Batool Mohammed, Egypt (lives in United Arab Emirates)
1 October 2013 - 1 April 2014
Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Batool grew up in Kuwait and currently lives in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, where she works at the Sharjah Art Foundation. She completed a four year BFA at the College of Fine Art and Design at the University of Sharjah and graduated in 2012.
On-hiatus Proposal Summary
Batool is not on Hiatus by choice, in fact, making art has proven a frustrating challenge after she graduated from university. However being officially on Hiatus, she hopes, will take the pressure of needing to make art off of her shoulders, allowing her to resume making it after the period of this residency is over.
Also given the fact that she works at the Sharjah Art Foundation, she often finds herself sarcastically nitpicking at artist statements, biographies and the general wording of art texts; what has been called International Art English (IAE). She also spends lots of time doing conceptual research for upcoming events, which surprisingly results in similar sarcastic deconstruction of texts by established philosophers that she would usually be fascinated by.
For the duration of this residency she proposes to compile all her notes on readings and texts as a series of scans and word documents or other means of entering text on the web page. She will also document her daily life on hiatus which would include the process of furnishing her flat, getting a drivers license, going to art events in Sharjah and Dubai and hopefully not making any art secretly.
One day before the start of March Meeting 2014, I met Farid (Rakun) at the office to say hi and get some formalities out of the way. During the few minutes we spoke I manage to condense my experience on RFAOH to one sentence that I paraphrase as accurately as I can; I can be okay with not making anything and still call myself an artist.
This is not to be confused with laziness (please). The anxiety of feeling obliged to make work was enough to drive me away from it, not unlike a stubborn child, but also, the art world’s [implied] obsession of producing a spectacle – even if not visual – factored into the equation. It blew my mind, and perhaps naively so, that there still needs to be a final entity to fund/produce/document/archive/perform/record/etc.
This remains an open question to me, and perhaps the closest of an answer to this issue, is the one reached by the organizers behind RFAOH when they decided to start the residency. I took the time at RFAOH to focus on none of that, hoping that by not searching for it, I’ll notice it sitting outside the doorstep. I can’t say I’ve succeeded too finitely (how ironic) but I have at least, identified my preferred way to work, of having many disconnected things simultaneously going until they all condense into ‘a practice’. Accordingly, going to class, work and anything else I do will factor into said practice; and parallel to that, I’m starting to work on a text-based project similar to my initial proposal for RFAOH which I did not carry out during the residency because it felt too much like… work. Also I was afraid of starting it within RFAOH then not being able to extrapolate from it after the end of the residency since nothing on RFAOH is to be considered art/work. However, I don’t intent to embark on this research with the same smirk on the face of the initial proposal to RFAOH, but rather with a genuine questioning approach that may or may not culminate into a resolute end.
I am also considering documenting said research on my own – now dormant – blog that I started some time back for this very reason, but never got to really take it on. It was also due to being at RFAOH that I came to be more comfortable with the idea- that of virtual space and internet content.
On Dec 28 2013, milena commented on Soundtrack to the weekend: Dear Batool, I hope you are well. Thank you for all iteresting issues and congratulatios for test re[...]
I was reading through my notes from The Public Woman, and was a bit hesitant about posting them here. Partially because they express my personal thoughts on a topic that is very dear to me, but primarily because they are grammatically horrible.
They don’t even read like a stream of consiousness, they just dont make sense. However, I find it nesessary for myself to get over that and accept my note-taking-level of english and post them here anyway, unedited.
So (I’m very tempted here to say ‘henceforth’), as soon as I acces a scanner – or if I just decide to photograph the pages, I’lll upload them here. I apologize in advance if this causes any of the readers annoyance, but I really don’t feel like typing that shit up.
This was a couple of days ago. I didn’t realise the odd combination of object in my living room intil I saw the picture today. Also I went to see Catching Fire last night, and blatantly cried through the whole thing.
After waking up from a 13-hour sleep… I promptly proceeded to have cake for breakfast, then a 3-hour reading session, spicy ramen and cold tofu for lunch, 2 hours of korean reality TV, internet surfing, ‘liking’ facebook birthday wishes and will soon have another slice of cake and reality TV episode. Zero guilt, it’s my damn birthday.
Rest assured, I did party two days ago, because it was more convinient of a day for eveyone. And I got lots of gifts including a slushie-making-cup/mug-thing and a polariod camera from my closest friend in the universe! I’m feeling very grateful and fuzzy on the inside.
I’m mainly posting out of guilt, because I haven’t posted in a while.
So major updates:
1) TOEFL test: √
2) Driving test: √ … but I failed… so my next test is scheduled for January 6! AARRGGHH!
3) MBA application: work in progess… planning on submitting it soon.
