Avant-Premiere of "Bird" by Selma and Sofiane Ouissi at the 15th Sharjah Biennale
When and where?
Artistic direction: Selma & Sofiane Ouissi
Music: Jihed Khmiri
Performance: Sofiane Ouissi, Jihed Khmiri, a pigeon from Sharjah
Technical support: Mohamed Attia
Illustration: Fakhri El Ghezal, 2021
Production: Virginie Dupray
Coproduction: Sharjah Arts Foundation
With support from L’Art Rue, Tunis
Invited by the 15th Sharjah Biennial, Selma Ouissi and Sofiane Ouissi present "Bird" (2023) in avant-premiere on Wednesday 8 February 2023 at the Khorfakkan cinema, a movement piece that first arose in response to a pigeon that was occupying Sofiane’s workspace.
Taking place in Khorfakkan Cinema, an abandoned structure now home to pigeon nests, the choreography expresses what it would mean to cohabitate and immerse oneself in a purely conscious sense of presence with the bird, rather than tame or dispense with it.
What emerged from this question and encounter is rooted in simple, mundane gestures—navigating shared space and exchanging food, for example—yet points to a profound constellation of themes: deterritorialisation, recognition of and deferral to non-human agency, and the refusal to gratify the human impulse to systematise and dictate space. Interested in the choreographic implications of ceding spatial control, the artists displace humanity from its stock position of centrality, introducing the possibility of a new field of relation to the animal: contingent, fragile and uncertain.
> About Selma and Sofiane Ouissi
The brother and sister duo Selma Ouissi and Sofiane Ouissi are choreographers, dancers and curators who imbue small gestures with the power to overcome linguistic and cultural barriers to understanding. Conceiving of the body as an archive of human experience, their performances subvert de rigueur conventions of movement and affect, exploring new modes of feeling and being.
Whether studying unsung Tunisian movement traditions or exploring the potential of teleconferencing as a choreographic tool, their work centres communities and voices at the margins. Co-founders of Dream City, a multidisciplinary festival in Tunis, and ZAT, a quarterly arts magazine, the duo is also active in the fields of pedagogy and education.
Wednesday 8 February 2023, pilot version, Old Khorfakkan Cinema (UAE) as part of the 15th Sharjah Biennial