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Yasmina Reggad : we dreamt of utopia and we woke up screaming

A broadcasting company at times, and at others, a foreign broadcast monitoring centre, two performative works part of the first chapter a common consent to listen. a collective dissent of interpretation explore new ways of 'exhibiting' and activating a unique and little-known archive of a time when Algiers was dubbed the 'Mecca of Revolution'.

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Against the backdrop of the Cold War's bi-polar tensions of the 1960s and 1970s, the Algerian capital that hosted national liberation movements, political exiles, rebels and disillusioned Westerners, militants from all the continents, witnessed the forging of a 'third way' and other possible futures. Drawing on the liberation movements' broadcasts aired by the Algerian national broadcasting company (RTA), the polyglot and polyphonic production echoes Reggad's journey through the worlds of ideas and ideals of that time.

Immersed within either a live radio documentary show or a performative installation, the audience bares witness to the conception, production and broadcasting of two carefully scripted works. They become the contemporary listeners that carry the voices of past struggles and avant-garde propositions, and re-enact the solidarity with and between otherwise invisible actors of global history.

Initiated back in 2016, we dreamt of utopia and we woke up screaming continues to take on different forms and develop further with each new invitation. The first chapter of this long-term research titled a common consent to listen. a collective dissent of interpretation is a multimedia cumulative, ongoing and durational performance that borrows from the radio and theatre documentary genres.

Two recent versions created for Moussem Cities: Algiers at Kaaistudio's include:

The #8 iteration of the ever-evolving we dreamt of utopia and we woke up screaming performance inspired by the radio documentary genre. Spanning across all continents and several languages, audio-visual archival and contemporary documents interwine with testimonies by key actors and militant voices of the 60s & 70s such as Frantz Fanon, Houari Boumediene, Sam Nujoma, María Acerina, Elaine Mokhtefi, Antonio Cubillo, Vera Sílvia Araújo de Magalhães, Manuel Alegre or Yasser Arafat. Some of these voices are performed by a solidarity choir composed of today's Brussels-based activists. Through the unfolding of the carefully crafted accoustic and dramatised script, the audience experiences an active form of listening constantly brought back to present and current events by the voice of the main commentator, Yasmina Reggad.

#9 from dreamers to freedom fighters to terrorists presents different facets of the armed struggle adopted by liberation movements in the 70s such as acts of sabotage, bombings, kidnappings and hijackings. The work addresses the way they are perceived by both the historical parties involved, and contemporary viewers. In order to re-enact and experience different modalities of political and solidarity engagements, the audience is invited to activate the installation and become the radio commentators of a daily live broadcast by reading a projected script mounted in the fashion of the militant movies of the 70s.

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