Inspired by the Futurists’ approach to typography and graphic design as well as Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's Ottoman legacy in Cairo, Performa develops a dialogue with the Khatt Foundation, a non-profit cultural foundation dedicated to design research in the Arab World and the Middle East. Featured designers will include Max Kisman (Netherlands) & Naji El Mir (Lebanon/France), Hisham Yousef (Egypt/UAE/USA), and others.
Titled "Art Must Move," this typographic intervention explores the notion of concrete poetry and visual 'noise' in public urban space. The bilingual fonts developed for "Art Must Move" take a play on the mosaic-based monumental Kufic arabic lettering found integrated into architecture in many places around the Arab world as well as on the fragmented fences of construction sites from various parts of the developing world. The fonts are based on a modular grid that accommodates both the Arabic as well as the English letters. Both scripts are read as almost one, attempting to represent cultural 'raprochement' and dialogue. The series consist of 22 posters, 11 of which are forming the English statement "Art Must Move" and the other 11 its Arabic translation. In addition each poster contains a variation on the main statement in the form of repeated lines of alternating English and Arabic haku-like poetry (using the same words of the main statement but with ever-changing configurations). These imply a certain movement in sound and visual arrangement, thus also visually playing on the pun of the larger statement. They express the cross-pollination between various design/art practices and artistic traditions; East-West, art-architecture, urban-motion-sound… and a strong contemporary referencing to traditional Arab architectural motifs. These posters will be on view at Performa Hub, creating a dynamic and engaging public space, as well as distributed across the city through Performa's 80+ consortium venues of art and performance presenters.
The Khatt Foundation strives to advance design in the Arab World and the Middle East, and strives to build cross- cultural creative networks. It is a non- profit cultural foundation dedicated to design research and development through projects and programs that focus on rejuvenating (from within the culture) the applied arts traditions of the Arab World and the Middle East. It aims to improve visual communication in the region, to bring an awareness of the vital role that design can play in building a sustainable environment, and to stimulate the creation of socially relevant artifacts that are designed and produced regionally to the highest professional international standards. Founded in 2004 in Amsterdam, the Khatt Foundation has established itself as a platform for launching innovative design projects that address the immediate needs of design in the region. The Khatt Foundation has organized several highly successful cultural events of relevance such as the 1st Kitabat Conference on Arabic Typography (April 2006 in Dubai), the Typographic Matchmaking Project | Khatt Kufi & Kaffiya Symposium on Arabic Visual Culture | the El Hema Exhibition project (Amsterdam 2007), workshops, exhibitions, and exchange programs between Europe and the Middle East, published books and catalogs about ME design and visual culture, and established the highly valued online resource: the Khatt Online Community for ME designers, www.khtt.net.
Performa is a non-profit multidisciplinary arts organization established by RoseLee Goldberg in 2004, dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth century art and to encouraging new directions in performance for the twenty-first century.
Performa 09, the third edition of the internationally acclaimed biennial of new visual art performance, will be held in New York City from November 1–22, 2009, showcasing new work by more than 150 of the world’s most exciting contemporary artists. Over its three week-run, Performa 09’s innovative program will break down the boundaries between visual art, music, dance, poetry, fashion, architecture, film, television, radio, graphic design, and the culinary arts, presenting over 110 events in collaboration with a consortium of more than 80 of the city’s leading arts institutions, 40 curators from around the world, and a network of public and private venues throughout the city.
For more information, please visit www.performa-arts.org