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 and in AU C — the transcriptions For  nights, th–th of April , I sat in a soundproofed one-way mirrored glass room from  to  pm drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and speaking. My main focus were my undergraduate years (between  and ) at the American University in Cairo (AUC), which I entered when I was  and graduated from when I was . Although people could see and hear me I could not see or hear except myself. All  hours of this performative action were documented on a digital video camera. The result is a mixture of deeply personal recollections and various theoretical attempts at deciphering and analysing the period as well as the situation itself, a specific relation to an audience—a technology of communication. This is a personal investigation of the construction of memory and persona in relation to a specific institution and the context it is in. The following text is a transcription of every legible word uttered during these hours, the text has been lightly edited to avoid the repetitions of oral delivery, however the decision to keep the unpunctuated flow of the spoken word was dictated by the interest of maintaining the rhythms and enigmas of a consciousness on the brink. H K

A.S.S.N Ars Sine Scientia Nihil


‒‒


 ––, : pm so weird how can I start this whole issue I’m in a situation to sit and then start telling you stuff of course I’ll have to try to escape anything I want to escape from so I have to start with something that will lead me on this issue I’m about to start I’m trying to escape it but all I know is that I could have done this project but maybe not about this particular period of time the period of being a – years old person in that university I could have done it from another perspective that of someone sitting in a place being watched or who doesn’t know whether he is being watched or not because he can’t see except himself this is already an interesting situation I decided to do that within a specific frame and that’s important because it’s not only about myself in a way it’s also about everyone else too because it’s an institution in a certain city isolated from it yet part of it at the same time forming people in a certain way and just that one person of these people through that institution looks at his history and the history of that place of that institution bearing in mind the place where this institution is located for example which means a lot because AUC is a very elite place at the same time it’s a space that at least now it is more in a way public but elite at the same time at least when I was there it was a space that had and it still does have a huge impact on a whole society while remaining closed for a few people but anyway this is not so interesting this is not really what I want to talk about this is more a frame more a way of getting into this situation a way of beginning a conversation that is one way completely one way I cannot see anyone and I don’t know if there is anyone except my sister and who cares who is there anyone else is there or not I don’t know but anyway it doesn’t matter my objective is to try to remember this period because this period is like a big fog four — five years and I remember certain snapshots these four–five years shaped me to a huge extent pro or against but they did to a huge extent so I think now after ten years or more – years ever since I entered this place or institution the time is appropriate to start looking at this issue and to understand something about it when I chose this construction I chose a design that shows a confrontation with myself big time in a way but it also started because I’m completely fascinated by this room too OK now it’s possible to be a bit logical and speak logically I’ll try I did not think about how to start and I didn’t want to think about how to start so I’m supposed now to find a way and this is part of my work which is not to have a script not to imagine how this issue will go of course I did imagine some instants but I was trying hard not to imagine a lot so as not to control the situation from before and to allow myself to react to what I’m in directly and immediately and dangerously at the same time that is the case but now I should find a way to begin this investigation and exploration of myself at a certain time it’s difficult it’s fucking difficult but whether I like it or not it will happen because I created the situation where it can only happen and that’s the case I don’t think that I’ll try to make a chronological story since I first joined AUC till I graduated for sure because this doesn’t make much sense and it is not like that in a way but as a starting point I can start from the most logical point the first day I was in university wearing light green olive pants and realizing in a way remembering that the night before sleeping in bed kind of  year old guy always spoilt in a way not by money but spoilt by attention by the promise of brilliance in a way which of course has to do with a massive narcissism which this is a problem of course absolutely but remembering that the night before knowing that I’m moving into a new stage of my life to do something completely different and I don’t think I can remember the first day very purely I remember I was wearing olive green pants and a yellow T-Shirt and of course I was super excited which makes a lot of sense and anyway this doesn’t connect to my experience really in that place except that it is something in opposition the


person who walked into this place believed and did not believe at the same time was already completely opposed to the system whatever the fucking system is but was also someone who completely believed what he was fed from his own personal home family upbringing which is kind of very very special and at the same time a bit twisted it gives you many advantages but fucks you in another way fucking shit OK it starts so that’s it someone wearing green pants and a yellow T-Shirt and entering this place and finding himself against everything around him but with the language he learned from the house he was in and then later on he discovered that it is not necessarily his language which is why we have so many problems with this issue this is a picture an image of a  nearly  year old guy a complete virgin who did not have experience yet walking into this exciting place somehow with a specific background and a specific belief and a clear idea of who he is opposed to everything around him grounded in a specific family of people for sure which was open definitely open but closed in another way that’ s the first picture of course I did not know that within only one year everything changes the whole thing took around six to eight months I guess and I changed completely I became a completely different person and the reason I guess is simple in the beginning it’s not necessarily the institution as such but it’s the movement meaning it’s a position I think people experience this the movement from being a school boy into something else that changes completely I guess it really changes completely and of course I really fell into many traps and I really believed in many ideals that were easy to believe in easy to believe in them to satisfy a certain image of what I wanted of myself an image that I had built for myself even as a child an image that I had built of two very opposing and different things or a personal kind of intellectual construction meaning since I was whatever trying always looking at two books for example which exposes which train our minds in a very specific way for sure and this attachment to a specific kind that calls certain values that are in opposition and knowing that knowing that this is in opposition the problem is that what is in opposition promotes is many times in opposition to what I have explored and constructed and read and whatever for my own self so already there was some kind of a conflict by entering that space and then being in that space and suddenly realising that I can exist outside that figure a bigger conflict yes but I don’t regret that I never regret that because it is a very healthy and rich beginning I would say so first thing is I entered the space and I started believing in these ideals that express themselves in everything from the inside and the outside so at the beginning the person’s physique changed it was fashion and in a way very normal of a young boy and not a teenager kind of fitting in and not fitting in as fitting in or whatever so that is understandable but it was more than that at the same time because it was a sign of saying fuck you in a way it was a sign of deciding that you are doing something outside what has been decided for you and maybe that is a revolution too may be that is a revolution but I’m feeling that I’m talking just for the sake of talking of course there are lots of things on my mind that are there and need to come out and this is why this project has to last for a long time this is why I have to sit here for four hours for  days minimum to go beyond the fucking bullshit that’s necessary it’s weird I thought I would sit down here and remember a lot of things immediately everything will come back but this is very unpredictable I think maybe because this is the first day and I don’t know it’s hard why do I not remember this time I remember it but why why is it so unclear like a huge fog other than the fact of being trashed and being completely stoned and blablabla and which helps which is quite part of what that experience was and it’s easy to talk about it because that is glamorous that is definitely glamorous and maybe I need to cut through the glamour of the past that romanticism of the past cut through that glamour to really understand something else and maybe


 that’s weird but it’s easy to talk about drugs for example as such let’s see it has an aura and maybe it’s part of the reason why this whole period is erased or not erased it’s there of course it’s there but what’s even weirder is that once I graduated from that institution that university the moment I was out I completely shifted and realized something else it’s weird realizing how important and how not important you are at the very same time and I think it’s part of the institution’s policy that makes you feel you are important and special as when I was there and I completely fell for that trip and at the same time trying to cause some kind of opposition to that in a way but it’s strange this is a strange time in a strange system definitely and it’s strange the path I took to reach a point where I can sit in an isolated room funded by that same institution to talk about that institution that is and I think that this situation in a way is a clear demonstration of the invisible hidden ideology behind that kind of thing for sure the way it promotes and destroys at the same time but it is necessary for this project to work it is necessary for me to face myself absolutely and I think that even if I don’t face myself today which might be the case this is the first day I will sooner or later have to because the construction does not allow except that all that this is a demonstration of the power of architecture to me it is a complete demonstration of that the way architecture is a kind of sculpture of the mind definitely so maybe today a bit of bullshit but that is how it is until I can get into something else which is not going to happen but with time unless one is uncovering oneself or being in a situation where one can’t do anything but uncovering oneself and if one doesn’t one will suffer more than anything else so the situation pushes one towards that uncovering of the self let’s enjoy just enjoy yeah we’ll see shit there was a period where I woke up and I was – years old during my second/third year I woke up every morning it was a period where I was getting stoned  fucking hours and I was never awake but to smoke and I used to wake up in the morning sometimes I would wake up at dawn smoke a joint sleep and then wake up again at : and smoke again go down from my place in Heliopolis smoke a joint in the street going to the mini-bus take the mini-bus completely fucked and then go to Midan Ramsis go off and walk all the way to AUC because I have a class at : the thing is Midan Ramsis at .–. in the morning is like rush hour basically and I had many different experiences in that time in that place I used to get off the bus it’s fucking busy and a lot of people and sometimes human beings people an ecstasy some kind of ecstasy some kind of deep deep deep connection with all the people around me till I reach the university sometimes it’s the opposite sometimes it’s attacking me sometimes it’s complete paranoia sometimes it’s like thousands of people who are enemies in a way and anybody can be an enemy at any point of time because they’re human and you’re human and that’s part of what it is it is that enemy the enemy the enemy that we face the enemy that we face and we know is an enemy because you are being an enemy to yourself too because you have to because you understand this just this sensitivity what is sensitivity what are you revealing to yourself you are equally aggressive yourself and defensive so it was moving from the mass of this place and the people from everywhere it was a great happening lots of people gathered together early in the morning in the same place and they create something by moving to and fro just by moving to and fro they are creating something and moving from this walking which is always good to a form of isolation from that and what was my reaction was OK sometimes it was a great thing and sometimes it was destructive but one would walk and get there and reach the isolated space and have a class whatever normal system and then I’m there in class opposed kind of aggressive kind of made to be aggressive and it has something to do with the  minutes I stood outside there in the Midan something totally different that has nothing to do with English Literature at all and it makes me


cynical this talking makes me cynical about what we were supposed to be in that system somehow but up till now I won’t do anything but sitting and trying to remember incidents and events I’m not trying because I can’t remember somehow I have a huge block towards sitting and trying to remember because I can’t do it now today I have absolute confidence in the structure that was built to create this situation and I believe that the structure is not only glass aluminum and wood it’s also time and so time will push it whether I like it or not time will force it to come back but I can’t sit and remember now unless it comes there is no word there is no word to remember it can’t just come on its own somehow maybe I just have to wait sit and drink till it comes on its own for sure but I wonder why I’m doing this somehow I don’t know why I hate doing it allowing emotionally to try to understand why I’m doing it maybe they are shades of the same thing I don’t know yep still too close moral life still too close so there was some kind of belief for sure some kind of community constructed out of cultural impact and I believed in that me and my friends understand that special position of realizing and doing it whatever it means and this is something that was fed to me and I would say maybe this belief is you can be whoever you are whatever and it’s heroic it’s a heroic image that has to be broken down because it is also a lie because you’re creating a bubble and you’re eating it and it was satisfying your immediate urges and it can’t satisfy your intelligence in a way because it falls under intelligence also but what does it really mean? it separates you from people and you can ask a question is it important to be connected to everybody and maybe it is not important and it is not possible to be connected to everybody and this leads to another kind of belief in this but this is who I am and fuck you and that society an internal society but it was only possible to do that in this way within an internal society that allowed you to do that and that’s not possible I believe it is kind of negative in this issue one thinks of what is positive and negative but I think I could be negative too it’s an illusion you think it’s a delusion it’s a way of feeling heroic and that heroism what does it lead to? satisfaction I’m not sure it’s satisfaction maybe not and it can survive as long as we are aware of the layers that lie behind it and there is something else behind that too it is not that simple shit yeah what happened? and now I’m trying to focus I’m trying to remember my kind of system after I find my kind of system so what was the system? Friends different friends at different times different friends at different times OK one friend that I barely remember actually Ma’moun a Jordanian guy Ma’moun I guess I met him in my second semester maybe even my first semester second third th he was a nice guy really a nice guy


 ––, : pm yeah somehow and I boasted in a way boosting the ego up but he was a friend outside any groups he was just a friend a personal friend not related to my social life really not related to all the groups that existed in AUC at that time with their identities and clubs not real clubs the groupings of people he was not a part of all that at all he was someone I knew at that time after that I’m not sure what to think I’m not sure what to say someone outside the groupings there were many many groupings and clearly identifiable groups that competed against each other in hidden and visible ways a mini-society I guess a mini-society and of course there was Abe my really good friend who died in a car crash really really good really really good and what did he do? what did Abe do? he was big he was a mascot and we turned him into a mascot we flattened him out in a way we turned him into an image and he became an image he became a fucking image but it was good to know him somehow frankly I can’t talk about it I don’t think I can talk about it now at all I can’t in a way and I’m still too much in control of trying to present a very specific story about that time and this exercise is about trying to break the presentation of a specific story or trying to go beyond the story that I believe in I have to go beyond that to understand anything about it and it is more difficult than I thought but I’m not sure that I thought it was specifically difficult or easy so I guess I have got to give it time again and maybe those moments when I sit silently in this room knowing there is an audience and not knowing an audience it’s OK because fuck the audience anyway specifically in this situation it is important and necessary to go beyond that go beyond that go beyond that the first time I went to Al Horeya was with Samir not really a close friend and he never became a close friend and he passed by me and took me to Horeya which became an important place for me and we used to go there nearly everyday in the morning drink drink go to class drink go to class go back and drink and go to class and it was easy now I can’t drink in the day it’s impossible but at that time it was very easy just get completely trashed it had no connotations it was just what it was supposed to be so I went with him and I discovered something in a way I discovered an interface between two worlds some place where these two worlds can meet without any problem it’s possible that the street meets what’s outside the street it’s possible that the street can meld with an elite club and alcohol was a big part of it for sure for sure yeah I remember but this is at the very end my last semester when I got busted for smoking on the roof with Jenny Black the roof of the JC (Jameel Centre) building and the security guards came in and took the joints I stepped under my foot and we were busted suspended for a semester it doesn’t matter why is that important I wonder why is that important it was at the end I was already changing big time yeah changing from that time and changing till now but these two experiences I dealt with the other face of this institution which is the completely security-based bureaucratic fascistic system of semi-interrogation I was young also I was  and not knowing how to deal with that kind of situation and Said Hanno the head of the AUCian security interrogating me and being suspended signing a piece of paper this is something I’ll never ever do again never ever sign anything that I have the choice of not signing unless I believe in it but basically signing a confession and being punished in a way being punished for not fitting in being suspended and what’s interesting is that one of the students actually told the security that me and Jenny were up there on the roof smoking a joint so there was a lot of resentment and hatred from other students maybe not necessarily towards me personally but towards anyone and everyone who was taking that kind of position which I said earlier is not heroic and not necessarily in the end better than Mr. Marlbororedjeansplatformguy because we’re all in the same system anyway whether we like it or not so it doesn’t differ that much but that


was how it was and we at the same time we demonstrated the difference we demonstrated the image of being that of being opposed to that elite system while completely subscribing to it being an elite based on the logic of being an elite that kind of demonstration was based on that logic was based on consuming certain things consuming mass culture consuming images living them and believing them all the fucking time but we believed in the heroism and that was stupid I think it doesn’t matter maybe it was stupid then but it was not stupid because then we believed in it and therefore it was not stupid it was real yeah wow shit man easy at least I can smoke cigarettes at least at least there is some thing in this cage like lighting a cigarette I can smoke I can smoke I think I can start again with easier stuff like for example simple everybody can connect I knew already before coming in to that room I knew I would talk about this taking this position within this isolated circle within a time in which the world around you as it has been defined by your background is collapsing I was completely against being in any of the students’ demonstrations or anything like this because I saw this as hypocritical and at the same time that the world that I come from in some ways has been attacked and destroyed maybe not necessarily here at home but somewhere else which is happening again now on a wider scale I’m sitting within that bubble and judging and deciding that I will not be part of that which I think is valid but at the same time it’s strange that at this same moment where this world is being challenged and crumbling my solution is to subscribe to an image of radicalism an image a picture of radicalism and a revolutionary pose it’s a pose a revolutionary pose that came out of a very specific time in a very specific place very s very US Western or in quotation marks “hippie ideal” to live that and to be that now that I look at it and I wonder how did that really happen probably it has to do with options because it’s impossible that one is in a situation where one can choose a specific choice as opposed to being in a situation with no choices to be part of that or to be part of that or to be part of that and one already has problems with the position that was already there the singing the lyrics I saw it the first time throughout my childhood the Arab left the Arab left crying over defeat after defeat after defeat and I’m not part of this and I will not be part of this and at the same time being within this circle this elite circle my response to that is immediately to subscribe to a specific cultural idea again so I did not escape from anything I just believe in something else which is a problem which is really a big problem and I think it is related to being in that place probably I guess I guess for being in that place it was one way of fighting back but it was not necessarily the most it’s coming out of privilege definitely comes out of a certain sense of privilege yeah for sure so cynicism is a sort of act I guess before I started this I had a big problem of do I speak in English or in Arabic classic kind of division but before it took me time to think about and I have no problems with dividing being bilingual and I do not condemn it in any way because it’s real and it happens to be my situation coming out of history but I also thought that I should not speak to Cairo in English because that is problematic but again I framed this performance show whatever not as something that is speaking to Cairo I chose to put it in a situation where it is not completely Cairo so I can have the freedom of moving from one language to the other which is necessary to understand who you are if this is part of who you are I remember in my seminar paper about “Season of Migration to the North” a classic text dealing with that kind of relationship I wrote a paper I can’t remember what I wrote about but in the end of that I made an index of my relationship with Roxane she was my first girlfriend at university which was this kind of semi-sadistic relationship but I think for personal reasons nothing to do with politics or culture but I framed it in this paper I wrote about it in this paper for my professor I wrote that this section is confidential and I said that and I cited as an example


 of that this demonstrated the complexity somehow of this construction it’s complex I was lying in a way because this issue was not related to the fact that she was American but it’s not this the rest of this bullshit it’s not about that but I framed it as if it was about that to hide my personal engagement with something that was sadistic something that was about power something that has to do with man and woman whatever and the reason why that was possible is again related to the ideology of that institution I don’t know what it’s becoming I don’t know yep I think in the end I have to give it time I still there’s so much I still can’t remember and I have to give it time and I have time well  more days doing this shit to remember and I’m sure it will come because now it’s blank somehow and I can barely barely remember anything from that time and I know it’s also because of vulnerability no one wants to be spoken of but I trust the situation and I trust the construction to force it on me and I guess it’s going to happen everyday it happened today and maybe it’ll happen tomorrow without really facing anything but it will come really it will happen also at the same time I can’t remember what happened at that time because probably it is not so important probably it’s completely melodramatic and taking us beyond and it is not so important this is a sign of privilege this melodrama this architectural melodrama for sure the situation is also a sign of a critical time I’m sure indulgence big time indulgence yeah OK there was also the idea or the concept of Sinai as a refuge first place I got stoned in and then afterwards for a few years two maybe three years I was addicted to as the space in which to go it was realizing yourself but it was a space it was a place where you went and where you believed somehow that you discovered something and I think that was also pretty delusional because what was it really? what was it? what was that? what was that idea? it was about time even if you didn’t have much memory but it wasn’t about privilege in the classical sense it was privilege in the sense of consciousness the awareness of buying time even if we didn’t have much money or whatever that was not the point it was the possibility of buying time outside of time buy time to know who you are but that’s a delusion I think a lot of people were and are addicted to this form it doesn’t matter where the next mystical trip is if it is in Sinai or the Red Sea or whatever or a mountain or anything it was a form of buying time outside the city buying time outside the necessary it has nothing to do with your money you’re doing in terms of if you’re meant to do it it’s necessary and it’s fine but I just question the absolute belief in the value the excitement about discoveries the excitement about it and that’s what I really question in a way yeah I have no interest in it I think this is what I question because living in this context which again is another form of buying time OK contradiction one contradiction related to the Sinai-buying-time-thing I’m in Dahab with Omar my friend the bug the Volkswagen beetle car which really we as a group kind of subscribed to the idea of anyway me and Omar in Sinai and we’re gone stoned and wasted etc.. and we meet some really hot chicks Israeli hot chicks and then there is the conflict because according to one set of codes this is beyond what is supposed to be political and beyond these constraints but at the same time I fucked this encounter up I fucked the possibility of us fucking by introducing things from my own personal value my own free isolated circle sphere bubble and the questioning of that very sensitive topic here to them and to everyone and therefore it did not happen that potential fuck did not occur and but that is not the point the point is that we were in that moment in a situation of conflict between two sets of values between a set of values that has nothing to do with that image that was related to again another romanticism and a set of values that was connected deeply to a family background etc. and therefore sitting with Omar with these pretty beautiful Israeli women I chose to introduce part of the conversation which of course made fucking impossible in this situation and I’m not saying this was good and I’m not


saying this was bad but it’s just a demonstration of the conflict of values that exists for example between what it supposedly free and liberated which is an illusion and something else which is another illusion which is personal and there were two personal sets fighting against each other and finding some kind of resolution a resolution that did not resolve anything but it at least made the situation clear it created a situation where there was one option not two options and I think that is interesting the fact that there is one the fact that I was driving towards one option rather than two options and escape of the conflict the conflict that exists whether I like it or not that’s good this has been a word now


 ––, : pm I don’t remember I have to slowly give it time there is no other way I have to nothing will help I have to yeah it was easy to think to believe that you’re radical and that this was the solution the way out like it’s easy to sit here and speak about it it’s easy to be radical that is the solution well that is an illusion you’d better be aware of it and if you’re fighting for some kind of self authenticity some kind of real understanding of who you are with no fear that is very difficult to face yourself now for example I’m sitting here and I have to face that issue which is not very difficult of course there are a million and one escape routes so many ways of getting out of it and even talking about getting out of it is a way of getting out so I should basically shut up and be concrete and deal with this situation sitting here in an isolated room speaking about specific time so I should speak about a specific time this show is supposedly called  and in AUC that time is not actually being  but what happens in this whole period is signified by  now what can I remember? something whatever so blank yeah smoking completely escaping the confrontation OK OK concrete example let’s think the day I entered class maybe second semester third semester maybe someone in that El Lozy class an example I don’t know who he is as far as I remember a really fucked up person as far as I remember what is this fucking leading to another lie another lie better speak about myself I should speak about myself OK and now a situation a situation –– years ago what I need a situation OK one option is friends another option is stories OK stories from that time OK Islam a friend Islam always confrontational always and you get into a cab with him he tells the cab driver I fucked some girl yesterday in a mosque for example always with him once I was at his place deeply deeply deeply stoned and everything I touched was fire so what does that say about my topic maybe it’s personal but at the same time it’s not about being too personal it’s not OK let’s look at Islam OK looking at Islam this was someone who wanted to confront everything but at the same time was absolutely scared from everything wants to show everything and scared of everything and I think that this is an image a clear image of a certain attitude he wants to show everything but scared from everything you can ask why scared why are we afraid what are you afraid of OK because part of the issue is related to power structures we have no control over them you are part of them whether you like it or not but you’ve got control over it it’s just how it’s structured and I guess Islam was a clear example of that but this is not enough this is not even a story so it’s not enough I guess maybe today I’m completely blocked and I can not remember and I’m just drunk in a weird situation shit I can’t remember it’s hard really hard yeah so harsh freaking harsh so I have to go back whenever again and one more time for the invisible crisis one more time what am I burdened with? what is it exactly? what am I trying to remember? this is also important why is it defined? why is it something that has a border? why have I decided this period of time as a border? why am I suffocated because I can’t answer my own questions? I think it has to do with the fact that this period of time was defined by the institution we’re in OK so this period was not vague but limited through a certain institution so this period exists because it has limitations because now I’m sitting trying to recall a certain period therefore it has limitations and these limitations have to do with a certain institution OK that is clear that is set why do I have trouble remembering anything to do with that period of time? with that institution in that period of time? I don’t know OK I have to deal with that situation so we have an institution we have a period of time and we have an individual who’s trying to deal and remember that period of time within that institution the period of time four to five years for example approximately so that period had several people OK I have got to look at these personal stories but I don’t have a key to look at these personal stories what is the key? this is what I’m


trying to discover in this closed isolated space I’m trying to discover the key to these memories OK I have to be specific I have to push certain stories certain moments like for example me and Mo sleeping on the grass looking at the trees completely fucked up and tripping out but I have to look OK that story’s easy it’s a story that is easily defined but we have to look at this story from another perspective this is the challenge to look at the same story not as a story for which I can find some limitations and thus make it into something romantic but as something more than that for example we’re lying on the grass on Pulmolar looking at the trees what is the meaning of that story? or why is it that I remember? what is the importance of that moment? that’s a challenge that’s a good way to approach this story I have no answer to this question maybe I have to wait till the answers come or maybe there will never be any answers to these questions yeah I’m getting totally sick of this shit for example another story is that I did not go to my graduation I went to the rehearsal of my graduation and the rehearsal of my graduation was for me extremely sick because it was a theatre it was a complete theatre and completely this institution is trying to prove that it is an institution I couldn’t take this and decided not to graduate officially it’s not important I’m getting the documents and everything but I chose not to take this issue and to go on stage because before going on stage it was already a stage so I decided not to do that well not so fucking important nothing is so important the deepest the deepest the deepest cynicism available the deepest cynicism available my good friends I loved my good friends yeah for sure it’s a weapon a weapon a weapon and this is what this whole show is about the framing and the meaning of the framing absolutely outside the content outside the remembrance of the institution the remembrance of the university and a life lived about the idea of framing and that is a very powerful concept definitely the fact of framing which we practice all the time but which we rarely give the space of consciousness the space of designed consciousness that’s power too yeah this is an exercise in power an absolute exercise in power it goes both ways it goes out towards the audience and then reflects back to me a way of breaking my defences which is not easy I’m going to give it time so I can break my defences so I can expose something before me now so that one can break it’s a must break all defences but it’s impossible that it happens at the very beginning one must give it time time because part of this project has to do with time as it is made of aluminum and glass and wood it’s also made of time one is completely paranoid of course I’m fucking completely paranoid in this situation I have to be paranoid it’s a must there is no way out deep paranoia all the fucking way annoying


 ––, : pm weird I thought I would sit and everything would come some things came but not what I thought less than I thought less than I thought we’re gonna give it time man we’re gonna give it time we’re gonna sit here every fucking day for two weeks and do it we have plenty of time shit man it’s so hard it’s so hard that is so harsh man so wasted I think it’s time to smoke and yeah this is so weird yeah OK now OK clear address I’m wasted but it doesn’t matter my goal is to remember AUC undergraduate stories that doesn’t make much sense at this point of time at all why that why that specifically it doesn’t make so much sense other than I cannot remember tonight it’s clear I cannot remember anything at all tomorrow maybe after tomorrow maybe but tonight no no memory I have got to live with that shit have got to live with it and that’s how it is I will speak in the mike it will give me a chance I’ll have to address whoever is there yeah something yeah something OK I would better remember a certain time that I took this code for myself and I cannot deal with it because it is a fucking bitch but it doesn’t matter OK that’s the situation there is something positive about it for sure there must be OK blank man total blank that is valuable as well on its own that I’m completely blank that is a value no no no no feedback at all what? I’ll stand here instead yeah come on man I can’t deal with this shit what fuck stop it I got no feedback no no no no no no no anybody help I can’t take this I can’t take this it’s fucking me it’s really fucking me  o’clock I can’t take this anymore man I can’t take this anymore Nadine is it  o’clock or not yet? it’s really hard I’m really sick of this and I want to break it is there still a lot of time anyway whatever I say you have to wait till  o’clock you have to wait till  o’clock oh fuck oh man it’s always that it’s so fucking ridiculous oh shit man what the fuck man I’m so wasted I’m so fucking wasted shit man this was but what do you think? shit I hate this project I hate this fucking project what is this?


––


 ––, : pm yep second day first note is that it feels as if this is the only kind of reality strange yesterday I was out and when I came back in it is a bit as if I didn’t leave which feels strange the first time I ever went out in this university as an individual somehow like I’m not a boy was at a party I went to alone I was – and it was my first semester it was a party in Garden City at that time I was not smoking cigarettes and I got drunk and I was borrowing cigarettes from people it was one of the most exciting parties I’ve ever been to in my life. It was quite a fun party to a great extent it meant something quite special to me some kind of point of departure and I was also realizing that it is possible to communicate with people play games with people or they play games with you something like that realising that in a way it was not childish anymore it’s strange I thought that I would enter this space and all my memories would come back immediately and fast and maybe flow in a way I know what it means that period of time to me personally in a way I know how it has shaped me and I also know something about what that institution means in the city it is in but the actual details of that four or five year period I was so hurt I guess maybe more in good ways I remember two brothers who were friends at – I guess they were sneaky bastards somehow I remember something from knowing them because the time where you both take and trust each other at the same time it was also a time where conservative and open are mixed somehow being on that campus in an isolated way removed from the main street of the city also highlights the main current of the city you live in because for me I don’t know why or how but actually it was a very open edgy ground for many things an amoral attitude about many things I truly did not believe in moralistic values as such and in a way which might be stupid I thought that somehow automatically people would love that unless they were super conservative but not friends and here friends or people I would deal with and there is something interesting in AUC that a lot of people you come across who wear their openness on the edge as opposed to actually deep inside being extremely conservative people and that makes a lot of sense if you look at the background of most of those people they come from money based backgrounds and it makes sense that these people are conservative somehow and I don’t mean conservative in terms of sex or not conservative in a deeper way so these two brothers who were friends specially the older one it was interesting to discover that to discover how he was conservative and at that time I had known him for a bit of time and in the beginning it was a kind of an exciting thing going out partying meeting women and with him I had a girlfriend at the time and he was also going out with a friend of hers but as time went on and I had changed in the beginning I less aware or less conscious but the thing is as time went on I became more and more extreme in every way in my work in my attitude in my actions I became more and more extreme and I think that was also a reaction to what was upon me inside on campus and outside in society as a whole but as I became more and more extreme and in a way drifted more by the way from these two guys me and Amin he had something possessive like he thought this guy is your friend you should know my friend something like that and he turned against me he really turned against me in the most nasty fascist way speaking about me I think he was completely threatened by the way I lived and could not see how it could be right maybe he was afraid of something inside himself I don’t know although it is not my place to judge that but all I know is that he fucked with me he spoke about me and called me a druggy which I was not I was definitely doing different drugs all the time smoking and chemicals but I was not addicted to anything and so I was not a junky and if I was it doesn’t matter I have nothing against that I think I discovered that later on I had already known that I was not interested in knowing this person but I discovered the way he turned


against me and what he said and how he said it a bit later on and I was shocked that was one of the earliest experiences to do with trust in a way of course now I know more I think everybody realises this and deals with that as time goes on it is difficult to trust I guess but anyway it kind of highlighted this conservative deeply conservative attitude hidden and coated with a pose an open pose yeah at the same time it relates to how that campus functioned everybody was looking at everybody else in a way there was two sets it was an unofficial system in which everybody knew each other hating each other anyway different types of people different groups of people kind of maybe fucked around each other but in hidden ways and then there was an official system which was like the university itself the administration security etc. and it was also interesting to see how and this was really far away from me something that I always found very shocking and in a way disturbing and disappointing how people could collude and work with that authority even on a small scale even on the scale of a university campus and a small university at that how they can basically inform on other people in a way and it has to do with the self-righteousness plus AUC then was very different from AUC now it was definitely less conservative than it is now it may mean in a way I had the chance to taste the end of the development of those who were there before me it was kind of a wilder more open place and I don’t think it was the university’s policies or anything it was just a bit less institutional and therefore there was more space to do things and to become something and so I think that maybe I caught the end of that period where I saw it slowly transform into an institution I feel kind of calmer today which means maybe the fact that I could speak about that time and the fact that it’s hard to remember stories or it’s hard to talk about stories says something and it’s easier to come up with theories about it or to analyse it than to actually remember specific stories and to talk about them specific details of things that happened that’s more difficult for some reason it’s scary it’s scarier maybe I should just try to remember different stories and not value them and something will come out without trying to frame them too much without trying to give them meaning and trying to use them to demonstrate something about that time maybe just stories maybe for bit I can say stories so I can talk a party I was  Mirjiam was my girlfriend after that and I went to this party weird party in Matareya in the house of El Rayyan very strange he had a big house in the countryside somehow and it was not his house I think it was one of his relatives who had this house and it had a swimming pool etc. and me and Amr Hosny were friends who is now in Holland and is married to Marlies who he met on that same day we went with his father’s car a Mazda that I always thought was very Saudi for some reason we went to this big party swimming pool and this type of thing and got drunk and I told her weird things and stupid things I went up to her and said who are you? and this as a typical approach at that time confrontational whatever she hated me anyway she said she hated me and whatever that night on the way back I was again with Amr and I told him I know I was going to be with this woman and he was like yeah she hates you she told her friends she hates you she thinks you’re an idiot I was like I don’t care hey I’m sure I would be with her and that’s what happened somehow and I had a very strong feeling about it and we ended up being together it was immediate in a way I think she hated me I think she did hate me that came out later because she saw something that was destructive to her in me immediately through the first time and so this long very intense relationship was kind of in a way summarized by that first encounter that first moment I always felt and I always do feel until now always every single time I walk in and out of AUC and this is years now  years since I first entered this place or  years since I first entered this place and I always till now still feel the absolute sharp divide between the outside and the inside every single time I walk in and out and it is very interesting to look at


 how this area around it is based on it to make money out of this from shops to the fast food places to beggars all kind of living off it to the parking attendants all kind of living off that and circling around it I never got into this what I think is kind of impulse strangely enough because with that surrounding system because I think it is all a simple thing and needs some people to do it and somehow believe and think that by doing this they are overcoming their past or something I think that is not true because we are very limited and it is possible of course on a personal level and it is with our friends in this location within that institution whether you like it or not and there is no reason to create a friend in this you will not create a friend in the street anyway so there is no reason to create a friend in this that is false to prove something to yourself in a way or to convince yourself or it is a bit like the institution is in the mind of people who are in it too that is this institution trying to convince itself that it is a part of what is around and it does that on a personal level in daylight and does that as a policy and it is part of what is around yeah I was very angry I was very very angry I think I’m still angry and I will always be angry I have that within my character I’m an angry person somehow but I try to understand this but what what was I trying to do at that time? I’m not sure what was I trying to do who was it targeted against? this is the more valid question I was self-righteous of course and I remain absolutely selfrighteous till now but I wonder how does anger express itself obvious on an obvious level and I continued to be trashed all the time or out of it all the time on the obvious level it was expressed when wasted completely wasted like smashing things and this actually stayed a bit longer after I got out of AUC too but then I think it became related to something else a bit personal but it is outside of this performance because it was outside of the AUC years which is my focus here which I have to stick by I need to frame this I smashed car lights at night thinking that I mean not thinking and really it was an impulse definitely but it was to walk into that kick to kick it and hear it crash and that was how you feel like you’re young and radical and don’t care but what was the impulse behind this? what was the impulse? I wonder I think maybe it had something to do with realizing deep inside that my pose which I did not and will not condemn because it is who I am and who I was which is who I am now but then my pose was not effective my pose only spoke to myself and to my circle of friends and had no other meaning it was satisfaction of course and it was a way of being who you are but it was also a pose that didn’t achieve much at the time and I think I realize that and my reaction part I’m sure there are other elements too my reaction was to be violent and aggressive in a way to not care I mean to smash whatever yeah so what else did I do? I got more and more violent also I remember yesterday I did mention a bit I spoke about going to Midan Ramsis every day in the morning walking to university being completely stoned sometimes having amazingly good experience of connecting with people because Ramsis in the morning is like Whoooof but rush hour is totally different and sometimes completely paranoid but this is interesting this point about paranoia is interesting because as my paranoia grew of course it was fuelled by acid weed whatever also and this does promote paranoia but I think my paranoia was also related to this disconnected thing maybe I don’t know actually for the first time now I try to understand I understood and I have my real idea or point of view but in a different sense but I’m trying to understand it a bit wider I mean my original understanding of it is that under these conditions you become super perceptive and you basically read and analyze the person in front of you and this makes you paranoid paranoia is the reading of any situation and giving it intentions and I think this does make sense to be paranoid makes sense in many ways but I want to understand in a wider way what it meant this paranoia what is it? it’s a question I’m not sure was it connected to the fact that for example I went down in a place where everybody


