Armen Avanessian & Enemies #14: The Holy Template


With Monira Al Qadiri & Raed Yassin

The Holy Template is a multi-media lecture performance by Monira Al Qadiri accompanied by a live intervention by Raed Yassin. The Roter Salon will be suddenly transformed into a digital cathedral, where religion via the web will be displayed and heard. The audience plays the role of the devotees, contemplating what it means to consume faith through the Internet.

The composition of religious dogma has changed dramatically since the advent of the Internet. Where once religious fervor was rooted in far-away sacred places, cryptic sacred books, magnanimous sacred personalities – ie. physical experiences tied to the metaphysical – the dispersal of spiritual doctrines online has demystified certain parts of religious discourse, but simultaneously augmented other more micro or fringe beliefs, and thrust those extremities to the central tenets of devotion. The fast paced ever-changing quotidian norms of virtual life displace and randomize the traditional hierarchy of faith, adding infinite layers of newly ‘imagined’ rules and phenomena. The esoteric has become exoteric: the mysteries of the Divine have now shifted to the everyday behavior of the devotees.

Islam is a case in point. The shift in popular culture has changed how we consume religion within the Islamic universe. In the days of television until the mid-90s, Islamic programs were focused on directing viewers to look at the world around them to find God, mainly through the miracles of nature. In the present day, this image has been all if not completely overturned. In the world of Islam.net, one sees the wide circulation of peculiar multi-colored jpeg templates that point to the microscopic ins and outs of the religious imagination.

Monira Al Qadiri is a Kuwaiti visual artist born in Dakar, Senegal and educated in Japan. In 2010, she received a Ph.D. in inter-media art from Tokyo University of the Arts, where her research was focused on the aesthetics of sadness in the Middle-East stemming from poetry, music, art and religious practices. Her work explores unconventional gender identities, petro-cultures and their possible futures, as well as the legacies of corruption. She is also part of the artist collective GCC.

Raed Yassin (born 1979, Beirut) lives and works in Beirut. He graduated from the Theatre Department of the Institute of Fine Arts in Beirut in 2003, and in 2015 he was awarded a research fellowship at the Akademie der Künste der Welt in Cologne. An artist and musician, Yassin's work often originates from an examination of his personal narratives and their position within a collective history, through the lens of consumer culture and mass production. One of the organisers of Irtijal Festival - Beirut's experimental contemporary music festival - Yassin has released several music albums and founded the production company Annihaya in 2009. He is also a founding member of Atfal Ahdath, a Beirut-based art collective.

Past Activities

14.02: Armen Avanessian & Enemies #10: Disrupt Democracy: School of Disobedience Nr.2

After their successful launch at the beginning of the Roter Salon's event series, the hybrid word-and-deed-collective Disrupt Democracy's second political workshop addresses another current topic for discussion: How does resistance work in the early 21st century? What's legal? What's illegal? What parliamentary and extra-parliamentary alliances exist?

13.02: Armen Avanessian & Enemies #9: Der Zerfall der Demokratie: Buchpräsentation Yascha Mounk

Populism is threatening the rule of law, according to Harvard University political scientist Yasha Mounk's latest book, The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It (German edition title: Der Zerfall der Demokratie). In a conversation with Georg Diez, he explains why liberal democracies – ranging from Germany to the United States – find themselves in existential danger today, and points out what we can all do to curb this alarming development.

01.02: Armen Avanessian & Enemies #8: Start Worrying, Details to Follow: Podcast-Gespräch mit Carlo Strenger (Special Guest: Igor Levit)

With Karin Pettersson and Georg Diez. Guest: Carlo Strenger; Special Guest: Igor Levit

What new ideas could shape democracy in the 21st century? What are the possibilities for freedom and solidarity in the time of digital capitalism? Who will tame the power of the internet giants? These are some of the questions that Karin Pettersson (Aftonbladet) and Georg Diez (Der Spiegel) are addressing in their Start Worrying, Details to Follow podcast. Recorded live in Berlin for the first time.

22.01: Armen Avanessian & Enemies #7: THE AGENCY + Leif Randt Rendezvous

Love me, love me, say that you love me.

Fool me, fool me, go on and fool me.

Love me, love me, say that you love me.

Fool me, fool me, go on and fool me.

