Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme’s multipart project May amnesia never kiss us on the mouth (2020–ongoing) examines how communities bear witness to experiences of violence, loss, displacement, and forced migration. Since the early 2010s, Abbas and Abou-Rahme have collected online recordings of everyday people singing and dancing in communal spaces in Iraq, Palestine, Syria, and Yemen. The work brings digital traces of these performing bodies together with new performances created by the artists with dancer Rima Baransi and electronic musicians Haykal, Julmud, and Makimakkuk, working in Ramallah, Palestine. According to Abbas and Abou-Rahme, through song and dance, “these fractured communities are resisting their own erasure and laying claim to space, self, and collectivity once more.”
This evolving work, co-commissioned by MoMA and Dia Art Foundation, will be presented as an online platform and physical exhibition. The first part, titled Postscript: after everything is extracted, launched in December 2020, as part of Dia’s Artist Web Projects Series. In March 2022, Dia’s online platform was updated with the artists’ extensive collection of found online recordings and the original performances. The exhibition in MoMA’s Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Studio will bring the footage into the gallery through an immersive, multichannel sound and moving-image installation titled Only sounds that tremble through us.
May amnesia never kiss us on the mouth considers performance—whether in the form of song, spoken word, dance, or gesture—as a political act at a time marked by myriad forms of violence against entire communities.
Additionally, the Kravis Studio will host a series of ticketed, evening performances by Abbas and Abou-Rahme and invited guests Hiro Kone, SCRAAATCH, and Muqata’a. For complete information see below.
Please note that the Studio will be closing early at 5:00 P.M. on the following dates: June 4, June 5, June 11, June 12, June 23, June 25, and June 26.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the May 7 performance has been canceled.
May amnesia never kiss us on the mouth is co-commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, New York and Dia Art Foundation, New York.
Organized at MoMA by Martha Joseph, The Phyllis Ann and Walter Borten Assistant Curator of Media and Performance. Performances produced by Lizzie Gorfaine, Producer, and Ginny Benson, former Assistant Performance Coordinator, with the support of Olivia Rousey, Assistant Performance Coordinator, Performance and Live Programs.