of the topsy-turvy world Debord foresaw in The Society of the Spectacle, a world where "the true is a moment of the false." Throughout endless streams of text, Khaled plays a multitude of roles. For his fellow chatters, he is MKMAEL, a trans-local character with whom they can make conversation; for us he's a cyber-situationist and contextualizing social agitator.
The MKMAEL archive is nearing completion, and Khaled has his ambitions set on premiering the project in the second half of 2007. "The installation," as the artist describes it, will feature a structural presentation of the MKMAEL dialogues as process, document, and visual representation. Anticipating its public unveiling, one wonders whether MKMAEL will be food for controversy or food for thought, hoping that the latter will be the case.
"In my works I use an imagery varying from anonymous family photographs, cheap landscape paintings, household furniture; knickknacks and embroideries. I like to use feminine handcraftsmanship, as a reminiscent of domestic life and I generally deal with the matter how we locate our memories in our social existence, between the ideas of being a good son, a respected person, love for the values we gain through education and our own ambitions."
by Mehmet Dere
Come sweet come
Gürçeşme de ki her olay kaçınılmaz bir biçimde indirgenemez bir şey şeklinde görünür,Her bir olay bir beden oluşturur,cisimleşir.(genel olarak) Türkiye'nin herhangi bir yerinden farklı sonu gelmez bir düzensizliğe doğru akan bazen mantıksal dizgeye kapalı kendi içinde haklı bir varoluşa sahiptir.Sadece bir yön olarak gerçeğin tam anlamından nasibini al(a)masada kentin dokusunun dışında kalan basit,yakın güven verici olamayan bütün anlamların dışında görünürlülüğü kaybolmaya müsait herkese açıktır.Bütün verdiğimiz sıfatları yitirir.Ruh yazıya yazı sese ses de sokakta yankısı bulan aynaya dönüşür.(ölüm,cinsellik,beden,din,yazı)Duvarlar yada evler kısa bir parlamayla görünmeyen dünyayı açığa vurun bir ışığa dönüşebilir.Beklenmedik devinimin bir parçası olarak salınım halinde dolaşırsınız,gece gibi ağır ve yoğundur,bu görmeye alışık olamadığınız bir içli dışlılık üretir,gece yaşar ve böylece uzar.Elektrik lambalarının lokal sarı ışığı ve giyinmeye alışık olmayan insanların yüzleri, başıboş köpeklerin sesleri ve yoğun trafikle kesin,ve kesilen devingen bölünmüşlük hem sanatı hem gerçeği sergiler. Kendiliğindenlik.Kendiliğindenliğin tanımı budur.Durumlar, duygular, uzlaşmazlıklar olarak sesli ,hızlı ve zarif dışarının el altından bastırmış olduğu tüm kuşatılmışlığa rağmen (kırılıp) yansıyan bir fark olarak kendini ele vermesidir.İçtenlik yada ruh olarak kopya etmez belirtir. Okunmaya sunulmuş dünyada içinde gerçekleştiği boşluğu anımsatmak istercesine bir yolculuk sunar.Bu kendini armağan eden bir canlı ve doğal bir kaçamaktır.Bu şimdi de yaşayan çingenelerin zamanı ve mekanıdır,kavranılacak merkez yoktur,serbestlik ,iç içe girmişlik,sarsılmaların evlerin ve yüzlerin arasında " şeylerin" tersine dönüşünün sayısız ışıltılarıyla dolu dünyanın geçiş yönü..
Michael Baers was born in Los Angeles, California, and grew up in Hawaii. He attended the California College of Arts as an undergraduate and, a decade later, completed an MFA in studio art and critical writing at the California Institute of the Arts (in the intervening period, he first made films, then, abandoning his film career, worked as a journalist in Los Angeles). Between 2004 and 2005 he was a participant in the Whitney Independent Study Program. An important correlate to his artistic practice is teaching, and he has worked as a guest instructor in Denmark and Norway, leading seminars that mix theory and artistic praxis. He has also occasionally written catalogue essays and curated group exhibitions. Michael Baers has participated in exhibitions throughout North America and Europe. With the exception of a year in New York, he has been based in Berlin since 2003.
