Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme’s May amnesia never kiss us on the mouth (2020–ongoing) examines how individuals 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, and Syria. The work brings digital traces of these performing bodies together with new performances conceived by the artists, a dancer, and a group of musicians in Ramallah’s cultural underground. According to Abbas and Abou-Rahme, through circulation of the footage, “these fractured communities are resisting their own erasure and laying claim to space, self, and collectivity once more.”
This evolving project, 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, will launch on December 10, 2020, as part of Dia’s Artist Web Projects Series. In summer 2021, Dia’s online platform will be updated with the artists’ extensive collection of found online recordings and the original performances. The forthcoming exhibition in MoMA’s Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Studio will bring the footage into the gallery through a multichannel sound and video installation.
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.
The artists gratefully acknowledge TBA21.
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 Kate Scherer, Manager, with Ginny Benson, Assistant Performance Coordinator, Performance and Live Programs.