Marie Silkeberg

Words in War II

A presentation of, and reflections on, a six year long collaboration between an Arabic, and a Swedish poet, Ghayath Almadhoun and Marie Silkeberg. Ghayath Almadhoun, a Palestinian poet born in Syria 1979, migrated to Sweden in 2008. Marie Silkeberg is a Swedish poet, born in Denmark 1961, and granddaughter to a Russian Greek immigrantfrom Odessa, Ukraine.

This presentation will focus on the process of writing the book Till Damaskus (in English: “To Damascus” or ”The road to Damascus”), a co-written book, in which the Arabic poems is translated through English into Swedish by the two poets. The process of translation being its fundament, still the questions and necessity of translation are performed with the revolution and later war in Syria as a background. What does it mean to write and translate, in an ongoing conflict, in the silence of the world? How does it affect the words? How does it affect a collaboration? What can be shared in the effort to record and chronicle the present for the future? Can difference be of any use in each poets struggle to relate words of poetry to the world of today? As resistance? As strategies of survival, of expression, of survival in expression?

Extracts from the poetry films The Celebration, 2014 and The City, 2012 will conclude the presentation, contrasting the singularity of one voice with the multiple anonymous voices of a city.

Marie Silkeberg

Words in War I

A presentation of, and reflections on, a six year long collaboration between an Arabic, and a Swedish poet, Ghayath Almadhoun and Marie Silkeberg.

Ghayath Almadhoun, a Palestinian poet born in Syria (1979), migrated to Sweden in 2008. He is author of the poem ”We” on which the poetry film Destruction IV: Stockholm-Gaza 2009 is based. The film is the last one in a series of four made under the title ”Destruction” 2006-2008, by Marie Silkeberg and Fredrik Arsaeus Nauckhoff.

Destruction I-III is an inquiry into historical memory, through the moving image and the human voice, based on journeys to Japan, Vietnam and Poland.

Destruction IV marks a shift – from past to present – and is an expansion of the understanding of the human voice, its capacity to relate to, and evoke photographical images. An eruption of a non-European perspective.

The film also marks the beginning of a collaboration between Ghayath Almadhoun and Marie Silkeberg; a collaboration – an interval, a dialogue, a confrontation – which since then has produced three other poetry films – The City 2012, Your Memory is My Freedom 2012 and The Celebration 2014, and a book – Till Damaskus (To Damascus) 2014, written and signed by both poets.

This presentation will show extracts from Destruction IV: Stockholm-Gaza 2009 and Your Memory is My Freedom. The main focus will be on the poetry film as a transitional place to confront and elaborate differences. Moving from one art field to another, two poets from different parts of the world dedicates themselves to put the words at risk, in suspense and in motion, opening themselves to power struggles cutting through bodies and languages, in search for affinities that could override differences.

A scarred body, a listening voice. To open a wound. The wound of what? Of whom?