meets like Midan Ramsis and everybody was part of something bigger in a way with all the aggression of that inside I went from a place like that to the isolated individual whatever what I would like to call wasted this ideology and maybe part of this paranoia was connected to the mood from this huge lust of people to this isolated place maybe that’s only yeah but this was later at the beginning it was very inspiring somehow and then it slowly slowly became more and more and more and more disconnected in a way I think but probably in the beginning you’re just young and you’ re not super aware somehow or you take things so immediately every time this changes so moments of paranoia in the end it made me stop smoking for example which I just stopped because I did not want to continue because of that paranoia because of the power of that paranoia the way it can alienate you completely from everything around you and I think that AUC in a way is about alienating you is about alienating you from what surrounds you but I don’t think in a positive way because alienation sure could be positive but in this sense in this way I mean it’s the only way that can demonstrate their connection I’m not talking when I was an undergraduate it’s completely different it’s by the drama of solidarity by the logic of charity for example something like that and of course it’s false it’s completely false and completely alienated too and maybe the problem is that it is not even realized that somehow not questioned and realized or it seems to be not questioned or realized yeah what I did then to deal with the situation was double in action in a way I mean kind of resisting the system I’m in the false system I’m in alienating myself from it which is already a system that promotes alienating itself from what it’s around and at the same time of course practicing in a wider way this is not necessarily connected to what I’m saying because it gives you something critical so at the same time you have the power to critique and to analyze what’s around you and this is positive but painful but really painful because you can never really truly believe and this is basically what it means the double alienation means you can never truly believe the first layer of alienation is invisible I think and to most people it is an invisible alienation and that is dangerous because it has intentions I see it having intentions and it is not critical it is just about disconnecting but the second level of alienation where you resist the system you’re in it is positive and painful because you cannot believe you cannot believe in what’s around you in a way so it’s painful and then I experienced this maybe when nearly two years ago exactly two years ago which is not the focus of what I’m talking about but it’s a story that highlights this when I went to the airport to pick up my girlfriend then and it was when the pilgrims were returning I was working very hard the night before I had not slept I was working all night editing stuff for an exhibition and I was completely stressed I was a bit stressed about seeing her because I haven’t seen her for a few months and that is strange always and I was stressed because of work etc. I went to the airport I was there at : in the morning and I sat down all these pilgrims were coming back dressed in white they were kissing each other hugging each other being greeted by relatives and somehow there was something happening there because it was kind of communal thing and I saw that waiting in the airport I saw that and I realized that is impossible for me I can never be part of that I can never believe that it doesn’t matter if this specific dogma but I can never believe in this communality itself I can never practice it and so I sat there in the airport waiting seeing this and I started crying because I felt really fucked that I could not ever taste that I don’t necessarily want to taste that but it was just a moment so I jumped ahead a few years I guess it’s connected somehow I guess it’s connected somehow yeah once this was probably near the end of the last year third year I don’t know just sitting with Sari he was my friend and sitting next to each other at the end of the Greek Campus near the SS(Social Science) building on two chairs and doing Bivacyin which is this anaesthetic spray


 which has a drug effect that lasts for maybe a minute and a half or two minutes and then you have to do some more and it makes the whole world pulsate sound and vision everything pulsates pulsates and we were sitting there just doing and laughing hysterically and then I look at him and he kind of passes out and drools this creamy shit because it is this spray and I remember I was laughing and then laughing watching him laughing but also at that moment realized something how much this was also kind of an act it was real of course but it was also an act a choice our choice to sit there to frame ourselves to visually put ourselves there in front of everyone and to do this was a demonstration his motives are very different than my motives I’m not sure what his motives are but and that was part of our friendship even this demonstration was part of our friendship I guess it’s the first time I think about that I’m sure there are other things but although our motives were different we were united yeah in the act of demonstrating our fuckedness and demonstrating to the world and demonstrating it to the system around us which maybe I resented but it was quite a strange moment because I realized that we were demonstrating something a message it was like a message to the world around us I can jump back a few years to when I first entered university this is interesting again to look at how this attitude grew how it is amplified by the institution echoed and amplified by the institution I entered this university as a very young student  and with the aura of an extremely intelligent young person with that aura which is not very positive so anyway I entered with that aura and within six months this changed and I worked towards breaking it breaking that aura and so I was extremely arrogant towards my professors and class or whatever etc. I guess that one side was at least cynicism from some kind of again disbelief in that system as an education really I studied literature and I was into literature and I’m into literature it’s kind of interesting and some of these professors were quite good too but there was also somewhere something I believe that disbelieved the system I don’t know the other thing was the arrogance I came out of the attitude that I was given in a way they gave me the power to do what I did in a way they gave me the power to sit in class turn the chair and give them my back read a book or whatever and be an arrogant little fuck somehow and that I guess was negative definitely a negative thing and I learned I learned that this was negative later on later on in my life I learned how this was negative and may be I’m still learning so there was cynicism and arrogance always somehow yeah it’s strange today I mean yesterday I was completely into looking at the mirrors and looking at myself in the mirrors today it’s much more difficult I’m looking at the ground much more I don’t know what that means and it means for the coming days so although I hope it’s working towards the opposite towards bringing out but it works both ways and I’m also drinking much much slower than yesterday yesterday I was drinking like a maniac today I’m still in my second beer this is strange I guess I’m also a bit tired yesterday I was still not used to the situation somehow but yeah so there is so much happening I’m so surprised by how little I can remember I’m sure in a way I don’t want to remember and that’s why I constructed the situation as a way of and this is not the only way there are so many ways I constructed the situation to do that to face that but it seems to me I can only remember I’m just surprised I thought it will all flow out I thought it wouldn’t stop leaking out yeah what happened in those years? it must have worked also positively the moment I was out of it I changed again and I think in a really positive way so something must have happened that balanced this or maybe it was important it was the only way that could be in that place that way I wonder why why the more resistance I chose the shape the image the pose of it was so related to a specific counterculture s thing for example not in thoughts but in image and actions I wonder why I’m not sure I understand that very well I’m not sure I can


understand that very well but this is interesting I think I’m sure that some people who might be here now some people who might see it later or who might not see it at all but some people a lot of people knew Mohammed Abdallah these I think are interesting somehow examples or something of in a way just the way he is kind of


 ––, : pm it is again related to this it is related to again I’m not saying that people have these feelings towards him or charity that provoke some kind of fascination but it’s coming from that alienation charity thing at the same time or to how they were connected to what they really are or listen to but not importantly something they are relative to who they are OK at one point I left my house and this was the plan I went to stay at a friend’s house Ali Calimecho he was a nice guy really his family were very strict and they were staying in Alexandria and I think they took him out of AUC again and he has become a dentist I have not seen him now for nine probably ten years yeah OK so Ali I stayed with Ali in the house and we were having a lot of fun and at that time I don’t remember how long it took us maybe a week or something it doesn’t matter because at that period of time that one week I guess two weeks I don’t remember something was interesting it was about fun and I had to make money and it’s like now I kind of find it really funny that what I thought of getting money was to become a drug dealer and whatever and there was this girl who liked me and I used to make out with her on the roof of her house and I thought about this and then I said OK now you have got to pay me to do this she gave me a hundred pounds and I was very proud of it and maybe this will work better so yeah with Ali and one night shit I don’t even remember when this happened and at what point in that time when I was there in the beginning in the middle or in the end I know it’s not the very beginning I know it’s not the very end but I have no idea which year or anything at all but one evening a friend of ours she was a very spoilt chick really cool person dropped us back home from AUC and this is not the point here and she gave us some weed to smoke and it was such powerful stuff it seemed we were completely out and he was interested in the girl that he broke down completely and he stood at the bathtub and showered with his clothes on we were completely nuts we were not completely nuts but we were completely out of it basically we were completely out of it of course people are out of it at different times but I remember that one time it was a moment’s fight with something else it was not just about being out of it there was also something dangerous something mental about it but it was tremendous fun and I just remembered the next day he was very pissed off that he broke down in front of me he didn’t break down really I just remember him in the shower with his clothes on and laughing but I don’t know maybe he cried or something but everybody cries I cried a million times it happens to everyone and it comes out so I don’t know but that was strange that he was so angry that his picture of the proper was shaking yeah OK but look at it in terms of groups maybe this gives me a certain understanding the different group of friends I had over that four to five years because I was suspended for one semester or something when I first entered I still saw some people from school for the first six months or so and then going to Sinai smoking for the first time an absolute transformation somehow and this was associated with a certain group of friends at that time and then what? then I met Abe, Doodi, Sari, Sherif, Omar Bug that group that was the group that lasted for a long time although it was Sherif that but Sherif was in AUC for a little bit and we remained friends outside that group also functioning outside that group OK that lasted for a long time these were close friends for quite a long time but it was interesting that was one big change also how the acceptance becomes less weird at that time it’s so much easier to have friends of any sort to accept them for you yourself to accept them but now it’s much more difficult for me to accept just anyone as a friend I don’t and I don’t want to at that time it was just like people and there was some pretty fucked up people in there I guess I did not like some people but we were to adapt that there is some wider group it crossed between people like myself Sari, Abe, Doodi, Wessam and people who were part of this system at the same time


who in different ways had this some kind of resisting image with the cross that were with people like Sherif Texan and Marwan and Walid and Ahmed Robocop whoever these people for whom it was not about resistance it was about pose not just about pose they were not trying to be rebellious they were just into the fun of being wild as such with and what’s interesting is that all these guys they’re all Egyptians who lived in the States and they were very different to us we were also from completely different backgrounds but Abe was Saudi Omar was Omani Sari was in England so we were from different backgrounds completely but this was very different to them although these two groups met at a party yeah the big party we partied together somehow and so and then there were of course that platform group behind us who completely hated and detested us and Yanni I remember he was like yes and came to us with a triumph I never thought it was a triumph there were people who detested the triumph in a sense and in a way I think we practiced some form of cruelty towards Abe because we turned him into a mascot into a symbol somehow and he was this really really big guy who like that big guy with big gestures laughing really loud whatever and it’s easy of course it makes sense to turn him into a mascot but by doing this I think in a way we were cruel to him yeah and he died anyway so in a car crash but I loved him really really big time he died when he was  yeah and then there was like a more personal thing not associated with the groups which was like Islam the fundamentalist which I talked about yesterday and Islam is like a very interesting guy he really is like this super intelligent great guy but completely fucked in the head of course and we know I wonder if he is in this situation what he would say because I think it would be he would say completely different things and it would be an extremely interesting thing to hear him like I always found it amazing that his father is a captain a ship captain and he can’t swim this to me is quite amazing and I find I mean this guy was his son that was his point if my father is a captain I will not know how to swim somehow but part of the outside yeah yeah somehow there is like it is not I feel like I have to I think I did yesterday it was absolutely different and that’s part of it but somehow today it is for me like different cage in a way yesterday was the first day I do this for fun the first time I do something like this although I used to tell I was completely thrilled about the idea to do this project where we had  people in a toilet smoking joints lots for eight hours and this is the kind of things that we I’m not surprised to say so but anyway it was an idea of communication that we had together like yeah this is a really cool project to have all these people completely different people locked in a small toilet together and now think about it this is not completely different and it’s funny how I remember that I remember that idea and I told Hussein I told Hussein but the first time I guess yesterday was so overwhelming and I came out completely dazed completely dazed and today walking around all day kind of in a bowl disconnected in a way totally disconnected and back in here and it felt at the beginning that it was still yesterday somehow but today it’s a different cage whatever it’s different I think everyday will be different I think everyday will be different and I cannot tell so that’s part of why it should be that long if it is necessary for all the different persona to come out the only way for it to come out is to give it time I guess then we were always talking about how to take it outside how to move it beyond an underground that never happened even if it was an underground it was not really it had no real audience it was only created in bedrooms and it did not connect to even a subculture it did not even have a subculture and I think it was interesting I think it was relevant even to a wider history of culture even if it was very different shock and resistance and all these kind of dialogues about it as if it is western influence and I have an opinion about that but anyway at that time we spoke about how to take it outside but we never did it not even to a small audience of


 friends not even that finally I managed to do this I guess it is very important and what in a way saved me personally is I managed to move beyond this and to communicate with a slightly wider sphere in the end it’s not mass culture and it doesn’t have to be but in the end it was important to communicate to an audience that was bigger than the bedroom and so that was a disappointment a symptom of maybe some of the problems that I spoke about earlier of being in that institution at that time the alienation in that way so it’s a pity I don’t think I will ever do that same stuff again but that stuff was not bad but I guess we didn’t have drive and motivation and will to make it move beyond where it was I think today I am a bit maybe by yesterday but in a bit of time I’m sure shit will happen something more will come out this is an image too this is also an image of course definitely what’s also interesting about this project OK this is the second day but first day no awareness realization of the possibility of an audience not even knowing they are there of course some realization some awareness and some playing with that but today much stronger because I actually did see the audience after I come out and people spoke to me originally I thought to do this I will not speak to anyone and isolate myself completely for two weeks and then it is not possible to do this because I have to work just practical stuff and therefore I decided not to go this way either you isolate yourself completely or have a normal life and then today the second the deeper awareness of the possibility of an audience and what that means kind of hovering over the whole experience in a way but I think it is alright the way I see it doesn’t matter because the concept of this work is what matters and then everything else whatever happens this is the project it is not about it having value today was good and yesterday was bad it doesn’t matter the situation is what matters and what comes out so yeah


––, : pm maybe I should focus a bit so what else happened? what the fuck else happened? OK interesting interface between shabab triumph Jimmy and his friends that’s another example of how this institution has a certain power Jimmy was a friend of Sherif my friend and he knew him from GCSE ( General Certificate of Secondary Education)or something he is a weird person but it doesn’t matter this is not the point he is a bundle of insecurities failed strategies disguised as insecurities what is relevant to this dialogue or conversation is OK with Jimmy it was about he played drums we played music with Jimmy I got in touch with the junkie life yeah middle class Cairo Heliopolis could be Mohandiseen junkie life cause we scored through him we scored dope and we scored lots of cough syrup too and we scored speed through him but what was interesting for Jimmy is how for him something like AUC which was something he was not able to get into because of financial reasons was an ideal for me Jimmy not a super close friend but a friend but I think for him hanging out with us was a status symbol I didn’t realize that then but I realize it now and that was an interface through drugs an interface between two cultural systems and it worked really well it was not bad at all there was communication there was connection in a way connection through paranoia and insecurity but some kind of connection he was funny I remember once he wore shades at night and I asked him why are you wearing shades and he said so no one can see my eyes this protection total protection but this guy was fucked he was not fucked by that institution but that institution represented part of what he was fucked by he was fucked by an ideal that he could not attain an ideal that was related to a certain concept of what coolness is which was very Hollywood absolutely Hollywood to the max an ideal related to status in a way in a way and that fucked him up he completely lived a life outside what? a life outside his life but that’s fucked to say that too of course I think its fucked to say that I don’t know I don’t know but there was some kind of gap there was some kind of gap I trust I trust that absolutely I trust that I believe in what I am doing and I think I know why I am doing it the way I am doing and I think I understand that very clearly and that’s good yep that is good there is much more I know there is much more I cannot access right now but I will with time I will access it all I know I will what else? OK a moment of remembrance what else happened what else I think it is amazing that out of five or four years that it is so hard to remember I think that already says something why is that period such a cloud I think I can remember the past four or five years much easier I am not trying to remember my early childhood which is difficult but my university years that should be easy to remember it is a cloud it is a fucking big cloud is it hard for me to remember or do I not want to remember when I think about it does not make sense for me not to remember because it was not in any way destructive there was destructive energy built into it big time I was strong somehow standing up and I am critical of that but still it is like weird that I cannot remember much again I thought that every detail of these years would come breaking out I wonder bits and pieces slowly bits and pieces that’s fine too that’s fine too before I started this performance I had posed one big question to myself and I thought this would be the central question and it is not and the question why was someone at that age at that time when the world around him was crumbling why did this person subscribe completely to a specific image ideal that came from a different time from a different place s counter culture in the loosely defined West why did this person at this time at this moment with the second Gulf war happening live this trip? that it is an important question and that is specific and I am talking about something a bit wider than the specific thing but that question is an entry point to this project it is an entry point because it highlights all the tensions in the project itself and I am not sure of an answer


 this is only the second day maybe by the th day the th day the th day much more answers would appear but that question is posed maybe I could look at it in terms of my options but what other options why that question is posed there was no way I was going to subscribe to the Arab politically aware intellectual bullshit because that to me was absolutely limited and corrupt so that was one reaction one position that was ruled out from the beginning although it was a default the default in my upbringing but anyway I could have gone anywhere or I could have subscribed to other resistant trends I could have lived a punk lifestyle I don’t think my lifestyle was actually the image was related to that kind of culture the lifestyle was a mixture of aggression punkiness liberalism and paranoia altogether absolutely enjoying beer shut up OK more beer I’m not getting tired I’m not getting tired I’m not getting tired feedback always a problem always a problem yeah so it’s easier today a bit easier I think I’m sure I love the sound of feedback I’m proud of it it feels completely well it feels completely well OK so I think this was a bit now but still I’m functioning we all want some feedback like to shatter glass yeah one really interesting thing I guess this was in the first half of going to AUC I was going out with Nashwa a medical student now she’s a doctor married and has her family blablabla but going to Assiut coming on a train and this is the weird thing we went to Assiut me and her and her sister and Hossam a friend from Assiut who had a house there and we went to Asiut and that was strange me and my girlfriend then going to Assiut and it was good it was paranoia of course about man and woman being together but it was also very liberating in a way just the normal life whatever normal life is outside the scene outside the frame and it has nothing to do with the frame scene it was just me with them on one more trip to reality in a way just to like listen to this a large percentage of the life in the countryside not what we were doing but the place we were in and so we went to that really nice house a nice old house and we stayed together and it was fucking good I do remember that trip I remember it and I’ll always remember it and I will always remember it and it’s cool that she did it because she is very conservative anyway but it was cool she did it and it’s a sign because it’s always a bit too personal but it’s always a bit like that always sort of not always sometimes sometimes with these women who are conservative inside and need a break need some kind of outlet and they found it in me and so they live it they live that fantasy they live that breaking conservative thing with me that’s fine I have no problem in that that is their trick their value and I have my own trick my own value which is fucking that conservatism and this is my own trick my own value so both sides win I guess in the end both sides win yeah I was  maybe  I guess  in Assiut and it was cool I like it although we were secretive in what we were doing as we had to hide we had to hide what we were doing so that people didn’t know but it was cool it’s funny how you don’t feel the sense of time in here no sense of time some sense of time this is a clock a quartz consumption a marker of time talking becomes a marker of time that’s OK I guess the passing of time yeah I think I really love this project in a way and I really hate this project in another way it’s a fucking bitch it’s really hard it’s really really really hard but it’s also important for me on a personal level I know it’s important I know it’s fucking important at least I have this and this is good absolutely fucking good with this space you’re hiding but it’s good it’s fucking good that feels good yep OK maybe this is lighter than I thought try that OK so alright in isolation and speaking all the way I’m supposed to be remembering a specific time understanding what it was talking about it remembering stories so yep a story I need one story to hit me from the past something to rise up and to hit me completely my amplified voice my amplified voice well first thing I remember is also when I was in university and I’ve worked with Attar and that was great working with Attar was fucking great because it


was a way out of all the confusion and conflicts into a form that was creative and so I worked with him I did music with him I presented feedback to acting with him and I learned a lot I learned so much technically but it was the thing about working with people in the theatre no matter how fucked they are but the thing about working with people in the theatre is that you learn something about human beings you always learn something about human beings but it’s completely framed it’s framed it’s completely framed and it is highlighted when you work in the theatre and it was interesting and that was maybe I started this in ‘


 ––, : pm he said that I should be his musical director blablabla and that was really good I guess that really helped me a lot in understanding how to create a system in which you can go beyond yourself towards communication with a wider audience and I can tell many people break down which made me in a way feel good because it made me understand I’m not the only person who breaks down people do break down especially in that kind of situation especially in our kind of situation I think people who are plugged into a communal system of values they don’t need to break down because they are supported by that and in a way we are a group of people depending on our awareness who are taught privilege and cursed by privilege and cursed at the same time I see it that way well anyway so but in a way I remember this because I’m speaking into a microphone and because I’m speaking into a microphone I remember this so there were people speaking into a microphone and I’m playing the guitar and they had to speak and a lot of people just started fucking crying and breaking down on the microphone and that meant something to me I mean yeah we are privileged so fucking what we are that is where we are that is our situation that is who we are it doesn’t matter it doesn’t matter as long as we know what to do with it and the first thing absolutely first step is to look at what we are and to critique it and to try to understand it and to try to see its shortcomings its drawbacks and at the same time try to see how we can build bridges outside of it this is very specific this is my perspective only nothing more than that my perception and that’s how I see it we should try to work towards building bridges building bridges from our isolation and connecting again and OK posing a critique criticizing ourselves number one analyzing critiquing our own selves and then moving from that to posing a general critique to everything that’s around us and then third of all finding a form a shape a way of connecting to everything that’s around us and kind of dealing with it and providing deep experiences with that and I’m not saying that Attar’s workshop did all those things but it at least demonstrated the possibility of doing that and for the first time at that period of time for the first time I realized I was working with music already sure and I did continue the music but the possibility of the possibility of truly truly truly affecting people and working with that and affecting myself on working with that it’s becoming completely vulnerable and raw and completely splattered yeah completely splattered so that was good and I respect him for giving me that experience absolutely very important I respect him for giving me that experience and I’m happy that I did have that experience and that I learned something although also it was an experience more marred by complete self indulgence and the dramas and traumas of the upper middle class and specifically women freaking out which says a lot about the values of the system we all live in and share together so yes but sometimes OK enough enough so more beers wow this is my seventh beer for tonight yeah a freaking psychotic room a fucking psychotic room always in this room what’s interesting in this room is that it is the whisper and the shout it’s fascinating and good yeah I did it now I can say I did it yeah bastard go die man fucking bastard eight beers eight beers for sure absolutely trashed yeah burning eyes burning eyes another beer won’t be too much communication all the way I believe in communication all the fucking way it feels like someone is tapping what is this whoever it is fuck you man whoever it is fuck you are you attacking me fuck you you know fuck you fuck you whoever it is fuck you are you’re projecting your frustration on me fuck you fuck her fuck you whatever I don’t care just save me that fucking look fuck you fuck and all I say if you attack me fuck you I don’t care which direction this is coming from fuck you you can’t do it because I know my own personal strength I know it I know it so fuck you or fuck her or fuck she or fuck he or whatever you cannot fuck with me fuck you


again fuck you when the time is over my sister is going to open up and let me go and that’s it and anyone else fuck you all the way man fuck you fuck you who the fuck do you think you are fuck you fuck you fuck you woman fuck you man whatever who the fuck do you think you are yeah I know it’s there I know my power so fuck you again it’s so stupid I decided myself completely for this you’re so fucking stupid you’re definitely not helping me in this way absolutely whoever you are you can’t fuck with me this way shit man fuck you yeah whoever the fuck you are you’re trying to fuck with me fuck you fuck you I know what the fuck I’m doing absolutely all the way you’re trying to fuck with me fuck you fuck you I can destroy you with one look silent yeah a silent perseverance yeah man this is so fucked this is so fucked in a situation in a situation you have got to deal with it everyday to get it over and done with absolutely yeah I’m so drunk man so fucking wasted yeah let me meet my enemies let me meet them let me meet my enemies shit man I’m wasted man


 ––


––, : pm maybe today I can start first looking at what I did in the past two days so just dealing with myself kind of trying to understand what direction I’m working in it seems to me that I’m doing two things or three things at the same time I’m talking directly about memories I’m making theories about that time and that place and I’m talking about this experience itself I keep jumping from one to the other to the other I don’t remember all the stories I said the past two days I remember some I’m not sure which ones came out which ones did not but it seems to be clear that yesterday I had some kind of theory about double alienation or something like that that I was really into and then going into stories and stories today well today OK maybe today I go a step back and look yeah what I’ve looked at till now is the romanticism somehow of that time the way it’s glamorized really personally and I’ve also looked at the idea of an isolated space and the way it disconnects you from your surroundings and I’ve looked at the idea of cynicism and disbelief and what is wrong with it sometimes resistance and the forms that it takes and a critique of that time and the pose I assumed without regret without any regret because I’m only able to look back at this time now because I lived it that way it had it’s value if I critique it now that’s part of what it is yeah well memories stories direct stories there was also the Atlas period that went throughout from the beginning to the very end not necessarily Atlas itself but whatever was like Atlas going-out-scene-type-thing wasn’t interesting for me very strange now to look back and see how important it was for everybody who was into it for me or for everybody else it was extremely important why was going to some disco club in a second-rate hotel in Mohandiseen so important? I am not sure but it was really important and I never understood why did that place become so big there was nothing special about it not conceptually or musically or anything but everybody was into that that was pleasure if you could go there every night you would and so I used to go there sometimes very exciting once we smoked a joint there in Atlas in the corridor I think a hash joint and then put it out we didn’t finish it and I put it in my jacket I was wearing a jeans jacket and I walked around we smoked it in the toilet then I put it out and I put it in my jeans jacket and walked around the club then I started smelling hash who’s smoking a joint in the club? but it was still smoldering in my jacket and basically I was walking around with this hash smoke just coming out of my pocket without noticing till I noticed it was very funny how the Atlas people the administration completely abused the power they were given I remember people used to bribe them to get into the place and get bottles of whisky and stuff and it is very strange you think about it but it doesn’t make any sense I know I don’t understand what was so special really that type of thing continued of course and still does with the same people who came out of that and that still is very important for them the hip place but it changes every three years it was Atlas then it was Yasmina then it was Patio for a while and later on there were all these other places but at least in my undergraduate years it was that and it was changing all the time every year every couple of years there would be a nice place that would be a big hit and important for everybody yeah I had a dream today in the morning in my bed and I think it’s related to this experience because I’ve lived all of this and basically I lost my passport and it was almost like I wanted to cry or really urgently looking for a passport and yes my passport is important because I need it to travel etc. and my identification but that dream definitely has something to do with the experience of sitting and looking at how you are constructed and I think it is about losing that one thing that one idea of what you are made up like that you are this person specifically that in a way losing an ID and that was the dream losing an ID very banal it’s definitely related to the past two days and the idea of this project the idea of this project is one person kinds of


 sits down and looks at the intersection between a public institution and a private individual and sees how an identity is constructed basically I lost my passport in my sleep that got me a message really in the dream yeah the stories I guess will go on and on today I think it’s gonna be slow already two days I think I will slowly discover a system or a way of pacing myself inside the box and outside the box the first two days I was jumping again from different time frames and I think maybe the superficial motives of this project and there are many motives and there are many impulses behind it and one of the superficial ones is to construct a chronology to see where I began and how I ended a certain period it was an arc an arc that went from the outside sinking deeply deeply into something and then by the end slowly coming out and then experiencing a transformation once I was out outside yeah an experience made up of many internal transformations but the period the middle period my second or third year first year was sinking in th year was coming out yeah it took me four years and a semester I think I mentioned that yesterday but that middle period this I’m also interested in and I think I spoke a bit about the entrance and the exit it was the middle period it is the climax definitely I know there was Sinai a lot of Sinai which in a way I cannot do anymore definitely cannot do anymore in that way yeah it’s changed I have changed so I cannot do it anymore in that way but there was a lot of Sinai a trip with Sherif there were several trips one trip with Sherif I don’t know we stayed there for maybe a few months I think or one month or two months I don’t remember but it was really amazing the commitment we had to smoking that was kind of really amazing because it was very committed we were completely fucking broke and eating yogurt and smoking that’s it we had spent all of our money on dope and that is fine you do not need to eat as long as you were stoned and that commitment is to me pretty amazing again it’s hard for me to understand exactly where such absolute commitment comes from it was devotion it was almost an ideology but it was rich it was internally rich and enriching at the same time the velvet underground at : in the morning or : in the morning completely blasted completely out of our heads and experiencing ecstatic ecstatic orgasmic mind-fucks all the way yeah completely lifted by the music this is all I guess part of the romanticism but I don’t think I romanticize these memories because I’m pretty sure it was that powerful and that transported me as much as I’m critical of that romanticism now that romanticism then was part of an attitude I think not marred by the nostalgia I think that my memories of it have not of course this happens in any case to an extent but I think my memories of it have not marred or shaped them as much as that this was an attitude that was cultivated and was experienced at that time in AUC I think everything changed of course it began and I spoke so much about it yesterday it kind of almost kind difficult to speak about it today let alone all the coming but disconnected there was also another Sinai trip with Sari that was different similar but different again massive smoking no money selling beads in Dahab hitchhiking being arrested roughly treated they tried to make us enemies of each other in Dahab we were arrested and spending three days with the authorities but in the end even though there was fear at these moments the attitude was always adventure was always that this was a big adventure and of course this dies with time this has nothing to do with AUC specifically I think it just has something to do with growing older yeah OK unfocused today is an unfocused day I think it’s easy to come up with conclusions very fast and I already came up with conclusions yesterday very fast maybe it’s easy it’s important to question those conclusions again because maybe part of the point is reaching conclusions and breaking them so conclusions about isolation ideology conservatism versus some form of radicalism in one way or another even if it was very sane too these conclusions I reached yesterday I wonder how isolated is AUC at the end? because


in another sense AUC is an expression of something very deep in Egyptian society definitely it expresses something in it so it is not an isolated thing at the same time it is the epitome of the society it expresses it really does express certain aspirations and you can see it in the attitude people have towards the institution from attitudes of resentment and aspiration OK maybe stories again stories always can take you somewhere memories stories I would like to remember something from the deep core the deep heart those two years in the middle were the cloudiest the most disturbed in a way and yesterday I charted the way a paranoia grew and what that meant but maybe it’s necessary for me today to forget yesterday somehow because I was supposed to be going back to years so ‘ ‘ yeah what was happening then ? things became deeper all of a sudden it became deeper and in a way it’s interesting I think to the outside observer judging from normal standards the more eccentric I became the deeper my experience became because the first couple of years were kind of just breaking out of a shell letting go experiencing new things that type of thing driven largely by fun by enjoyment by pleasure then things got darker in the second and third years darker and deeper definitely and I described it before as resistance but maybe I can look at it in a different way maybe it was not resistance maybe it was something else maybe it was indulgence by kind of believing in this concept of individuality somehow let’s not put it that way but practicing that to an extreme it takes things to a darker level you become melodramatic in a way you live your dramas and because you’re not following a completely defined code there are dangers danger in all encounters and that’s when the paranoia grows that’s when the paranoia moved in I remember again a drug-related story dealing with Sherif on Pulmolar and smoking and watching Eraserhead and we were in my house and went down walking in the street the asphalt turned into some kind of viscous viscous material like we’re walking on the street and your feet is heavy and you feel like you’re carrying the street with you and we take a taxi and we’re going somewhere in Heliopolis I don’t remember where or to do what but I just remember coming out of the taxi and Sherif coming out of the taxi and then collapsing just passing out for a few minutes falling down and then standing up again and realizing something at that moment realizing in a way the irony of the belief you have like pushing or magnifying your ego also magnifies your vulnerability and in a way this project is also an image of that this room is a microscope that magnifies the ego and magnifies my vulnerability somehow and by doing that it also theoretically at least should communicate to the person who’s watching it and magnify their vulnerability too now what is the value in that? this is something I have to think about why do I think magnifying vulnerability is important? ego and vulnerability that is one of the roots of this investigation what does the magnification of vulnerability do? I think that’s a very important question I don’t know how to answer it and I have no idea really why am I interested in the magnification of vulnerability how is that related to my experience in that institution too because before that childhood boyhood there was definitely ego and then a totally different set of inputs that constructed my identity but it was not about magnifying vulnerability at all it was about something else I think I learned the art of magnifying vulnerability and it is an art and a weapon too and something quite seductive because you magnify your vulnerability and remain strong at the same time and there’s something extremely seductive about that I learned painfully in those four or five years it must be related to this institution in some ways for me personally I don’t think it’s necessarily related to everyone like that but for me personally yes it is related to this institution and it might be the opposite of what the institution wants to reach you believe it you disbelieve it you’re still related to what it is yeah I had a lot of trouble before I began this project a big question for me and part of the reason why


 I put this in a space that is not a gallery or a space that is private a flat for example was that I had problems with the idea of addressing an audience in Cairo in English because I think there is something kind of fucked in that but I also realized that I cannot do this project otherwise because then I would be dishonest with myself for me to be honest I had to magnify a certain vulnerability also because that is for me a vulnerable position it goes against my cultural politics in a way it makes me vulnerable but it’s the only way to be honest about it and that’s for me absolutely important because if I’m not gonna be honest about that what the fuck am I gonna be honest about? I opted for that solution I have got to do it this way fine but I will not frame it as something that is completely public but rather as something between the secret and the public so maybe it’s interesting to look at these memories through feelings for example vulnerability maybe that could be a very valid approach and I think this could make sense strength and vulnerability are of course related always playing with them so strength OK for example strength coming out of watching a Bergman films in the classic film series yes strength coming out of that out of being exposed to such an experience which was really really powerful strengthened that vulnerability then vulnerability being stoned walking down the street and then talking to myself about the condition I’m in actually speaking to myself and then seeing myself talking to myself like imagining myself walking down the street talking to myself and realizing how uncontrolled that is somehow and how vulnerable this is then realizing that and that dragging you into a complete paranoia and super-vulnerability moments strength and vulnerability socially I guess my image was the epitome of that not just mine I mean mine and friends of mine people who shared motives of different sorts the image was the image of strength and vulnerability too it was what was in the end generally not really accepted and therefore what makes you vulnerable but it was confrontational so it was strong because it was like I don’t care you think that fuck you I don’t care so that’s strong and I guess even physically the look itself was a concrete example of strength and vulnerability OK speaking about all this now other than the isolated elite circle too much of a certain ideology that constructs a certain way of being identity image pose language to an extent mixed in with personal motives mixed in with personal tendencies personal moods also all of that was happening in one sphere and then I can look at something else the attempt to connect with the cultural mainstream or not mainstream but cultural surrounding and playing with the idea of belief for example me and Amr Hosny a really good friend of mine we were very good friends he has a completely different life now but me and Amr Hosny connected creatively from the very beginning for a long time but also connected in our interest and I don’t think it was a hip interest and we did not see it like that at all and we really deeply connected to it and I’m not gonna use the word that I don’t like which is in quotation marks “Sufism” because this is very loaded and very related to something very superficial and it was just realizing finding texts finding music finding practices that existed in the culture around us and that had a history and a continuity and at the same time posed something that was radical on a personal level and that was really something we were starved for and this is interesting because at that point in time there was something deeply spiritual because you really are living completely conflicting lifestyles in a way one super-contemporary urban privileged in a way lifestyle and kind of exposed to the world connect everything and at the same time mixing this up plugging into a specific cultural history in these books practices etc. and trying to bring these two things together and in a way it works for a while it was enriching but in the end it did not work because in the end what I felt was that I had to make a choice it was not possible to become


