When Moroccan artist Mohamed El Baz visited Professor Carol Solomon’s Curatorial Praxis class last Wednesday, February 26th, he did more than just display some of his works. He recruited students in the class to help him create his video installation for the upcoming exhibition. The video, which was created by having students sing a song that was significant to them and spin around the camera as if they were taking a ‘selfie,’ was filmed entirely on campus.
One of the participants was Elisabeth Hawthorne ’17, who chose to sing the Irish folk tune “Raglan Road.” “There was an uncanny, uneasily personal relationship with the camera,” she recalled. As for the spinning itself, Hawthorne noted, “it is harder than it seems.”
Another student said the singing itself made her feel “invigorated.” “There was a freedom I had never really experienced before that moment and I enjoyed every moment of it.”
Both students also had very positive things to say about the actual experience of working with Mohamed. “I got the sense that he was sure of his process and method of creation whereas I had no idea what to expect,” said Hawthorne. The other student described the unique experience as “fun and new.”
El Baz, who is currently at Haverford thanks to the Mellon Creative Residencies Program, describes all of his work as falling under the title Bricoler l’incurable, or “Mending the Incurable.” His art is dynamic, to say the least. Recurring themes include violence, freedom, and the occasional irony, among other things. As parts of recent works, he has had his viewers shoot paintballs at a map of the world and has even figured out what modern drug prescriptions would be given to some of history’s most famous artists.
The video installation was unveiled at an Open Studio night on Tuesday at the squash courts under Ryan Gymnasium.