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Judith Barry

Not reconciled: Cairo Stories

For the past few years, Judith Barry has been working on a Cairo version of Not reconciled, an ongoing series of “as told to” stories that she has collected over a period of 15 years in a variety of countries and cultures. Not reconciled: Cairo Stories began with an invitation from the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, and has developed through collaborations with Egyptian women from the American University in Cairo and various NGOs in the city. The stories that have been collected touch on the Nasser and Sadat periods as well as current events, but they focus on the negotiations that women in particular must make within Cairo’s cultural and economic life, emphasizing the complexities of family life, allegiances and questions of class, and the very particular sense of place embodied by Cairo's inhabitants

During the project year, the artist will return to Cairo to complete the story collection and selection and edit eight to fifteen stories into one to three-minute monologues that will be performed by Egyptian actors in English and Arabic and shot in HD with a multicamera array. The video will then be processed to produce in the final projections the illusion of 3D talking heads formed from and dissolving back into grains of sand. Barry will also research architectural sites within the city as potential projection surfaces for public presentation of the video, while developing techniques to integrate the projections into the existing architecture of the sites.

The Cairo Stories project extends and expands two significant threads of her work: the investigation of how notions of “history” and the “construction of subjectivity” are performed and documented within the context of specific places and cultural conditions; and the exploration of how art, architecture and technology (particularly innovative uses of animation and compositing) can intersect to create aesthetic and critical discourse in the public realm.

Jacques Perron © 2006 FDL