––, : pm but to do that to really plug into it and in a way practice it was necessary to change who you are and I was not willing to do that so I decided to take distance which I think is good because it is not for me it is not good or bad it is just not for me but that in a way was related to AUC because me and Amr were two people in that institution and starved for a community that could exist like a community that at the same time plugged into the wider world and in this we found it a bit and of course we have completely different backgrounds and different motives and I think for him it is much more associated with a specific religious program and for me it was much more associated with a specific position vis-à-vis the world around you we were in different spheres but connected and could communicate and could understand this language and could speak it to each other even and so developed some kind of telepathy also a real powerful friendship powerful and personal and related to that institution again and I like calling it that institution because it is an institution and that with all it’s logistic connotations absolutely and that’s what it tries to hide sometimes and that’s why it’s good to like call it what it is the institution that institution I knew ages ago from Amin or he used to work for the CIB (Commercial International Bank) for a bit now he’s a diplomat in the United Nations or something like that but he told me I don’t know ten years ago or twelve years ago or he told me that AUC was the second largest account in the bank after the Egyptian government and I thought that was pretty amazing and says something about that institution in a way I will be happy today if I can get through this night without getting too wasted because the first two nights I got so trashed and I feel completely bruised like internally bruised I kind of want to take it slow today and be rational physically I can only take it slow I know this project will change everyday and that’s how it is yeah but it’s it is about consciousness for sure everything is about consciousness but what’s so interesting for me in those university years it’s really weird that university theoretically is like a place for education and social normalization a way of getting people ready for society and saying this is how it should be different universities with different functions for different classes and it’s funny of course I experienced that to an extent and it did come to something but at the same time that period in a way has nothing to do with any formal education I was way too arrogant for that in a sense and at the same time was a place where I really basically exposed my consciousness I’m not gonna say expanded or whatever but basically four or five years of complete pushing it to the max with the help of all different forms of alcohol drugs whatever but pushing that consciousness to the max not in awareness but just exposing it like making it vulnerable again and therefore making it strong and what’s amazing about that time is that it was possible to do this without pretension and minimum injury for me now it’s impossible to do this although this is something like that too but I can’t sustain the injury that I could then it also has something to do with the will and desire of first seeing something first realizing something with Amr we had lots of ideas and and there was a lot of creativity and a lot of work with sound and music and ideas and things but that all failed to be translated into much action there was a lot of bedroom stuff yes in ‘ me and Sherif did play electric guitars at the Cairo Atelier which was kind of cool and in ‘ I did do Lungfan with Amr which was related to the city and related to living with him in the same house with two women that were my girlfriend and his girlfriend at the time and these were really the only two public manifestations but that’s OK it was a sign of one of the problems of being in that place and not knowing how to plug into a wider mainstream to be able to critique it attack it break it down or construct something new I believe I have the right to do that and this is really kind of what my life is about now basically in my own way but so Amr of course young boys


 heavily influenced by surrealism and Bergman whatever mystical Islam at the same time and drugs and counter-’s-counter-culture-bullshit all these different things together we had one idea an exhibition we never did an exhibition of meat pounded on to the wall and nailed to the wall slapped and nailed to the wall we never did it of course but we talked about it and these are all images that had something to do with wanting to connect and finding it difficult if I were to be critical I would say I it doesn’t matter it’s something that happened learned something sure but if I were to be critical I would say we did not try hard enough to take this outside because even if this was kind of stupid shit anyway and even if it was very immature blablabla it still had an energy a drive it still had something and exposing it to what was around would have taught us a lot but in a way being within AUC helped in taming the illusion of this not being necessary another really clear image but I guess this was after after I I graduated maybe one year later or Amr had gone to the army and so this was something really different a whole other experience for him he changed after he came back from the army he was friends with Mohamed Eid someone he met in the army and he was a nice guy he was hysterical because when he hung out with us he had all these class problems and it really was not on our minds at all it was just like this guy is his friend bla that’s it but he was very sensitive about it and he came with us to a Christmas party and he was like “I want to go to the Christmas Amr” and so he came with us to a Christmas party and he broke down and it was the man completely breaking down and like “this is not my place” and “who are those people” complete class paranoia breaking down and crying and shouting in the balcony Amr was really smooth and really good with him he took him aside he spoke with him and it was not bad yeah but another snapshot of the past and also what was interesting is that and you would see this through the friends you had this is much earlier it was in the beginning of being at AUC how different people subscribe to different subcultural groups that were really not different sub-cultures from another place in a way they are here too in a sense and I am not into cultural purity and I do not believe in cultural purity but it was weird that for example Doodi was Mr. hip-hop guy and really dressed up like a hip-hop guy and really speaking like a hip-hop guy for example different people subscribing to different ideals that came across from mass media global mass media Hollywood and western media industry dominated for sure and that’s here that’s everywhere it’s part of here too that’s interesting because then what you see is different people living different roles and you’re living a certain role too and it’s like a fantasy created for you and at the same time because you’re in that institution you have the space to live again both positive and negative so Doodi the hip-hop guy in a way and of course he was fucked so what yeah what’s important and maybe what I meant is that if we are not to believe then we should take this to an extreme it’s like then maybe we can experience this we can experience that but the role-playing it’s important if you take that position of cynicism and critique then it’s important not not to get into role-playing it’s but that period of time was about role-playing yeah personas I guess that was ‘ the Greek campus sub-groups clashed so and it was interesting again it had to do with what I talked about yesterday conservatism radicalism as images and they conflicted together Doodi Abe’s brother wearing sunshades saying that they’re x-ray glasses and then the rumour spread on campus that Doodi is wearing x-ray glasses but they were not they were just shades of course it’s really stupid that people believed it but of course then the yuppie Heliopolis-club-type-group of people were and he’s provoking them too he goes up to them and kind of looks at their girlfriends and blablabla with his x-ray glasses that are not x-ray glasses and then there was a fight a big fucking fight between them and us but Abe walked in and when Abe walked in it was over he was really big and he was the mascot which was cruelty but yeah x-ray


glasses so close yet so far what’s funny is that this is like an x-ray glass in a way it’s strange the more I think about and I remember moments the more I keep associating these follies and events and theories about what this period meant in different ways to why I feel this structure in creating this situation and it’s interesting it must be driven by one reminding myself this is important for me and I think also important for other people primarily the people who were there at that time of course and I hope that a lot of them come and I think also to other people just because it’s an example of a moment in a human being’s life and that you run into in everyone everyone is relevant to everyone because we share similar conditions as much as differences so the structure keeps keeps getting value in my eyes the more dangerous it becomes in a way and then I also had my breakdowns too I guess that was a period much less now I don’t break down anymore but I wonder what that meant I think the first I had a serious breakdown breakdown in the sense of complete loss of control complete fuckedness which then almost became a goal to reach the point of complete fuckedness was in a party somewhere outside of Cairo in some fields or palm trees something not in an institution but I guess someone had a piece of land and we had a party there and completely trashed completely fucking trashed smoking drinking blablabla and I remember I was walking with Abe and a couple of other friends I don’t remember who we’re walking to the field a bit fuzzy and then suddenly whoosh I just collapse on the floor straight face in the mud blablabla and then it was puking and people carrying me and completely pissing and just like took out my dick and pissed right on everyone on someone’s car and they took me home carried me up to my flat and I remember that they knocked on the door my father opened the door and that was interesting I remember it till now like he was disturbed by the image of his son so broken down but it’s not breaking down it is breaking down but it is not as vulnerable as he thought it was out of just basic parental affection but he was cool because he did not say anything he just carried me to bed and the next day he told me you know maybe you should not drink so much that’s it and that was fine that was a good way to deal with it but it was interesting this confrontation with me and the family house and the lifestyle I was leading this kind of snatched lifestyle where I took myself and I threw myself into things bruised myself injured myself but at the same time had an amazing amount of pleasure of all different sorts and a lot of experience I really understood a lot of things learned a lot of things about what it is to be a human being somehow just by driving it to an extreme so it was interesting that moment and somehow the next day I kind of felt good in a way about his reaction that he didn’t take the moral parental bullshit reaction and kind of understood that I was in a specific situation and at the same time I felt good about the distance taken from the the ability to break down yeah there was something in that for sure also training also a form of training like an exercise yeah masturbation masturbation so what else is there? sometimes it’s easy to for me to lose track of how close or how far I am from the focus of this project which is remembering a specific period of time dealing with it analyzing it understanding it not understanding it but sometimes it’s easy to lose focus I’m not sure in my isolation somehow I’m not sure how much I touch upon it or not but I think I do because the situation itself has it’s own vectors it’s own motives and I could easily fall into just dealing with the situation rather than using the situation to reach something that relates to what I’m focusing on but I think in the end what would make the most sense is to do both because the situation itself is also something I’m deeply interested in the relationship that is built between me and a spectator and lonely voyeur in this kind of frame that’s interesting and that is an immediate form of dealing with the idea of human communication and the way we look and are looked at all the time as a form of dealing the idea of an image of a picture so that’s interesting


 for me also as much as the content the actual words that I speak or the memories I bring up are important both are related and important in a way sure so moving between the different discourses stories analysis and comments on the experience till now maybe more a bit warm maybe this is just a way of claiming one’s sanity which is important for one’s own mental health somehow stories I do want to remember what the fuck happened stories being in Suez with Sari we were in Sinai we were in Alexandria bought a lot of beads went to Sinai lived a month sold them lived off that round beads decided to go to Suez took a bus to Suez bought beads in Suez hitchhiked back but in Suez also it was really weird that trip going and coming because even it was like all conflict with the authorities basically in Suez we both had long hair then and that was really fucking stupid like in front of the police station some guy said something and we both were like “your mother’s cunt you son of a bitch” fucking with him and wanting to kick the shit out of him and fighting in front of the police station it was very easy an officer just came out of the police station took me took him and took the guy into his office and kicked us all basically conflict with the authority but what was good is that OK he hit me but I looked him straight in the eye as he was hitting me and I did not flinch and I was confrontational with him too and that is good I think he hit me less severely than he would have I if had cowered the mere fact of responding and just looking back at him being angry I did not hit him back because I think that would have been stupid and I would have got to the shit beaten out of me for sure but just the resistance made it less and that’s important and you can win sometimes and you can lose sometimes in that because you can also do that and then someone might respond extremely viscously and you’re in a situation where you just don’t have the power and then you might get fucked but it was important it was important yeah it is important in a way in a way


––, : pm also earlier Sinai again Sinai figures really loudly in in this whole thing and I spoke about this and why it was such a fantasy before but earlier the Sinai experience with the Abe tribe I’m using this for a long time although I don’t really believe it but renting a bus going together to Sinai we had a big tent and being kicked out of Basata for being too rowdy and just this is really cool somehow building a circus tent right outside Basata on the borders of it on the beach they have their fence and we built it right there and so he kicked us out and we were there and just walked in and hung out with people we knew there getting of course stoned and wasted and having a good time but funny trips to the fantasy as if nothing else exists which is complete bullshit one conclusion I can make at this point of time is that you have got to live your life but you have got to taste what is real around you too somehow or that’s how I feel about it it’s difficult that could be difficult if you’re doing this from the prison of cynicism and non-belief at the same time that could be quite difficult for sure for sure and all the way yeah another story with Sherif going to a pottery exhibition while we were so fucked me and him this was a family kind of thing my mother and her friends etc and this exhibition was in a gallery that’s under the ground and these clay really very smooth round very sensual objects and we were out of our minds and completely stoned at the same time and we go and we’re just like a light coming from under the ground and walking and there’s these seductive objects and both of us start touching these objects and orgasming with it not literally orgasming but making sounds and whatever it was just interesting because everyone in that place just looked fucking weird at us and thought we were completely out of our minds although we didn’t do anything that strange we just interacted with the objects but it was weird what is also ironic is this space is like a machine it’s the memory machine everyday in the memory machine I remember stuff but the next day I only remember a bit of what I did the day before but not much and that’s really ironic that this memory machine creates access to memory and at the same time forgetfulness by definition it is also about forgetfulness too and I wonder at the very end when I’m finished with this project what will I actually remember from it? will it have served its function in that way? I don’t know somehow in the beginning before I began I thought that I would come out of this with a clearer grasp on memory itself but now I’m a bit doubtful I noticed that OK this is the third night one thing is the same is that I start with silence and then I speak I speak I speak and then I tend to go back to the silence somehow strange but I don’t know something happens in this room and it becomes more difficult to talk as I go on or less things come up it’s silence and then there’s something like a wave of inspiration and then the curve goes down but I like the idea of being alone and not alone at the same time this is also what this is about this idea of solitude and community at the same time like a metaphor again like an image in the sense of image as picture not image as pose yeah I have strayed far away far away from my focus again OK I can do that but let us go back to those four or five years obsessively go back to those four or five years yeah first acid trip was it first yeah first real acid trip maybe I did acid before I didn’t really trip that much but or this was the first time I did acid and trip it was a really tremendous experience in Alexandria with Islam and Maya in Alexandria and we went to his school the school he was in one of those big Christian schools that are really amazing in terms of architecture or whatever like massive with cinemas and stadiums and basketball courts one of those big schools I forgot which one it was and he took us to the theatre and I used to do a lot of music with Islam I think really amazing music and we went to this theatre and I dropped the hit half a hit I was the only who was tripping he wasn’t and she wasn’t and I dropped a hit and we were sitting in the theatre we were jamming I was just playing the piano I was not playing just


 smashing pretty loud fucking around with the piano making sound and this was an empty empty theatre with a small stage and chairs and then I look and it’s full that was of course the beginning of the trip there was just people an audience an audience that was not real that was completely a hallucination a complete audience and then we walked out of this room and I disappeared and then my sense of time got completely twisted because I did not know I looked up at the stars and the stars were moving like this and I did not know if the stars were moving because my sense of time was so severely modified that I could foresee three four hours in one second or because I was hallucinating that the stars were moving it was either this or that and I till now do not know all I know is that they did not find me for several hours and they looked for me and then they found me sitting on a huge dome and I climbed down and then we were walking in the streets in Alexandria next to the sea with people just human beings people and it was just great I was loving that communal plug in completely and then we went to Islam’s house and then the trip flipped and it became kind of negative because well amazing and negative amazing when I put on a raga to listen to and I slept on the couch and I looked up and then the stars starting appearing inside the room and then it was a machine made out of wood and jewels moving around it was really beautiful and also sitting on the ground in front of the couch and seeing the sun come out behind me and fall out of the window it looked really amazing too but the negative was when my hair turned into snakes and you know if your actual hair is snakes that is really tough so it was both that and that and beyond the imagery and beyond the hallucinations the thing that freaked me out the most was the logic the way my logic got twisted and I was trapped in a cycle two questions again very relevant to this experiment two questions am I the trip? or is the trip me? I would start with am I the trip and move and answer that question and deal with it somehow of course I am not the trip the trip is me and then when I reached the point that the trip is me I would start with the trip is me and move and like whatever realize discover move with the logic till I reached the point and I was like of course the trip is not me I am the trip and this might sound really stupid and might not make any sense but there is a logic behind it and that question is fucking important am I the trip? or is the trip me? there is no way I can explain that but I know it’s an important question the thing is the question was never answered the only way it could answer itself was to negate itself so it was constantly moving between one negation to the next and that was the bad trip in the end that was it not the hallucination not the hallucination but that’s just a story it’s weird for me because I feel it’s necessary to balance the stories which are sensational because my life was sensational with an understanding of where are you coming from because this is not about entertainment although it could be entertainment but it’s not about entertainment it’s about trying to understand a certain period of time and trying to understand that time within a public social framework an institution a system a politics and that is important and I think it’s important for me to always maintain in this performative action the tension between personal sensational stories and the institutional public social political analysis somehow always important but I need the story to let go too and not frame too much and that is the problem it’s like I’m trying to discover a balance and it’s difficult yeah I’m also really happy in a in a different sense outside of personal stuff to be doing this on a completely different level maybe a much more superficial level but it makes sense on a professional career kind of scale it’s important for me to move outside the medium of representation for example like video sound is different like video in which whatever I’m doing I’m always talking about something else even if I’m also focused on myself I’m also focused on something else and I’m very critical of talking about myself in video for example I see you could do it but you have to be extremely careful


extremely precise extremely conceptually tight and this project kind of throws my whole career into a totally new sphere that’s how I see it and that’s very important by doing this I also personally feel that I am being responsible towards dealing with my own specific position and maybe after this I can go on and go back to the medium I’m using most of the time but it would be from a different perspective instead of a way of trying to break the arrogance of the camera in a sense although a camera does exist right there but still an attempt at breaking that arrogance and that’s important for me personally in a professional sense important too is this gonna feedback or not feedback? yeah I want a cigarette I’m not even focused I’m not trying to remember anymore in a way I’m not focused on that at all it’s not a job it should be a job and not a job at the same time for it to function it it has to be both in a way my sister told me as a note that always in the last hour I kind of disconnect and lose the thread in a way and am not focused anymore on memories it becomes about something and I guess that’s true and that’s how it is I can’t force them to come back in a way they come and go that’s how it is it’s also interesting how I discovered from the first two days that the audience is important although I am not aware of them I don’t know where they are who they are whatever but I discovered that going out and finding people who have partaken in that experience is important for me is a form of mental security the thing is this project plays plays a lot with the edges of mental security big time for me primarily for the audience in a very secondary fashion because it’s much easier for them of course but still touches upon something upon some security but I also believe that it has to be dangerous too part of it’s power is it’s danger the same seduction in a relationship the danger in a relationship things I’ve learned somehow somehow


 ––, : pm we give out of experience we give one of those keys OK so maybe I should go back to memories specific incidents again specific let’s look at it in terms of location like Garden City Zamalek Maadi Heliopolis always a triangle the geography of privilege personally I can never speak about AUC without that touch of privilege it’s there it’s impossible to deny so it’s important to deal with that I think well I was in a party this is something else OK let’s let’s simply explain a very interesting side story I just remembered it right now I got to know a couple of people from the DPS (Section in AUC) which is inside the AUC structure pretty much looked down upon and discriminated against socially at least so I knew Sameh I got to know Sameh opportunistic bastard whatever doesn’t matter he never reached anything with me and he had a Russian girlfriend and his crowd and there was this chick and she was really into me she wanted to seduce me but we never fucked somehow I’m not really sure I don’t even remember her name I’m not really sure why we never fucked but it just did not happen and well in the metro I met these weird German people who were into black magic who lived in Shobra they invited me to a party and I’m not sure if I knew Sameh before that or I met him in that party either this or that I have no idea I cannot remember for sure but I went to this weird German satanic party in Shobra very strange but very interesting and anyway it was fun I don’t even remember how I got there I don’t remember how I left there I just remember being there eating drinking beer and this weird black magic atmosphere with candles and glasses and shit whatever and it was strange because I met these guy in the metro and this shit happens in Cairo too that was four years before the satanic craze media thing which is so fucked up and which at the time I had long hair so I was personally targeted but nothing happened to me because I was not into heavy metal although I did go to three concerts one in the stadium one in Romantica which is now Peking in Zamalek and one in some hotel in Abbassiya with heavy metal kids and that was interesting really that heavy metal craze that came up fuck what the state did about it and fuck what the media did about it and the way they turned it into paranoia to control the people and to make them feel good about themselves and to polarize them against the outside as a way of control but fuck all of that that was there that was real that was that was people resisting in their own way whatever I don’t care if the music was good or bad but they were trying to do something and they got completely crushed it was interesting as a scene it was embedded in Egyptian society although it got completely killed but it did have roots they were just kids maybe stupid kids they were just fucking around and then they killed it fascist bastards I remember going to the Book Fair at the height of the anti-metal paranoia and I was a bit paranoid myself I was like shit are they gonna arrest me on the door and nothing happened that day just because I had long hair my god so silly but quite real and I asked Sameh I knew that this relationship existed I knew that somehow because I belonged to this other kind of more privileged thing within the system that I could push my power and I asked him could I fuck your girlfriend? and he said and that was really surprising he said yeah if she doesn’t mind and I didn’t really flirt with her and I didn’t really try to fuck her but it’s pretty fucked up that this guy was willing to let me fuck his girlfriend if she was into it just because of some kind of privilege system weird stuff but I didn’t fuck her I didn’t hit on her even but this just demonstrates what privilege means and how privilege is a cruel thing to other people too it’s based on cruelty it’s based on humiliation of the other I absolutely refuse that I refuse that as a privileged person and I refuse that if there are other people who have more than me in other senses I completely refuse that system I deny it and refuse it and I would never take part of it I would always fuck it to the end always fuck it because it’s sick and it’s limited it’s


based on weakness not strength so I drink another beer I guess I have to drink another beer there’s one two three four five will persevere absolutely like a picture always you like that sound OK I’m here in one piece alive and then fucking trashed wasted yeah power of uniform respect the power of uniform all the way all the way close to the edge get me close to the edge yeah always the end marked by the silence I reached the point where I can’t speak no more and I don’t care because that’s how it is three days yeah eleven more to go I want to reach the point where by the time it’s over it’s kind of hard to go because this is really a bitch of a project that’s really tough physically mentally every way but I believe in it yeah important important on many levels don’t feedback no feedback no feedback then you get out this is eternal somehow never-ending shit come on aha aha aha get it over and done with what the fuck what the fuck the hours they the fucking hours they pass you by OK yeah kick him in the face no problem just complete absolutely arrested and probably killed fuck the deal looking for a challenge absolutely always not always but right now again in the last hour I veer away from the focus of my piece which is not about is partly about personal reactions to the situation it’s absolutely about personal reactions to the situation but it’s supposed to be framed within the remembering of a time or something like that but I’m worried absolutely absolutely right absolutely ready for a fight and a challenge I had many of those before another side to the whole  and in AUC thing but relevant to the  and in AUC is the actual tape and don’t crack the glass all I want is this glass cracked but the nightclubs and I think the first time I went to a nightclub I went with Sari to a belly-dancing nightclub and we went to a belly-dancing night club not like a club not like a western style club but an oriental dance club I went with Sari and it was good I don’t remember it was it was my birthday I think ‘ or ‘ probably ‘ shit fuck the feedback I will have to stand here till I kill it so probably ‘ it was really cool it was a lot of fun and that was another example of a space that I plugged into as the resistant non-mainstream total mainstream at the same time like all ‘s Egyptian movies space for pre-sexuality for playing games for playing power games for being a total fucking slut in a way and it was good and I lived that for years after I left university I was completely into the night club scene I don’t do it anymore because I made too many enemies I was so aggressive and I spat on people I hit people and I know I can’t go anymore because I don’t have that same energy that same aggressive energy anymore but I already antagonized so many people that I have to not go for my own personal safety so it was interesting played lots of games come on kill my three because I think I just it’s dead no need for feedback why is everything feedbacking now? this is dead this mike is dead no more feedback no more feedback OK man I’m amazed by how much time it takes it should be over by now shit I guess there must be a little time left in the period knowing how much time there is I have no sense of time but there cannot be much much time yeah stop stop yeah


 ––


––, : pm today the th day of doing this I guess I usually begin with giving a brief report to how this is affecting my life because I think this is also part of it yesterday I spoke of a dream and I think it really affects my sleep strangely enough when you drink a lot you end up waking early I’ve been waking up at six o’clock in the morning everyday since I’ve been doing this extremely irritated and anxious in the morning really rough mornings a bit like what you would experience when getting wasted normally but magnify it ten times first of course I do remember what I had been saying the night before snatches of it some things some things not there is this feeling this fear this powerful fear that I experience when looking back at myself basically in the morning it’s very strong in the morning even as I try to sleep it comes straight either into dreams or into streams of thought plus physically it doesn’t feel good bruised and I feel like in my sleep in the state between deep sleep and complete awakeness this strange alcohol induced state in the morning at :, :, : I just spend three–four hours in the morning parallel to the four hours I spend here everyday in bed trying to sleep feeling extremely anxious and irritated and thinking about what I am doing I hope this develops into something else this process should also have positive effects on me of course it’s a beating an inner beating a mental beating so the mornings are rough but I’m trying as I go on to learn how to deal with it and also have control over it it’s about letting go and being in control at the same time that’s what’s interesting to me that’s much more interesting than completely letting go one of the main themes of these discussions is control and loss of control that polar thing another important theme a double theme yesterday I spoke of strength and vulnerability and maybe today I speak about order and control and chaos and loss of control because that has also been a major theme in my life I made it a theme it wasn’t just experiencing these things and then describing them as order or chaos but rather doing them and then defining them yourself as this or that so it was conscious yes, order and chaos or control and loss of control yeah slow slow there was a choice too this was not unconscious there was a decision to be someone in a certain manner maybe not always very clearly to oneself but a decision was made , I wonder how many conclusions I can come up with? is it necessary to even have conclusions? basically everyday I sit here and struggle with what exactly am I trying to do other than struggling with the content of what I’m doing the discussions always comes up and it’s conscious and I make it and I talk about it do I sit and analyze? do I just tell stories? I’m a bit anxious about the content yes stories do come they’re always a bit more difficult they’re a bit more concrete and maybe they say something more than analysis or maybe not or I can use them for analysis stories take longer to come a lot of them it’s the first time I would remember these events after eight–ten years it’s sometimes surprising for me to realize that this happened or that happened or I met these people sometimes you forget who were the people you knew because even if you’re not very close to people at that age especially it’s not necessary to be close to someone for them to be important in your life because it is the time when we are of course changing or as Islam would have put it we are evolving and he was always fond of saying that sentence sure but these periods of time become really significant because they are the building blocks of something that becomes maybe not completely set but quite set to an extent, so, it’s surprising sometimes to discover how someone who was not a friend, who might not have been very close, has actually had a big impact on your life because of that age and time and the way its all been I’ll go back to analysis I am not going to recall stories unless they come, and when they come they come so going back to that I am struck it’s like this university but it’s also like this school or whatever again these institutions that are generic of course each one is very different and AUC is a very special


 case socially and mentally a very special case maybe I do not understand it now as well as I used to understand it or maybe I understand it now I think I understand what it’s doing now but I knew it deeper of course when it was completely my life in a way that did not mean just going to university all the time or hanging out with people from university or going to places people hung out from university it meant that the impact in that place whether as resistance or as kind of falling into what it’s promoting that your perception of everything is kind of connected to it in some way of course its connected to earlier backgrounds but its also connected to that yesterday I spoke about paranoia and the day before I spoke about alienation they are big themes all these big themes going around trying to frame this but I can also speak of the opposite which is joy ecstasy lost being lost something like that that was also a major direction as much as paranoia that is why it is hard for me to remember what happened in these four–five years because it was the time of loss of complete self-loss which I think is very positive too I keep coming across paradoxes and ironies the time when your identity is built is the time when you lose yourself and your identity in a way the time when you experience some form of extreme paranoia and alienation from everything around you the time when you experience this communion and loss and this ecstatic form of existence because it was interesting because you are both thick skinned and absolutely sensitive at the same time that’s what always amazes me about that period of time the ability to perceive to plug into very deep experiences and not to be injured by them which was amazing there must have been a reason for that too as a place for loss now what did I lose exactly? I touched upon it before number one I definitely lost this blind subscription to specific family values values promoted by the family you are coming from which could have their own radical message too but it was the point when that was lost definitely it was questioned before but it was lost then and that of course creates huge tension but I think at the end we managed to remain civilized and not completely fuck each other up which is OK of course also the loss of cynicism which means that not just this is very cliché to say a loss of innocence or whatever no one is ever really innocent but also an understanding a clear understanding of what was supposed to be good is not necessarily that at all I mean kind of not being afraid not being afraid of my own aggression exploring my own aggression this aggression maybe is just there in people but it also comes out because of the special situation of being in that place I’m sure it could have come out if I was in any other university maybe it would have always come out maybe it would have taken different shapes so there was this kind of loss of the inhibition of trusting your own cruelty and trusting your own aggression I don’t want to glamorize this and make it sound like something great it’s not something great but trusting that and learning learning is important learning by dealing that is totally valid because interaction between people are always marked by power relations and different motives and desires and strategies and maybe when you are a child you know that instinctively and you don’t think about it and just do it but then at that point of time it becomes not just that but also understanding that that is not that because maybe at an earlier stage of family or social conditioning this is what is supposed to be bad then my experience at least helped me realize that this is not bad but just part of who you are and should be used with awareness it’s up to each person to do it the way they want to people react in whichever way a strengthening of an amoral position I guess but probably this came out of a sense of morality too a sense that these people are fucked for example that was there for sure because this idea of image and pose and look that everybody subscribes to in their own way was also motivated was also self righteous as self righteous as the majority in some ways time constant contained and constant conflict and provocation if I look at it in terms of an emotional


spectrum somehow I’m trying to look back now today somehow not through stories yesterday I looked through a lot of stories but today I look at themes different focal points more specifically the emotional spectrum intense emotions experienced where a sense of self just the emotion of that this idea of testing who you are pushing it testing it that was there and then this concept of ecstasy was there for sure if I was to use the word junky I would say I was an ecstasy junkie not ecstasy the drug but the actual experience of ecstasy because that was what I was looking for for a long time just the ecstatic moment which of course is now sometimes experienced but in completely different forms and much more contained but also I think more valuable now it was in a way the commercialization of ecstatic feelings and this I don’t think I was the only one who practiced it me and friends were part of a strange area that didn’t exactly fit in the mainstream of that university and what it was supposed to be and definitely did not fit into the mainstream of society and what that was supposed to be so this group of people with all their different motives and expressions one connection between them was the addiction and desire for ecstatic experiences and that to me was a conscious value that was also a political value maybe I think differently of that now but that’s how it was then and I wonder again why that was the case what was and for us it was like ecstasy the experience and not the drug it was not around then first time I experienced it it was ‘ and I think I had already graduated so it was not around then ecstasy the experience just the experience of ecstasy personally and I think that the more we experience this together then a sense of a group identity was also formed and its funny that the moment we all graduated this group identity was completely broken and that was good I’m happy that this happened of course I know a lot of the same friends and I know with time lots of people that used to be friends aren’t friends anymore which is all normal but the group identity was broken and I’m happy that the group identity was broken that makes sense for some people it was harder for some friends for example Sari he could not get over it he constantly wanted to re-live that group identity again and again and again and it ceased to make sense it existed at one point sporadically and it died which is how it was it died sporadically too for him it was hard to accept this group identity was created and promoted by codes OK other than the experience of smoking together and bla bla bla it was what you did in that for example I remember again this idea of the hall that was Sari’s flat that was the case because at that time he was the only one living alone and so that became extremely important of course outside parents outside family it was so important to hang out there to spend nights there and that place became part of what promoted this group identity in the hall you could sit you could smoke forever and what would you do? for example like chant just get into a chant these were always forming bonds of saying we are these kind of people what else? some kind of Sariesque humor he was definitely a big performer and that was part of it too that he would be performing something at an earlier time it was the bug Omar’s Volkswagen car and it was called the bug which meant it was his but it was also ours in a way this is all the first two years of university second year maybe third year with the bug and everything and then what else? what other forms of group identification image again always a deep connection young boys and young men because our age gathered together and trying to say we are like that against what we were surrounded with inside an isolated bubble and outside in the bigger sphere that was definitely a part of it and that again is ironic because you sit there you are motivated by the desire of not wanting to be consumed by a mainstream whether inside or outside that really used you and exploited you that was the basic problem that is the basic political point of this whole thing that mainstream kind of exploits people by forcing on them and them willingly accepting a specific code a specific image, etc. by deciding not to be part of


 this we opted for the same kind of commercialization of identity but a new one and so we as friends commercialized our image together and commercialized our ecstasy together I’m speaking a bit on the negative side of course there was strong positive things too but I guess we practiced that commercialization of ourselves the pose again the pose the pose which was real which I would never say was false was real but that was what it was a reaction a search somehow there was some kind of search? maybe a search for some kind of position trying to find moving and not really knowing what your position is within the bigger and smaller systems refusing the positions slotted for you and trying to find another one and so immediately you are forced into this commercialization I see this in all different resistance groups from people going out in the street to demonstrate against whatever they are immediately practicing this commercialization of themselves they’re completely being seduced by the idea of that image too I don’t know how it is possible and what kind of practice is possible to be able in which you do not commercialize yourself and at the same time manage to find a real position without commercializing yourself this is all very theoretical somehow but stems out of real experience and real time and then an important question and I should ask it to myself also is that this experience this construction and this experience and this kind of relationship with a spectator that is created by this structure is this actually a practice that manages to achieve that or is it a complete commercialization of oneself ? maybe it is both at the same time but the tools are different maybe that makes sense rather than looking for depth maybe we can look at surface and, and say OK well if the system functions by commercializing and commodifying everything we will do the same but through our own technique and our own forms and maybe this is one way of dealing with it I do not know these are things that I just look at as questions but are not clear to me as answers during the day these days I walk in the streets and I feel like I’m in a bubble since I began this project I feel completely like I’m in a bubble it’s interesting it extends into my life and it’s a bit like some kind of personal isolation that I hold with me and take with me outside this space but I don’t want to nurture it I don’t want to make it into something other than what it is I just want it to go where it wants to go somehow I took astronomy in my first semester it was such a disappointing class because somehow astronomy seemed to be such an exciting topic and I think the moment I realized it was such a disappointing class because it was dealt with so dryly maybe that’s OK that’s how it is but these were the fantasies you had the younger fantasies about the study of the stars are supposed to be fuelled by science fiction etc.. but the moment I realized it was such a disappointing class, I also realized that education itself is such a disappointment it always was since school with very little exceptions always kind of a disinterest


