ISOE Pre-Events #1 and #4 in Alexandria

Our Foreign Agenda/Iskenderiyan Standards

In cooperation with Studio El Madina, Gudran Association for Arts and Culture, Eskenderella Association for Arts and Culture

Meant as a preparatory step to find an artistic collaboration partner for Samuli Schielke as well as to introduce the ISOE project to potential artists, Our Foreign Agenda: The European curator, the Orientalist and the Egyptian translator (presented in the ISOE exhibition in an English version without Arabic translation), is an audio play written by Daniela Swarowsky and Samuli Schielke in November 2011. It provided the starting point for Pre-Event #1, a symposion with cultural actors in Alexandria on November 26th 2011. Our Foreign Agenda was an experimental and ironical entry into a discussion about the hegemonic burden and (hi)stories that accompany the roles of ‘the European curator’ or ‘the Orientalist’, and international cultural cooperations in general. Its aim was to question the hegemonic (European) standards and mutual prejudices which artists and cultural producers in Alexandria and from Europe face in their work, and to reflect about possible counter-strategies. After this first Pre-Event, a group of artists and writers wanted to continue a collaboration with Samuli Schielke. The topic shifted over time towards the ambiguous relationship of Alexandrians with the European Other in different contexts. The project was then renamed into Iskenderiyan Standards, ironically reflecting the idea of ‘European standards’ (Iskenderiya is the Arabic name of Alexandria). In October 2012 Pre-Event #4, a ten-days writers’ lab was held with participation of Schielke, with the literary anthology Iskenderiyan Standards as its first output. The artwork by Maher Sherif, Aliaa ElGready und Ahmed Salem carrying the same title builds directly on these two ISOE Pre-Events, and the literary anthology is part of the artwork at display in this exhibition.

The artwork carrying the same title by Maher Sherif, Aliaa ElGready und Ahmed Salem builds directly on these two Pre-Events, and the book is part of their exhibition artwork.
AUDIOPLAY Our Foreign Agenda: The European curator, the Orientalist and the Egyptian translator (c) Daniela Swarowsky, Samuli Schielke, 2013
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Installation view

Our Foreign Agenda - The Orientalist and the Curator