Fringe Uncut Ep.9: How to leave your body on the Verge of Blue?

Get to know the artists of Buffer Fringe 2023 up close!

Fringe Uncut blog series aims at peaking into the backstage of the 10th edition of the Buffer Fringe Performing Arts Festival, taking place from the 4th until the 8th of October, including parallel activities and workshops.

This edition hosts Omar Adel answering questions about his performance “How to leave your body on the verge of blue?” at Buffer Fringe 2023, their inspiration and more. Read on and get yourself ready to immerse into the world of Buffer Fringe!

Q. Please introduce yourself/your group.

Hi, I am Omar Adel, an artist, researcher, and designer. But away from conventional titles, I like to think of myself as a knowledge enthusiast.

I live and work between Berlin and Alexandria, and my artistic practice encompasses moving images, sound, coding, writing, and performance, exploring the intricate relationship between human cognition, constructed environments, and technology through a geo-specific lens. Recently, my projects have delved into the realms of the human psyche in cyberspace, the dichotomy of hope and defeat in political imaginaries, deep time, hegemony, and the geo-specific.

Within each of my artworks, I aim to ask more questions rather than giving answers, show more doubts rather than certainty, and attempt to evoke an ambiguous interplay between the work and the spectators, not necessarily to deliver a specific message but to activate certain moods.

Q. Can you describe your performance? (the topic you focus on, the main message of the performance, etc)

This performance is a new iteration that belongs to About Intimacy, one of the long-term research that has accompanied me since 2020.

‘About Intimacy’ is an expanded research that looks into the implication of technology on our perception of feelings, trying to detect the constantly morphing definition of intimacy in a time where feelings are commodified heavily through technological means, gadgets, devices, and mobile apps.

Some of the research’s main focuses are the hegemonic presence of the colossal corporates controlling the digital landscape, the impact of this virtual space over the physical one, and the hyper-segmentation and monetization of reality, where desires and intimate gestures are intercepted and hijacked by third-party cookies.

However, in How to leave your body on the verge of blue? I attempt to give more attention to the intimate relationship with the body in these hybrid states of being as an ephemeral/altered presence. And meditate on the infinite loop of self-reproduction to unfold the cruel yet delicate act of leaving behind one vessel to embrace the digital blue.

Q. What was the inspiration behind this piece?

There are so many sources of inspiration that brought this work to life. But what I often don’t share publicly is that one of the strongest influences is my personal experience of being part of the whole movement of digital transformation we are experiencing. And the fact that I belong to a generation that found itself on the verge of this transformation.

We have seen and experienced how life looked like before the digital immersion. But still, we were young enough to embrace this transition. And in saying so, I think it’s clear that I’m not trying to say that before is better or worse, or give it any label, for that matter.

This kind of comparison doesn’t interest me so much. What interests me is the process of transformation itself and the chance to meditate on how the human condition is in a constant state of conversion anyway; it just happens that this current transformation is being shaped or influenced by the digital landscape.

However, saying that one of the strongest influences is my personal experience also means that I’m bringing my own subjectivity, which includes my understanding of the matter and my take on it because that is what shapes my work in the end.

Q.  Can you tell us a bit about your creative process developing the piece?

My projects usually start with the research questions, and then the choice of the medium follows. And when I chose to create this performance I wanted to find a way to create resonance, to leave a trace, and to manifest this ephemeral presence for this brief moment in time when I’m joined with the audience.

This desire guided many of my decisions regarding the sort of sounds, spoken words, and visuals I needed to create for the composition.

And the process of building these three elements is intertwined. They are developed independently but simultaneously to create a sense of unison and dissonance.

Q. How would you describe your performance in relation to the festival theme “Turning Point”?

One possible way to look at the performance in the light of the festival theme could be found in one of the curatorial statement questions: How does change resonate with us?

Since the work reflects on the polarities that arise from our constant reproduction of ourselves through technological means that, in some ways, lead to a state of opposition and contradiction that permeates contemporary life.

‘How to leave your body on the verge of blue?’ is an invitation to reflect on the impact of technology on our lives and our relationships with our bodies and emotions. Exploring the tension between the withdrawal of the body and its ephemeral presence invites us to consider how we might imagine ourselves and our bodies in a future where technology continues to shape our lives and our understanding of intimacy and emotions and how we might imagine a common future that acknowledges these changes.

Q. Buffer Fringe Festival celebrates its 10th edition this year, yet considering Fringe tradition, it’s quite young. It’s also defined as a festival with an aim to contribute to peacebuilding, in a divided country. What are your thoughts on this, were you aware of the situation in Cyprus before applying, and what are your expectations as a participating artist?

I would say that I have some knowledge of the situation in Cyprus but only from a historical and geo-political point of view since my participation in this year’s edition will be my actual first visit to Nicosia. In that sense, my understanding so far is only theoretical.

But recently, I’ve been learning more about the cultural scene in the city, so I’m looking forward to the time I will be present there to get to know it better on the ground. And I’m lucky to not only have such experience as a visitor, but as a participating artist where I will have the chance to bring my work to such a vibrant, young, and dynamic place.

Q.  What should the audience expect?

A sensory trip in time and space with/out our bodies. A moment to come together. And a moment to ponder the digital blue! 🙂

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