––, : pm by just being who they are coming directly and immediately that for instance exoticism in a way not being apologetic and not promoting it at the same time just that every voice is as bad as any other voice from the top to the bottom that’s how I see it there were people who did this well people who whatever they did whatever their lifestyle was like were not into the exotic side of being that for example Attar a friend although he did have a very specific image for a long time he was also functioning outside that exotic relationship but another time another argument with the police it’s funny just walking outside my house crossing the street I had all my drugs in a cassette case that I put here and a policeman stopped me and searched me immediately they didn’t find it luckily that was based upon that thing again purely upon that and anger in these encounters you see the anger you understand the anger and they’re the pigs anyway so it doesn’t matter I have no respect for their anger no matter what their backgrounds are because that’s what they are their job is to fuck everyone else I have no respect for them OK looking back now in terms of emotions loss joy ecstasy anger loss joy ecstasy anger alienation paranoia these are six main emotions that mark that period of time all six still exist within me but are expressed in different forms because they are not so related anymore to a specific subculture within a specific institution maybe the one positive side of the experience of being in that institution was to take these emotions and push them to an extreme to really make them very blunt to highlight them because of age and because of situation and because I had nothing else to do studying was definitely not part of my concept of being in that place nothing else to do except exploring your emotional spectrum and pushing it to the extreme there is something positive in that but it’s also a bit... superficial and flat because it’s related to a very specific subcultural idea picked up from mass media it was a real engagement with the self of course but through that institutional frame what I’m trying to get at or what I think I’m realizing or maybe I realized this before but I never really said it that clearly is that we were as institutional as everybody else and we explored our emotions through the institution whether with of against but still through it I think that these six generalized emotional fields still exist within me and still mark everything I do that’s an example because in this structure this situation reflects these six emotions in many different ways but at least now I have more control over the form over the technique and that I think is important this idea of a technique a personal form this is only relevant if you are interested in the concept of framing an identity for yourself and giving it a motive a critical moment maybe anyway today I am even more tired than yesterday it seems everyday becomes more tiring in terms of personal technique I will have to rediscover I’m still trying to get the system of doing this in a way where I can build my own personal stamina to do this every night without just being more and more exhausted I guess it’s inevitable to be exhausted because it’s a very draining experience but I still need to find out how to do this within my life within my rhythm some things are not in my control like having to work all day for some reason I remember also another thing that was the fist time I really did feel paranoid then in the middle of Midan Tahrir one day I think this was ‘ I got stalked by an undercover cop who knew my name and who knew I was a student in this university and just stalked me and told me that he told me, you are this person and you are in this university and we know about what you are doing and bla bla bla bla just to let you know very weird in the street just walking in the street, someone just stops you and tells you that that can make you paranoid easily that says something about this isolated bubble it’s not so isolated it’s one of the main columns of the system we are living in it’s one of the major institutions in this country one of the major power institutions in this country and it doesn’t


 matter who the professors are and who the students are that’s not the point the system itself is bigger than whoever could be interesting within it it’s necessary to start building your own systems and in that case I go back to this structure I would say that this is a system within itself an institutional frame but one that is defined by my own personal form and technique and therefore becomes political because of that because it is not subscribing for example to the generic forms of talking the actual form of speaking is modified and is determined by specific intentions specific motivations and specific form of critique once this was really great maybe it was ‘ OK you have the institution downtown in AUC but then the parallel scene that happened in the area where I lived in Ard-El-golf Heliopolis which was Abe’s house like the clubhouse Sherif lived a bit back we all kind of lived next to each other there was also this network there with people hanging out at each other’s places etc this image is really associated with that area so once Sherif shaved all his head and just left the top of the hair he looked super aggressive it was really and then he shaved it off and just came with no hair but I liked that hairstyle it lasted a few hours that was very harsh just as an image was very harsh but really cool that was really good and suited him I can only remember this picture I don’t remember seeing him in a flat or anything but seeing him with that look on the streets of Ard-El-Golf the way this institution downtown with architectural buildings etc also has a parallel happening in other parts of the city where these people live it’s Heliopolis or Mohandiseen or Zamalek or Garden City depending where they are coming from exactly with their different backgrounds, but its also not limited to people from the city it could be a YAB (Year Abroad) also living in Garden City for example and that was also very funny the YABs very funny so the institution was catering this to our homes and in a way transformed these homes and transformed these streets too these streets which had other people outside that institution were like also making their own streets but it’s all these different people making their own different streets at the same time and crossing paths and I spoke yesterday about the interface with shabab triumph and scoring drugs that are through Jimmy and his friends for example and how there was a blur between two different systems meeting again for shared motives it’s funny because one major difference between me and a lot of other young people at the time who were into doing substances was I was always interested a lot of people were into codafine which is a very powerful tranquilizer I tried it once or twice and I found it extremely boring very much a downer something that gave you a general sense of well being and confidence the difference is I was always interested much more in the substances that pushed you to a certain limit I was into for example Pulmolar which was the other cough syrup that was much more hallucinative affecting you bodily sensations your perceptions much more a substance that fucked with your head rather than gave you confidence I was not into confidence building substances I quit all forms of drugs a long time ago because I couldn’t do them anymore but people who don’t or have never had or had very superficial experiences with it have a very superficial explanation they are like this is to make you feel good this is of course extremely stupid because they are all very different and they have different actions and reactions and they have different motives and people do them for completely different motives for example Jimmy would do Codafine bottle after Codafine bottle to feel good about himself to be confident partly because he had certain aspirations that he could not meet and at the same time in a way his theme is aspirations that he could not meet but one of his themes is that while at the same time I was much more into I would think really much more dangerous kind of attempted breaking the cell and questioning it I don’t value this more than his I think it’s just our motives were different the way his identity was being shaped very differently from the way my identity was being shaped


so we spoke from different platforms and because we spoke from different platforms our usage was different our motives were different and our experiences were different so he did codafine for example to study that to me was kind of ridiculous because I did not understand why he did drugs to study this did not make sense to me or he did it for confidence he was also into recipes this again was a major difference because he really was into I had an interview with him which really talks about this OK if you do three pills of that, and three pills of that and half a bottle of this you will feel kind of happy and content if you do two pills of that and one pill of that and crush half a gram of this and snort it you will feel a bit excited and confident if you did this and this and this you would feel dreamy and sleepy if you do this and this and this you would feel concentrated and focused so in a way for him and maybe for some other people this usage of substances was about conditioning situations and about controlling situations being in a feeling that did not have control over the situation and trying to control the situations by these substances for me it was different without valuing it because for me it was about not controlling the situation it was really the opposite it was about testing who I am I think in their situation it was about affirming who they are for me it was about testing who I am about trying to understand who I am like the way would put on new clothes and shrug yourself into it this I would say could be very much related to age too I was at a time in which I was understanding that I am something of course everybody understands that but was being hyperconscious I am someone or I am something I think it was today or yesterday it’s pretty vague it’s funny sometimes I told lots of people who were with us that we were together in Vietnam again this kind of sentence really demonstrates what I’m talking about in many ways the idea that there was some kind of community with different tensions in it and the metaphor straight out of a specific cultural product and time in history related to number one the English language and number two American mass culture of Hollywood and pop or Hollywood and music or and not just pop Hollywood and that is an influence that is undeniable on everyone maybe not everyone in the world but large segments of the population in the world everybody shapes it in different ways it’s the cultural machine it’s so powerful the cultural machine is in everybody’s mind at the same time it is everybody’s mind they cannot exist without the reactions it gets I think I would like to maybe I don’t have the money to do this now but maybe I’ll do it in a bit of time when I finish this project in a few months or something I would like to get these tapes transcribed because I feel this room also functions as a huge Dictaphone in a way and it’s interesting I made a point yesterday this is a machine for memory and a machine for forgetting at the same time because everyday I remember so much and the next day I forget a lot of what I already remembered I remember some of it but I also forget a lot of it I would like to definitely get all the tapes transcribed as a text and then just read the text myself personally I think that is important I’m presenting this later as a visual text as a video documentation but unfortunately I do not I will not be able to sit and watch it all because of logistics I won’t be here at a certain time and also watching it all is something but reading it as a text and having it as a text is much more immediate access to what was produced in a certain form I think I will really go for that trying to get all these tapes transcribed, and then just having a text reading the text that would be another layer another phase in the project a third phase it’s funny because when I think of the conception of that project the idea came to me when I was on a plane in the US between one city to the next in the US in a really fucked up trip two years ago I was thinking about another show not this one something else and in my mind it was like the American empire and I was thinking to do a show in the states that will have to deal with that relationship somehow then I thought


 about then I took it a bit closer and then it was the title just jumped at me “ and in AUC” and I knew that I had to do something with that it took a bit of time I had all these ideas of an exhibition that used photographs and videos and sound and bla bla bla bla till I was speaking with Brian and then I told him I said what if I sit in an isolated room and get drunk and talk and then he said that’s fucking good or something like that a positive reaction and then I realized that it really did make a lot of sense so I first presented it to myself and to someone else as a joke in a way I was already afraid of it, from the very beginning I guess some of the things you’re afraid of are the things that you have to do in a way I guess there’s some truth in that it’s like a reconstructive surgery that makes sense what else is there? it sounds like a time full of substance usage and community building in a way and drama of course there was drama there was drama it seems far away the breakdowns the resentments the loves the hatreds where is that? this is very difficult to remember the dramas where are they? OK I think this project is also about alcohol too I don’t know if I said that yesterday but one layer is about alcohol itself as a picture and as something that has a specific effect and as a culture because for me that is a personal side and it’s not necessary for experiencing this project but it comes to my mind that for me this act of sitting and drinking and talking is very much part of my life too and also a constructive side of my life too plus other things there’s something a bit tragic about it because it has a destructive connotation but I think that is important as an image as a frame as a picture to see that too what other times what other moments? I also think about this project yesterday I made that same point it starts with a silence goes up then it goes back into a last hour in which I go a bit more blank and disconnected and everything I think I need to that that hour is very important it’s a very important hour


––, : pm things to speak about so it’s not that simple but then maybe it’s necessary to learn how to use that last bit I’m not sure how yet but this is a learning process so how do we use that last bit also as a form? what is also interesting is then how people from outside that sphere like family or family friends witnessed these changes and I guess were completely astonished and freaked out by them to an extent kind of looked at these changes their reactions to them that’s interesting that says something about about the whole situation says something about that time relationship institution it says something about it because the positive side of it is that there was no shame and there was absolutely no shame and absolute kind of trust in what one was doing and I think that is very positive whatever the motives behind what one was doing and that I think shocked people more than actually what you’re doing it’s not that OK you’re doing something that to them is strange so they’re surprised that you’re doing this and that you actually trust it completely and I think says something about generation gaps really and kind of historical gaps that for a lot of those people they do not realize that closed cultures cannot exist anymore it is impossible now it’s impossible whether they like it or not and I’m not saying this is better than that I’m just saying this is the case closed cultures cannot and do not exist anymore in that way they never really existed unless they were something really completely isolated in some faraway place in mountains or jungles or geographically distant places but for most locations in the world which were linked to the idea of constructing civilizations and empires closed cultures do not exist never have existed there has always been this this mixing happening positively and negatively as part of exploitation and domination and as part of understanding what is around you and dealing with it and knowing that you are not fixed that no one is really fixed however for a lot of people seeing this close up and personally experiencing this freaked them out because it questions their value and that is its value its value is not in what it’s promoting it could be promoting shit too that is not the point the point is that just by existing it questions the idea of a homogenous closed culture like the idea of the Egyptian or whatever closed homogenous nationalistic culture which everybody believes in and which everybody is part of and this is one of it’s positive sides it doesn’t matter if it promotes something that is equally bad because it’s not about the promotion it’s about the questioning in a way I think I experienced that personally with family who maybe are not completely part of closed culture but did not expect to see it come back at them in that shape and from other other relations or friends or whatever who were not part of that for example friends from school who experienced this in a certain way and I could see their shock growing day by day and for me there was nothing shocking really at all for me it was just me learning something and experiencing something but for them it was a kind of a horror it was a horror because it questioned their own position not that mine was better but it just questioned the closed circle and it was part of a closed circle too of course that’s the point I’m making over and over and over again in this conversation OK another line of attack another way of trying to look at that period of time I’ve looked at stories and frames and motives and themes and emotions in the past four days there must be other forms other ways this makes sense to always try to look back with different perspectives and maybe I can look back at satisfaction I guess that’s a theme what satisfied me? this is interesting when was I happy? when was I not happy? there were moments of happiness god they come of course it intersects with the emotional spectrum that’s related to joy ecstasy of course so I was happy every time I was ecstatic I was happy I was happy every time I had something that I could call an adventure I was always happy with the idea of an adventure not just what happened in the adventure but the fact


 that I could call it an adventure I guess that’s related to this open-ended concept of who you are and the desire to live that always bred this desire for adventure and adventure was for me not conquering I was not necessarily an adventurer an adventure was the unknown you could say what surprised me loss of control that was an adventure this took different shapes it could be adventures that happened with women it could be adventures that happened in the streets just moments that occurred and every time a moment like that occurred it was an adventure simple really maybe silly look at it now but one day me and Sari also for our own very different motives go out with a guitar and he sings we have a can this is completely living the fantasies of another place so strange when you look at it now but also something you can call an adventure so going out me and him with the guitar and a can or some object with coins in it and just sitting in the street playing music singing and collecting money this has nothing absolutely nothing to do with Cairo and I don’t think it’s not valid to do something that has nothing to do with Cairo in Cairo for sure but it was interesting and then going to the train station and sitting there and doing this ‘till the police came of course and fucked us over and we couldn’t do it anymore but it was an adventure and we enjoyed it as an adventure it was exotic I guess in that case these adventures all had something to do with either being exotic ourselves or pasting something that we thought was exotic adventure was definitely related to exotic other adventures even run-ins with the police were seen as adventures because they tested some limit and they were adventurous again me and Sari being busted while hitchhiking for three days with the police of course being totally scared etc but then after being out of it thinking wow what an adventure and I guess that is a very typical attitude related to a place like AUC because because even though it’s real even though you could really get fucked by the authorities by the police it was also kind of exotic it was also not part of daily lives and therefore also something that we enjoyed as an adventure something that we could frame as an adventure and look at as an adventure and feel heroic about as an adventure of course that is not the case for a large percentage of the population the people who live in the same area you live in maybe not necessarily right next to you I like this better than the word population much more depth a place which is shared by different people without nationalism it’s just a place that different people share and that is enough of a connection but we don’t have to turn it into a myth and a monolith and worship it because that is to me completely counter-productive and delusional as delusional as the exotic as delusional as the classic as delusional as the racist completely delusional nationalism the same fucks people’s heads all the time so different experience than the majority of the people who shared the same space we’re living in have of authority and power even though we could be equally harmed it’s possible that we get tortured it’s possible that we get imprisoned and we were kind of roughly treated too because of background because of how you see yourself and because you partly see yourself as something outside that even if you’re not which is something promoted by this institution it is possible to see this as an adventure I don’t want to say this is good or bad I just want to look at it and understand it more deeply so I think now I can understand why tigers pace up and down their cages I get it very clearly somehow that’s a bit like a joke and so adventure another theme in that life in that time at that time another theme what about insecurity? there must have been a lot of insecurity too it is probably more difficult to remember things about insecurity rather than to remember things about adventure insecurity maybe I’ll leave that to another I still have a lot of days to go so it will come out I just don’t think I have access to it now again there’s a curve down or up but then the curve and then the plateau so now I’m in a plateau but I need to learn how to deal with that plateau how to use it too because it I don’t think that it’s very


successful to just suffer near the end for no reason because that doesn’t make much sense to me honestly so the way I see it I should use the point where I go blank and use that as a value too the moment of going blank OK you’ve worked a bit released a bit accessed some stuff but then you go blank but then what do you do with that blankness? you should do something with it maybe talking about doing something with it is a beginning is a start so that’s the beginning but then I actually want to do something with it and OK still not clear to me how to deal with the blankness how to deal with the plateau it’s interesting how this structure also mirrors the architecture of authority torture chambers interrogation rooms very much related to that but I always found the square-success oriented-AUC-type thing because there is that like the SU (Student Union) I’ve always found that absolutely pathetic and I’ve always found that a complete failure I don’t care if they succeed in careers make a lot of money or not I really don’t give a fuck about that but I see what they present I don’t care about them as people whatever everybody is free to be whatever they want but I see what they present as an idea about life and to me it’s absolutely pathetic it’s very amateur too really honestly find it extremely amateur like quoting from a book of great quotations like getting a book of great quotations and learning it by heart and then quoting sentences from it to impress people something like that and of course that’s another side of that institution and I think it’s probably the mainstream side the side that is most in terms of numbers that the majority of the people subscribe to and it’s lame silly and uninspired and flat and superficial and whatever just something to say about the guys at the student what’s it called SJB (Student Judicial Board) out there to judge everybody else two words for them what’s interesting too is that this works as a fantasy for a lot of people it is a fantasy that they have also seen in films to be able to watch someone who cannot see them in films always like espionage films you have the scene the interrogation scene where someone goes up looks at the mirror exactly what I’m doing now fixes themselves up and is watched by the police investigators or detectives and that is a fantasy that is an absolute fantasy and this structure plays upon this fantasy in a different way it takes the fantasy and twists it around so it deals with something deep in human beings this fantasy would not exist because fantasies don’t exist just because bla fantasies exist because they speak about what people are like inside and so making a fantasy real is already taking something deep inside of people and dealing with it in some way or another and I’m not sure how exactly I’m learning this experience is also about me understanding how that happened and what that does and what does that mean fantasies always bring out the best and worst in people somehow always because that’s what fantasy is the kind the extreme limit the moment where the real is questioned that is part of the power of this structure that it questions reality in a way it questions our perception that is part of it’s power it’s always a bit difficult and it’s important but I have to with this project deal a bit with the situation of what this is but remain anchored and connected and focused upon my content relating to a specific memory of a specific time because this project was not conceived just as an exploration of a specific fantasy it then would taken a different form but that is there and it’s there very strongly I cannot deny it so deal with it and try to take it and connect it with what this project is also about it reminds me just as a side track but I once was gonna make a phone call and by some mistake I overheard a conversation they could not hear me but I could hear them two women speaking and one woman completely breaking down speaking about her relationship and speaking about a man she’s with I think he was betraying her and she couldn’t take it and she was really just breaking down on the phone and that was just wow it was amazing it was really kind of a tremendous experience for me I don’t know who these people were and I don’t care I don’t want


 to know who they were but it was really powerful to by chance overhear this private moment that was very strong and very deep and I remember this because it’s related to this situation right now in a way but again to make parallels between the structure and the content fantasy plays into it big time because in terms of the content of or the topic I’m trying to deal with  and in AUC that time that life my my identity formation and dissolution at the same time this was about fantasy too I used that sentence before in a video that really was very close to the spotlight in some ways like sometimes/somewhere else living the fantasies of transmission and that sentence is so relevant to this situation living the fantasies of transmission absolutely I’m interested in the idea of making concrete and creating physical objects or situations that are about communication and transmission and transmission is one side of communication it’s fascinating that’s why the radio is fascinating that’s why television is so powerful and that’s like what culture really is about it’s about transmission in many ways about the idea of a transmission of a movement from a point to another point of that magic of that emission that flies and hits a target somewhere and has an impact OK would like to go back to the memory again four years and a half there must have been more and more memories four years and a half a muddle the muddy kind of stream but memories do exist and if they don’t we can find them near the end of my undergraduate years being super stoned really like out of my head and standing in line for some registrar stuff signing up for an Arabic course standing in line and reaching the secretary of the department giving her my papers and just being completely blank and lost and not knowing what the fuck I was doing there a moment of not knowing where I was what I was doing this doesn’t necessarily demonstrate anything but not everything not all the stories I remember have to demonstrate anything they’re just memories as such some I can work into arguments about about that time and about that culture and some I can’t some are just memories just things that happened liking fucking Amr’s car because being underneath Wessam’s house not knowing how to drive completely out of my head I don’t remember on what but being absolutely certain I can drive and in  seconds turning on the car moving forward moving backwards nearly killing Amr smashing the car backwards moving again forward with the door open smashing into another car breaking the door and in  seconds I fucked a car and nearly killed my friend that was kind of funny he fixed it was a Lada and he fixed it also remember going to a party downtown and Assiouty was there and YABs coming up and someone asked me like if he was the singer in Soundgarden and I cannot forget that it’s kind of just funny for me no he is not the singer in Soundgarden also remember a


––, : pm kind of complete attractiveness but I never saw her again OK stories what’s interesting is the friends that that are still my friends now some were not so close then and now are much closer like Tamer and I knew him from school he was a friend in AUC but not so close but after we both graduated we became much closer and much deeper friends and he’s a really amazing guy I think he’s really great we have a really good relationship and other friends who were friends and then became far you know split and now are more close like Rifa’i and he’s also a great guy and then there are friends who I lost forever as friends even if I know them like Sari because he’s too obsessed with staying in the same thing and that corrupts him absolutely or friends that I discovered were never ever even friends like acquaintances because that’s another illusion of youth shit so arrogantly to speak about it but maybe necessary another illusion is to assume that everybody you speak to or you know is really kind of a friend that’s a complete illusion there are people you know and there are friends and there is a big fucking difference and then there are friends where knowing them for such a long time is what creates tension but they are close people like Sherif for example but he was only in AUC for a short period of time but it doesn’t matter because he was part of that culture that I’m working with now anyway so and it’s always kind of funny to see people that you knew vaguely or you knew a bit years and years after and you just realize how completely connected to the system they are and how completely in a way they are like their fathers that’s to me always kind of amusing and I saw stars outside my bedroom window in Heliopolis I looked out into the sky and I saw stars multi-layered I saw how a star could be closer and how a star could be further and I understood how a flat in an apartment building is sculpted into the air and that is something I don’t know how to explain that I wonder why I guess  or  percent of all my memories that are coming out in this space are associated with getting fucked? getting completely out of it getting completely wasted getting completely stoned it was a big part of my life for sure but I must have been doing other things too I must have been going to classes for example just go to the cafeteria and eating a sandwich or walking from one campus to the next that seems to be the main focus I wonder why I guess it’s an extreme moment that needs to be spoken about and put them all next to each other that’s unavoidable completely unavoidable somehow and I remember with pride a practice that I continue till now stealing books from the bookstore because basically fuck AUC you can take whatever you want from them whoever can take anything they want from them and can do it is completely valid because they’re the biggest thieves in the world anyway so fuck them big time two days ago I met a professor of mine who gave me an Arabic literature course nine years ago he was good Birairi he was a good professor I liked him and did interesting stuff in his class but he’s very proper he’s working in AUC but he’s very much a decent man I’m absolutely sure of that I really liked his class and it was deep he was really into his subject and it was good good to do that and that was near the end the last year was completely different than all the other years because I realized that this was ending and by realizing this was ending I was changing without knowing it and in a way I was becoming more and more I don’t want to say serious no not serious but more and more strategic OK taking the educational side a bit more seriously not necessarily because I believed in its absolute value but more and more because I realized that my life will change and also because I was with someone I was with Mirjiam and that was a very special relationship and being with her cleared my mind in many ways and it was not so necessary anymore to just want to break everything around me in a way being with her was a bit about realizing the potential of creating things I realized that before and I was doing it somehow but in a more diplomatic fashion


 realizing that the the potential value in pursuing something and getting something out of it and just plugging into the system not necessarily believing in the system but plugging in it to achieve your own shit realizing that I cannot achieve my own shit without plugging in somehow because the the absolute refusal to plug in was a complete betrayal in the end because it was not like I was just refusing and then throwing myself completely into life and dying on the streets it was much more spoilt than that it was much more about well you know fuck it something really spoilt and I guess that’s the positive side of being with some some European women is that they don’t take spoiltness because they’re not spoilt although it would seem that they should be spoilt but they’re not at least the intelligent of them are not spoilt and it’s easy within our kind of circle and our kind of class to live a completely self-indulgent spoilt lifestyle so it was good to meet someone who was a bit harsh and to have a deep relationship with someone who was a bit harsh which I liked because I have harsh sides too it was like rough together good exciting interesting and you learn shit from it too somewhere in between ‘ ‘ I was always fascinated by microphones it must be a moment of remembrance I love the invitation for this show the way it represented in it’s second incarnation as a video documentation in AUC which is very important because AUCian students should see this not because whatever I say is necessarily truthful but just because it’s an example of someone within that institution going through an experience and trying to understand what it is about so whether you agree with anything I say or not does not matter it’s much more about the fact that just one person within it would decide to do that and therefore you can have your own questions and therefore it is important to present that within within AUC itself which is the second part of this show after I finish then the video documentation can just play on and which is the power of video itself on campus important the invitation is a picture a super-romantic picture taken by Amr Hosny of myself when I was  I think really was  extremely romantic and I really love it not because oh yeah so romantic so beautiful but much more because of the harshness behind what seems so romantic and is in the end quite sharp and harsh and really like a sword like a dagger so I like that I like that image and the way it’s used I used I always liked the image in a very egotistical romantic sense sure true but I like using it in this context in a way to undermine this romanticism because you get the invitation and you think this is going to be a really sugary sweet romantic fucking experience and then it’s not it’s much harsher than that and I like that discrepancy that distance and it’s part of what this is about it’s part of the impact and the force of what this is about what lies beneath the stories? what is there? in the end it’s nothing more and nothing less than the horror that lies beneath anyone’s stories any human being’s stories that are full of horror and terror as much as they’re full of joy and wisdom the horror terror joy and wisdom that lie beneath these stories are equal to anyone’s stories in any context so one conclusion that I realized right now is that as people we’re swimming on the surface of joy terror horror and wisdom together all in one we’re always deeply hurt and we’re always completely ecstatic that is our curse and that is our blessing what is it that motivates this action? there must be narcissism involved too other than the critical meaning but there must be narcissism involved in this action but narcissism was already a part of that whole experience I see that as a parallel between the content the experience that I’m talking about and the situation that’s constructed between the action that I take and the topic I’m dealing with there is a parallel because narcissism was also one of the main motives behind that period of time behind all the actions that took place in that period of time and narcissism is one one of the motives behind this action that narcissism that deadly narcissism that painful narcissism absolutely that that with oneself all the way that is not an easy thing at all it might


seem very easy but I think deep narcissism is really a heavy burden trying I think it’s really necessary that after this whole thing I do transcribe those tapes because it’s really easy for me to forget everything that comes out in this situation because it’s such a a framed situation I think transcribing this experience and reading it will really mean something for me personally in the end outside what this experience is as an event outside this experience as an action it will mean something to me as a text big time and so I’m determined to do that I will transcribe it and I don’t have to publish it I don’t have to have anyone read it because it exists as as an action and it will exist as a documentation so that’s enough the struggles we all have the fights we all have all everybody nobody is left nobody is saved everybody is within some deep anxiousness hidden or revealed but something deep an anxiousness there for everybody to deal with every human being in every situation absolutely yes absolutely I always wondered what madness is in a way but madness is just that to an extreme I’m not there and I don’t want to be there but it’s just that to an absolute extreme that’s what it is yeah sure yep so deep deep deep deep deep yeah fuck it OK OK


 ––


––, : pm I think today on the fifth day I start to feel myself sinking into a specific pattern something that has repeated itself enough times to have a shape that is constant I’m not sure if that is necessarily very good because part of it is that it should be changing all the time maybe it is changing all the time I guess whether I like it or not or whether I know it or not so maybe the pattern is just an illusion that I need to to maintain myself doing this again every time always the great difficulty where to begin from this I do not seem to have found a pattern today I was thinking a bit about this project thinking about incidents and stuff stories from the past yeah it’s always surprising when you remember people that you forgot ever existed I went to this guy’s house once some guy hung around with us for a bit he used to wear cowboy boots and he lived somewhere in Zamalek I went to his house which was all aristocratic it was an old house it had the aura of what was supposed to be aristocratic but somehow was eastily just bad taste he had a pool table I watched Live At Pompeii at his house it wasn’t so interesting so anyway I feel like I’ve covered a lot of ground over the last four days every time it’s a surprise where the attack comes from I covered emotions and incidents and motivations and connections and more concretely friends places events trips wow and the institution itself in relation to what’s around it so where does that leave me today? if I’m to go on with this project I also need to know how to in a sense keep it going there are five years–four years and a half that were extremely critical in my life so I’m absolutely sure that there is a lot of stuff that would probably take four and a half years to cover that only makes sense but memory is selective and I’m sure there must be a lot that I’m not willing to remember and the more I do this the more I will remember things I want to forget I don’t seem to remember any traumas but you never know there use to be a bar for American personnel in Egypt or something called F- very typical of course and the thing about this bar the only reason we went to this bar was that alcohol was extremely cheap and so you could buy a margarita for four or three pounds it was really amazing cheap compared to anywhere else and we had access to this bar because you could become a member and invite two people if you had a foreign passport so whoever had foreign passports became members and just invited their friends in the end they changed the rules completely they noticed that we took over the place there was no interest in hanging out with those people at all because they were militaristic boring people anyway one night being there and then feeling a bit strange and a bit like what am I doing in a bar that is geared toward the US military there is something pretty fucked up in that and so what used to be I guess a hobby of mine I walked into the toilet and locked the door and pissed in the washing machine cause they had a washing machine in it and in the bathtub and it felt good and then left and there was another day maybe before that or earlier than that a fight did break out and Sherif reminded me a few days ago that we did once end up going to someone’s house and had a big fight but I have no memory of this and I vaguely remember this but no direct memories there were many incidents in which I insulted people but I believe they deserved to be insulted there were lots of conflicts I don’t remember going to this guy’s house the the recurring theme though is this trashness this usage of any kind of substance every night I talk about it because it was on a daily basis so it marked everything for sure and when I stopped it was so strange to me how when I stopped I did it I did not say OK I should stop I just stopped I just was not interested anymore what so ever from one day to the next I was a bit shocked I was a bit like wow how did this happen so drastically from day to day my whole life changed and in a way I realized that I could not do this anymore because of the growing paranoia that I was constantly suffering from constant paranoia and other reasons I was busted and then suspended and I had to stop for a few


 months to do a drug test and I stopped because I would not be allowed back into university unless I pass that and that’s seems pretty fascistic but that was how it was and I remember I was suppose to be doing counseling with the the counselor in AUC then Howeida El Guindy this counseling stuff I was not into at all and so and she was supposed to report that I was going and stuff and they would not let me in unless I finished a certain amount of hours and so I met with her and my reaction was I just hit on her directly it was not so serious it was partly because she was being the counselor and I wanted to break that and then she’d asked me questions and I refused to answer and I was like OK I’ll only answer if I sit in your chair and you sit in my chair and then she refused to do that and then I told her bottom line I’m not gonna come again are you gonna report me and she said no so I didn’t have to go to counseling I do remember going to take that test passing and then going back to AUC and starting to smoke again after a few months it always really affected me very very strongly but when I stopped and I came back to it the impact was tremendous I was completely tripping out from a few drags and then I stopped one or two weeks later it was just impossible for me to go on with that and that coincided with either my last semester or I had graduated I was already leaving that place and without thinking about it changing my life also not necessarily going from a person with no control to a disciplined blah blah blah not like that at all but just realizing the difference between inside and outside and adjusting to that so I did not attend my graduation ceremony which my parents were a bit disappointed there was no way I was gonna go I did go to the rehearsal and it was so ridiculous the whole ritual did not make any sense it is not connected to to this university anyway it was not necessary for me so I just didn’t do it I spent the night with my girlfriend then and I was really happy about that I was ecstatic about graduating and not being there and being with her and that was really great yeah graduation and that was it Wessam one of my friends another friend who died quite young in an accident but different a train accident always used to put his pull sign like that on on the cigarette packs I always remember him when I pull the pull sign and hold it in my hand like this yeah Wessam it’s strange this might sound terrible in a way to many people but inside losing two close friends at that point of time also had something positive about it of course I would not have wanted this to happen at all but the fact that it happened when you’re a bit younger and to your friends not just relatives or something somehow teaches you makes you realize something very clear so especially with Abe this was very strong because he was so full of life he was physically large and he was emotionally large and he was just this really big guy in many ways and he left a huge impact he always had a huge presence so when he when he left it was really shocking because it’s like you can imagine anyone dying including myself but not Abe because he just had that quality he did not have that aura about him so but he did and it was that simple I still dream about him every now and then when I do it’s not the same dream or anything but it’s always him being alive and it always feels good I don’t know and I don’t care to know about close death blah but even if it’s just a memory even if it’s just the knowledge that I knew he’s dying and that I remember him inside myself this way he becomes a lot of moments he’s moments in my sleep in these dreams I forget it’s as if it never happened he was the mascot that I spoke about earlier that kept this group of people together or gave them an image of being together but even near the end before he left I had started to take my self out of this big group he remained my friend but I was less and less into groups I guess that is in this project the first yawn so that must say something cause as each day goes on and on my drinking becomes slower and my emotion rises it’s just purely physical a physical thing and I’m still searching for the perfect cure for hangovers yesterday I spoke about the police about the relationship this was


interesting for me I remembered that morning was very interesting the relationship between the police and and AUCians in different ways I guess a story that highlights some of the changes that I spoke about before clearly and shows them I had already been in university for two years maybe and I went back to my school to visit a teacher and stuff and I had a teacher that was a really good friend of mine and remained a friend till he left Ian Martin he was a really great guy and I went back to school to visit and I was immediately attacked by all the students physically attacked by them like ten fifteen kids not kids maybe three years younger than me or two years younger than me and I fought back of course but then I realized that my teachers some of them some of my teachers specifically one bitch teacher Miss Maha who taught Arabic and religion had said that my blood was basically she had said that religiously it was alright to kill me she actually said this in class to her students because I was an atheist this is what she said to her students in class in my school so I go back and I’m attacked viciously like that wow that was it was really a shock it was really something because I did not realize the distance and the gap between what I was in and where I was going and what this other life that was more related to childhood and being a boy and I did not realize the distance and the gap till I saw it and experienced it physically and clearly and what’s even funnier now is that I went to this school the same building maybe a month ago by coincidence because I was walking in this area and I decided to look at my old school and it wasn’t there it was an orange mall so who gets to laugh last whatever but funny we used to go to the Horeya or Freedom or what we called and I still call it Stella actually much more than Freedom or Horeya we used to go to Stella in the morning usually me and Abe and Sari and sometimes different people coming and going but we were kind of a core group in the morning they would not serve drinks they would not serve beer until : and we were there at : begging them to give us beer : in the morning also singing inside the time we used to sit in the room inside the more hard core alcoholic corner of Stella and just demanding and pleading of course they never did because it’s illegal and they must’ve thought we’re a bunch of stupid fuckheads anyway but it’s strange and very normal OK we get it at eleven maybe have a few drinks each one goes to class hangs out whatever maybe come back to Stella have a few drinks maybe go back to campus have a smoke go to a class come out of a class you know and there was a circuit going on on campus everybody was not everybody everybody within that circuit was kind of creating channels through which this flowed in a way both information and substance so you’d come out of class and you’d look and you’d see and then you’d ask this person if he had some and then someone’s like someone has some and you’d go with him somewhere but it was always if I think about it a huge amount of time and energy really was expended on maintaining the constancy and this is what I wonder about why was that important? because I know the peaks and they were great and and I know that when I spoke about this before it was one of the motivations searching for these peaks but the constancy was not necessarily about peaks what was it about? in a way it was also about socialization you get into this and it becomes your socialization it becomes the channel through which you communicate with each other and in a way a lot of communications flatten are not really that rich because all you’re dealing with together is about one thing this applies if you’re playing tennis together or your smoking dope together this just happens to be what we were practicing but part of it was a way to kill the boredom in a way I guess there was as much as there was excitement and discovery and adventure as much as there was that there was also some kind of deep hidden boredom what to really do this is something that a lot of people were experiencing then what do we do but on the flip side I think and this was really something I’m happy about is that walking was so important for me


 and I had these Egyptian army boots like Egyptian surplus stuff these army boots that I wore out walking I used to walk and I still do walk a lot walking was good because it made me see the city and always look at it in a way for example walking from university all the way back to my home in Heliopolis and you’d be actually going through a lot of the city when you do that and that gives you a different experience and I think I was into this the physical act of walking and of looking around and that this was also like an antidote to sitting in one corner on a campus and hanging out with the same group of people talking about more or less the same things it made me realize that the world is bigger much richer than what it seemed and this other experience I have spoken about twice before about Ramsis in the morning something connected to that too yeah walking but today I feel very strange I’m not sure why sometimes it comes like a wave and picks me up and then it flows easily and sometimes it doesn’t and then I wonder if it doesn’t other questions arise and I think some of these questions are not related to this project they are related cause they arise within it but they’re not the focus of this project and its part of my responsibility in this work to keep it focused on what it’s about what I’m presenting is also partly a kind of history of a place I mean a little personal prism a history of a place I wonder how that history relates to what this place has become now? it is very different then if one was to look carefully it’s obvious why it would become like that I guess I would make a better judgement in a way and it seems to me that even though that image was commercialized and even though what seemed to be resistant was not there was an attempt somehow by a certain group of people for different reasons and different motives there was an attempt to step out of what it was supposed to be and that attempt was not necessarily conscious it was conscious sure but not completely partly conscious and partly a gut reaction the central question becomes why was it a gut reaction? why would that gut reaction take that shape? yeah the problem is that I offered to myself different answers everyday none of them are completely and absolutely satisfactory there is always a little extra there somewhere this extra that I’m not an extra that I cannot really define I’m not sure what is that extra that that extra that lies beyond the explanation the social or political or mental explanation that extra that extra that is like who a person is this is something that is very hard to hold and grasp with all these different attempts at pinning it down it still eludes my grasp I also wonder other than the explanation of attempting to understand providing a history for an institution or or why this point of time am I also interested in this vicious attack on how my attitude is constructed I did speak about this dream about a passport a dream I had two days ago which is really connected to this experience and somehow this attack relates to who I am now yeah but different different techniques in a way well


