To Intervene Artistically in Public Spaces: Between Claiming and Reclaiming

Audio Narrative by: Ali El-Adawey and Abir Saksouk


Tracing emotional geographies to reclaim privatized public spaces in Saïda (Lebanon), or dancing ballet in the streets of Egypt 2013 to challenge Muslim Brotherhood government decisions, two artistic interventions that attempt to question the actions and intentions of established authority.


“Mchi ta dellak” (Walk so I can guide you) – a research based artistic intervention by Public Works Studio , narrated by Abir Saksouk.

By recalling Saïda’s inhabitants’ personal memories of their own public spaces in the city, and by collecting oral narratives, “Mchi ta dellak” transformed those into public performative experiences. This intervention activated the intimate belonging of the inhabitants to their own common spaces, in an effort to increase awareness towards the current unprecedented privatization of the Lebanese sea front with the governmental authorities contested approvals.


Cairo Opera Ballet Dancers performing in P public Square in 2013 – A Reflection Formulated by Ali El-Adawey.

In 2013, when the Muslim Brotherhood were in power in Egypt and as a reaction to a statement perceiving ballet dance as a sacrilege, Opera ballet dancers performed publically in front of the Ministry of Culture as an act of resilience.

Ali Al Adawy questions the relevance of such an action that carries plural semiotic layers, as well as political implications and effectiveness in relation to the 2013 Egypt specific political context: a political message, auto-reply to sender?

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