THE AGENCY invites you to a rendezvous in the Roter Salon: For this one evening only, there will be perfect romantic moments: meaningful glances, a casual touch from time to time, sizzling encounters at the bar or even dinner by candlelight ... Spectators can sign themselves up for scripts of romantic love, forget their traditional partnership profile, and just enjoy the fake.

THE AGENCY deals with the production of emotions with scripts, images and narratives - and now it's romance's turn. It's gonna be perversion.

15.01: Armen Avanessian & Enemies #6: Institutional Recalibration: As above, So below

The future of cultural infrastructures is the critical site of intervention, shaping not only the future of culturalproduction but also the manner in which culture is to interweave with and affect other societal processes.

In English with Antonia Alampi, Victoria Ivanova, Harm van den Dorpel, Mathew Dryhurst, Emer Grant u.a.

13.01: Armen Avanessian & Enemies #5: Erfahrungswissen

We're used to separating knowledge from experience. In the academic sphere in particular, there's a tendency to believe that knowledge is generated by deduction from (pre-existing) knowledge. But it's more complicated than that. An experience implies not only gaining but also losing knowledge. Only those who are willing to give up knowledge, in favour of gaining other bits of wisdom and forms of knowing, can truly have an experience in the emphatic sense. From this kind of experience, according to Michel Foucault, we emerge changed. In theatre, in art, but also in academia, there are opportunities to open up unknown forms of philosophical knowledge production. Philosophy is not limited to universities.

10.01: Armen Avanessian & Enemies #4: 1948, 1957, 1967, 1969, 1973, 1979, 1980 & 1981, 1989, 2007

What do we include (and what do we leave out) when we discuss the importance and historical significance of specific years and celebrate anniversaries? Which years have shaped our present day? An evening about 1948, 1957, 1967, 1969, 1973, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1989, 2007, among others, for all those who want to arm themselves – just in time – for the coming celebrations of the 50th anniversary of 1968. Spontaneous contributions from the audience are more than encouraged.

An evening with Armen Avanessian as well as Bernd Scherer, Anke Hennig, Ludwig Engel, Joanna Kamm, Georg Diez, Christopher Roth et al

04.12: Armen Avanessian & Enemies #3: Discussion with Quentin Meillassoux

Quentin Meillassoux and Armen Avanessian discuss ontology, metaphysics as well as speculative poetics and materialism.

28.11: School of Disobedience 1: New Energies - An Evening from and with Disrupt Democracy

100 companies are responsible for 71% of industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Can these companies be reformed? Or are other, harsher measures required? And what would they be?

These questions are at the heart of this political-participatory workshop: How can we execute, with these companies, the radical switch from labour productivity to resource efficiency across the entire economy? How can we change business models, redirect flows of goods and energy, and use them holistically? Or is there no time left for a reformist approach?

In this workshop, experts will pose the following questions and then discuss them in small groups: How can the largest greenhouse gas emitters be made legally responsible for their effects, how can financial pressure be exerted? How can pressure from consumers and shareholders be organised? But this is just the beginning. It's all about agency, about reclaiming the ability to act. During this evening and in general.

When we look into the future, a central question arises: How will we find new forms for intervention? We take a look at climate activists' radical and unconventional approaches, as well as NGOs' conventional and reformist approaches, which have sought an exit from fossil fuel economic cycles by collaborating with corporations. At the end of the evening, one document, a common plan, will be issued. Alternatives to the current energy regime must be found. And for each individual, the question still remains: reform or resist?

Disrupt Democracy is a 21st-century hybrid knowledge organisation, decentralised, digital, activist, academic, curious, open, political, participatory, a network of people searching after ideas for a good life, a just life, for all.

With (among others):

Roda Verheyen, lawyer, represented Peruvian farmer Saúl Luciano Lliuya against the German energy corporation RWE. For over 20 years she has worked on the question of how companies can be made legally responsible for their complicity in climate change.

11.11: Culture in the Era of Global System Failure: A Boardgame with Paul Mason

What happens when the global systems that we once thought permanent break down? And what does it mean for cultural production in the 21st Century? Paul Mason, author of Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future (2015), presents a simulation of global system failure and invites participants to consider the consequences. To discuss what global system failure will mean for artists, theatremakers, and the art forms that are likely to emerge, Paul will be joined by Sam Williams and Armen Avanessian. The evening will conclude with an open platform for the free exchange of ideas.

In English


04.03.18, 20:00
Roter Salon
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