––, : pm were your friends and how you situated yourself and who you were becoming in the very beginning there was nothing it was just coming in and there was no specific position and then there was a period in which hanging out by the basketball court in the Main campus this was a focus for a bit venturing every now and then to the Greek campus as a kind of expeditionary adventure an exploration of something else and then slowly shifting with different friendships and whatever slowly shifting into different locations in the Greek campus which changed with time it’s funny that I spent two or three years on the Greek campus near the SS building on the platform steps in that area for me now the Greek campus is really a place that is almost unbearable not because it has changed but because I have changed for me now in a way I treat AUC related to entertainment as some kind of club but the fountain area seems to do it for me now just a place where you can sit relax have a coffee much more than a social meeting point just that’s a personal thing but that’s cause it’s a different time AUC for me now is much more like a club a place where I can sit and and have coffee and read a newspaper and not give a fuck about what it means or what it’s supposed to be doing at all that’s not the point it’s just purely functional there was a time where we took on to ahwas around AUC El-Horreyya has remained constant throughout and somehow is a place I hang out in a personal place to hang out in so it is outside that then there were the different coffee shops I would hang in right around AUC and for a while I guess with other students I did go hang out there sometimes between classes I would have a shisha or a coke or whatever but I stopped because I did not want to be a part of the service sector that surrounded this institution somehow it always felt strange with the service sector thing even though these places are public but they’re really in a way almost even if there are people from everywhere coming in a way it’s clear where you’re affiliations are and somehow you’re treated accordingly and that’s it and so I think I tried this for a little bit and then I got really bored because that’s dead like a relationship that does not go anywhere at all a relationship with a place that does not go anywhere so not important of course it’s not ideological I just lost interest in sitting in these places that is the situation so maybe I can go on to the idea at looking back at these memories through rhythms there were different rhythms and different pacing different rhythms and different times the difficulty with this is the fact that it is very blurred period of time and it is difficult to specify what rhythms were if the general rhythm is unclear and that’s the case the general rhythm of that period of time is unclear to me first there was extremely fast rhythm because I entered university and changed drastically in six months changed physically changed in attitude and changed in behavior changed in everything I mean not everything but changed in a lot of things and maybe change is not a good word but rather transformed developed something that was far from what I was coming out of and responding to a situation and becoming what it is so that was a fast class fast rhythm the first I would say six months and then next six months were also fast because it was OK start very fast and then fine tuning it kind of understanding a bit more who I am in that place and what I want out of it then the second and third years were the most mysterious years of them all I’m not even sure I have pictures I see these pictures from this period of time some pictures not much and a lot of the time I can’t really tell which year it was really not very sure and in a way changed drastically during that period too it was all in the same kind of thing but it was changing all the time too yeah it’s also interesting how I think this space and going back to this space another parallel between the content of what I’m talking about and the actual construction I’m working with is the timelessness or the blurred sense of time and trying to deal with a period of time that in my


 mind is blurred and unclear one of the elements of the structure is that it is timeless not timeless but the sense of time gets warped inside here and this is also quite interesting for me how the past four days today being the fifth I’ve been discovering and they were not in my mind at all but I’ve been discovering all those parallels between the content and the form I mean massive parallels and this reaffirms the value of the actual structure as a machine of some sorts I need to focus in a sense what we consume is what is shaping us at the same time and well at that period of time I consumed what I wanted for what it gave me I consumed what could make you touch the ecstatic and cut you adrift let you loose I remember this now I was yesterday saying to test yourself to test the limits of yourself or to shape yourself into a certain skin I was consuming what could give me that which was certain types of social relations certain substances and certain cultural products films or music or books for example primarily their impact cannot be minimized and that is one of the more positive sides of that experience is the access one was given to an extent even if one had access before and throughout on their own but the access one was given to a wider variety of cultural products kind of helped you test the limit of who you really were and this the impact was always great I remember that was definitely ‘ yeah the end of ‘ watching Bergman’s Persona in the classic film series walking out of this film completely stunned also internally shocked in a way just the power it had on me was really big and it put me in such a strange mood I remember it was still unclear me and Mirjiam our relationship was still unclear there were a set of actions that made it really happen and this was one of them I walked out of that film and I was completely fucked in the head by it and I just walked over to her place and rang on the door bell she opened she was in Bab-El-Louk close to university in a great flat that I lived in for a year one of the best years of my life and she opened the door and I don’t remember what I said exactly but it was clear that there was something strange going on because of that film and maybe I did not need to say much but I was just taken in and that was you know you have to remember to trust the personal side without the frame and this is kind of a struggle with the project was always thinking about how much of the personal memory that is nearly a story is important and how much of the framing and the trying to understand what that means is important and I have to remind myself I have to every single day that this cannot function and cannot work without me allowing the space for the personal story to just come out and be a personal story without trying to push it towards a meaning this is important I have to remind myself that is a struggle in a way with my earlier upbringing with the earlier more family oriented upbringing where something has to mean something I’m not completely against that I think that what’s interesting and what is actually powerful and challenging is the interface between both it’s kind of the way of speaking into the content it’s looking and analyzing and critiquing and framing and at the same time allowing things to flow the personal story to flow and then you’re presented with a huge massive material and you can shape it you can twist it you can stretch it you can condense it into different things and discover different meanings and then it’s rich because it has all these different meanings and I speak about myself really so yeah that I got to remember and I also got to remember very important about this is not to fall into the trap of becoming something else not to fall into the trap of letting it breathe that is what’s necessary basically once I say it I have to let it breathe somehow difficult it’s a struggle and maybe part of it is the fact that it’s a struggle this this kind of this struggling with something and to look at someone struggling with something becomes becomes a tip you know itself becomes a code becomes a message becomes a way of breathing away of breathing so and also I remember that the New Year’s night going to a party with Mirjiam a very expensive party but someone got me


in for free I don’t remember how much it was but it was actually a stupid shitty party it was only fun because we got in for free we sneaked in and that was really great then we went back home and fucked really hard so this was great too but so at least I do remember that this was ‘ ‘ and I think I was really changing then very much so from’ ‘ ‘ to that point I guess ‘ ‘ is the kind of image I almost remember as being what it was like but in ‘ ‘ that changed really a lot I think I kind of calmed down I after I left I went up again I dispersed two years like ‘ ‘ a period of complete wildness again but a different form wildness while working and doing things etc.. and that was maybe partly a reaction to being outside to kind of leaving that place and already changing or already realizing that I’m living differently now and then reaching a point where a reaction to that I kind of flipped back even more than I was and I lived a year and a half two years something like that of complete chaos and then slowly got out of that yeah but chaos is good too I don’t condemn it and it is destructive for sure but it also challenges you it depends if you could do it without falling into the trap and the attitude then it can challenge you and question you and you just start responding I don’t know but I guess today will be a day I’ll have to get through yesterday was a day when I came in it took me and picked me up and threw me ahead but today it’s just a day I have got to get through it’s the first day I just go in and completely stunned by the situation and not ready for it and have no experience of it so I got fucked by it and then learned something and learned to deal with it but other than that this is the first day where the wave got broken and before I began I tried not to think too much about this project but I did think that this is possible and I know that I have to accept it because it’s part of it inevitably it has to happen there will be times when the wave will be broken and there will be times when the wave will pick up and it is when you’re dealing with consciousness itself as your material you can play with it but you can never really completely determine what it will do or what it’s about and part of working in this fashion is to accept what it gives you rather than fight against it try to understand that too yeah I still do have the bubble everyday till now walking in the street or whatever I do have the bubble it’s a strange this the way this bubble has been created but I guess there’s introspection about that I remember when Fadi I knew his cousin got his new car a Saab or something a Swedish car kind of fancy Saab he was really into that kind of scene though Fadi was the hip-hop boy sort of fast flashy car and of course it truly did fit with him too but it was fun to ride around sure sometimes well the moments yesterday community the underground that did not happen the bedroom culture that was contained and did not manage to break out of it I think that there were excitements though and there were moments that it did break out and for example there was a period of time in Yasmina hotel there was a band playing which was like Basel Qasabi and these guys and this place got transformed because of that action and it was a bit wild a bit loose and there for a little bit it was not exactly that it was still a commercialized image absolutely and it was not exactly that but it was at least moment where that concept of community became real that idea of this type of community became real and took itself outside the walls outside the the security guards and ID cards outside of that and became part of the city life to an extent and that was exciting I think and that was part of what I looked for really in a way OK a bit more energy so houses and I remember there was this guy and he was Saudi he was not related to Abe and this guy was weird a bit weird he was into showing off his guitar and kind of showing off a Hendrix style and blah blah blah I don’t think he was that good but I remember going to his father was really wealthy and then he had married too many women and he didn’t want something not very clear but I remember going into their house either in Heliopolis or in Mohandiseen and it was kind of a really weird house going there


 one evening sitting and just smoking and playing guitar a bit and chatting but it was a really weird house and his mother looked so depressed but it had that atmosphere it had that Mafia atmosphere completely I was speaking with Sherif a couple of days ago or something about the project and he just said yeah remember this and he reminded me of something I don’t actually remember it really but just an incident where we took a taxi and I think priests stopped the taxi and then kind of asked me what religion are you or something like that and very dramatically very dramatically very melodramatically looking at them and saying I don’t believe in god really freaking them out and jumping out of the cab crossing himself you know like just refusing we had a laugh about it apparently I don’t remember them he told me this happened I was part of this kind of affirmation like this hard affirmation of oneself at that time and I wanted refusal to connect with a kind of a mainstream identity but creating something that you could commercialize somehow and so dealing with things in that way that very blunt melodramatic way and enjoying it and seeing it again as an adventure again


––, : pm basically what was interesting when I started working with Attar which started in ‘ these are all things that helped the second stage of the transformation my relationship with Mirjiam working with Ahmed I started working with him early ‘ he saw me and Sherif jamming in Atelier El Qahira and that was not bad and he wanted me then to work with him in music in his theatre workshops and definitely learnt a lot from that experience but what was interesting was that a lot of the exercises nearly all the people who were involved in this workshop were AUCians were students and a lot of these exercises were based upon breaking down certain things and breaking down normal patterns and looking at what they meant and it was interesting to see what came out of people’s stories or things like that which were basically traumas and without being too melodramatic not traumas that would mark you for life but mini-traumas out of these minitraumas of these different people that came out of funny stories or playing certain theatrical games which are all about performing identities in a way you could see something that was not a pattern but connected these people together that there was an anxiety some kind of sensitivity that I would call a self indulgence sensitivity towards yourself an extra sensitivity towards yourself and not in a positive sense I almost see it in my perspective as something a bit on the spoilt side of things this way of thinking of yourself in too dramatic terms and so these breakdowns so many breakdowns traumas that came out of these theatre exercises were a picture by looking these were different four five six six different people men and women all students all a similar age group and all experiencing a different but similar anxiety in a way and that was not part of why these exercises were there but I experienced them I was there I saw them I was a part of it too and so I got a picture like an x-ray in a way of the psyche of these people who are different of course to me but similar in someways everyone was in someway or another inclined towards working within what are seen as creative fields or in someway or another inclined towards exploring themselves or in someway or another had something resistant about them so some similarities and so you see that and then you see yourself and I think at that period of time maybe it was not so clear to me that I would be looking through these theatrical exercises looking at a basic anxiety shared by everyone who was involved in that and that anxiety was about performing who you are about performing your identity about really knowing what it is somehow and that was I think a valuable experience really one wonders about this a bit this idea of friendship about different friendships it’s a community like one wonders how this works in two different ways I think one way of it working is almost technical it’s maybe what I spoke about yesterday about motives and connections based on certain drives and emotions and desires but maybe one could also speak about it in terms of a seduction a form of a seduction a basic form of seduction and that might be an interesting take on it a different take on it if I’m to look maybe I can’t even remember all my friendships but some of these friendships in terms of what the seduction was about in a sense maybe that could be important that’s a basic question whether your dealing with AUC or not that’s a basic about people and how they deal with each other really this understanding of what form of seduction drives this relationship and yeah I need to really think about it I think I have no answers about this no immediate answers as much as that was a period marked by affirmation and confidence in a way there was also a period marked by deep deep insecurities too in a way these insecurities drove one to some kind of confidence I do think that everyone is deeply insecure in one level or another but to make it more specific to kind of connect it to that period of time yup I know that it must’ve been there but it’s really hard to to see how or what where was the insecurity exactly? and there must’ve been millions of moments


 when it was there I spoke about paranoia and alienation before therefore insecurity must’ve been there with those it’s impossible to have that without that but how or in what form? I’m not so sure really how? why? what made it happen? maybe that’s a good question to ask what gave rise to any kind of insecurity? that is a good question to ask to scribble with it and to fiddle around with it and to wrestle with it and to push it and to be pushed by it smash it into the wall really it’s to look at it deep deep deep and always to push really really push all those reflections Apocalypse I think this is interesting also the idea of Apocalypse an end a disastrous end that is something I was not into but friends of mine were into and their language their talk had this Apocalypse in it things were described in terms of Apocalypse and I don’t care where the fuck AUC impact is even related maybe but I just try to understand where the hell does this come from this idea or moods this semi-dangerous Apocalyptic mood where did this come from really alright shit OK now it’s so strange today is really strange for me it feels like being on the surface or the edge of a deep hole a deep gap something like that and I’m not sure how memory can save me out of this in this case maybe it can’t and maybe it can I’m not sure but it’s like a fragmented punishment that’s how I feel today on the fifth day in this on the fifth day of this project there’s something fragmented in a way maybe it’s just very physical just like a bit OK I feel a bit exhausted that’s all but I have got to learn how to deal with that because that is part of how to do this project is to go through it and to learn from the situation to go on so OK the fact is I’m really fucked up but so maybe then just focus on content and the form will follow yeah what is now the New Falaki campus used to be the girl’s dorms and that was interesting really I don’t know where the men’s dorms were I never never knew that’s before they made the dorms in Zamalek and all of that so the Falaki campus was actually the girl’s dorms and that was my first semester I a Palestinian girl she used to live in the dorms and it was really good I was   she was  so she was much older but I didn’t look my age and it was rocky there was something going on and we were friends and I had a big crush on her and then she found out my age I volunteered I told it I thought it was a good thing but she completely cut me off at that point I was maybe not even  yet nearly  and she cut me off I thought it was very strange at the time but it made sense because we can’t communicate anyway so who gives a fuck but I guess at this point of time these things are important although I’ve always been with older women nearly always and always good because of that I think sometimes so then after her I spoke about Roxanne she was my first girlfriend in AUC she was a year abroad and she was  and I was  about to turn  but she didn’t know my age and it was no problem and that was that it had good things but I was too uncontrolled at the time too seduced now to go back to the idea of seduction at that point I was too seduced by power I guess that is the first mark of some insecurity that was what I was looking for and what I was dreading a situation of being in power and in the end I destroyed this relationship she had a hard time too but we’re in touch now after ten years I saw her two years ago in New York and we hadn’t seen each other for around ten years it was good I was happy to see her again for sure and to explain I just sat down and said look it’s shit yeah I was really young and I was reacting in a completely wild fashion and not caring about hurting people at all she used to live in Garden City and so I guess that is related somehow now I think about it is that from this early age because my biggest desire was to live alone and get out of my house etc.. which was not possible till I graduated to make money I was also partly driven by relationships with women who lived alone and tasting that so she she lived in Garden City I remember her flat and irony of all ironies nine years later or eight years later I go to the same flat because a friend of mine got married to someone and lived in that flat for a bit that was the same


exact flat but anyway once at her place together in the room making love and there’s a bird trapped in the room and that was really amazing looking up those really high ceiling cause it is an old house etc.. and the bird was going yeah I always remember that somehow OK so I remember one day at Islam’s house in Zamalek Islam sometimes I mention him he’s a really close friend for a long time very provocative very confrontational but one time in Zamalek me him and Amr and I think it was the first time I met Salah there and it was really weird we had a total clash conflict and it ended in the toilet with just complete mental conflict with Amr standing outside the closed door with me and Salah fuck you fuck you power conflict and Amr standing outside the door supporting me and just making sounds of support just breathing heavily and giving me that energy that power that aggression to break whatever’s in front of me one freaked out evening and I remember in that same house Islam sitting there with his keyboard and playing happy melodies he was really manic depressive somehow but playing happy melodies and saying we are evolving and playing the Beatles and loving it and yeah there’s something really tragic and in that same house in Zamalek I remember he threw a ball out of his window and broke his glass like a cartoon really there was the shape of a ball but he had another flat before that one like four or five buildings up in the same street same area in Zamalek again and that was a really terrible flat really depressing place and I’ve been there I was there for a few times four or five times maybe and once he had a storage room once making out heavily with someone in that storage room and also with him I spoke about this acid trip my first acid trip he was there he was not on acid he was there but other than that another another trip with him to Alexandria but not the same time being in his house me him and Amr Hosny completely fucked out of our heads sitting on the floor : in the morning or : in the morning and somehow listening to the layers of sound of the city the cars in the distance the echoes in the buildings people walking the crashing of the waves of the sea and Amr stood up and started vomiting he got really fucked and I was flying on something I was flying and also I remember another moment of complete loss and ecstasy being in a forest of palm trees with friends and just being possessed by myself sitting there under the palm trees and completely being the wicked energy of who I am in a way and like flashing flashing in and out as a human being under the palm trees and I remember another moment like that on the roof top in Sherif


 ––, : pm but so what I question it what all those moments these ecstatic moments what did they do? and what did they mean? I’m not really sure so focus man focus very blurred at this point of time unclear strange how they can go from for example yesterday’s very clear and focused direction and understanding to fragmented unfocused unclear space and it’s part of the basic wildness of being someone being a person maybe it is just part of that in a way I believe running running against time running against time yeah a bit like the ring the ring the sound of the ring the way under certain conditions or under certain influences there is an echo to the echo what you hear a ring a ring that disconnects you from what’s around you and in a way I feel like my bubble the bubble that I have been building over the past four days and I take it with me into the street into life has come back into this space I feel the ring and the dislocation and it’s a bit like the bubble is here it came out of here or it was magnified by being here and now it is back in here again the bubble that sphere of isolation where the act of transmission or the act of communication is not necessarily so important as such it’s a bit it’s the stun it’s a mild shock a moment where you are a bit disconnected dislocated and that is my experience today the flow is not important anymore because there is some kind of stun-bubble it’s part of this it is part of the struggle of trying to remember and focus and deal with that situation and it is ultimately so hard because that is how it is and that is the way it will move it will sometimes be something like that it has to be it is like the idea of testing who you are and the idea of shaking yourself into your skin that comes with a shock too always with some deep shock I don’t want to make it melodramatic it doesn’t have to be so strong or so shocking as such but it is sometimes shocking and yeah it’s alright really in the end it’s alright it’s like OK what do you do about it you accept it I accept it and take it and then wait find out what comes out of it that is the only way to deal in that situation with what that situation is really about the image of a struggle that already in itself is the image of a struggle is what I like about it is that it’s not resolved in a way what I like about it is that it doesn’t pose a clear answer in a way it’s much more a struggle looking at a struggle makes you think of a struggle in a struggle nothing is clear it’s not a victory it’s not a defeat it’s an actual struggle you have tensions and you have different directions and you have conflict very important and you have a struggle and if you look at meaning or the idea of meaning or what things actually mean and how to understand them as a struggle rather than as a victory or a defeat it goes more difficult and in a way also more exciting and richer more rich and there is depth in that so as I struggle with my own history and trying to understand my own past and trying to to find specific meanings that struggle becomes an image or picture that you might consume and as you consume that image that struggle that undefined moment that happening thing that occurring event is also the refection of another struggle and another struggle is a reflection of a constant struggle that lies between the person and themselves about trying to define and decide who they are and at the same time trying to understand and frame their motives and desires that image is in itself full of meaning in itself full of potential discussion full of potential thinking yeah in a sense what’s interesting is that in these moments it is similar to some of the ecstatic ecstatic breakthrough moments that I experienced at that time where something very different but related to this was happening and it’s good to remember and I don’t care about remembering all the stories I don’t care about remembering memories I don’t care about that I mean yes I do in a way in terms of my responsibility to my project yes I do but in another sense there is the remembrance of certain atmosphere not to remember a moment and speak about it but rather to remember the way of being in a specific moment that’s something else and that is valuable too and that I feel for the


first time today I experienced that in a way maybe the first day also but then experienced without knowing but today experienced with knowing and that is a remembrance that I can’t speak and I don’t have to speak and yeah that’s to me so valuable I feel yeah so valuable and so important to touch it to touch it again something about that your inner echo to realize the delusion you have built for yourself to be completely fucked by that realization flying over the gap in a way flying over the gap that charges flying over the gap in a way just flying over this gap and looking at it again and again I wonder why I see it as a gap though a hole a gap I like to use these words about it because it feels a bit like something that is like a deep hole like this the fall after the walk in a way the sudden collapse it feels a bit like that in a way and maybe OK if I’m to focus again I can look at my memory in terms of moments of falling into the gap in a way or moments where the fall becomes clear one of those moments is looking out of the window and seeing the stars layered another moment is jamming and Wessam was there me and Sherif and Jimmy and just playing music and having a complete orgasm and laughing while orgasming on the guitar and collapsing on the floor and then standing up and Wessam smiling at us and looking at us and talking to us and that was the moment where I saw the gap the hole and also other moments being at Sherif ‘s house on the first of January ‘ after new years with Mirjiam and then going back to his house and being completely smashed out of my head for two days straight and then being in the house and he’s completely smashed out of his head and both just like running around and going in circles and I think we were just laughing really hysterically and falling down and just being in touch with the gap like also walking out of my house with Sherif after watching Eraserhead on Pulmolar and stoning and walking out together and walking in the street and the asphalt was like mud and that was the gap again and that was the gap again yeah yeah OK OK


 ––


––, : pm and did we really trust ourselves? and did I really trust myself ? I don’t know where this question comes from exactly but I’m not even sure how to understand it was following what one thought and doing it with no concern a form of trusting oneself ? or was it a way of escaping oneself ? which means that you don’t really trust yourself I’m not sure about this I’m not even sure how to answer this but I can say that we definitely even unintentionally provoked people that it was difficult for a lot of people to trust us maybe that’s a good sign because it means there was something it’s not that they didn’t trust us because they thought that we that we would betray as much as they just didn’t understand what this was exactly in front of them and therefore did not trust us in a way people were provoked by that maybe but I think in a way there was some kind of self trust and that is what provoked people because the kind of official mainstream understanding is that if you’re if you’re different or acting different and you look different then you must be doing this for a reason that can be explained by their system and that in a way you must be hiding something escaping from something and that it is in the end not really real however if it is a real reaction and it is not like the way they explain it you possess a certain self confidence self trust self belief in a way that provokes people that makes them angry they’re angry that you’re not what you were supposed to be they’re angry that you actually in a way really believe what you’re doing even if you become critical of it later this anger you could see you could see it even within the university itself within the institution itself the more yuppielike or the more Heliopolis Gezira club type like or whatever the future stockbrokers were definitely provoked and angry in a way by what they did not really understand as such and also you see the administrational institution itself and it was really angry and it was really in a way not happy that this existed within the institution of course it cannot say that straight and cannot say that out loud because it would go against its own basic ideology or the image of its own basic ideology but however I guess they did things in a subtle fashion to fuck themselves and that’s why over the four  and a half years the way they dealt with the situation became much bigger and much more focussed on it and much more into busting people than it was in the beginning because in the beginning it was not so obvious I guess I guess the difference is that before me and some friends for example at the time when when Attar was an undergraduate and he graduated maybe’ ‘ so it was my first or second year but he was already finishing up the previous generation in that university was smaller yet again and although people did all these things and and kind of went wild or whatever and not living by the book that they were supposed to live by this group was much more a party type group and therefore I would say more it doesn’t matter about the individuals everybody had their ideas but whatever Ahmed himself was always like very slogan oriented radicalism but it was small and it was private in a way so I think that it was not so important to contain it it was just like this group of guys doing this however with the turn of the ‘s with ‘ ‘ I think the institution itself got much bigger which allowed for all these differences kind of rich differences to arise and our rich differences arose out of this semi-internal contained subculture I’m not sure which direction it was going into but it definitely had a certain direction a certain pose one in which smoking was definitely part of the identity of this group and that was more threatening because it did not go a step further and this came and went it came out of what was before it and was contained completely and that period of time was kind of interesting because although it was not fully formed and although it did not really express itself so powerfully and did not really communicate and did not really create some kind of any even mini-social change within the university let alone any kind of impact on a wider social system in


 the city itself it was the seeds or the possibility of the seeds of that kind of thing and therefore in a way more definitely more threatening and therefore with the growth of the institution and the growth of resistance against it in this way they became much much more security oriented much more into containing that and they did this this is like a mini example of any state or company or institution or a family or whatever in which there is a concern about power and control and of course in different forms in a different place it can look more brutal and it can act more brutal but here it is more insidious so the all the typical stuff of informers of coercing people into signed confessions it was really kind of naïve young students and to sign confessions things like that all part of the institution’s attempt to understand itself as it was changing then I think as much as we as individuals and as a group even were passing through these things the institution itself as a meta-entity as an entity beyond the individual person has as something with its own consciousness and its own motivations and its own desires and its own profit motives was also trying to understand its transitions maybe that’s why there is such a big difference between AUC in the early ‘s and AUC in the early ‘s probably I would say much bigger than from the early ‘s to the late ‘s because the nature of the institution changed as the actual conditions changed as the people changed as a group in a way now one thinks about if the institution has a consciousness its own specific consciousness that is composed out of all the members of the institution that is the students the administration the faculty the staff and the actual physical institution which are the building the books and whatever their assets their land their bank accounts and the image of the institution in the society it exists in which is how everybody else understands it the inside and the outside of it affiliated to it related to a different place we can then out of all these elements maybe get a picture somehow these elements are in conflict and have completely different motives and desires yet a composite picture of what this institution’s consciousness is like I think this is not possible to do theoretically because you can’t tell what I mean this project is an example that did exist which is its real consciousness you cannot do a similar thing or not every person can do a similar thing to realize or to understand the limits of that consciousness in relation to theirs what this institution’s consciousness is not if it does not work like that but still it is it is a valid and important idea to consider but now we’re dealing with AUC specifically and this institution has a specific consciousness and it is necessary at least for me to play with it if I have to maintain for myself a space outside that consciousness what do I see? I see lots of people who graduated from there or are still there from different time periods and I think this is in other fields too like army officers or whatever or police officers or whatever there is something about it a code a specific code in behavior in attitude in lifestyle that connects them all together and which basically means that most probably they will live it that way and I think I know some people like that and I see people like that and sometimes after years and years I meet people I used to know and I see them part of that club this is where it becomes important and I don’t mean it in terms of a club like a sporting club or a social club it in terms of a kind of the deeper meaning of the word club a place where people share secret codes in a way that do not need to be spoken and that identify one to each other that is of course very connected to power to a way of keeping and sharing power within a specific social group now the irony is is that you do this you kind of maybe fall for this completely and you do this and you end up in a way controlled you do have power the club gives you power somehow but because you give yourself to that club you don’t have the chance to no. . question it No.  question yourself and No.  discover what your horizons are which could definitely be so much further beyond what has been drawn for you by this institution’s consciousness so there


is this kind of transaction by marking the club gives you power by controlling you in a way and if you refuse that I believe I’m also interested in power in a sense if you refuse that that doesn’t mean you lose power in a way you’re getting a different form of power by power a deeper and more personal sense of self and some people might wonder what the big deal is about this is just a university and education of course it is and but what I’m talking about I think is related to all institutions that are concerned with a shaping of identities which are religious institutions like most mosques churches whatever which are educational institutions nursery schools universities their primary function in my perspective is the shaping of specific identities this is where the conflict arises from it is important to go into dialogue with that to be able to question it one has to open a dialogue with it in a way a complete form of blind rejection becomes a form of self denial becomes a way of not accepting your role or your part within that history if you took part of it then you’re part of it whether you like it or not and it has an impact so then dialogue becomes a possibility talking about it becomes a possibility I always wonder because I keep shifting from the different modes from the stories to the theories to the ways of looking at stories etc. and still I feel like I have not developed a specific key or structure that will connect them all together but I think at the same time maybe I will not and it is not important to do that that is not the point it’s interesting for me though how they play with each other because this brings this and that brings that in the beginning I thought before I started this project I imagined it to be completely a memory machine and just a place where I sat down and thoughts came out but I realized as I go on that this is just a small part of it and things are expressed in different ways too so there is dissection and analysis and theories and stories and forms of speaking yes this is interesting because yesterday really started happening and maybe that comes again actually this remembrance is not necessarily just a content I remember a specific story and a specific series of events this remembrance of might be the remembrance of a certain emotion a reliving of a certain emotion and that yesterday I experienced that briefly when I was speaking something about the gap I think and by speaking about the gap I thought of experiencing the gap a bit but I guess all universities are kind of interesting places because other than the fact that they have all these young people in them or in transition to two different points in their lives there is also institutions there is also hypocritical institutions that employ academics who of course go from extremely conservative to extremely radical but by employing these people a lot of them as individuals might hold positions that are in resistance to this institution and the institution needs them and needs to give that illusion of a space for that to exist and so in a sense I believe that in a way this experience or my experience at that time was definitely a purely academic experience although it was not related to studying or anything but that form of rebelliousness that way of expressing rebelliousness is so related to university life definitely to the boredom of university life too because that exists this whole what to do very different from working life and very different from even I’m not promoting romantic ideas about work and labor at all but also very different from even if you were working on something extremely private and which doesn’t involve labor as such very different from a sense of personal vision and responsibility and working towards that and therefore that was rebellious and disconnected to that ideal university to all university in a way and I had another I had two dreams about this experience recently one in which I was carrying my own head in my hands and it was alive somehow and I looked at it and my hair was all white and I touched my head and touched my short hair it’s the way my head is shaved right now and it’s the same everything is the same but I got lots of white hair yeah I can look at this dream in two ways one is that this experience really terrifies me and turns my hair


 into white but I’ not looking at it like that or I can look at it as it is also this experience about growing about aging without without going really far about that but even just even just moving from being a teenager into someone in your twenties that was one dream the other dream which I had last night was very sexual dream in which in this room I was basically like I had three strippers or something like that without dismissing this as just a purely erotic dream I think it is related to this project in many ways because I don’t see this as erotic but I see how it just touches deep drives and deep nerves that work in different ways and so I think that that dream was related to that in a way and it was funny how this experience seems to accuse my consciousness honestly which is really being affected so badly by seriously fucked I think I have a way of balancing it out anyway and then to speak again going back the institution’s consciousness that point for example how I remember the administration always looked at us and dealt with us square really stupid people like Madame Azhar this was the weird thing with someone like her who in a way does not for example belong to that club cannot understand how students who are a part of that club could act in this way and reject that club that became very difficult to understand I can’t remember exactly how or when or what but there was an incident in which in which we had I think the end of someone else Omar maybe we had a conflict with her in a weird way I can’t remember it was supposedly something extremely stupid like a comment about hair and I answered back to her something like that it’s weird to make this note and what I always strikes me how each day I sit here and sometimes I try to consciously remember sometimes not sometimes things strike me and I don’t even speak them I just remember them and they just go away and I do start remembering what I said the previous days also which during the day I did not completely remember because everyday in the morning I remember some things and I don’t remember every thing so it’s a bit confusing now this was not my intention I was not interested in building this structure to really take sense of order completely the game of remembering and forgetting really and now what I have not looked at and what I have not attempted to unravel till now at all I actually have because I do discuss a lot the motivation behind this work but I haven’t tried to unravel the motives behind specific remembrances and forget them in a way all this comes suddenly from just suddenly remembering one thing I said yesterday one story I said yesterday and suddenly remembering it again and it’s like a double memory a memory of saying it and a memory of the thing itself and it’s also a realization that I both remembered it and forgot it during the day for a period of time and that I might by extension forget it again so there is no real hold to things and what things mean really just different strategies and techniques but slowly