Since 2004 Michael Baers has focused his artistic production on making publication projects that resemble comic books, but are concerned with topics that include historiography, the cultural field, art history, and politics. The publication, “Wavelenght” (2006), for example, is at once an iterative investigation of the visual logic in Michael Snow’s film, “Wavelength” and an analysis of the theory and criticism written about the film. In his work, Baers has employed not only his own drawings, but archival photographs and professional illustrators as well. For instance, “The Truth is Concrete but the Concrete is Abstract” (2007), a fictive conversation between Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht concerning Danish asylum policy, was made utilizing three archival photographs of Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht playing chess, while the images for “Love Amongst Europe’s Creative Class”, a dramatization of a seminar on research processes in art held in Stockholm, were produced by two professional illustrators. When exhibiting, Baers often employs a sculptural mode of display for his work, which, in effect, serves as a distribution system (often given away for free). The gradual dematerialization of the work in the exhibition space also allows for processes of entropy to become manifest.
is a visual artist working in Copenhagen. For a number of years his practice has been concentrating on socio-political issues. He has a history of public interventions, audience interactivity in projects which in diifferent ways seek to create a direct social impact. His main focus is social and gender relations, power, communication, and how these concepts affect identity formation both on the individual, the inter-cultural and inter-state levels. He is influenced by Post-colonial theory and third wave feminism.
The Listening Post is an audience interactive sculpture, which invites the audience to mount it, sit, and listen to the Turkish people. The piece is about communication. All communication requires a sender, a receiver and a media that carries information. Meaningful communication requires that the involved parties exchange not only information but also identities. That is to become listeners as well as speakers.
Goll & Hamou
Morten Goll and Joachim Hamou are both artists living in Copenhagen. Since 2004 they have been collaborating on various video art projects, and in 2005 they formed the identity ”fff – More People Mediate”, which is an editorial group producing TV-programs for the local TV station tv-tv, broadcasting to Greater Copenhagen, Denmark. fff have produced a number of political programs, who all in different ways attempt to challenge the conventional structure of public TV communication. The aim is to examine whether the structure of communication defines, not only what can be said, but as well what political and individual identities are supported by the TV media. Goll & Hamou uses tv-tv as a platform to broadcast subversive communication structures directly to people's living rooms.
Medea and the Bosporus (58 minutes, Turkish subtitles)
Is a TV-program with 3 invited guests, who are all well known Danish politicians. Poul Nielson is a Social Democrat and a former High Commissioner to the EU. Morten Messerschmidt is MP of The Danish Peoples' Party, which promotes an extreme right wing nationalist agenda. Yildiz Akdogan is a candidate to the parliament and head of the network www.trieu.dk, working to promote Turkeys candidacy to the EU. An invited audience consisting of mainly Danes of Turkish decendance is in the studio.
During the program the politicians and the audience performs a heated debate on the subject of Turkey's possible entrance into the EU. Simultaneously, they take part in the Greek tragedy Medea. Medea is played by Yildiz Akdogan, Jason by Morten Messerschmidt, King Kreon by Poul Nielson. The audience act as the tragedy's chorus.
Kristina Ask (1971) is a visual artist based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
She is primarily working in collaborative and project based situations addressing issues of publics, public spaces and the role of art in contemporary urban society. Her work includes writing, activism, media based projects and graphic design, usually including a feminist perspective. The different aspects of her practice are related and often overlapping. A continuous challenge of the work is to break down the barriers between theory and a practice developing between activism and other kinds of critical and subversive image production on the verge of the art sphere. Her work is often immaterial, taking shape as workshops and other kinds of participatory projects. Kristina Ask is co-editor of the art magazine Öjeblikket and a member of the board in UKK, Young Art workers.