Bassam El Baroni
Since 2009
Works in Alexandria Egypt

Bassam El Baroni is a curator and writer based in Alexandria, Egypt. He is the co-founder and artistic manager of Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (ACAF) a non-profit art space operating since December 2005.
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The Arpanet Dialogues Vol.III - Online

Tue Nov 01, 2011 03:10 - Tue Nov 01, 2011

The ARPANET Dialogues Vol.III
The third installment of the ongoing online archive project  The ARPANET Dialogues is now online. This is installment is the
transcription for an ARPANET conversation that took place in March 1976 between between four figures from the 1970s-era art community: German artist, educator and activist, Joseph Beuys; Chilean-born multimedia artist and filmmaker, Juan Downey; Rosalind Krauss, art critic and co-founder of the new journal October; and the world-renown British sculptor, Henry Moore.
Read it here:
About the ARPANET Dialogues:
In the period between 1975 and 1979, the Agency convened a rare series of conversations between an eccentric cast of characters representing a wide range of perspectives within the contemporary social, political and cultural milieu. The ARPANET Dialogues is a
serial document which archives these conversations. Even more unusual perhaps was the specific circumstances of the conversation: taking advantage of recent developments in telecommunications technology, the conversation was conducted via an instant messaging application networked by computers plugged into ARPANET, the United States Department of Defense’s experimental computer network. All participants in the conversation were given special access to terminals connected to ARPANET, many of them located in US military installations or DOD-sponsored research institutions around the world. Excerpts from eachsession will be published as they become available. The ARPANET Dialogues is an ongoing research project by Bassam El Baroni, Jeremy Beaudry and Nav Haq.


Trapped in Amber: Angst for a Reenacted Decade

Fri Feb 20, 2009 00:00 - Sun Feb 01, 2009


Unge Kunstneres Samfund / Young Artists Society
Lakkegata 55d
0187 Oslo

Trapped in Amber: Angst for a Reenacted Decade
21 February - 22 March 2009

Opening reception and catalogue launch: Friday 20 February 2009, 7 pm, with a Special Performance by Magnus Monfeldt on Opening night

Trapped in Amber curators in conversation with the artists: Saturday 21 February 2009, 3 pm

Artists: Daniel Garcia Andujar, Hamdi Attia, Bodil Furu, Assefa Gebrekidan, Iman Issa, Mahmoud Khaled, Magnus Monfeldt, and Harwood, Wright, Yokokoji

Curated by: Bassam El Baroni and Helga-Marie Nordby

Trapped in Amber: Angst for a Reenacted Decade is an exhibition that draws on Oslo’s art history, specifically the city’s tradition of northern European ‘Angst’ demonstrated in the oeuvres of such pivotal figures as Edvard Munch. The exhibition aims to test the limits of cultural industry stereotypes by creating a contemporary comparative to the phenomenon of Fin de siècle angst-ridden artistic production. Through the works of the invited artists, Trapped in Amber considers angst’s possible post-continental existence today in contemporary artistic formats. Of particular interest is the way angst can live on and express itself in a different world and age, experiencing different problems and in the midst of new cultural, socio-economic, and information dynamics.

Most narratives written by the cannon on the Fin de siècle symbolists and expressionists, point out that these artists aimed at capturing and portraying some sort of universal angst, a border-crossing scream of human emotional intensity; the metaphors are plentiful. Universality back then seems to have lacked a common cultural denominator, and to have been defined mostly in relation to nature, spirituality, and in some cases creative egotism. If the Fin de siècle artists reflected what was to them the 'universal angst' of their time, what kind of images, cultural processes, critical perspectives, or icons, if any, can reflect and be involved with a 'universal angst' in today's world? How can one engage with terms such as “Universal” and “Angst” in a narrative of the here and now? Trapped in Amber aims to engineer a critical and spatial context where the works articulate different trajectories cutting through the main issues of angst and/or universality.

The global financial crisis is taking its toll on many, another ‘great depression’ but this time born of hyper-deregulation, the resurgence of political and social ideologies that were quite hastily labeled ‘dead’, and a decade marking the deterioration of the world’s intercultural relationships. Perhaps the world is currently trapped in an amber traffic light switched on by a past epoch, still not able to make substantial moves forward on the socio-cultural and political levels despite great technological advances. Perhaps, the cultural economy we function in is verging on the archaic because our ideologies are too old to develop potent discourses and our post-ideological frames of mind are nothing but the pretty and fresh looking amber resin that encases old and untouched problems. In light of these metaphorical realizations, Trapped in Amber seeks to traverse between the very early modernist years, in which the art of Edvard Munch reached its peak, and the social, intellectual, and political conditions in which art has existed during the first decade of the 21st century. One of the ways this traversing takes effect is through the introduction of a series of collectively rendered exhibition props that were co-created by the participating artists, the curators, and UKS staff. Visible throughout the exhibition, 'the Frieze of life' is a collective amalgam of imagery that was created by gathering images found on the World Wide Web. The participating artists contributed a number of images that were considered relative to the idea of a present day ‘Frieze of Life’; the images were then reconfigured into digital collages that reference the abundant hanging style of grand salon exhibitions. Elsewhere, visitors can take a seat on the specially redesigned circular pouf sofa, reminiscent of the sofa used in Munch's Berlin solo show at the Equitable Palast (1892-1893), but with fabrics created by each of the exhibition's artists.

Trapped in Amber attempts to construct a contemporary parallel to the Fin de siècle's output on art, the artist, society, and politics. This could be a relational equation that senses some of the possible links and separators between this and that era, or it could be a pseudo-parallel that stimulates schemas, tactics, and discussions. But ultimately, it is through setting up this spot where past and present are inseparable that latent frictions are activated.