––, : pm a way of being that moment of lots of ecstasy and this way I’ve lost or I’ve ceased to be so interested in because although it did not begin this way it became after a while a form a kind of caricaturing yourself which happens periodically to people they become something and then they become aware of it and then they play it to the point it becomes a picture of who they are and then either they’re trapped in it for ever and that’s really a tragedy or they manage to break it and begin anew and then the cycle starts again I don’t want to generalize but I’ve seen it in different people and I’ve seen it in myself and at that time in AUC I remember it changes from person to person but I remember that I practiced that with different people as a what was it? it was a form of communication sure but it was also a tool it was also a way of not really opening up to the person in front of you and I see an image somehow of all these young men and women running around playing themselves to each other and not just over men and women differences but between men and men and women and women etc.. all kind of playing this game of who am I? and who are you? and how do we define each other? and what position will we hold towards each other? other than the image that I spoke about extensively over the past few days another element related to it in terms of sound and language was definitely the form of speaking the way of speaking and this very framed language this was also a plus and it was also precise it was also exciting in a way and for both me and for every one I knew who was interested enough to get into that there was that kind of interest in seducing others all the time and seduction not necessarily sweet seduction of hey hey laughing hahahaha with friends blablabla but much more a harsher type of seduction based upon fascination based upon even a challenge sometimes and that also taught me something I lost interest in that shape of it not in it completely I also in a way moved beyond it as a mere egoism into it as a technique of questioning meaning or critiquing meaning or constructing the meanings or breaking them with other meanings but as a certain form that has a cultural value that is not just an egoism at that time it was really kind of undirected it was like a wild flashing whip or snake or something that was small in a wave a magnetized wave and its function was to affirm to yourself your own value while at the same time demanding a certain type of response from the people around you and therefore was something that was always trapped in a performance of sorts that is unavoidable because that is what identity is a performance of sorts anyway I see now that was so marked and so highlighted at the time because that was a time when I repeat again this kind of identity was being tested and highlighted and pushed to the left and pushed to the right finding it’s own borders and it’s own limits and therefore was necessary to practice that in this blunt harsh manner I remember Wessam once telling me that what did he say? he laid a comment about the way a positive comment about the way I spoke and what I remember I was like well thanks and stuff like that but my own internal reaction was a deep satisfaction a moment where I felt this is who I am I’m the person who speaks that way that is definitely a delusion that I’m more comfortable now with the idea that this is kind of who I am now whatever it is but it’s also there because it is a tool with motives and names rather than a completely fixed part of what I am or who I am in this project the deeply personal and public are so connected and mixed it’s impossible for me to strip them of each other there is for sure a formal inner editing occurring that is sometimes unconscious sure there must be a reason certain things I remembered and certain things I did not I remember once I know this because I spoke of it with Mike that was ‘ and on the subway going from Tahrir to Saray El Kobba I met Mike a friend and now he is becoming a closer friend than he used to be then in the train and we spoke he was tripping but I did not know he was tripping that basically fucked him


 up we just got into some conversation and we were going to have our gig me and Sherif in a few days and I told him to come but apparently he missed his stop and everything and so now a story and I’m not sure why but I noticed that I can categorize the stories in different groups there are themes themes that turn them into specific units I noticed that till now the th day I told stories of conflict and difference and stories of connection and stories of adventure and stories of paranoia and alienation yeah till now these seem to be the main themes the question is where will it go because there’s a conflict between the act of remembering and the power of the form itself now for me the value lies in using the form and exploring that side of the form to access something that I framed but remembered but the form has its own impetus and as the days go by that impetus seems stronger and stronger so it might be necessary to try to find a way using it to still fit within my frame that I think is possible so how to do that exactly? it was funny also seeing another scene at the time I was not part of it I knew friends who were part of it Firas Taji the heavy metal scene before before the Satanist craze that Satanist craze came three years or  years after the beginnings of that but I witnessed the beginnings of that I was definitely not into the music at all it was just a matter of taste not necessarily into the scene either but it was exciting to see one of its positive elements is that it did connect people in this city from different things to each other there was an AUC contingency but there was also a Cairo University touch in it there were people from different language schools who were into it and then there were spontaneous kind of bands coming out of different areas in the city where you would not expect metal to be but it was and it came out and the cool thing it was still commercialized of course one of the great difficulties in a city like Cairo because the value of space and because of the control of the state and it is very difficult to do things outside of that commercialization it is difficult everywhere but I think it is extra difficult here because of that but anyway even though that was the case it was still a moment where there were these connections happening of people from different places plugging into something that was definitely against something that was a bit different that was connected to something wider and it could be blunt and stupid for sure but there was something for me seeing it I went to two or three events like that just enjoyed the way that it had people from different places and had something strongly angry and immoral and kind of degenerate in a positive sense kind of happy to see that and you can draw parallels between this in the early ‘s and now with the ecstasy thing but it was very different it was very different yeah OK part of adventures and exploring the city like ‘s Cairo life these kind of things I got into with new friends not with old friends but I remember I already spoke about the meaning of the hall the importance and significance of the hall in Sari’s house at that time the early ‘s I remember going the first time to a night club a downtown oriental night club with me and Sari and Sherif I’m not sure if the first time was just me and Sari or was it all three of us living the adventure where the city is exotic and it is exotic because you are removed from it so in a way it is exotic and you are living an adventure OK first time Oriental night club went to New Arizona in Alfy the Alfy street and it was cool the people there thought we were really weird but what was interesting again was searching for these kind of spaces in the city whether in that direction or whether within a something related to a deep direction whichever direction always searching for spaces where people mix and are accepted beyond class they can fight each other but they accept each other somehow New Arizona was so different from for example Atlas which was the official hang out for AUC people the point the attitude seemed to be everybody is here to let go play games no matter who you and if you’re weird or fucked up for them or look very strange and kind of a mystery unclear who you are exactly they’ll jut take you as an adventure too and so


I guess I was fascinated by these places because they were places about exotic like each other where everybody is in a way a member and everybody is an exotic element too so so we went there and we were sitting on a table and drinking and watching the belly dancer and she came and she danced on our table and standing on our table and we were of course really young I think it was Sherif ‘s birthday or something so we were like yeah this was really  and we were like blablabla and we danced with her and everything and Sari’s like dance with Sherif and we wanted her to dance with Sherif and she in a super bitchy mode said he’s too small it won’t work and of course we all got the double meaning of that and what’s funny in a night club is how we got into this for a few days after laughing about it not funny very expected of people our age in our situation but interesting I had another period later on in my life of going to a lot of places like that but in a completely different mood with a completely different attitude and it had nothing to do with this kind of AUC syndrome at all because by then anyway I was completely outside of it it was just much more personal related to a certain kind of personal darkness and exploring that personal darkness and liking that personal darkness too so we did a bit of that and I think what was that I would call a touching story kind of something that is just so naïve but it was it better intentioned me and Sherif going around from night club to night club from bar to bar in downtown and Ramsis all places completely outside our supposed sphere trying to find jobs as musicians to play there and the music that we were doing was very much like noise improvised feedback not something you’ll hear in any night club let alone an Oriental night club but we had this kind of naive romanticism of OK we will somehow take this there and somehow be part of popular culture in a way we tried we actually tried for a few days walking around and offering our services and of course failed completely but what’s interesting is that well at least there was the intention of plugging in and you maybe it was also realizing how it doesn’t work that way and learning that’s the other interesting side that each moment like that there is something being understood as much as there is something that is not understood as much as there is a romanticism a naivete there is a moment where you’re getting something acquiring something understanding something else yeah early on I learned the power of being the target in a way I always was conscious of it and I always saw it in games of seduction because a lot of them were based upon this kind of moment of giving away the key offering a certain key to yourself or the illusion of offering a certain key to yourself because in a way you don’t really have a key to yourself but because it is easier to communicate with this idea that this exists you can and you offer something and the thing is that this game is not necessarily extremely successful but when it’s successful it is extremely powerful because it doesn’t necessarily work so well with a lot of people because the moment you offer people something the assumption is that there is a weakness and they want to use it and then they kind of of lose interest lose the attraction but for the few who are beyond that and in a way are more interested the fact of offering the key is a seduction itself a challenge to take it somewhere beyond that kind of relationship and I’ve seen myself do this many times I failed a few times and succeeded a few times but I’ve seen myself do this many many times and it has something to do with the power of being the target in a way something to do with framing yourself as possibly something very fragile and possibly something that is to be destroyed and there is a magnet here somewhere yeah in a project I did in India there was a question in that project it was a project that had a video in it but it had a lot of other elements in it and the video had six questions in them and one of the questions is who looks at you when you speak and that’s an interesting question because it is not about who looks at you when you speak and someone is actually looking at you it is also about who do you imagine seeing you when


 you’re speaking and how does that define yourself I think at that period of time in AUC there was a moment where this kind of thing was completely like raging out of control because looking at you when you spoke was first of all changing all the time from massive public audiences this fantasy of walking down the street and holding within you a certain kind of image that everybody saw and speaking to that image now the actual language of that image was already determined by the institution one was in so I’m sure the language of that image would have been different if I was in a different institution I’m sure that I would have developed a language for that image that would probably have been equally strong but it would have been different and so I don’t think I would have ever been an Arab socialist but something else and an important question it has no real answer it’s important to ask it and to play with it maybe it is valuable to play with certain questions sometimes without really looking for specific answers but disposing them and playing with them and dealing with them playing with questions could be much more interesting than playing with an answer as such I go back to Islam because he was definitely dealing with that question and playing with it completely I was fascinated by what he was doing and in the end when we had trouble we couldn’t be really friends anymore because it took too much it was also a bit ridiculous it was not necessary I thought


––, : pm meeting people like Jimmy completely different we were friends but he was not in AUC and I spoke about how his problem or conflict was based upon some kind of aspiration but I wonder what my aspiration then that is important what was my aspiration? how do I answer this question maybe I need to know about my aspiration now to try to go back and understand what was my aspiration then and it’s never as simple as one thing no one is so dumb to have one aspiration it’s much more layered and complex than that I will be happy today if I manage to maintain a very relaxed pace because I’ve realized after starting with feedback that it is necessary for this project to relax the pace after the initial explosion to discover forms where discovery is made few at a time other than that it would just be the recipe of a break down a depression a certain kind of loss and maybe there is a motive towards that it’s interesting to sit in a room of mirrors because I remember always when in deepest stoned standing in front of mirrors and looking straight into my own eyes and always being shocked by what I could not see by the distance between me and me somehow and I always remember a very simple formula put forward by a professor in one of my Literature classes about the question about this whole speaking and talking about identity the question is that when you say I who is the I that is speaking and where is the I that is looking at the I that’s speaking? yeah there was a picture I don’t know if I still have it a picture in ‘ of me in a party sitting next to some Australian girl it was a party somewhere downtown and everybody was fucked up in their head I like that picture because it was a picture in which the condition in which I was in when it was taken I was basically completely out of it but the look in my eyes the woman next to me was kind of laughing in a normal light and I think there is someone next to me here but I was kind of looking beside aware of the camera and kind of trapped in that moment by it’s been eight or eight and a half years since I’ve been here so it’s almost double the time and I’m really amazed about how slow time went inside that institution and how fast times goes outside of it other than something to do with age and how time went faster anyway but one year two years three years four years inside that university seemed like such an endless eternal time as compared to all the many different things that I did outside that scene that relates a bit to what I spoke about yesterday that eternal feeling that was necessary part of a self that was being shaped an identity being shaped but it was then necessary somehow your mind or your consciousness even if there are many things happening or you’re still in a place that is stable and solid and institutional enough to frame it for you in those terms as just this kind of big hole that you fall into and you’re kind of forged into something and then spat out and in that period of time when you’re being forged inside and you fight with it and you fight again and you take some and you hit back and in the end I would say that this was not successful that in a way this is an example of a machine making a mistake it had to represent itself in something that was kind of timeless in a way and was experienced as such I understand now why it’s difficult for me to have a chronology to understand when where and what happened like a specific passing date but that muddle is related to the fact that you’re being shaped so it’s pretty muddy also a period of time when hanging out with Amin and his brother that was early on and with some YAB women it was all a bit weird going to a hotel in Agouza or Mohandiseen a really sleazy place for a bit of time it was weird OK that was what we were into these years all these worn out years were marked by sudden obsessions and infatuations with things and then sudden disinterest in them and changes maybe that is just my life because I do that anyway till now but the lens through which these things were seen were different it was like OK we hang out at some hotel it was sleazy there were whores there and so at that time it was like OK plugged into the vibe of


 the city plugged into whatever plugged into what is not AUC and that was for me and for the people I’m with maybe I’m wrong but at least a bit and so for me now that’s not so necessary anymore I’m not restrained by that system anymore but then that was important and it was part of that system at the same time I have no idea how many other people got into these adventures but at least for me and different groups of friends it was important to plug into city life we’re part of that city anyway so the problem is not in what we’re doing but seeing it as an adventure rather than something that is just there and that was heavily analyzed yesterday another moment of happiness or that desire to be plugged in and not really able to sitting in Stella with some friends making music just making music in Stella this joy publicly expressing something that is not contained within this wall within that really limited and limiting club and things like that and therefore being into sleaze were interesting and I don’t think that this necessarily means I would not have related to other context but I would have related to them maybe from a different perspective but from that perspective it had something to do with in the end it’s really amazing how an institution an old institution has such tremendous power and impact really quite amazing and very unconscious sometimes OK going to Atlantis disco in the Shepeard Hotel in ‘ with Abe and etc what is kind of interesting in something like that this is not really the culture we’re looking for or are really part of but because of our situation and position we’re kind of stranded this is not a complaint I think it’s a failure if that is the case then we need to create our on culture rather then end up consuming a Russian show in Atlantis Discotheque when you’re years old which does not make any sense which is something that is weird to a middle age business man for example but due to our consumption cultural consumption attitude life blablabla we have a certain type of desire created and a certain type of man life and then you end with compromises like that which is really stupid because what you’re consuming is equal to you sitting on an apple because it has nothing to do with what kind of culture you are really looking for so it’s very ironic but even then I was like what the fuck is just sitting there and suddenly there was this Russian show with these Russian girls who are not stripping but kind of stripping this kind of double thing going on and I said what the fuck is this this has nothing to do with me has nothing to do with my friends who are there too and why are we here really? I partly understand why I understand that there was this energy drive for OK going out and getting slashed trashed and having adventures and meeting women and scoring around whatever this excitement yes but this was not it this was middle age corrupt service and it was obvious in a place like that at that time the huge split between who this really targeted and people like us who were also there out of different motives and something was not working that was a sort of delusion I don’t think everything was like that this is what stands out a desire for something that is not there and shouldn’t necessarily be there because this city is not responsible for a very specific group’s cultural preferences but the least they could do is create it for themselves this is where I think where I’m disappointed by the fact that we didn’t that we didn’t really go beyond go beyond attempts at that in a way I think we were too passive maybe too afraid maybe too lazy I don’t know to go beyond that and create that culture for ourselves because I think if we had done that then we would have been more satisfied there were moments there were moments when this happened and I will say after this but we would have been more satisfied and at the same time presented something that would have been interesting to other people even if it’s not there as something they look at and therefore an extra thing a plus and I said yesterday maybe this happened a bit in the example about the Yasmina Hotel and then I said this today in the heavy metal culture although I was not into but that was kind of happening and these very little


moments like a party me and Sari organized together “an evening of whipping and poetry� where this did happen in a way too for example we should have really pushed more this kind of affirming yourself and taking it out of those limits it was a potential form for really creating a deeper dialogue with what was around other than the individual personal side because I think everybody did this on their own in personal ways but as a grouping and as a sub-cultural grouping it failed because of this kind of acceptance of what was there rather than the insistence on creating something else sometimes it worked but never sustained itself there were always individual moments like yeah all individual moments nothing more than that yeah yeah


 ––, : pm yeah oh God I also remember one day going to a moulid from university what’s interesting about this time was this is kind of I never thought I’m gonna say it it’s embarrassing maybe it’s good to say it this kind of exotic things although I don’t think I really saw it in exotic terms actually in the pattern yes it did play with that exotic I was in the university and then I went into the the toilet and changed my clothes and then walked out as fast as I could walked out of the door that was on Sheikh Rihan street went straight from the toilet to the door not because of embarrassment but because of the weirdness of assuming identities for different places and then going to that moulid with that costume wearing a new identity so in a way a form of coming to terms with a certain period of time trying to comprehend that period of time coming to terms with it but I wonder could I? coming to terms what does that mean am I really coming to terms? was I ever never not in terms with it? I think that in a way since being in it and since being so completely seduced by my image of myself at that time I have been quite at terms with it both critically negatively and positively so what does the machine offer me today? what other avenues does it offer? what other paths? I remember walking down the street with Sari again and a car stopping for us with two Gulf Arab women who were just picking someone off the street and they were interested in picking us up and it was really funny we both didn’t get it we were why are you talking to us? do we know you? really not getting it and then realizing when it was kind of already too late not that this was a potential adventure just funny just and being in Alexandria and swimming and that’s a really funny thing fasting during Ramadan but smoking dope throughout even while fasting OK it’s not about fasting as such it is fasting to achieve maximum impact for weed very simple situation but demonstrates a lot the way we were dealing I did this I don’t know of someone else but I think it goes on to other people other friends who are part of that the way we were dealing with our own personal culture and the culture around us taking this and taking that and putting it all together to achieve our own desires always a way to make a point clear that there is a deep disbelief in whatever surrounds us OK I remember a fight in a party I remember Abe was alive so it was at that time in Maadi somewhere in Maadi just completely blind drunk walking with Abe and other people like in the face of a wall of people and just not caring completely ready and willing to tear everyone to fucking bits and I think it got physical I don’t remember what happened exactly I just remember being completely lost in that anger and completely smashing whoever was in font of me I don’t know I don’t think I was hurt but my glasses were broken it didn’t matter it was just that deep deep anger and that line and what was interesting was that line I saw of these guys coming and going and I saw them very deeply and very clearly not just as people we’re fighting with but in a much more mythical sense those who are not you in a way this kind of conglomeration of square conservative right-wing types and the problem with that type of thinking is that you could be as absolutely as stupid as they are but you are seeing yourself in self-righteous terms as much as they’re seeing themselves in self-righteous terms and that’s a bit fucked all I remember from that night is this wall coming closer and just the the the letting go of the complete violence in a way a kind of a heroic tone somewhere with a bit of illusion right there running maybe running yeah I remember running with Sari in Sinai to catch a bus I remember standing in the rain it was raining on campus and I was standing in the rain feeling good I remember the earthquake when it happened sitting in the SS campus and a big piece of stone fell right next to me it did not hit me but I remember that very close very a New Year’s Eve party maybe ‘ to ‘ in an uncomfortable cowboy boots and someone opened a bottle of champagne taking a swig gave it to friend who took a swig and gave


it to me to take a swig and really like a complete fucking asshole just taking it and drinking the whole bottle they were not happy but I would not care somehow I just drank it and I remember walking to someone’s house and pretty tragic again going it wasn’t exactly a party but something to get together these women’s house three sisters who were together and knocking on the door and the door opened and I see the youngest sister and the moment I saw her I knew somehow that I would sleep with her and I also knew that to sleep with her I had to enter this house in a very specific way and I knew how to enter this house I don’t know how I knew all this but I did and so I did I entered that house in that way I just completely walked in with myself and that seduced her completely just that the way I walked into the house and I knew that this would do it and so it happened that same night it just seems how something like that really works but it does in a weird way all lead to something to do with power games and image and also with ability also with what I spoke about earlier that the system that doesn’t work all the time but works so much but when it works it is so strong and that that I know much more than the diffused thing yeah much more than that and I like that more which in the end I would rather have less but more powerful than more but kind of bland at least there is drama today I sent some e-mails out one of them was to Mirjiam the woman I was with from late ‘ to some time ‘ but after I graduated end of ‘ early ‘ yeah from late ‘ till ‘ that’s when we were together she lived with me that kind of end of AUC period and post that and whatever it was about personal relationship but of the things I learned from being with her that were really positive was to have that distance from that place and to also realize and understand how it is constructed and how it constructs me and what does it mean well I sent her an announcement about this project and I’m sure she finds that superinteresting I’m sure because she lived part of it so something of it is also about her too and as much as it is about anyone who lived that part of time with me but this is what this is what I learned one of the things I learned from being with her the distance the necessity of that distance and the meaning of it and actually practicing that distance because in that last year I started to take that critical distance definitely I wonder if I had done something similar to this maybe not the same but similar to this how would I have acted? would it have been easier more difficult would it have been more hysterical more calm I don’t know but I really wonder it’s a way of slipping to yourself the fear or the scariness about that is if you’re somebody that you are not somehow it just that it becomes so clear how you’re really not anything that is solid that seems to me to be very basic and so much part of this experience very much part of this


 ––


––, : pm I used to take this creative writing class it was my second or third semester and in the beginning I was very excited about it I was very into the idea of creative writing class in this class I met different people there was a guy that I intensely disliked and I think he probably intensely disliked me in a way in this class I was very into it and I was also quite arrogant because in a way I thought that my work should be the best somehow which is stupid to think in these terms but it was a disappointment in the end the class was kind of disappointing because I don’t think anything really ever developed and neither was it really very technical or very experimental neither this or that so nothing really happened but that was the time when I took the creative writing class in the very beginning of my university years and I was convinced that I will become a writer that’s maybe partly why I got into literature too I remember that this was a time when I was exactly  because with my my first girlfriend in university Roxanne after I had learnt this lesson earlier on of not saying how young I was in comparison she was  and I had said that I was  I was  actually one of the problems that I had been through in the class I had given to a literary competition in university the Madalyn Lamont award and on the paper you’re supposed to write your age or and I showed her the poem and she knew my age it was really stupid but it was OK it didn’t destroy the relationship although it began with a lie of course there were many different lies all the time lies that were real and personal and lies that were much more like lying to get into a place or something that doesn’t count for me at all but lies that were personal I remember once actually stealing a twenty pound note from a friend the only time ever and doing that just to do it in a way just to feel this and feeling satisfied about it really there was something it was a constant game with wanting to have something criminal never really getting into it but wanting to have something criminal and it came at different times for sure it came at times when I smashed things and went to parties and smashed stuff and ran in the streets and smashed headlamps very emotional times and for different reasons sometimes associated with actual situations and sometimes just just a general type of anger I remember also doing nutmeg because of reading in the anarchist cookbook that it had hallucinatory powers and I did it in yogurt me and Sherif and I think Abe and I think Sherif passed out for a day and a half and I went to meet this woman I had a crush on then Shahira nothing happened between us this was really ‘ nothing happened between us till I did not see her I graduated and stuff and we met again in ‘ and we had a little fling which was weird really which is interesting because this has happened two or three times women that I desired in university and then didn’t see in for years and then met up with them much later completely out of university and something happened it always doesn’t really work that well because it’s always a left-over really it’s just desires that were gone and games that were already played just the possibility of later on vindicating it something like that I think but anyway I went to see her and we were at a bar and I was talking to her and I don’t think I was making much sense all I remember that it was a very strange atmosphere sitting on the bar and trying to make sense but really failing in a way and I think she really noticed that and I don’t remember did I leave or what something happened and I left and I went back home to sleep and so nutmeg which I also smoked with a guy called Haytham who was not really a friend we hung out maybe two or three or four times again for drug-related reasons basically scoring or things like this and he came over to my house to my room and my room was kind of where I used to hang out the most and it was like a zone detached from the house I was in where so many things happened yes nutmeg smoking nutmeg with him and it didn’t really have much of an effect when I ate it in yogurt it was powerful but smoking it kind of just tasted bad and didn’t do much but


 we definitely got into the act of being as if we were somehow high it maybe it had a very little little effect or a little strangeness but nothing too strong but we definitely got into got into the act and with stronger substances this was also there there was always the pose of doing it whatever it was but then it itself was strong so maybe you start by fucking around a bit but then it hits you and when it hits you you’re done really I remember also a night in this house in Heliopolis where there were a lot of people and lot of people were on acid again me and Sherif and Sari and I think Sari was really funny running around he had a cat in his mouth he was just always theatrical and standing in the balcony and there was this guy Moataz who wanted a hit Sherif had the acid from England and he wanted a hit or he wanted half a hit he wanted something and we were sitting standing there in the balcony semi-tripping not completely tripped out but kind of a bit on the edge and he is kind of talking kind of trying to get to what he wants without saying it and it’s so clear the way he’s doing it both of us felt it and Sherif was a bit aggressive with him I think or maybe was nice but I felt he had an aggression towards him from underneath I don’t think I liked this guy very much he wasn’t clear about it somehow and at that same period of time I don’t know if it was the same month or something ‘ but that period of time we did a few hits with the same people and I don’t think they were so interesting they were a bunch of YABs and friends in Maadi and myself and Sherif and Islam sometimes and Wessam sometimes and one time I was in Maadi and I couldn’t take it anymore on the rooftop of this guy’s house this guy who was called Guevara because his father was a communist he was not in AUC but he was friends with or going out with one of these chicks and so we were in his house and I decided I had to leave and I went down to take a cab and I think I went to Islam’s house but I went down to take a cab and I stopped the cab and I was starting to trip hard and I stopped the cab and somehow all the anger and weirdness I felt in the house upstairs was in me and was starting to come out and so when I stopped the cab I spoke with the taxi driver there was a problem we could not communicate so well and then I felt like I could kill I was really ready to just I knew that if at that moment of time I let go and started attacking this guy he would die I would kill him completely I would strangle him and kill him and I saw that and I didn’t want to do that and I knew I had the power and the ability to do it so I just told him go before I kill you and I think he was surprised but I think he was a bit scared because I said it in such a way I think and I must’ve looked also very strange I was tripping anyway I ended at Islam’s house I think it was the same trip maybe in Zamalek and I took a shower I needed to take a shower completely paranoid shower in which I was in constant fear of electrocution somehow in which the water was always on the verge of becoming electric I think these are the last times I did acid I didn’t do it since ‘ or ‘ or something and it’s good it’s a very powerful substance definitely one of the really nice days really there are also joys we had a little kind of event thing at Mirjiam’s house I was semi-living with her it was an open day kind of with music and some people doing plays and people from everywhere not just from university her friends some of my friends Amr some of his friends and it was open and it was a great day really now I remember there was something there was a moment of semi-betrayal in it because her room it was an amazing house it was two floors with a great roof and her room was on the second floor off the corridor you go steps up like a monk’s cell somehow and it was really an amazing I really loved it it was very small but it was fucking great and in that open day there was this woman I was into and uh I kind of took her into the room without Mirjiam knowing and nothing happened we didn’t kiss or anything but that was a betrayal too because I was kind of using the room to seduce another person she never found out about it I never told her about this and what’s interesting is that the woman I did this with I


guess you learn I thought that by showing her something that was personal and powerful it helps me get her but in a way it was really the opposite it was by making myself vulnerable by showing that I was willing to give up and betray what was close and personal to her she became a bitch to me and started to fuck around with me experiences early on I learned something about power and relationships big time always connected always a difficult thing and yeah many losers but not always necessary you don’t always have to either win or lose it is possible it does happen to have relationships which are balanced but they are very difficult and another really great day is going to a birthday party whose birthday party was it? I think it was Dina Red’s birthday party she had a house like a country house and she had this party there and it was really great jamming on the roof everybody was completely out of it and just a really good atmosphere and I think Sally was there and she was a girl that I kind of sometimes got off with and her boyfriend hated my guts because in another party in Maadi and that was really fucked up whatever she was kind of just into screwing around which is fine but her boyfriend was always trying to control her which is fucked up and like me and Tamer were sitting and she was kind of lying on his lap and I was kissing her and then he was kissing her we were both getting into it and it was completely fine there was no tension between me and him no tension between her and us and we were just having fun and then her boyfriend walked in and grabbed her from her hair and started dragging her on the fucking ground and that was so fucked both me and Tamer were like talking and I was telling him how fucked that was of course for him he couldn’t understand how we could take that position but that was how it was these were all choices it was her choice it was my choice it was Tamer’s choice so it was a party in Maadi I don’t remember whose party it was I wonder if I ever felt really I spoke about paranoia it came in personal moments but ever feel like completely for example terrified the night I left like my family house and decided that my career was to become a dope dealer and I walked all night till the morning I just walked around in Heliopolis till the morning came and then found a place to go etc and arranged things to stay at someone’s place Ali’s place I was walking all night and again there was the the strongest criminal impulse just this this real strong desire to break into flats I didn’t do it maybe because I did not have the courage to do it and because I felt like I will get caught and I was not into the idea of getting caught that was not the point but I was just walking : in the morning or : in the morning and looking at all these flats and houses and the overpowering drive I had was to break in steal just this kind of criminal thing but it was in check and I remember in Sinai on that trip the beads trip when we were kind of detained for three days by the securities it was interesting that I worked in a Dahab café thing like for seven pounds a day seven pounds a day and that was really hard work it was almost from : in the morning til: at night all day really as a waiter for seven pounds a day it was really like shit pay and Sari would be selling beads in front of the place and we would sleep either inside or I would sleep outside in front of it we kind of had a deal and I would eat in the place and he could share my food with me it was sort of a deal but this didn’t continue for such a long time I think it was a week or five days because the owner kicked me out although I think I was doing fine but somehow unexplained one day he just said and he was very angry he said I don’t want you to work here and you and your friend move so I don’t know I think again there was something that provoked him in a way and one trip me and Amr hitchhiking through Fayoum and night fell and we just slept by the side of the road and a group of farmers they were a bit wealthy so they were farmers not really peasants and they came with their car and insisted that we had to join them and so we spent the night at their place and it was really great we got there and in the beginning we both had beards then me and Amr and they couldn’t really figure


 us out they could not understand who we were what background we came from and they were not sure if we were kind of extremely religious or just very strange it was not clear and they wanted to say something and they were hesitant then it came out that they wanted to drink beer and the moment this happened we were like yes of course and then the night turned into wow we just sat there in a rectangular room me Amr and  men we didn’t know till : or : in the morning drinking drinking and smoking and there was one guy who was with them he always had the dope basically and whenever it would finish they called him khon-il-attar like the little herbalists’ shop or something whenever it would finish he would take another bit out of another pocket or another bit from under his ankle or another bit from this pocket he was completely stacked and we smoked with them all night we smoked and drank with them all night it was friendly what we were both doing me and Amr and them was really talking about our differences and it was good to sit with these absolute strangers from a completely different place and from a completely different cultural background and to spend a night of getting completely trashed together talking about what made us different there was something open about it it felt good and in the morning we slept in the morning they gave us an amazing breakfast and then we left and it was really really good something quite special I experienced something similar but really stronger right after I graduated I travelled I went to Europe but then I went to Morocco and for one month in Morocco I hitchhiked and lived on the street I had a tent with me and lived on the street from the beach and the mountain and bus stations and parks whatever I had really no money in that trip it was really amazing the amount of people I met in different cities in Morocco with which I had different conversations very superficial sometimes very deep but always interesting because I was always passing through from one place to the next and so people in a way confide in you because you’re not part of their system and you’re just moving through it and so you know they can tell you things and you can take them and just go on and that was an amazing trip I think that this trip was also really amazing because it was it was two things it was the the peak of everything I was aspiring to in a way in AUC the image the self-image I had of myself as someone who’d do this and just go and whatever just live like that it was the peak of this at the same time it was the moment of change it was the moment where this changed where I learnt something not that I can’t do this or I can do this but where I learnt something about being who you are and in Spain because then I went back to Spain I learnt a very very good lesson about money because although I was living without money and kind of managing to live without money in Spain I got stuck and it was after that whole month in Morocco and starting to become completely exhausted completely hungry and completely not able to deal with the situation anymore living on the street in Spain was more difficult than Morocco for sure because number one in Morocco I had been Egyptian Arab and they were Moroccan Arabs and there is something and I can speak the language and there is some curiosity really there is something some kind of connection that helps in Spain that connection turns upside down it becomes suspicion it becomes racism it becomes not wanting to help you rather than wanting to help you although I did have some really beautiful moments in Spain too in Algeciras the port where I got off back from Morocco I was stuck in that port for three days unable to get out trying to hitchhike I was living in the actual port because that was the safest place to be when I had no place to stay so I would just wait in the port until it closes and then pace up and down for three four hours till it opens again at dawn and then go back and sleep on the chair so while waiting this was really great while waiting outside outside the terminal a busload of old Spanish women dressed in black from the South like traditional Spanish women I guess and I was just pacing up and down they got off the bus they started


speaking to me there was no language and I was smiling and speaking to them in English and Arabic saying things trying to explain they were trying to explain I don’t know why we were talking to each other but then they gave me some wine and some sandwiches and it was really good that trip was full of such moments also meeting people who just bought me packs of cigarettes and invited me for breakfast and it was really good that moment I felt like I understood something that I did not know before in my kind of closed university life which was not really that closed but was at the end a basic safety net I felt I understood something and I forgot it I still can’t remember what it is exactly I understood but I did feel like I understood something then what I was saying about understanding something about money which I guess is something I never understood before in a way even though I had been in situations where I was completely flat broke but in Spain after leaving Algeciras and being at the bottom a complete nervous wreck like a homeless bum being in Malaga and finally being able to call someone through a consulate and to ask for some money from a relative and waiting till that money came but being there in this city that was like a beach town full of people having fun and hot women and just this atmosphere and walking down the street in the middle of all these festivities completely broken in a way nobody looking at you as if you’re completely invisible and just like even your walk is affected by that everything is affected and then getting the money that was sent to me and everything changing immediately going to the sea having a swim and kind of just you’re whole demeanor walk everything just changed and it was much yeah much much better of course but I learned something then too about how in a way in obvious and in invisible ways money makes people in a way in obvious and invisible ways that trip was interesting because it was the peak of my fantasy of what I am supposed to be in AUC kind of that this image the peak of that image taken and doing it after I had finished after I had graduated and although by then I had really almost quit I did have a a smoke once in Morocco on a beach with some guy in he had a little hut on the beach and he was watching television Moroccan television and it was so powerful this hash and just sat with him and had a smoke and got completely


