02 UNTIL 07 NOVEMBER / HAU 1 / HAU 2 / HAU 2

The attention on the revolution in Cairo has waned. The Euro-crisis has pushed everything aside, we are now back to our everyday routine. Mubarak is no longer in office, but the power structures have not really changed. There have been revolts in Madrid and London, too: While in the case of London one only spoke of the “mob”, a different view of the events has evolved, and now all of a sudden the revolts point to the background of an overall lost generation.
The focus “Conflict Alt Esc” will be inaugurated with the production “Irakese Geesten/Irakische Geister” by Mokhallad Rasem (02 and 03 November). “Without the war I could not be in this show. Thanks to the war. Without the war I could not make you applaud in the end…thanks to the war.”
In 2006 Mokhallad Rasem comes from Baghdad to Brussels. In his luggage he carries the war, the trauma and a gun called theatre. “Irakese Geesten” is his first major directing work for Belgium, and the piece begins with a bang. No shots, but animals breaking out, ready for a sample show. Part of it are three “real Iraqis” and two “charming European ladies”. They present, explain and discuss multi-lingually what cannot be translated: descriptions of war. Welcome to the show, welcome in the zoo. In the overlapping of description and explanation, irony and grotesque the performance excels in an impressive way in grasping and reflecting on this impossibility. In so doing humour is not only a means to an end but also the trick behind the circus which suddenly brings the really extreme situations from outside to the stage. The five performers “zap through rapid successions of scenes, they combine unpleasantly surreal situations with cheesy film clips, they make honest first-hand reports sound comical, and turn things from everyday life into a catastrophe. [...] ‘Irakese Geesten’ celebrates the surreal as the only display option of war. To whom will the Oscar go for the best victim performance? (Festival Theaterformen 2011)
Also on the inaugural evening the Egyptian director Tamer el Said will show short excerpts from his nascent film “In the Last Days of the City” zeigen. In 2006 he began working on it, in 2008 he wrote in his director’s statement “I am making this film out of love for my city and because I want to show its contradictions – its rising violence and invisible magic, and the story of our silence as we watch our cities being conquered by oppression, ignorance and extremism. In Cairo, like in every other city in the Middle East, there is the feeling that we can’t keep going like this – the end is near, and it might be violent.” At the end of the shooting, early 2011, the utopia/apocalypse of the film turned out to be true. How does the artist deal with it? What was his original motivation for the film? How have other artist generations reflected on their links to the regime and to the society? The Artist Talk with Tamer El Said about his work in progress and the presentation of the film that he chose, “Afaq” by Shadi Abdel Salam (1970), will be about the ties between artist and state.