Since its inception in 2004, the Contemporary Image Collective (CIC) has established itself as one of the major players in Cairo’s independent contemporary art scene. However, since the departure of long-time dynamic duo director Edit Molnar and curator Aleya Hamza in spring 2009, it seems that CIC has fallen off the radar. All of that is about to change. There’s an exciting current happening at CIC that’s sure to grab the attention of artists and art appreciators city-wide. With a shiny new venue, an experienced new artistic director and exciting projects underway, CIC is about to generate a whole lot of buzz.
New Director: Armed with a background in fine arts and curatorial practices, Mia Jankowicz is injecting unprecedented energy and enthusiasm into the collective’s projects as CIC’s new artistic director. A graduate of Goldsmiths University of London, where she received her MA in Visual Cultures, Jankowicz spent much of the last five years as the Residencies Curator of Gasworks, a contemporary independent art space in London.
Jankowicz felt an instant attraction to our mad but endearing Capital when she first came to Egypt for a pilot curatorial workshop at Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art in 2007. Now, she’s back and ready to start some ambitious initiatives. Judging by what she has accomplished in the few first months of her position, Jankowicz is steering CIC in an entirely new and invigorating direction.
New Space: CIC has officially left its old villa in Mounira and relocated to a Downtown space, not far off from Talaat Harb Square. The new CIC space is an entire floor of an old, colonial apartment building. With high ceilings, original floors and beautiful framing, the new space is charming Downtown architecture at its best.
One of the many exciting features of the new space is the division of administrative and exhibit spaces. Upon exiting the elevator, the space to the right is the production space, which consists of staff offices, the library, the darkroom, the lecture hall and an artist studio. The space to the left is the exhibit space, which consists of a railroad-style apartment of five continuous rooms that hold endless possibilities for interesting displays of images and video.
New Projects: CIC’s new space will be holding its first exhibit on June 24, 2010. Indian photographer Anup Mathew Thomas will be presenting two bodies of work, Light Life and View from Conolly’s Plot, which are being shown for the first time in the Middle East. His works are seemingly disconnected photographs from places and cities that are displayed with a tantalisingly small bit of text to stir the audience’s curiosity of the site.
In July 2010, CIC will initiate an Open Content/ Open Source Reading Group. Driven by a curiosity for the concept of creative commons, the Reading Group will address a critical issue of the contemporary art world: in a contemporary world involving a great deal of creative exchange and distribution, why do we think of an artwork as a single object owned, created and to be profited from? Exploring issues such as media piracy, collaborative art production, multiple authorship and artist copyright versus ‘copyleft’, the Reading Group promises to be a dynamic discussion for interested parties. The group will tentatively meet once every two weeks from July to September 2010.
In late September 2010, CIC will hold an intensive ten-day photojournalism workshop covering the Egyptian parliamentary elections. The workshop will be called 'CIC Alternative News Agency' and will involve knowledge-sharing between artists, photojournalists and citizen journalists. The collaboration of these three professions aims at exploring photojournalism opportunities in Cairo by infusing them with contemporary visual art and activism.
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