 ––, : pm in Morocco and in Spain realized my fantasy in a way I was there hitchhiking living on the street in a country I did not know meeting people surviving for a long time dealing with it and at the same time walking long distances far I walked really long distances and going to different cities and exploring them it was definitely a great trip and at the same time on this trip I learned everything that questioned not this trip of course but the fantasy that this trip came out of basically that was something I learned and I realized these things then very immediately but not necessarily very consciously connect them to my upbringing and university years all that definitely did help when I came back to Egypt after my trip I had a completely different concept of what I should be doing I realized that the bubble had been broken and I can accept and continue to accept my differences and work with them but the bubble I was living in had been broken and therefore I had to find new ways of doing things and fights yeah deep fights with friends also happening where you get so angry now that seems so distant in a way and what were these fights? OK I know I remember fighting with Islam and just telling him straight look I can’t deal with you anymore because I can’t take this and I think you’re really stupid and maybe there was a hypocrisy in that because he was just taking a specific image to an extreme and there was value in it too but it was just so difficult to walk down the street or to make a phone call or to see people or to take a cab or whatever it was so difficult he was very hurt by that and our friendship never really stood on its feet again since and he traveled and I have not heard from him that was me at the end I remember vaguely I had a fight with Omar Bug much earlier than that I don’t remember what it was about but all I remember is running after him he was in his car he was driving stoned in his car and I knew he was going home so taking a cab and getting there faster than him and waiting there next to his house with stones completely angry and the moment he came there I just completely attacked his car with all these stones and stuff it was really nasty but we bonded me and him for a bit again in Sinai one of the early trips I did was with him just me and him and we we spent one night in his car and I have a picture somewhere of that car we were in Sharm and we got kicked out of a club and I again I pissed all over the toilet very intentionally and somehow like we were gonna get into some trouble we were in some club and we got kicked out and then we went to Dahab and yeah Pernod we had bought a bottle of Pernod and I don’t know why Pernod but we had a bottle of Pernod we put all this dope in it and left it for a few days to soak it in this kind of experimental thing and we were just completely out of it with this bottle completely out of it we were very young and we were in Dahab and we had that thing I mentioned I remember mentioning the very first night of this performance but again these Israeli chicks meeting these hot Israeli chicks and it was a bit flirtatious but and he was into it I was into it in some ways but I completely fucked it up politically by deciding to introduce the subject of the Arab-Israeli conflict into the conversation which definitely does not help seduction and Omar was really fucking pissed off at me he was like why why why you do this that’s funny and that was a good trip and I bonded with him it was cool he was a nice guy he’s back in Oman now I think I think he got married or is getting married or something and I met him in London in that post-graduation trip also that was fun and I also remember once being invited by some girl me and a friend of mine to a some really wealthy person I guess to a big palace swimming pool bar type and she was strange I’m not sure what she was trying to do exactly and I think it was somewhere between boredom and maybe trying to impress us but all I knew is that I started getting quite angry with her and really a bit annoyed because in a way this did not impress me at all and so had a rough talk and it was also interesting really this very different than now I think


is that there was a lot of massive parties that were really great and that were totally free that were not driven by selling tickets and all of that stuff in big houses and things like that I don’t know really who organized these parties but they were really great I remember one in Maadi also that was good that was probably very early on and one in which there was this big fight I spoke about where there was a wall these guys and Abe broke it up so many faces at different times that also is very strange how for every period of time there was a constellation of people and for that period it seems like these people are everything it seems like that really close group type thing and then very quickly you have different friends and you meet different people and of course the few people in every situation that you have something a bit deeper which remain friends somehow and maybe sometimes you don’t see them as regularly but maybe they become even closer how strange the amount of people who for a short period of time seemed to be so important but are in the end really not at all and in a way you function the same for them and for other people with that mix I noticed that I grew more and more selective and more and more intolerant but I think rightly in the beginning hanging out in itself just the act of hanging out just the act of seeing different or new people meant so much it meant that you had some kind of will it meant that you had some kind of social scene or something and that was important especially earlier before the darkness yeah this is a question I’ve raised before what is that darkness exactly? it is hard to explain or to really look or to even understand what it was to even be sure it really was a darkness maybe some kind of deep irritation I used to smoke Cleopatras for two reasons one was it was cheaper of course and next it was part of that image I smoke Cleopatras of course and there were little things like that where decisions were made on the basis of maintaining a certain idea of who you were so you smoke Cleopatras because you smoke Cleopatras or I forgot that completely I used to wear all this jewelry that slowly over the years got taken off one by one until now I only have rings left which is fine which I like and which I loved then which I like which I like and love now both the maximal and the minimal and there was a time when I decided that I will not wash my hair for a few months to get it dreaded basically and I didn’t wash my hair I wore something when I showered and I didn’t wash my hair for a few months that actually did happen and it got fucked up completely I remember also early on when my parents went on a trip or something the house was empty that was so good just to be able to this kind of independent moment and just immediately taking a shower and drinking a beer in the shower at the same time and having friends over etc I remember Fridays beautiful Fridays in my room hanging with Amr or Sherif or Tamer sometimes or Wessam but really different friends visiting me on Fridays specifically always beautiful weather smoking out of the window and just really great I would never forget those Fridays really they were very quiet too it was funny because a lot of the times a lot of the things that were done were so hectic and so heavy and so pushy and so aggressive and so wild but Fridays for a reason although there was always a smoke somewhere were always those calm days in the room were talking listening to music a bit sometimes eating sandwiches and just really kind of relaxing and enjoying each other’s companies and it was good because the people who did visit me on these Fridays were friends who were quite close many of them also with music playing music but really kind of nice I remember doing Parkinol shit Parkinol in my room one night a whole night it’s a really interesting drug because it is super-hallucinatory it’s a very powerful hallucinogenic but different to acid I think in a way more powerful and in a way more powerful and dangerous and in a way less dangerous acid has another kind of danger but the thing about Parkinol you believed in your hallucination completely there was no consciousness of being on a trip it was completely kind of losing yourself into it and so the danger is if you open your


 window and you see a field you will run into the field and fall and break your neck basically this field thing a friend of a friend had experienced it and they were telling me they were holding him and he wanting to jump out of the window but to him jumping out of the window was really running in a field and it sounds kind of crazy but that’s really how Parkinol was thankfully I didn’t have anything like that I just remember being in my room all night long talking to myself having insects on my fingers that were kind of wrapped in cellophane and were kind of were related to the rhythm of my smoking and when I smoke a drag of my cigarette the insects would get sucked in and when I would let the drag out the insects would like get inflated something like that and listening to Patti Smith and looking at the stereo with a red red light dot on it the song was “because the night belongs to lovers” something like that and then at one moment she just says take off and at that moment that red dot the power red light just started expanding and expanding and expanding and enveloping the whole room in red powerful red light and looking at my teddy bear which I have had since I was born and the teddy bear becomes an animal with a face composed of different bestial masks with flesh complete animal flesh and taking off a mask and another animal is there and then taking off that mask and another animal was there and I remember really like it sounds fucking stupid but I remember sitting there and talking to that bear my teddy bear talking to it for hours and I don’t know about what but talking to it yeah and in the morning what was interesting was how I kind of flipped out of it slowly moved out of that trip I walked out of my room in the morning and I think no one in the house realized that I was like stark raving mad all night long no one really realized that in the house and I was outside my room for the first time during that whole really intense heavy Parkinol night and I look at in the corridor and I think I see my mother or my father or something they were not really there that’s the point I look at them I think I see them but then someone is speaking to me from the top of the corridor and then I go to talk to them and my mother asked maybe shouted from the beginning of the corridor asking who are you talking to and I realized I was not talking to anyone and then I walked into the bathroom to wash my face and I am looking for my glasses and I look at my reflection in the mirror I don’t have my glasses on and I’m looking for my glasses and then I realize actually I look in the mirror again and I still don’t have my glasses on but then slowly they appear and the moment they appear I realize that I was tripping that was the first moment at : in the morning after a whole night of tripping out on Parkinol to realize that I was actually on that trip and the moment I realized it the trip was over there were traces and little moments of things happening but generally speaking after I saw my glasses my trip was over and when my trip was over I was back into completely normal reality I could remember these things that happened what’s interesting about it makes you think about what the fuck are you seeing because you see it with complete belief that raises questions in a way the time I left my house and embarked on an alternative career and it was also a deep refusal of university because at the same time still function within it deciding OK I’ll be a dope dealer but doing everything within it even getting my first score through it and also probably my plan was to sell it back into it so functioning within it but refusing it at the same time very naïve it was good to do it too and then what was horrible was being literally kidnapped helping a friend with some English stuff and that friend was kind of a family friend and then somehow my family finding out that I was there and basically coming and kidnapping me by force lots of people taking me home by force and locking me up I was so angry at that time so full of anger at them for doing this I don’t think they helped me till now I think that was fucking stupid because I could have made my own decisions and I could have changed my mind or whatever I think that was really stupid and I don’t forgive them


anyway it’s no big deal anymore but I never think back about this and think oh yeah they were right they forced their will upon me by sheer power and force and I was enraged and then they searched my stuff and they found all the dope and they threw it in the toilet flushed it down the toilet my father did this and I was really enraged and I was standing there and shouting in the corridor and that was interesting too in the corridor standing there and shouting at them like things from my lifestyle things that I have done that would be shocking to them maybe stupid things but that would be kind of shocking to them and this was interesting thing because it was a triangle three things were happening at the same time one I was rejecting this institution this university and the the lifestyle it dictated upon me and what it meant by taking it to another extreme and then rejecting an earlier institution like the family by pushing that lifestyle in their face and saying well I did this and I did this and I did this and I did this and for them I was disturbed which was not the case things were normalized with time I don’t remember how I was in the middle of the semester so I guess I was also locked up and I didn’t go to school for a while so I don’t really know how I passed that semester but I did somehow and I don’t remember how long I stayed in that house too locked up and slowly accepting the situation in a way was strange in that situation I felt betrayed by myself because I took the easy way out and accepted what they were doing and although now I think that my decision and my actions were also stupid like the idea of oh yes I will become a dope dealer that was stupid too sure but still I think kind of in the end accepting them doing this to me with a stick there I should have done something more I didn’t speak to them for a very long time but still I should have done something more so I think sometimes about this project called “ and in AUC” in this really romantic title a romantic invitation and about the form that I’ve chosen for it and what does that say about romanticism too because this form is also superromantic in a way it does have a completely individualized something it does turn what was in many ways also very easy and what was in many ways also very acceptable it might sound like a very difficult time but I think was in the end a really easy fun time although kind of charged with existential stuff but it was an easy fun time then I find it interesting that I choose ten years later to deal with it in a way that is kind of harsh but that is still romantic so romanticism has not been escaped in a way and maybe this


 ––, : pm well now I think about it and this has become much less it was a long period of time following the break-downs in in my university years which were purely ecstatic joyful and dumb which were very physical completely entranced completely out of it but explosions that were also mute and dumb because they were just moments of ecstasy and that was it that is joy that is fine but a period of time now I remember this a long period of time following my graduation maybe from ‘ to ‘ ‘ that period of time experiencing a lot of breakdowns with very close friends with Tamer for example that was in New York it was a super-emotional moment and a very specific situation but these breakdowns where I would be really crying about who I am and not that I see it as negative but that kind of romanticism which is a major problem in many ways this kind of melodrama of itself yeah I remember with Tamer this happening several times but it has become less and I think that these moments of the breakdown are related to this kind of stage in a much later stage where I deal with the whole situation in a double form as an extreme melodrama and at the same time as something much more rational than that and I think with a deep interest in breaking it down into something that is kind of clearer although as I said I think yesterday or the day before yesterday there is always an extra there is always an exception there is always something which is not explained which cannot be explained and which does not want to be explained it’s interesting moving I’ve always noticed how with time you remember this with nostalgia these moments of ecstasy became less and less and less sometimes touch moments of ecstasy in a personal not when doing something or fucking or whatever but just complete just personal ecstasy that happens that has something to do with touching who you are really inside that period of time starting with  and  all the way up to my early twenties this was really present and really strong and something that happened a lot of course it was related to to the huge intake of smoking and other substances but it was also related to a certain way of dealing then it is followed by the period of this melodrama of crying about who you are and what does that mean really I never questioned that this is the first time I question these moments I only realize now that they happened and have become less and what do they mean? and they were always private moments with close people and they were heroic too why the choice to see oneself in those terms? why cry about oneself with uncontrollable passion? I don’t necessarily mean to actually shed tears and to weep although sometimes that does happen but rather that emotion behind the way you are physically strung out in a strange strange state in a strange ecstatic state the emotion behind it was sometimes a very deep crying about who you are and this has become less now I come to a point where I was thinking about this also in terms of what does it mean professionally? because this is a professional choice as opposed to these previous moments which were completely personal this is a professional and personal thing and I realized that I was always in my work always struggling with how personal or not things are and professing some kind of guilt about infusing the personal too strongly and I know where this comes from it comes again from family background somehow like in a political sense it comes from a family background so then this stage comes and it is not about breaking down anymore it is not about that melodrama it is about another melodrama it is really about uniting this professional side and this personal side and that is interesting for me and important it gives me a great comfort to finally manage in my work to deal with who I am that is something I’ve always wanted to do and always felt very hesitant about and always felt very suspicious about I think rightly so it feels good to be able to somehow do that finally to find the form to do that and when I was suspended from AUC it was like a good holiday I was supposed to do community hours very typical of AUC type policy of


course it has no impact at all whatsoever it is inefficient it does not achieve what they think it should achieve of making you feel that you are wrong or whatever punishing you and making you a responsible member of the student body that is bullshit and does not work at all I had ten hours a week were really easy because I was really lucky attached to my department they used to do this this was the first the beginning of it I don’t know if it stopped now a few issues came out and it really sucks in the end like like this creative writing publication so all I had to do was work on this creative writing publication and that was really like a holiday just chill out go to school do this I was working with Attar then and that was it that was fine no guilt no sense of punishment and even if there was punishment it would only create anger at them more than anything else and I spoke with Jan Montasser who was a horrible lady a rambling fascist and I thought that I was again naïve I thought that I could go and meet her and explain to her and somehow she would say we’ll let you go and let me finish my semester and get it over and done with and it failed I remember the meeting very well just sitting in her office explaining my situation and she said no you have to pay the price of what you did which is bullshit of course because as far as I’m concerned I did not do anything wrong even the idea of wrong was very problematic for me but I remember with again nostalgia and I was in a funny way affected when they turned the lawn the grass in the SS building into they paved it which is really stupid there was a nice green area where you could lie on the grass and relax and it felt a bit sad when they changed it because this sentimental bullshit it was a bit like your youth gone away whatever stupid shit like that because we used to sleep on that grass stoned completely completely out of it and we used to go to this pharmacy next to AUC and score Broncophane and Pulmolar and drop a bottle and smoke a joint and walk back into campus sleep on the grass and watch the trees for hours and definitely forget about class but there were paranoid moments in that time too I’m interested now today is exactly half-way through this project and I’m curious and interested in where does it go from here because somehow I’ve gone through the theories a lot of theories and stories and I feel now slowly starting to grow a certain gap that needs to be filled I don’t know what it is and maybe I will discover it runs parallel to some kind of physical exhaustion but this gap that needs to be filled what is it? I’m not so sure because there are I feel like somehow strangely yesterday I felt strange and a bit tense and a bit like on the surface of some deep sadness and today it comes across more as some kind of contentment with those memories with those times with even a specific understanding of what they were and are and I feel OK I can’t in a sense go over the theories again unless new ones strike me because for seven days I’ve been dealing with them and the stories go and that is just my personal logic and that is how I kind of function they need to be framed because I’m always looking searching for some kind of frame for things if I believe in all the way and that I wonder about now somehow after the contentment does something else come or not and I was clear with myself before I began this project that I can never see it as either a success or a failure because it is not about this or that it is only a process and in a sense whatever happens within it happens even if it is a complete flat contentment that is also fine just now suddenly feeling that contentment I might end with contentment and that’s it or maybe the situation will unfold in a new way I don’t know when I can look at my time at that time and think about when was there contentment in there there were moments of contentment some that I have mentioned in earlier days here and others like these beautiful Fridays in my room and that was contentment in a way that was a sense of complete fulfillment and contentment and I remember much earlier with Roxanne my first girlfriend in university the first night we we started being together I was at a party in her house and nothing happened that first night but


 there was this sense something was happening some deep rotation was occurring and I gave her a letter I still have it I showed it to her I read it to her on the phone after I went back home I called her and then I showed it to her and I kept it and uh I guess really again now I look at it and I’m like wow it’s a bit embarrassing to look back at such things in a way but it says a lot about the language I chose to communicate with that letter in a way a complete fiction I would not call it a lie but just a fiction a construction something you make up in a way yeah but then I can look at the idea of contentment in another way in terms of going back yes there was some kind of contentment but also this institution is based on the idea of making you content I think that this is a side I would not imagine people who shared similar positions were not touched in that way because the contentment that they sold to you or to us or to everyone was the contentment of of the closed privileged elite club that I mentioned several times over and over again and that was not necessarily something that provided contentment for me and for other people really in similar positions that was exactly what made us discontented there was personal moments of being satisfied but the general tone of the time for me was that there was some kind of deep irritation deep discontent definitely and that’s ironic because that’s what they I don’t want to say they conspiratorially but that’s what the institution whether it likes it or not has to do for it to survive it has to create a feeling of this type of institution the private club the the institution based on some kind of secret that is not secret but based upon this kind of illusion of confidentiality and secrecy that type of thing yes has to work that way selling the illusion of contentment of being satisfied with being where you are with how you are and it’s interesting with all my attempts at fighting with and against my first job was with AUC and that’s ironic too in I was still a student and my first job was in the junior summer program or the summer junior program whatever and I made  pounds I was very happy with the  pounds then just remembered that but what was interesting about that is that I went to the job interview and maintaining my image I used to wear this at the end of the last phase of that image I used to wear this scarf on my head it looked nice but it was pretty pretentious to do in a way and I just went to the interview wearing that scarf that way and I thought I was going with the fuck you attitude and the attitude of you’re not gonna take me anyway I’m just doing it that way and they took me to the job and they asked me about the scarf and they asked me if I would wear it on the job and I said well if it’s a problem maybe I won’t wear it to the job and that was a betrayal at that moment although I went without the attitude of wanting that job so much but the moment it was offered to me I let go of something for it and it was partly practical I could have insisted and that would be stupid but it also demonstrates something fragile about that constructed image too when we hitchhiked me and Sari from Suez to Dahab and got arrested I spoke about the adventure before they keep rising back up the adventure and it’s relation to what is exotic because it’s not what we really did because it is what we know you are safe from and the kind of barrier that this creates in your daily life and we were broke we did have some money but we were not into spending this money and that’s partly why we were hitchhiking and partly why we went to Suez to buy beads and go back and we decided to go back hitchhiking and it worked for a long way till some car that picked us one guy who picked us up this was weird I had never seen a truck driver like that in Egypt before or after but that was an Egyptian truck driver who was completely like an American truck driver in really strange almost Hollywood-like very kind of military-style post smoking a cigar and completely Arabic like this really Arabic truck driver and he took us part of the way and then he got pissed off with us and told us get the fuck out of my car and I guess we managed to do this everybody took for a bit and then got pissed off with what we were saying or how we were or


what we looked like and then the car that we were last in took us and we were fucking tired and we just slept both of us in the car and then he went through a military check-point and in the middle between two check-points stopped the car and told us to get out so we got out and were immediately arrested because we were not supposed to be there and the guy did this very intentionally he was kind of really an asshole to do that but we were kind of scared because they did slap us around a bit and they threatened to shave our heads with rusty razor blades which they didn’t but they threatened to do that and what was funny is that they it was really like a big security military intelligence movie because they took us then they took us to another point and we spent the night there and at night with the soldiers they searched us of course and they were pissed off when they found money with Sari because they did not understand why would you hitchhike if you have money and that demonstrates the great divide between this adventurous exotic life and daily life I spoke maybe three days ago about the police and the relationship with the police but that was very similar it’s this anger at why are you doing this this way and in a way I can understand this anger but I do not accept it because whatever their situation is it is not my situation and I can experience it whichever way I want well they can make the same argument and they have the power to force their argument that’s the difference they were pissed off when they found the money and they got really nasty but at night with the soldiers we sat with the soldiers and of course one of the things they were looking for was did we have any dope on us which we didn’t but in the night the irony is again sitting with these soldiers and they get this piece of hash and put it in the tea and we drink this hash tea and we get completely stoned with the soldiers and that was really ironic but in the morning at dawn they just came and took us in jeeps to like the head of military intelligence in northern Sinai and that was really funny we were paranoid but then in the end all it was was this old man coming out of his house wearing a robe it’s : or : in the morning looking at us and then telling us don’t do this again and like look at yourself giving us the typical Egyptian state paternalistic bullshit look at yourself look at how you look your parents will be ashamed of you all of this type of talk and then he said let them go and it was over it was that simple and the victory was is that we we actually continued hitchhiking to Dahab we hitchhiked in into Dahab with the Stella truck in the back with all these bottles of beer and that was really great somehow in terms of adventure and in terms of personal victory or whatever I don’t care how silly it sounds but it felt so good another notion that was only present and I spoke about was in other ways was this feeling of endlessness yeah I guess bubbles have that they do end and they do burst at times they do in the end but they have that aura of never-ending where time becomes warped yes that time definitely has that aura oh god how the memories could fly through one’s head really in the end and what does it mean? it’s definitely for me not just about remembering stories because that’s not the point really that is part of what the point is but it’s not the complete point really but I feel now on the th day that there have been many many stories that have come and gone some I have remembered have stayed with me and others have come and flew away and I do remember them in the early morning always between : and : in the morning I am completely irritated and alert and awake and remembering the night before and remembering the stories that flew through my head what does that image mean? to try to make sense of a time a formative period to try to make sense of it personally and publicly institutionally and otherwise to just try to make sense of it and it seems to me kind of focused but also a bit carrying something now and maybe in the end I can let go of it and maybe that is what I’m looking for maybe that is how one person’s experience with a specific institution at a specific point of time has become just a way of trying to make sense and


ďœąďœ°ďœ° purge and get rid of in a sense move on and out of and in a way this is the time of framing this is the moment where I take it and shape it and


––, : pm has the curve and if there is an institution that creates the action there is also the possibility of creating some kind of reaction that is equally institutional and equally based on a specific form of looking a specific form of talking a specific form of listening a specific form of understanding and a specific way of looking and that is the residue of this kind of relationship with this institution this is what is left of it or maybe this is not what is left of it maybe this is the surplus of it or maybe this is also something else because there is some kind of deep satisfaction in the possibility of creating a technology a form an architecture a shape that is human and physical and material and conceptual at the same time that is a way of looking back and a way of in a sense fighting back again after all those years it is again those parameters again that same basic problem that informs this action right now is that this the deep ambiguity of being connected to something and at the same time wanting to and willing to and trying to not reject it because you are connected to it because your experiences have been formed there or some experiences have been formed there but to deal with that situation to deal with how to look at what you have been in this is important it is important in this project to talk about this also that is an answer to a certain critique about this project those terms are equally important if not more important than the personal memory because if it’s only the personal memory then it’s pure and absolute selfmelodrama which I am not interested in at all it is the crying about oneself again which I am not interested in at all it is pure entertainment which I am not interested in at all I’m interested in a different type of space and this is how to access it in a way to look at it to theorize it and to remember it at the same time they’re all equally important and the shape and the form that is chosen for it is also very important yeah in a sense there can be no lies here even if they are lies they cannot be lies because the form is beyond the lie in itself it is beyond the truth or the lie it is something beyond that you know it’s funny sometimes just seeing how disconnected you could become to whatever like dancing in Atlantis what I spoke about yesterday dancing in atlantis in the land of sleazy businessmen who have not foreseen as the only surrogate that exists and realizing that there was always the flower guy outside a good looking guy that all the girls thought was cute and it was like really wow the role split with the guy instead of a girl but very like a film and how many moments were like movies? wow how many moments? and what does it say? I remember my : literature class with Shoukri standing and going there at : entering the literature department seminar standing in the balcony going out into the balcony smoking a joint very strong getting completely numb like every day of that class it was three days a week : to : and then by the time I finished I would walk in students were there sometimes she was already there and I would walk in with this big smile like wanting to make the point not saying it but wanting to make the point like fuck you I’m in your class and I’m stoned it came across many times in these different classes because it was mixed in with arrogance and it was mixed in with disbelief deep disbelief I spoke about this a lot this disbelief and then walking in sitting down and very obviously making all the signs and gestures very loudly of not necessarily stoned I don’t know if they got it or not but disconnected not part of that and in our classes laughing suddenly but always playing the game of control because doing whatever giving my back to the class looking at a book ignoring them laughing muttering to myself scribbling in a notebook but then a question would be asked in class that no one can answer and I would just arrogantly very arrogantly look up and be like blablabla and it’s not necessarily correct or wrong but it is an answer that is pertinent or just an answer that is connected I timed them like bombs these moments and mixed them in with this deep arrogance it was a game I was always at that


 time pushing to the point where it cannot be taken anymore pushing to the point that whoever is with me has to flip against me and I did this with the women I was with I did this with my professors I did this with my friends always testing the limit always reach the point where you have to make a choice whether I’m going to turn up against this guy or not and I was so into this game always this self-challenge and a challenge to the world I definitely see it in my classes big time this has changed on all levels it’s changed in my relationships it’s changed in my professional life and I think it was connected to several things it was connected one to a personal deep again I keep using this word although I don’t like it but deep romanticism of this heroic selfimage and only related to myself I did not care if other people got it or not but it was about myself and me looking at it and believing it about myself and the other point was also the fact that I had problems with this institution and did not really believe it and could not really believe it and I still do not believe in it but now if I deal with an institution I do not believe in I think more strategically about what value I can take out it for my own personal interest and still make my point although there have been moments of self-betrayal there have also been moments where I’ve been true to myself in these kinds of situations many moments I think more than the moments of self-betrayal although I trust those memories I don’t know do I trust them? I don’t know we did two parties me and Sari in his house we collaborated on them together and they were good actually both of them the first an evening of whipping and poetry that was the first one and the second a cannibal love festival of course from the titles you see the drama underneath them and funny but they were good parties really we were happy to be fucked up I remember in terms of fashion a time when when AUC was dominated by the whole Jim Morrisson look it all came with the movie The Doors and it was really amazing how dominated it was by that fashion statement so so suddenly and you really could see it clearly before and after just a transformation a look an image and that was also a moment of realization because you could see how it was all based on the look somehow yeah my ecstasy is not full of wounds it’s not so yes yes something that will make


––


 ––, : pm today is the th day I feel like yesterday there was a certain change maybe because it was the first time to speak about contentment and to somehow experience that contentment or feel that contentment in this situation so I wondered yesterday and I wondered today what happens next we’d go in the morning to university Abe would pick us up and it would be me Abe Doodi and we’d pick Yanni up in the morning and depending there were funny rides sometimes near the end I was not so in to it because I was getting completely paranoid and of course on those rides a lot of smoking was happening and I was always completely paranoid near the end in the beginning it was OK but in the end it was scary Doodi was really the shadow of his brother when his brother died he was so much weaker they were kind of spoilt but I really liked Abe a lot he was really a great guy they had a lot of fights together I guess that’s very typical between male brothers and a similar age Doodi was into the fighting always part of his image yeah I think one thing that was interesting about being in AUC at that time was definitely the way that’s a positive thing although nearly everybody was from a similar was not really from a similar social background that is really simplistic I think everybody was really very different people too although there was a majority that were very similar to each other there was a lot of differences and there were a lot of people from different places and with really different backgrounds this also created lots of tensions coming from these different backgrounds especially with people who are closer to each other but that’s just normal that’s part of uh life there were jealousies sometimes I guess and these jealousies must have been well hidden because I am not even sure how they expressed themselves they went both ways someone could be jealous about something and the same person would be jealous from the other person about something else but these were things that were kept down I really can’t remember any major eruptions it was interesting in the beginning of my university years and maybe first and second year these are all things without really thinking but undergoing these changes I still tried to take these changes back into more family oriented friendships or relatives or things like this and it just didn’t really work that well in the end because it was clear that everybody was living a completely different life and although you can still care about each other it becomes more difficult to share this life because it doesn’t makes sense you can be their adventure or they can be your adventure but it will go not beyond that if it even is that that’s in the best case in the beginning a bit of that till it showed that it was not working so well or it was not so interesting for anyone really and slowly I lost that and somehow it became completely consumed by what I was into and at a later time it was interesting for me how with the formations of these groups how kind of different fashions were moved into and understood in different ways so if that group you know somewhat loose group not really a group but that loose collection of people who kind of hung out together so I guess is a group in a way what was interesting about them is that they really did not share a set look everybody kind of had a very different look I think about this now because it’s really true although there were uh shared general things one was definitely long hair everybody I was speaking with Mike a month ago or two months ago and we were talking and I was like remember this guy he had long hair and he was like but everybody in AUC then had long but it meant different things to different people I think the what I’m kind of sensing more and more with this project is that this is actually becoming more and more distant to me although I feel like it has gone through certain things that it becomes part of you and is not an issue anymore maybe I’m wrong but I think it is kind of understood and distanced one thing that is surprising that I found out is that it has become distanced it has become really distanced although I still have a close relationship with


this institution and this is a project that is part of that institution and made specifically for this institution but there is a a distance that has nothing to do with how many times you go there or not or what your relationship to it is or not it has ceased to be and from quite a while it has ceased to be an issue it never was there was a time when the issue was the tension between it being a horizon and something wider but this tension has really disappeared I was speaking with someone close to me recently and explaining a bit about what AUC was and she kind of viciously said so you’re a spoilt AUC baby and then when she said that I realized no I’m not no matter if this experience is there or not this has become so distant in some ways this is for me the best way to look at it merely as part of oneself but also a form of knowledge an extra advantage in life that I can deal with this type of person and this type of person and that type of person you learn these things in different situations I’m surprised I thought that maybe through this project it would become almost more emotional but I I realized it is distant and it’s interesting to look at how many of of those people I shared these were all kind of earlier times the last year was very different was much more private more intimate and deeper but all those people I shared the first three years with when I think about some of them at least what happened to them now some it’s surprising and some not the two brothers that I learned betrayal from one has become a diplomat and the other is involved in the government or something like that so not so surprising someone like Taji who was deeply conservative but shared a certain anger has gone into a super islamist kind of trend what is maybe surprising is someone like Islam who was really provocative on the edge for everyone uh he went to New York and has become extremely religious there but maybe its not so surprising because I think for Islam to be an islamist in New York is the most provocative thing you could do other Amr settled for European middle class life by choice and consciously he says that so that’s fine that’s a complete aware decision of what would be better for him and there are people that I know nothing about of course but I guess a lot of people it was simpler maybe then it was just a time a time to let go and have fun and then move into something that was more square and take up your position like I guess Omar for other people were victims of that time and never moved beyond it like Sari he became an echo of himself a picture a caricature more and more as time goes on trying always to regain this in his mind golden moment although there was not much there was a lot of things but what is not necessarily golden just a few years in an institution that’s all and when I say a few years in an institution it sounds a bit like a prison and of course it is not a prison and its fucked to kind of say that but it maybe shares some of the ideas of what a prison does the idea of shaping people it’s that simple of course without comparing them because in the end this is a luxurious situation and that’s a completely fucked situation so I’m not gonna say that but at least they share the motive of affecting people or changing them in one way or another with their own strategies on a silver platter it’s funny how everything that happened four–five yeah six years even every new year’s eve I would always end with a jacket full of bottles raided bottles from parties and walk down the street with a swagger with friends not care and be happy to have those kind of weapons new year weapons I noticed that from the beginning to the end the tendency that there was some motive some kind of sadistic is too strong a word some kind of impulse to hurt people not any people specifically when it comes to relationships and I noticed that it kept getting more subtle till I think a major transformation happened when I I fucked up something that I really did not want to fuck up but it was interesting I started with a completely blunt explosive a young person tasting this kind of power for the first time and therefore using it very blindly and then slowly learning how to control it but still fascinated by how to use it and then reaching a peak with it


 and causing a lot of pain and damage to someone that I loved very much and therefore destroying a very good relationship and by doing that it was all part of that transformation that change and the more subtle it got the more painful it became I think for the other person and then learning learning something then and becoming on the other hand I that is my fantasy of myself I don’t know how true or not but I hope its true slowly moving step by step away and becoming less and less interested in causing that pain or using that pain or being involved in that power and much more interested in trying to create a balance and maybe this has something to do with also not being a student anymore I spoke about this before that uh university life in general I believe and especially in a place like AUC is is kind of a a skin that covers a deep boredom because a deep boredom if you are not if you are not a believer in what the system is then it covers a deep boredom because there is always that question of what do you do what do you really do you are you are kind of uh full of energy and you are also full of ideas but maybe not enough will or courage or tools or knowledge to achieve them as such this takes time and that I learned too and therefore all of that is very unchanneled its just explosive when I met in ‘ when I met Roxanne in ‘ maybe august June July or August ‘ in New York we discussed this because she was my first girlfriend at AUC and therefore the person who most directly experienced this blunt explosive energy and we discussed it and she told me well you know I can see that you have really changed a lot she was happy she said I’m happy that it’s not gone away I’m happy that it’s still there but you have some deeper understanding of what it is and how to use it she said that and that was good for me to hear but that has something to do with breaking out of the boredom of student life all this action all this loud sound declarations and groupings all of that banging hides or hid for me and I suspect for other people too hid some deep unease and deep question of what do you do? what should you do? how do you do that really? and you have different options either buy into that system completely and if you do then you don’t really have a problem because then everything is planned out you do this or that it becomes very organized but if you don’t or if you have questions about it then it becomes a deep unease and its something you have to deal with in one way or another but I was always good at again this this has changed a lot I was very expressive with my anger and it still can happen sometimes but definitely much more of a grip on it even then I was good at many times hiding anger or disappointment if I thought it was worth it could and there were many moments in which I was completely disappointed by things and hid that under the guise of something some kind of not caring in a way but that is a camouflage and I see that positively its just a way of learning communication between people and this institution was also a place for and that is in their books learning communication between people but I think we learnt it in a way that was kind of different than whoever wrote the guidebook to AUC or whatever it is called imagined communication between people because they always have these pictures I always find that extremely funny a group of students of different races and ethnicities hanging around together probably in a circle with someone playing a guitar or someone saying something and laughing and smiling and that has nothing to do with reality at all of course that is their idea of what communication is another disappointment I experienced near the end throughout my education I was really not into my education and so in a way always doing the minimum and just getting through although according to all concerned the potential was for much more but somehow I had a deep disinterest in that potential and that came from an earlier time and I think has been my story with education from the very beginning always that not the potential always the resistance always not wanting to be not wanting to take that role and near the end I got more interested in actually doing something and I was into my subject and am into


my subject anyway but the disappointment was when I did start to actually work they were not happy with what I was producing because what I was producing did not fit into the academic form into the traditional or conventional academic form and I remember Vitkus who was a literature professor then he was not bad really and he was he was quite encouraging at times I did a paper for him on John Donne and I worked really hard on that paper of course I worked on it completely stoned and it was written in a in a way that was of course non academic experimenting with language broken up sentences shapes kind turning the paper into a form and there must have been something deeply naïve in me because I thought that you know if I did that seriously then that would work and would be brilliant and fine and his reaction to it was pretty negative and yeah we had a real big clash and a big almost fight in the end he gave me a b minus and I was so pissed off I didn’t care about any other grades before no matter how only once only once when when with Shoukri I did write a paper that I did write and she was convinced that I was plagiarizing from something else and I was like I was not plagiarizing this is my writing and she wanted to give me an F and I insisted absolutely on the fact that I was not plagiarizing and in the end we reached a a compromise that she would not grade that paper and not take it into account which I guess is a victory in the end somehow and I remember once doing a presentation in class that was really cool part of the image and it was a good presentation really what was the class I think it was postmodern literature or something like that and I presented heroin the velvet underground song I just wrote that I transcribed the lyrics and I played the song in class and the students I mean literature department is I would say ninety percent girls and out of ninety percent girls seventy percent are very very square literature is for women type women I don’t know it’s really kind of stupid but that’s the case and for me it really introduces something very soppy and very sentimental into this field and the students were kind of shocked by that and I was into the shock of it of course not so seriously really just as a game by that time it really had become a game it was not something that I believed in anymore but I think even playing such games sometimes is good because you do present something else at least and I was playing that game I did not do heroin I never did heroin I was not into it into that whatever as I explained in previous days my interest in drugs was much more the hallucinogenic rather than the opiate type thing I was not into that and so I didn’t do heroin the game was of course presenting that song about heroin and kind of presenting the pose of someone who is doing heroin and watching these girls shocked a bit bewildered a bit also awkward and enjoying the awkwardness and the professor was cool she she took it seriously and it was serious I think I did provide a serious analysis of the song as a text so I did my job but it was it was funny to see the the students’ reactions really and if I could point out another parallel between content and form here in that project it would definitely be analysis because the content the talk is about in one way or another in some ways about analysis and the form of this room is definitely about analysis I decided every time I noticed a parallel between content and form to note it and point it out and I have been doing that for a bit in that party in that New Years’ eve party where I wore uncomfortable cowboy boots and drank someone’s bottle of champagne and got them pissed off this was ‘ was definitely the first time that me and Sari became closer friends because someone spiked his drink in that party and he was tripped out completely and I remember sitting with him in the toilet and he’s looking at the mirror he was really fucked having a some deep trauma and just talking and making him calmer and working him out of it getting him taking him through it and that’s a situation in which I have been in also in the future I would be in and other people would take me through it yeah and then the next day we spoke again and he was OK he was much better and we became


 really close friends at that point in time immediately after that and another moment on Islam’s balcony I think was just smoking but I had a flashback or something I tripped out completely and I even jumped outside the walls of the balcony and dangled into space with one arm of course and I was dangling dangling and either they or him well of course completely freaked out because if I would have fallen I would have died and


