On the 9th and 10th of December 2010 Arab Media Lab launched the first edition of “Digital Marrakech”, an annual Digital Mixed Media Art event that took place in different locations in the city of Morocco: Marrakech Medina, Marrakech Guéliz, and Marrakech Sidi Ghanem.
According to the directors of Arab Media Lab, the main objectives behind this annual event was to introduce media artworks to the Moroccan audience in order to diversify and deepen their traditional artistic views and to provide a platform for local media art artists where they can gain more exposure and opportunities for exchange.
With the participation of various Moroccan, Arab as well as International artists, “Digital Marrakech” featured a wide-ranging panorama of works based on all fields of media art forms: from digital video/film, to installations and interactive art. In addition to some introduction works about the Arab Immigration to EU and Arab stereotypes in Western media, some other topics or themes addressed by the artists in this project were: migration; exile and identity; occupied territories; neo-colonialism and resistance; memory and gender. As part of the event, the organizers also gave a modest homage to Edward Said, one of the Arab leading literary critics and intellectuals of the 20th Century, by showing some intimate films and documentaries that offered a glimpse at some of Said's reflections on the themes that dominated his life's work.
Presenting an event of Media Art in some historical locations with a very sensible memory, like Dar Chérifa for instance, was a great challenge for the organizers. However, the final outcome turned out to be a great mixture of old and new, never made before in Marrakech. As the directors asserted: “We tried to be as simple as possible, enjoy the place and feel the positive energy that comes from these walls: 500 years of imperial history, was not an easy thing to carry but it was a beautiful challenge to take, and it went all great.”
For Arab Media Lab directors, "the most interesting and noticeable exchange enabled by this project was the relation created between the artists and the place of presentation. It gave them more exposure, and allowed various art institutions to come close to them and think about future collaborations together...” These outcomes confirmed that events of this kind are necessary for promoting and giving visibility to the work of local artists, for bringing international media art works to local audiences and encouraging further interdisciplinary collaborations.
For more information on this and other projects visit www.arabmedialab.org.
Images © Arab Media Lab / Taleb Cherche Midi