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Night Air: Water Resistance

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€3.50

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Sonic Acts continues its Night Air series with a special event curated by artist-in-residence Ameneh Solati on Saturday 22 May

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On Saturday 22 May, Sonic Acts continues its Night Air series of online transmissions with Water Resistance. After covering smog and digging deep into soil, this time we’ll dive into water with a special edition curated by Sonic Acts artist-in-residence Ameneh Solati as part of the Overexposed residency programme. Water Resistance features live talks by architects and researchers Merve Bedir and Menna Agha, alongside Ameneh herself, and will be moderated by artist and curator Moad Musbahi. Audience members are invited to join in the conversations via the live-chat Q&A.

Water Resistance brings together ongoing stories on water bodies as sites contaminated by power relations. It aims to embed ecological struggles within the narratives of nation-building, development and modernisation.

The marshlands in Iraq offered a unique ecosystem of autonomy for the indigenous population and refuge to the oppressed. Each power that ruled the region deployed both implicit and explicit agendas against the marshlands and their population of humans and other beings. Ameneh Solati's rereading of the history of the marshlands that weaves together environmental and ethnic injustices reveals an alternative story of people’s resistance to subjugation, offering us a new framework to address projects that continue to impact the marshlands today.

Ameneh Solati is a Rotterdam-based architectural designer, researcher, and editor. Her practice engages with interdisciplinary methods in exploring forms of resistance within often overlooked spaces. She completed her MA degree in architecture in 2017 at the Royal College of Art in London. She is an editor and organiser at Failed Architecture and has previously worked with Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam and various architectural practices in Amsterdam and London.

Merve Bedir's talk Uncommon River: Boundaries of Immanence and Concurrence along Maritsa River will focus on Maritsa (Evros/Meriç), a river that holds the national border among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey; as well as part of the European Union border/Fortress Europe. Claimed sovereignties on Maritsa constitute the only shared history among modernity, capitalism and socialism. Either by attributing national identities to and border control on the river or developing expertise on controlling the river basin with locks, dams and other infrastructural interventions, an ideology of the Anthropocene has become immanent on Maritsa's boundaries. This discourse of full control on the Maritsa river concurs with that on population exchange, forced displacement and undocumented migration. The river space is marked with extreme floods and migrant deaths to this day.

Merve Bedir is an architect based in Hong Kong/Shenzhen. Her ongoing research examines infrastructures of hospitality and mobility. Merve Bedir is an adjunct assistant professor in Hong Kong University Department of Architecture, Division of Landscape Architecture, and a founding partner of Land and Civilization Compositions. Merve Bedir holds a PhD from the Architectural Engineering Department at the Delft University of Technology, and a BArch from Middle East Technical University in Ankara.

Menna Agha will talk about the rupture between Nubians and their river as a story seldom told when talking about the high dam and its aftermath. During the session, she will tell a story of environmental racism, dispossession and erasure while asking questions about water and what it means to a Nile-based culture.

Menna Agha is an architect and researcher. She is a 2019/2020 spatial justice fellow and was visiting assistant professor at the University of Oregon. Currently, she is coordinating a spatial justice agenda at the Flemish Architecture Institute. Menna holds a PhD from the University of Antwerp and an MA from Köln international school of design. She is a third-generation displaced Egyptian Nubian which ushers her research interests in race, gender, space and territory.

Moad Musbahi is an artist and curator who works between London and Tripoli. He utilises exhibition-making, video installation and writing to investigate migration as a method for cultural production and political expression. Through researching the movement of stories, people, and sound, he focuses on the social practices and forms of knowledge that displacement engenders. His works has been presented at the Architectural Association, Jameel Art Center and Beirut Art Center among others. He is a recipient of the Sharjah Art Foundation’s Production Programme (2020) and currently a resident at Gasworks, London (2021).

After the Water Resistance panel, DJ LazerGazer closes the evening with a soundtrack dedicated to water.

LazerGazer is an Amsterdam-based artist who uses a wide array of contagious sounds to convey a morphing palette of emotions.

Timetable

All times CEST

20:00 Introduction

20:15 Ameneh Solati

20:40 Merve Bedir

21:00 Menna Agha

21:20 Q&A moderated by Moad Musbahi

22:00 DJ set by LazerGazer

Night Air

Night Air is a series of online transmissions that aims to make pollution visible by bringing forth the various side-effects of modernity: from colonial exploitation of people and resources to perpetual inequalities brought about by the destruction of the environment and common land – in other words, destructive capitalist practices that shape both our environment and human-nonhuman relations.

**Night air is a myth with its origins in miasma theory (from the Greek for ‘pollution’). The theory held that smelly air from decaying organic matter caused illness. The smell would intensify and worsen by night, so night air became synonymous with poisonous and noxious vapours that could even cause pandemics such as cholera or plague. Only with developments in medicine and various scientific endeavours around the London cholera epidemic in the mid-1800s, did germs replace the ‘unhealthy fog’ as the culprit for diseases. And now, even though the idea has been abandoned, night air still echoes in words such as malaria (‘bad air’ in Italian), which actually connects air-borne poison with flying pests such as the disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union

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