Scent of revolution

Viola Shafik
Egypt | OmU
Q&A with:
Viola Shafik

Four people recount­ing their expe­ri­ences in Egypt: The owner of the largest col­lec­tion of photo neg­a­tives in the coun­try, a Coptic polit­i­cal activist, an elder­ly social­ist writer, and a younger cyber­space design­er. The first two have been living in Luxor for decades. They talk about how cor­rup­tion has destroyed the city little by little, leav­ing it a domi­cile with no space for its actual people. The other two live in Cairo – but the writer is a man living in a dif­fer­ent time, and the design­er a woman living in anoth­er world. Back in the 1980s, he wrote about his dis­en­chant­ment with the 1952 rev­o­lu­tion, com­par­ing past and present. She has devel­oped a space of vir­tu­al pos­si­bil­i­ty in Second Life, where she invites a Salafist to meet her as an avatar at Tahrir Square. The scent of rev­o­lu­tion is bewitch­ing and can be found all over the place, it is intan­gi­ble and ephemer­al. A fresh scent can remind you of some­thing from the past. A rev­o­lu­tion is usu­al­ly asso­ci­at­ed with a place and a year, yet it is pre­cise­ly this sort of restric­tion that usu­al­ly brings about it its fail­ure. ARIJ gen­er­ates space and time in all direc­tions, thus giving the rev­o­lu­tion room to breathe.