1) Dubai won the Expo 2020 hosting city vote.
2) My birthday is on Sunday.
3) UAE national day is on Monday, so we have Sunday and Monday off.
1) Finished ‘The Public Woman’, notes comming soon.
2) Didnt finish the Stephen King book… because I got bored.
Having reluctantly put aside my dislike of Kristen Dunst, I tried to see though her irritating presence and at the interesting character she emboidies in the movie. I enjoyed the story in that it presented the end of the world almost as an afterthought, rather than the usual panic-driven plots of apocalyptic films. Humans should come to terms with their inevitable end.
In a couple of hours I’ll be off to Adu dhabi – again – but this time to attend the Abu dhabi Art fair. I’ll be at the SAF booth where a curated program of videos from SAF will be screening. Blah blah blah…
Point is, I’ll be away for four days, to come back on saturday evening, and my TOEFL test is on sunday morning. Now, when I had applied for the test, online, I selected the closest testing center to me so that I might just avoid getting stuck in traffic in the morning rush hour and being late for the test. Mind you, the center is still in Dubai, and there still will be traffic, so I’ll still have to leave home two hours early. However, after I confirmed my appointment and paid the fee (this was two months ago) I had to wait for a confirmation email from the center… which I never recieved.
So I’ll called up the regional center (in Amsterdam, I don’t know why it’s there) asking if everything was OK, and they said that I was on their list and everything looks good. So I was reassured, and tried finding the phone nymber of the center. The Google search revealed… nothing. There was no website or phone number or ANYTHING except the address on the TOEFL ticket confirmation. I couldn’t even find them on Google Maps…
So, obviously concerned… I asked my partner to please give me a ride to the alleged adress yesterday, just to make sure that the place exists. We went, it does. So what was fine. But the point here is my absolute bafflement that there was NO RECORD of a place that was supposedly a licensed testing centre! This, unfortunately, is not abnormal for the Middle East, many things cant be found online, and/or dont have updated contact information or adresses… which constantly makes me feel like im being tricked into getting abducted… and robbed… and I hate to reinforce a stereotype, but seriously, Arabs, come on.
Other than that, My final driving test is next wednesday, very excited about it, and a bit more confident than I was on the previous test. No updates on the MBA test score yet.
I’ve heard hilarious about the political situation in Egypt lately, and would like to post something about that when I get a moment to myself. Please don’t take my use of the word hilarious lightly, its a very sardonic, cynical kind of hilariousness… which is why i tend to avoid political discussions, because I’ve resorted to laughing at politics most of the time. But anyway…
In other news, my family are all on holiday today… because it rained. Hahaha… it rained in Kuwait and the whole country got flooded, and everyone stayed home. Its funny; it’s like snow to Canada.. I suppose. There were some really silly videos floating around the internet of people dragging inflatable pools behind their 4X4s with kids sitting inside splashing around, and people wearing rainboots at the mall because the mall was also flooding, so funny… I’ll post something if I find it again.
So that’s a nice lengthy post to make up for not posting in a while, and, as always, do excuse any typos.
I spent the alot of time away from my laptop this weekend. I went to Abu Dhabi to visit a very good friend of mine, and stayed over at her place for the night. We went shopping, went out with some of her friends, watched movies, ate lots of food and generally did other regular wind-down-time consumer stuff.
At one point I thought of RFOAH and how I couldnt post because I didnt have my laptop handy, and I wasnt going to type in paragraphs on the phone. I just thought it would be very cool to have the RFOAH page linked to the Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr page of the residents.
It would provide updates on things that are tangient to the residency but still relevant to the documentation of non-art activities since not everything will be worth a post here, yet everything is worth documenting since ‘everything’ is part of the lives of the residents.
Those were my thoughts for tonight. I just got back from Abu Dhabi after a long, sweaty, delayed buss trip that took three and a half hours (it usually takes two) and caused me to miss the opening of I Look To You And I See Nothing at SAF, which by the way, includes Ryoji Ikeda’s spectra. I glimsed it as I reached home and it brightened my mood quite a lot. I don’t have any of my own pictures of it, but you can see other peoples shots thought this hashtag #shjspectra
I walked over to our Urban Garden space yesterday after work to try and offer what little help I can before I ran off to go carpet hunting, and I got a quick snap of it (again, on my awesome new camra on my awesome new phone). It’s all new and construction has started recently, its a community garden that will develope slowly as people care for it… anyway… official info here.
Also, the living room now has a reasonably sized rug in a little corner with with cushions and soft things to sit on, and I will be equiping it with a nice floor table which I intend on visiting a capenter for. pictures comming when people populate the corner, its a bit sad on its own.
Oh, I should also add, that my awesome new phone that I’ve been spazzing out about this is.