The Jerusalem Show VI

Marwa Arsanios & Lawrence Abu Hamdan 

The Pessoptimist Marathon: Contemporary Encounters with Saeed

Live streaming audio performance, 2012

Four readers (two in Palestine and two in Lebanon) will take turns reading Emile Habibi’s novel The Pessoptimist. In a parallel program, six writers and artists in both places respond to Saeed, the protagonist of Habibi’s novel; they discuss the novel from a contemporary perspective through direct dialog with Saeed or bring in a different reading or a different character. This one-day event—part conference, part performance—is an attempt to take Saeed outside the text and think about the very idea of a contemporary Saeed, the pessoptimist. The project will culminate in the production of a publication, including an audiobook version of Habibi’s classic, thus rewriting The Pessoptimist.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an artist based in London. His most recent solo exhibition The Whole Truth (2012) at Casco, Utrecht is part of the ongoing Aural Contract project, which has also been presented at Extra-City, Antwerp and The Taipei Biennial (2012). Other works include Model Court at Chisenhale Gallery London (2011) and Marches for Artangel, London (2008). His hybridized practice means that he has written for Cabinet Magazine and the 10th Sharjah Biennial and is now developing a radio documentary trilogy and publication commissioned by The Showroom London, Casco Utrecht and as part of a doctoral program at the Centre for Research Architecture Goldsmiths College.

Marwa Arsanios earned a Master of Fine Arts from Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts, in London in 2007; she is currently a researcher in the fine art department at the Jan Van Eyck Academie. She has exhibited in London, Beirut, Athens, Oxford, Manchester, Lisbon, Santiago de Chile, Rome, Damascus, Berlin, and Istanbul. Her videos have been screened in several festivals and events, including the Rio de Janeiro film festival in 2010, the e-flux storefront in New York, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. She is one of the nominees for the Pinchuk Future Generation Art Prize 2012 and is a founding member of the artist organization and project space 98weeks.

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