Dialogues Archive

This page collects the full text of every dialogue item.

Proposal form

All our artists are invited to submit one or more proposals for new work, individually or collaboratively, by 1 April 2010. Please click here for the form:

iaa proposal form

Obscured, Displaced, Unheard and X-rayed and invitation to Modern Times

I had very encouraging meeting with the Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum,  have planned meeting with Marshal Airport to expierment with the coulor x-ray machine,  planned educational visit to the Dissecting Room  at Human Anatomy Centre and stimulating discution with a friend  anthropologist whose research explores various contexts where bodies – whether living, dead, or in the form of medically usable remains – become the sites of economic, legal, political, scientific and artistic attention.”

So, I look forward to your  feed back on the idea itself.

On another issue, one of my drawings has been selected to appear in a new exhibition, and this is to invite you to

MODERN TIMES – responding to chaos

Drawings and films selected by Lutz Becker

3 April – 13 June 2010


Bexhill on Sea

This exhibition comprises drawings, prints and experimental films, and explores the recurring tension between figuration and abstraction throughout the 20th century and the ways by which ideas and concepts evolve. It encompasses movements such as Constructivism, Futurism and Vorticism, Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism, and comprises works by key artists, as well as works of artists who have been sidelined in the mainstream of art history.



Obscured, Displaced, Unheard and X-rayed

think it’s best to await response from potential participants in the project.

Obscured, Displaced, Unheard and X-rayed


And any feedback from you would be very wellcome.


Obscured, Displaced, Unheard and X-rayed

my understanding is that the project is currently awaiting response from UK based artists/filmmakers.

Obscured, Displaced, Unheard and X-rayed

In 2007 I ran a workshop, at the Cambridge Botanic Garden, with eleven refugees from seven different countries – Albania, Iran, Moldova, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Eritrea and China, where the participants took great pleasure in exploring the Garden and recognising plants from their home countries. They spent a wonderful afternoon building structures from plant materials, under the theme of ‘home’.

Issam Kourbaj

I thought to involve them again in my iaa proposal, so I went searching for the Cambridge Refugee Support Group, alas, after many attempt, I learnt that they don’t exist any more. I was advised to contact Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum, and I did, next week I am meeting the Forum’s Comunity Development Officer to discuss with him the posibility of collaborating with the Forum if my proposal to be accepted.

I would like to work with few refugees from different cultures to develop this seed idea for my project/installation on “Obscured, Displaced, Unheard and X-rayed” , which is to be made of four elements (each might be a separate proposal, and might end up just taking the obscured image and the cast, as the tension/conversation of material is much starker, but look forward to your thoughts!):

1. To take an obscured portrait (using my camera obscura) of each individual participant, similar to this (of mine):

Issam Kourbaj

2. Then I would like to cast each individual’s navel, here is the cast of my own:

Issam Kourbaj

But my interest is the negative image , which reveals the hidden part of the navel:

Issam Kourbaj

See the way how they relate to each other:

Issam Kourbaj

3. To ask each individual to put a bag, rucksack or a luggage containing few of their meaningful belonging/s, and to take an “airport” X-ray image of it, similar  to the “false”  translucent colours of this one (found on the net, about a travelor trying to smuggle 44 reptiles in suitcase) but hopfuly not of the same content!

Issam Kourbaj

4. Finally, to run a workshop with the refugees on drawing/writing about their object/s of significant and personal meaning relating to their memories of their past (if a written form to be used, to ask each individual to write  in their own languages, and not to translate it into English). Here is a sample of children’s drawings from Darfur- Sudan and the other of mine:

Issam Kourbaj issam Kourbaj

The idea is to exhibit these four elements; the obscured portrait, the negative cast of the navel, the X-ray image and the background story , from each individual refugee – including mine, in one column (I know there is big difference between me and other participants; I am not a refugee, I could visit my original country, and see my family and be heard by my people, and others are NOT).

This is a sketch plan for my proposal, and if I fail to find any refugees here in Cambridge, I was thinking to propose something within this frame, but using “half” of the iaa artists (the UK based ones!).

I would very much appreciate your feedback from you all (iaa UK and abroad artists) , and willingness, to collaborate with me on this proposal if it is to go ahead.


what do YOU want (really)

back to basics – (I) what do YOU want to say? (II) how is your desire going to inhabit the language (medium) you intend to use?

iaa dialogue official end date 17 Jan. however…

some dialogues will continue

after midnight

Thank you!

Those of you who have expressed interest in communicating beyond today’s end date  can do so by either continuing the current dialogue, or by migrating to another ‘country’ and establishing a dialogue with a new artist/filmmaker. The IAA team will stay with you.

Thank you…everyone.