02 July – 15 August 2016

A Prologue to the Past and Present State of Things launched Staging Histories, a new research and commissioning platform for performance art. Through archival research and new commissions, Staging Histories traced seminal moments of performance mapping shared histories and contemporary global concerns.  The first stage of the project explores performance art from and in relation to the Arab world.

The exhibition presented a constellation of key performative works, photographs, video documentation and archival materials from the last three decades. The thematic connections cross the Arab world but relate to global politics, economics and cultural shifts. The selected artworks can therefore be understood as a preface, consequence or echo of major developments during this period.

An online catalogue was produced in collaboration with Ibraaz Platform 009, which addresses the genealogies of performance art in North Africa and the Middle East.  Contributors include Anthony Downey, Aaron Cezar, Ala Younis, Sulayman Al-Bassam and Barrak Alzaid. Download here. Ibraaz’s channel also includes content from the exhibition and a video tour.

A Prologue to the Past and Present State of Things is curated by Aaron Cezar with contributions from Ala’ Younis and Barrak Alzaid (Staging Histories curatorial fellows) and Jane Scarth (Delfina Foundation).