Karl and Olga a brief encounter is a performance that takes place as an imaginary scenario where the aritsts grandmother meets with Karl Marx at the café Estoril in Cairo. Confiding in Marx, her grandmother shares her complex relationship as a writer to Work as a commodity framed and constrained by notions of the knowledge economy. Marx’s reaction to this is marked by contradictory feelings of paranoia, admiration and guilt. The alienation that Marx feels both as a tourist of the location and of the generation becomes pronounced as the performance goes on.
Image: Karl and Olga a brief encounter, May 2012, photo by Qinyi Lim
“In my work I often use storytelling and narration in order to step into the imaginary and imagination of certain spaces. Fiction is used as a way to understand and appropriate the histories of these places. The stories are often told by unknown characters that could have existed or not. They could be real people, friends, or acquaintances that are rendered fictional through drawing, animation, performance or by their mere super heroic actions. Their role is always to lead me into a city, a house, a hotel, a bookshop or an unknown language. They are guides, that I embody, and they become personas. The places that I find myself looking for are often traces of a once powerful ideology. Spaces where politics, sexual impulses and affect come together to form or destroy the subject. They are often places where the private and the public meet in an excessive manner. I suppose that the questions I pose through my practice depart from my urge to understand my own position in a place of continuous violent shifts and changes. My impulses are often contradictory and diverse. Sometimes in my action I want to save, sometimes reconstruct, other times destroy the material that I am dealing with.”
Marwa Arsanios (1978, Lebanon) lives and works in Maastricht. She is a researcher in the Fine Art department at the Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. She obtained her MFA from Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts, London in 2007 and is a founding member of the artist organization and projectspace 98weeks research project. She has exhibited in London, Beirut, Athens, Oxford, Lisboa, Santiago de Chile, Rome, Damascus and recently at NGBK in Berlin. Her work was shown at Art Dubai in the Bidoun Lounge (Art Park), at the Forum expanded of the Berlinale 2010, at the Homeworks V forum in Beirut, at Tokyo Wonder Site in Tokyo and most recently at the 12th Istanbul Biennale. Her videos were screened in several festivals and events such as the Rio de Janeiro film festival in 2010, the e-flux storefront in New York, and most recently at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.