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BLACK LAND 2022, July and October 2022 at Neues Museum, James-Simon-Galerie and silent green

All photos by Lutz Knospe

BLACK LAND 2022 was a series of performances and installations that represented an attempt to remember testimonies of Ancient Egypt and to make the knowledge they hold fruitful for the present. Papyri from Elephantine become witnesses and actors alike, together with text fragments and objects of different origins. What stories do the ancient texts tell us? Who is speaking to whom? Who remembers? Can we remember together something for which there is no language?

A Performing Memory is an effort to draw lines of tradition back into a past that is still untapped. Is there a common ground on which we stand when we look at the past
from multiple perspectives and remember? What do we understand of Egypt today? 

"Black Land" used to be the name of ancient Egypt. Translated from hieroglyphs, the feminine word Km.t, pronounced Kemet, refers to the black mud, enriched with
minerals and nutrients, brought into the valley by the Nile’s flooding each year. 

The situation of the Elephantine island at the southern border of Egypt is unique as there is no other place in which cultural history can be »read« through texts spanning
so long a time. Thousands of papyri in ten different languages and scripts have been found here, covering a period of 4000 years. As part of the ERC project
ELEPHANTINE, these papyri are being examined by Prof. Dr. Verena Lepper and her team. 2022, for the first time, they have found their way into a series of artistic
works, marking the conclusion of the ELEPHANTINE project. The first part of the project took place in July 2022 on Museum Island, inside the Neues Museum and the Jamens-Simon-Galerie. The second part of the artistic contributions have been presented at the Silent Green`s Betonhalle in October 2022.


With: Attila Csihar, Charles Hedger, Anabelle Iratni; Yara Mekawei, Zorka Wollny, Lea Draeger, Kenda Hmeidan, Vera Maria Kremers and others. 


Concept and artistic direction: Elena Sinanina, Scenography: Inga Aleknavicuite, Costumes: Karin Merten (Bühnenservice Berlin) based on designs by Elena Sinanina, Composition BLACK LAND: Charles Hedger, Attila Csihar, Composition "Isoldes Transfiguration": Roman Lemberg, Dramaturgy: Rabelle Ramez Erian, Maria Buzhor, Curatorial advisor sound-performances: Oliver Baurhenn, Curatorial advisor: Verena Lepper, Video: Kathrin Krottenthaler, Judith Fruzsina Jesse, Interview partners in Egypt: Walaa El Shazly, Kerylos Aziz, Sound design: Christopher von Nathusius, Project management: Anne Diestelkamp, Organization in Egypt: Ahmed Adel, Graphic design: Ada Favaron, Photos: Lutz Knospe


BLACK LAND was funded by the Capital Cultural Fund (Hauptstadtkulturfonds) in 2022 and was a project by Elena Sinanina, Attila Csihar and ensemble in cooperation with Verena Lepper/ Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, Staatliche Museen (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz), the CTM Festival and Silent Green. With the kind support of Collegium Hungaricum Berlin and Inga Aleknaviciute with Zelfo Technology GmbH and the LEIPA Group.

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