For most of the visit I will be living in Alexandria. Alexandria is the second largest city in Egypt, population about 5 million people. I'll be working on an International People's Project (IPP) with: a staff of CISVers from Cairo; an international group of folks like myself; and a partnering group of cultural activists (Gudran). My job, among other things, will be to document this project. More will be revealed...
(from the staff) "In recent years, and more so after the uprisings, a large number of cultural and artistic collectives have emerged. Spaces exhibiting audio and visual arts began to emerge in and around downtown Alexandria, mostly thanks to the growing micro-communities of artists, musicians, performers and cultural activists. In the past couple of years Alexandrians, and more broadly Egyptians, have witnessed a boom in street arts, be it graffiti, performance or music. Certain key associations are known to have had an extremely significant impact on the development of the Alexandrian art scene in the past 10 to 12 years, and Gudran is definitely one of them.
"Our IPP is about spaces: physical and metaphorical spaces of expression and cultural dialogue. We will be working hands-on with Gudran on starting their new project: 'Bahna,' a new space for filmmaking and cinema in Alexandria.
"Gudran has a history of turning run-down areas in Alexandria into art hubs. Past projects include transforming a warehouse into a gallery space. Their models are successful because they rely on volunteers, artists and members of the community to manage them upon completion, ensuring sustainability and harmony between projects.
"Currently, they are working on restoring an 12-room massive apartment with the aim to turn it into a space for audio-visual arts. The apartment was once owned by Bahna Films, one of Egypt’s oldest production companies. Between 1932–1962, Bahna was the biggest cinema distributor in the Middle East with offices across the region. After restoration, rooms will be used as screening halls, editing rooms and workshop venues while others will be prepared to archive cinematic heritage, and exhibit audio visual and performative projects.
to create a space for independent filmmakers to learn about cinematography and its history. The apartment is a platform where artists from various disciplines from across the region can collaborate, with a focus on film to maintain the identity of the apartment.
"During the IPP, we'll prepare design plans for the project, and then we will work on restoring, plastering, painting and completing two full rooms with the aim of launching them at the end of the IPP."
Above is a pic of the outside view from the window of where I'll be living.