Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, "Being in the Negative"

Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 7 - 8:30pm

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IDS Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme give a free online lecture as part of the Fall 2021 Intra-Disciplinary Seminar series. Registration required.

“I looked out onto Kufer Birim through the strange circular eyes, and all I could think was if this was meant as a spirit mask for the dead when it was made, what is it a spirit mask for now? For the dead or for the living? I was surrounded by bushes, plants and trees that were all shades of phosphoric green. I don’t know if it was the effect of the heat or the mask but I felt like the whole place was alive, swarming with life. I just had to use the mask, to look out from under its eyes, to become it and let it become me. And then I could step out of time, out of the time they invented, this time that is occupied, this time where they have declared me dead or dying. I am alive, this destroyed village is alive, this mask is for the living.”  

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme work together across a range of sound, image, text, installation, and performance practices. Their practice is engaged in the intersections between performativity, political imaginaries, the body, and virtuality. Their work investigates the political, visceral, material possibilities of sound, image, text and site, taking on the form of multi-media installations, and live sound/image performances. Their publication ‘And Yet My Mask Is Powerful’ is published by Printed Matter. They are recipients of the Open Society Foundation fellowship for 2020- 21 and are artists in residence at Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Captiva 2021. Their upcoming project ‘May Amnesia Never Kiss Us On the Mouth’ will be released with Dia Art Foundation as part of their Artist Web Projects with an upcoming exhibition at MoMA.

The IDS public lecture series is part of the Robert Lehman Visiting Artist Program at The Cooper Union. We are grateful for major funding from the Robert Lehman Foundation. The IDS public lecture series is also made possible by generous support from the Open Society Foundations.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.