––, : pm it was again some kind of test a challenge but these actions for me these romantic actions come out of that or today at least I see all these things stemming out of boredom and maybe it is good to speak about boredom after speaking about adventure because boredom was a major part of it you waited you waited for the score that’s one OK you waited for the ride home that’s two you waited to leave home that’s three you waited to get in wherever you were going to that’s four when you were there you kind of waited to leave that’s five doing things but there was always that waiting for the next thing and you waited for the semester to end then you waited for the semester to begin or you waited for the class to end and then you waited for your next class or you waited till you finished so you can go have a beer and at your beer you waited till you could go back there was a lot of invisible waiting this all changed I am speaking about this experience a lot today it seems because that was really my first deep love experience something that was real not just an infatuation or an excitement or an adventure that changed with the beginning of ‘ when I got to know Mirjiam of course it wasn’t like waiting all the time in that sense you were doing things you were learning things you were developing your own tools experiencing but again it is super romantic to say but it was really true in my experience with first real deep love that weight did disappear and whatever I had learned whatever I had known whatever potential I had in me as a man and as someone who can think all the potential I had in me started to come out in a different shape I was not so experienced with the situation and I must have got completely freaked out by it and that mixed in with the power thing which is related to powerlessness this desire to wield power to hurt someone to show that power comes out of frustration which you’re not sure of what you really want to do or what you are doing and you are paranoid of the world yourself and who you’re with that is something else and I spoke a lot earlier about paranoia there was a lot of paranoia with her too because once and that is really a beautiful moment we were in a house in the country and we were in a beautiful circular room and that was near the end when I was starting to have a hard time with smoking and it was affecting my consciousness in a very strange manner and everything was fine we had a circular room a tower and on the rooftop of this tower I went up and looked at the stars and smoked a joint I should be super relaxed there is nothing in that situation to freak anyone out I go down and am completely freaked completely paranoid beyond belief unable to deal with her or with myself or with anyone and she sensed it and first she tried to touch me a bit and she realized that this was not good and I could not deal with that so she started telling me stories and I slept a deeply relaxing sleep and when I slept with that story I woke up in the middle of the night feeling real absolute love because she had seen my paranoia and taken it and let it go and experiencing moments like that made me also realize that you can deal with people beyond what this kind of situation has put on you beyond the student type of uncontrolled out of boredom in a partly uncontrolled out of boredom there is another element in uncontrolledness that was powerful but partly out of boredom and this kind of subtle interaction with another human being changes the way you see people generally and the way you understand yourself and where you are I had already sensed that before but experiencing it immediately touching it made me more aware of the limitations of that place and of the knowledge I knew that in a way I had overcome this place I had overcome it and that was a great relief to know that of course I was not so subtle myself and therefore I destroyed that relationship with all what it had partly out of some kind I was also graduating and in a way also freaked out of what the future holds and in a way refusing to let this go and I remember like when I left her and then regretted that and tried to get back to her she fucked me over when I left her


 I went on some kind of semi-fucking spree I just got laid a bit with different women and it was good I was completely trashed all the time even when I was like that right after graduation really or a few months after graduation after my trip and coming back it was strange after going through all of this and in AUC and leaving and moving on I went back into this kind of time of hardcore anger hardcore wildness hardcore whatever it had something to do with an anxiety the excitement and the anxiety on one side the excitement of finally being outside that and having a place of my own and actually working at the time also as a teacher working out of a place of my own and really achieving the peak of what I was always trying to achieve in a way and the excitement of that with the anxiety of suddenly moving out of the security of being a student this is just one interpretation really one way of looking at it maybe that was what was happening I was freaked out by that and reacting in that way maybe that is not true too maybe I also just enjoyed it and believed in it I don’t want to make it sound like regret because it’s not it’s just a way of trying to understand what it was another part of all of that was the fact that I was in this institution and I was not definitely not the only one in that situation but younger than a lot of people when I first went in and this sharpness this great divide in school these things happen too but they they come out very differently because also at least in our situation if I were to speak about a specific wide social group school was definitely a protected and isolated environment where you don’t even have the chance to experience much around you although I used to skip school with friends and walk around in the streets and the area but still you still don’t get a sense of the city but with that sharp divide with that movement going from Heliopolis to downtown also seeing and of course I had seen the city many times and maybe more than lots of people in a similar situation because I was exposed to a lot of different sides of the city but always within the context of maybe family or mother or something and so you’re still seeing it but still within that thing but that sharp divide at that age hanging out with older people and moving from a place like Heliopolis into downtown everyday and seeing that really great big city unfolding in front of you with all that’s in it from people and buildings and sounds etc makes you hypersensitive to the little bubble you had been pushed in from the very beginning in a way by the institutions you have been in like school for example when you were in school were not hypersensitive well its not the same for everybody at least I was not hypersensitive aware of but in a very rational way without really experiencing it physically experiencing it physically by taking public transport by walking by experiencing that sharp divide at that age from that background also another institution that shares some features made me hypersensitive and then these kind of reactions come out these kind of extreme reactions if you are critical of what you’re in that’s the core of the issue really it’s the refusal the rejection and the same time this acceptance and taking in of course part of it was OK so I didn’t let myself be isolated within that space although I was also at the same I explained this before very carefully the fact of having a certain image that you saw as something against the institution that you were in and a lifestyle that you saw against the institution you were and against the general social system and then walking out of this institution and being identified through what you thought as a rejection of the institution being identified as part of the institution I spoke about this with the police for example but this also I experienced on the streets yes for four and a half years all the time constant fights constant attacks complete I did not have a problem with it really I was firm enough about the way I thought I should be whatever the reasons behind it are so I was willing to always struggle with that and to get sworn at all the time but sometimes there were attempts at trying to connect to explain to pose myself in the street as something else some super romantic


as a wider rebel rather than being a rebel contained in a university and then seen as a product of that university but trying to say no I’m not just a rebel in this university I’m a rebel all the way of course this was naïve and very presumptuous because it had nothing to do with I’m not against that yes I can live the way I want of course and I follow that absolutely but I can’t be presumptuous enough to assume that this form of life is for everyone a sign of some kind of resistance or rebellion or something like that that was presumptuous and I did not understand that because I think at that time I couldn’t differentiate in a way things were absolute rather than related to a specific moment and a specific place and a specific time this is another deep issue therefore if you wear these type of clothes and if you look like that and you have these attitudes therefore you are against the system but that is a delusion that style already comes from a certain time place ideology it is not absolute and it was only possible in that way because of being in that institution where you could do it with glamour I was really naïve to think in those absolute terms and not to be aware of the subtle differentiation it’s OK to go for whatever glamorous thing you think it should be but it is presumptuous to assume that the whole world or the whole city the whole of Cairo should understand it that same way that is presumptuous I had clashes all the time in the beginning I was trying to explain how this was kind of something that was a stand and then after that and I think that is better I learned to fight back which makes more sense because on the street if someone fucks you have got to fuck them back this I think is how it is and is less presumptuous I am not taking a position that is more arrogant at least its an issue of strength it’s an issue of who can break who or who can do what but assuming that people should understand your image within your fantasy of what your image is supposed to be is a symptom of being a student in a university is a symptom of that shallowness there’s that really kind of deep shallowness in a way it’s an opportunity but its also something very shallow too and the only way for me to learn these things was to deal more and more with the street I knew people lots of people lots of friends that completely did not deal at all they jumped into their car and got out of their car into campus and came out and jumped into their car to their home and jumped into their car to a club and from a club to their car and from the car to their home and their interaction with the city is one of pure service it’s one where services are given to you and you buy these services with money and that is their only interaction with the city the problem is I don’t want to look at this in terms of we are all equal or any bullshit like that but it is shallow for the person themselves because their horizon becomes much smaller and what they learn is much less in the end they learn only a very specific perspective that they think is absolute I started from that position and that the only way that it changed was because of dealing more and more with the street and kind of understanding something about that really changed me too and that also brought the tension to a higher lever because the more you do this the more the differences are clearer and the huge gaps are wider in a way I try to remember my dreams at the time and it’s very difficult I remember some dreams from early childhood and I remember a lot of dreams from after that but during that period of time I had lots of dreams for sure but I can’t remember these dreams at all and I was completely convinced and it’s not as stupid as it sounds that of course I will not work I will graduate and I will finish this university and I will find a way of living but I will definitely not exert labor because I’m against labor itself I don’t think that this is as stupid as it sounds but I saw it in a very flat way without understanding what it was about I picked it up by reading about punk for example and always being fascinated by whatever was out there to break things and seeing it in those terms but missing the layers what this really means even if if you want to do this how to achieve that and kind of missing the actual courage


 to really do it if necessary if I wanted to really do that and just live on the street or marry a rich woman or whatever it was whichever this or that I lacked the stamina and the courage to do that and the interest to do that because neither this or that would have satisfied me so it was very surprising for me how when I actually left that institution these ideas not only changed I realized something else I realized it immediately not out of sitting and rationalizing and finding a logic to it but rather just as a deep gut feeling and this kind of realization is very powerful and its very surprising when you get it and it’s the opposite of what you had been saying for a long time and it makes you think other than your own personal shit like how you thought of that and what the context was and of course the context was that space of privilege and boredom even the privilege of time which leads to some kind of boredom even that allowed for again positive and negative part of it is positive because you do have space to question things and that is positive but the negative is that your understanding is flat it lacks an understanding of other perspective it’s really very authoritarian and very absolute and that in the end is most limited to myself more than anyone else really of course just to myself and so the transition and I think I suspected this transition one year in advance one year one year I was suspecting these things but unable to uh let go of what I had become and what I was into although dealing with dealing with a bit in different ways I see it now much more as a tool a strategy a code I see that not personal things but other things picked up in that environment just as ways I use it consciously and I’m not against using it consciously at all if you live in a class system you play the class system playing with your class system to your own personal advantages and my own personal advantages might have nothing to do with the traditional class systems idea of what advantage is it might have nothing to do with money at all it might have nothing to do with anything else but might have something to do with reaching a certain connection making a certain point playing a certain game and if you are able to pick up those tools and at the same time being aware of their limitations and understanding that they are tools then you can use them and that is fine that is valid because everybody is using the tools they want for their own kind of fantasy of what their advantage is and maybe from my perspective I would be critical about a lot of things because I feel a lot of these advantages are conditioned advantages but if you have a clearer vision of a worked out advantage that deals with who you are absolutely and at the same time with what you really want to get at then it is completely valid and it is an advantage and a tool to be used and is used many times is used many times and I have a friend who was in AUC for a year and completely flunked and then left to England and studied there and came back and now it’s the first time I think about that because we share similar backgrounds but educationally differed at that moment also interested maybe not in the conventional advantages but I always wondered why he always had trouble with dealing in some ways? because he always used English at the wrong time and he always used Arabic at the wrong time and I think this had something to do other than his just personality it had something to do with that the fact that he didn’t stay at AUC for all those years and went to England and therefore this kind of tension did not become so important and he just dealt more easily not easily but less strategically with the choice of language more as just expression but for me going through all these years in that place and being sensitized over and over again to which position in society in the city it sits in and the way people look at it and the way people inside look outside and the people outside look inside I developed strategic use for these tools and therefore was always surprised and only now I realize that I never understood why did he always speak in English when it would provoke people and always spoke in Arabic when he needed to make an advantage by speaking in English and it is because although he started in AUC


he went to England and didn’t didn’t learn that strategy that came with four years and a half of dealing with the way this institution was situated in the city so I really do think that I’m much more strategic and careful in my usage of both languages for specific advantages and maybe that is fucked up too but I see it just as a way of dealing these are two different perspectives it comes out of my own personal history as compared to his but many conflicts in cabs I remember also once this is weird me and Sari completely wasted again and deciding to go over to this girls house the plan failed the plan was we would go over and both seduce her and fuck her at the same time and that failed but anyway we called her up and so yeah come over and we took a cab from downtown back to Heliopolis and in that cab I think we just went completely nuts we were like uh chanting and screaming and just completely nuts and the cab driver just stopped and was like get out of my cab I don’t want anything from you just leave we got out of the cab and we took another cab and we went and we tried to convince her this was our approach like this would be really good for you but she was not into it and in the end she kicked us out but that was not the point really cabs as the most immediate interface with the basic system and in those moments it was broken but that unrestraint was also good because at least this letting go whatever happened also in the world we were carrying our sphere with us but it was also happening in the world at least in our own way we injected a bit of unrestraint into what we dealt with and that was fine and we accepted whatever came our way so valid for us Stella was such a thing because it was a such a great beer and it was also like the Cairo beer and yeah even Sari had this jacket colonel Stella he called himself colonel Stella he had all these bottle-caps on his shoulders and I’m collecting them just as a mark of time a mark of the amount of consumption and once there was a murder in Sari’s building someone on the eighth floor was killed and he was an an an old gay person sounds very cliché but that was what we were told an old gay person and he was killed by someone he picked up who tried to steal the flat and there was nothing they caught him in the end but when that murder happened they got us all everybody who went to his house and that was really early on it was one of the early dealings with the police they got us all interrogated us all and they didn’t take us to the police station or anything there in the building itself the policemen had set a desk in the building and was just interrogating people and it was interesting and exciting for us somehow a murder so that was an excitement a lot of excitement the desire for excitement also comes out of the boredom I keep coming back to that word but it makes sense to me more and more that there was a hidden invisible boredom functioning and it was impossible for me and any of my friends really to for example participate in the institutional pastime whatever the club the what is it what was it called student politics like the SU and SJB which were ridiculous for us and I still see them as ridiculous things or anything else like the philosophy club or the film club or whatever these kind of things only in the very beginning I took part in the literary club and it was so boring and basically just fucking stupid shit and I was not interested in it at all that makes sense really these official groupings always had this strange aftertaste and it is really like everybody playing this role and they are not really really doing anything but so in the beginning you try and then you realize that this is really kind of a delusion and a disillusion and something that I was not interested in at all so out of it so


 ––, : pm and in my first semester I’m not sure how but I ended for one day or two days or something being involved in a volunteer project for making Cairo greener or something like that and the committed planting things in a garden in Mokattam and that did not last more than one maximum two days as far as I remember and what is funny is that it was a bunch of people yeah basically teenagers and after we finished like one day of semi-hard physical labor not very hard really it just felt so self-satisfied and by the second day I was a bit number one bored by doing this and number two kind of like just did not see the sense of it and this was the first maybe the first and last time I was involved in anything that smacked or tasted of anything like charity and I am really happy not to be involved in anything like that and I realized that it was really kind of a pretentious thing but it doesn’t matter what is funny is the post the moment after when we sat at someone’s house there and just everybody was into this kind of deep self-satisfaction as if we had really done something and we really hadn’t you know not even on the level of the garden it was again a pure self-image fantasy well my friend Tamer he won the Madalyn Lamont literature award once and we were invited he was supposed to do a reading at the faculty lounge to the faculty he asked me to come and play a guitar with him to accompany his poetry so I went with him and he read some poems and I played some harsh chords on the guitar to go with his poetry and it was funny my professor they were my professors sitting there kind of looking at me like and then one professor was like would you put the volume down a bit please and I refused I was like no I will not do that so I looked at him and if he had told me put the volume down I would have but I looked at him and he was just went mm so I just went on and that was it it was OK and it ended and that was fine and I think that my professors were a bit surprised to find me there and maybe even a bit pissed off you know they were sick of having to deal with me in class and to deal with the attitude in class that they did not really want or expect to necessarily see me in their little faculty party thing so but ah I was there I remember also going to see Solaris a Tarkovsky film which is so fucking good really in the JC auditorium it was strange it was part of the science fiction series which did not make much sense because yes it happens in space but its not a science fiction film in the mainstream sense and in that series they had like b-movies and they had Star Wars and they had all these Hollywood-type films and this was really kind of a very slow heavy Russian film but it was fucking good the auditorium was packed and there were all these students coming to see this science fiction film they don’t know what it is and the film started and it was black-and-white and in Russian with subtitles and people persevered a bit and then there was this one shot which was really amazing this guy driving and through and I only knew this recently through Tokyo and his face and he’s thinking there’s no voice-over really just few words very minimal scene and very long maybe  minutes or  minutes this is really long screen time by the end of that scene there was only three other people left in that auditorium and I mean at the end of the film it was just basically us four who were left out of maybe a crowd of one hundred or something it was a strange experience because the film was so powerful it really had a huge impact on me and it it felt a bit sad with no judgement I don’t mean to promote any kind of cultural elitism it’s just a personal take on it but really it felt a bit sad that you know people were not into it it felt a bit sad and one of the people who were left was a friend of mine from school really good friend really great guy and a nice person we spoke a bit about the film when we came out and he told me he was not really into this but he sat and he watched it and he sunk into it and although he was not into it although it was not part of his daily grammar but he sunk into it and that was something I felt good then at least one person who was out of it fell into


it similar experience in Ewart hall watching an Indian sitar player and the auditorium was packed and he played really fucking beautiful music and again a lot of people walked out in the end it was twenty left out of two hundred when Amr started working in the darkroom there used to be a darkroom I don’t know if it still exists or not anymore there used to be a darkroom on the th floor of the SS he had the keys to the darkroom so we used to go there and smoke in the darkroom all the red light was really trippy to get stoned in this really dark room and it stopped when it became too obvious and someone complained and then there was deep paranoia we might get busted I remember these afternoons or mornings in the darkroom we also used to smoke on top of the SS building climb the ladder I I’m not even sure if this is still there I don’t think I have been on top of the SS building for a long long time and after I got busted and suspended and back to university I smoked a joint in the toilet once opened the window and out the window and then someone saw me and I was so terrified and just put the joint out flicked it out and left the building I think the toilet was in the main building it was necessary as far as I remember it was necessary to be stoned on campus it wasn’t like you smoked so it didn’t matter what it was necessary to be stoned on campus and to be stoned all the time and it was part of life part of what we did motivated by the boredom we couldn’t be the engineering club so we had to be something else and that was it that that flow that stoning flow I think the administration was worried about this I’m not sure exactly why because what the fuck were we going to do we weren’t going to get stoned and go out and destroy the university definitely not but they were really worried about it and I think they fought it and they really got into searching bags and in the beginning it was not security-motivated in the beginning it was dope-motivated now it’s completely security I don’t know if people are still doing this so heavily on campus but at one point it was really completely out of control it was really like constant and a large segment of people who were doing it all the time and they fought against it and they started searching bags and I remember the first time I heard about the AUC anthem or whatever “we of AUC together are forever” or something like that and yeah that was shocking for me because whatever I thought of the institution I never thought it was that fucking dumb that it actually had an anthem that stupid and I guess that is so totally like American ideology really that’s part of the American ideology side of the institution to have an anthem and I don’t know if some people really believe in this shit and really sing it or something I have no idea but I couldn’t believe it it has nothing to do even the people who are connected to the institution or related to the institution it definitely has nothing to do with something like that anthem I mean that is just so lame where did I first see it? I think I first saw it that is one of the reasons why I decided not to attend my graduation ceremony and actually I really pissed off the head of my department then Dr. Shoukri because I did go to a rehearsal and so my name was signed up and I was the only student graduating from the literature department that year and I didn’t go to the graduation I spent it with Mirjiam and I was happy about that but I didn’t go to the graduation and therefore I was the only student and she came out and they called my name and no one came up and she was completely embarrassed for two years after that she had real big attitude with me like fuck you kind of you don’t care about our department to that extent but my relationship to the literature department is kind of complex because in some ways I guess I’m really arrogant towards it but I mean at the same time I do like the subject and I am really good at it and I do like a lot of my professors too as people and some of them are very good but that basic resistance but at the same time I feel like I’m glamorized in that department too which is weird I mean yeah I’m glamorized in that department whether I like it or not whether they like it or not its also because I guess that’s always the flip


 side of the attitude is the glamour and I keep making that point over and over again but I keep discovering that point over and over again so and anyway our relationship now is much better and more controlled so it is alright no problem I remember in my room I had a chair a very uncomfortable chair its supposed to be comfortable but it was very uncomfortable and I always slid down but underneath this chair I kept all these plates of like what were they? they were sheets of paper that had Amr’s pictures and my writings we did this project together that never really went very far and of course then everything that was written had something to do with being stoned and um I kept that underneath the chair not underneath it but between the two big cushions and also a lot of my stash was kept there I had a little plastic container full of stems and seeds leftovers of scores which I boiled into tea nothing was left to waste everything was used and I had a book a pharmaceutical guide that I stole from the AUC bookstore actually and that was very helpful because it you could look up any medicine or any active ingredient in any medicine it would tell you what it does how it affects the brain what side effects it has and so it was really kind of a useful guide to use I remember the first time I saw Mo and his psychotic brother very early in maybe ‘ we went to some party in Charmerie where everybody was dancing like MC Hammer that was how people danced at the time and walking to the party me and Rifai we were walking to Charmerie in Zamalek that moment was so so powerful Mo walking and being so stoned out of his head and Rifai even said hi and it was like man this guy is fucked out of his head and he said yes this guy is fucked and then this guy became a really good friend and he was fucked out of his head definitely but the image that moment that picture of going to that party at night and just seeing someone’s eyes so bloodshot and so red really was something I don’t know why it was something it struck me very strongly the party kind of sucked anyway but that picture really struck me yeah and I remember the time when I started listening to Yassin-El- Tohamy which was very early when I was like  or something and then was immediately drawn to this music and immediately completely affected by it and in the beginning it actually led to a very deep kind of I don’t want to call it crisis but a deep kind of problematic time in which after maybe a year of listening to it I started wondering how could I listen to this if I did not believe where this comes from? and how does that work? but anyway just remembering a moment where I had a couple of friends in my room and again the deep stonedness and again the music playing and again just a moment of complete loss a complete orgasmic moment and being almost flung onto my bookshelves and being pinned to the bookshelves and sighing deeply really like an internal orgasm and then being shaken up a bit and realizing that I had these friends who were completely not part of this in the room looking at me with this very strange look I remember that and this is how we communicated too always through looks communication through looks was so important and so magnified and so melodramatic and so powerful in a way it was all based upon the look your look and their look the way they see you as much as the way you see yourself and the way you see them and that was always very strong I remember also a period of time when I hit weddings just a complete pastime and OK let’s get trashed at night and go to weddings in fivestar hotels that we are not invited to and just go in and eat and steal ash-trays and hang out and be weird and I got into this I got into this and once with Tamer it really did not work because we went to this wedding and the security guard would not let us in and then I had read the names of the bride and the bride-groom in the hotel they put the announcement I was like yeah it’s this guys’ wedding and I know him I could go talk to him and I went up to the kosha (wedding couch) and I was just like mabruk wi bita’ (congratulations) and kissing the guy and mabruk and kissing her and like as if I know them but I did not know them and it was very obvious that they did not


know me and Tamer was with me and then the guy just told the security guard I don’t know these guys and so they took us out and they wanted to take us to the police but then they let us go and it was over but the first time that happened was in Sheraton Heliopolis where we were at the club for someone’s birthday party something shit I don’t remember something like that and then we went down and there was a wedding and we just went into the wedding and I don’t I think someone was with me maybe Sherif and he puked that night in the party not in the wedding and like he just ate not because he wanted to eat but just ate out of like okay hahahaha we’re not invited and we’re eating then that same night we went out and we hitched a ride with a truck and it was me and Abe and Sherif we were six guys or something on a truck on the airport road driving back to Heliopolis and I can see us standing there and stopping the truck all these interactions whoever was interacting with us at that time was sometimes very accepting and open and sometimes not must have always thought these people are completely fucked in the head somehow which we were of course but what is the value of sitting and remembering how fucked in the head you were? I still see that it is important to connect it to like theories of the institution always but I feel I already went through them for a long time and maybe I go back to them with new theories maybe I need time to work with what I’ve got till new theories arise and its always important to question everything I remember once in film class or something they showed an experimental film where people would just sit silently in front of the camera for a long time like I suppose as if it’s a photographic camera and Attar was then of course he went up he went on stage and sat next to them I did not know him so well then but I thought it was funny it was good it was a good act it was a good action


 ––, : pm and William Blake just discovering William Blake was good and taking a class with Michael Ruse a philosophy professor and he was married to a very beautiful but from his account a kind of disturbed woman and I don’t know if that was his romanticism speaking turning her into someone who was disturbed I did not know her I only saw her once or twice but it was good taking a class with him because he could accept a paper that was one paragraph long and give me an A which other professors would not accept for example he could accept the fact that I could play with the form and understand what was behind that and know it was not bullshit and I took a class with him in my last year when I was starting to get a bit into my studies the only time I got into my studies and I met Islam in a class I don’t remember what class but he had a book the encyclopaedia of rock and I came to him after class and I asked him can I borrow this book and he was like no very kind of abrasive but somehow with time and I used to know Firas who was an Iraqi guy into heavy metal big time he was his friend and we kind of then met again through him just different groupings and communities interacting together and kind of creating something but there were lots of assholes too big time it still all remains a bit muddled I have clear distinctions about beginnings ends and middles but it still all remains a big muddle the daily life that’s what I wonder about and the daily difference between that car ride and that car ride is still not clear to me at all it probably will not become clearer yeah never play it never play that game never play that game so I always ashed on the floor in my bedroom always and I remember the first time Mirjiam came to my house in Heliopolis she was really angry because she couldn’t get there easily and I gave her instructions but she got lost and she was so angry about it but then I very strategically took a shower and changed and came to meet her in my room smoking and ashing on the floor and she was so angry but I knew that there was a seduction going on and we spoke about that later on and that was true there was a game being played definitely and her anger was part of the seduction absolutely all these angry seductive moments no need to shape them really my concern here is with partly what the institution means and so no need to shape private seductive moments for something else no need to but a snapshot a moment a captured moment in the life of someone at the time and I still need to really look at all of this a bit carefully because it’s still not so clear to me and it was a really strong marker for me coming out of my background with the whole heavy emphasis on nationalism socialism arab cause etc how dispassionate and how in a way distanced I was to the second gulf war that happened maybe  years ago and witnessing it on campus and just being far away refusing to be part of that stuff I mean for a moment only in the beginning I tried something I tried to photocopy a manuscript a pamphlet some political statement about this gulf war and the guy I tried to photocopy it he told me no I will not photocopy this and I told him it’s alright and he told me no and then I didn’t try anymore and I not because I was afraid of any kind of political shit it was just because I did not believe in it and I saw some deep deep hypocrisy going on and on a very personal level not interested in playing that game so I just went to the side and did not indulge in needing this emotionalism really that’s how I see it and snorkeling somewhere in Dahab we discovered a cave me and Sari we realized that people died in the place and death become a bit more close it always slowly dies like that like a decay a slow decay of an echo and the glory of the memory is gone I guess that’s one big effect of this whole exercise is the glory of the memory can never be the same which I’m completely happy about I can never have this glamorized romantic self-image of the past it’s gone now it’s dead it has been chopped away and I think that that was one of my main secret motivations behind this project to kill the nostalgia and to kill the romanticism completely


by overdosing it and Islam lost the video of The Last Temptation of Christ in a taxi cab and he borrowed it from me with deep passion I was not really supposed to lend it because it was my father’s and he lost it and it caused me a lot of fucking problems so what something that happened a moment so what and I used to drink my father’s alcohol and put water on it in his office that does not exist anymore and so take sips and put water to mark it and fill it with water to the mark I remember that very clearly and so what and we used to make like little gozas and smoke hash or grass on it and instead of water put vodka smoke and get completely fucked and so what that’s where I see it that’s where I see the truth absolutely so times and moments and times and moments yeah absolutely there were times on the steps of the SS building where we just sat in front and someone would laugh and someone would sing and everybody would look and it was always about playing with the look somehow always about playing with the look playing a certain game yeah playing a certain game knowing it inside out and finding it there was no shame and there was no embarrassment in those games there was just the game itself directly now I’ve learned and if I want to take it beyond the game I’ll take it beyond the game because I know how the game itself is played in a way and these are the advantages that come out of that kind of situation these are the advantages you are my little


 ––


––, : pm when we had the bus that we rented that we went to a trip to Sinai it was a really great trip on our way there two things maybe that was not on our way back maybe that was in the middle once the radiator shot out steam and the radiator was actually inside the van it was just chaos we opened the thing and suddenly it exploded so everybody jumped out of the window and it came straight in my face and for a second I thought I was blinded a real drama shit I’m blind for that one second I thought I was blinded I remember then I remember now for one second a moment in school I was – when I also had a momentary blindness or something happened with my eye and I had momentary blindness but then we all came out of the bus and I was alright and everybody was alright everybody thought the whole bus was exploding but it didn’t it was just steam shooting out it hurt me of course there was boiling steam in my face but it was fine on the way back we had met other friends and picked them up we had really a great time just in this bus playing music and of course stopping smoking hanging out going on I don’t know how many hours it took the way back maybe eight–ten hours for a five hour trip but we took it really slow and that was about fun when I came back again from Sinai but from the trip where me and Sari had been detained for a few days when I came back I was away for a month or two months or something and every time I left the country I never contacted anybody I never contacted my family or anything it was I’m gone so I’m gone then I went to see my mother and she was staying in another house then and told her the whole story about it like it was an adventure that’s it it was an adventure and always when back from these trips I mean that’s not the case anymore at all whatever trips I go to anywhere I mean you always come back this moment of coming back there’s a certain strangeness but this has become less then it was really the city seems very strange for a little bit at the beginning always but I really lost all interests in Sinai completely it doesn’t mean shit to me anymore at all I never really feel the desire to go very very rarely last time I was there was maybe two years ago and I was there with my girlfriend and so it was totally different but going on these kind of trip no it doesn’t make sense anymore and in Dahab there used to be what was it called? there was a like a club by the sea I don’t think it exists anymore it is not maybe it is not important but then it was the only the only one that was there so it was the main focus and what was it called maybe the Black Horse but I don’t think so something like that like the the Black Horse or something like that and in it we heard for the first time Angham Al Shalal which was a Libyan group they had one song that was rally good which we got later on and we were into that song I have no count of how many trips I did I don’t know if it was really that much or not because I know it’s definitely more than five and probably less than twenty but no idea and they all seem I mean it’s the way of keeping them apart is definitely by trying to remember who you were with but sometimes the groups also merged and sometimes we go and we meet other people there but really strange not just how important it was but how much of a life a complete life it became I mean whether in a camp by the sea or in Dahab which was much more like in a way urban although it was just a collection of camps but there was like a lot of people and socialization and people that moved and people came etc etc whatever whichever type of trip it was always it always had that feeling of of a time outside of time and yes when did that stop? and how did it stop? I’m not sure how did it stop but it did stop definitely like a lot of these things that changed they all changed without any effort they just changed I just lost interest things suddenly became boring and I suspect that it was not that they became boring I suspect that they had this in them they and other things and when the other things were used up that was what was left so that was it and in one of the camps Kapolski we used to stay in that camp


 we stayed there a couple of times and we were kind of friends with the with the guys running it and one of the guys came to Cairo once and we went to play pool with him in Heliopolis me and I think Yanni was with me and maybe Abe was with me also I’m not sure and the first time I smoked opium was in Sinai it was in Dahab and it was good I mean I think the only the only kind of relaxing non hallucinogenic type of drugs that I kind of enjoyed and also had a strong imaginative streak too and did we go anywhere else? I traveled to other places I went to the Oasis and Luxor and Aswan and other places in Cairo Alexandria yeah Alexandria I did when I was in AUC and Assiut I did when I was in AUC which was a strange trip of course and unexpected at the time but the main focus was Sinai primarily Dahab or Basata or Nuweiba’ like that access I used to know this chick but very distantly and not well at all she got busted for dealing in acid and I did have for a little bit a crush on her sister because I made out with her in a party at Sari’s house and her boyfriend was there and it was weird because I was making out with her on his bed and then I was completely wasted and when I woke up it was a bit like a stage there was an audience watching and at the same time her boyfriend was there and not happy at all and then I kind of liked her but I I saw her again by coincidence and she ignored me I mean it was obvious that this was just for her a little bit of fun at a party I liked her but it was all very on the surface for sure but it was always fashionable and I guess it still is to dish AUC completely to bitch about it to complain about it to criticize it I don’t think I ever really met anyone who said that they were really into it or really loved it or whatever but I really don’t think everybody was completely into it because it was what provided the frame for our lifestyle but always fashionable to say how much we hated it but just sit there for hours all day and even if you finish classes just hang out it really did get kind of tiring and boring this this hanging out and once I went to the museum I walked I just left AUC and I had a walkman and I was listening to Yassine Al Tuhami I was smoking in the street just smoking in the street walking to the museum and that was so great also I remember alone I went to the museum walking and blablabla but then what really struck me there was this this display of hair like pharaonic hair hair left over from pharaonic time just clumps of hair and that was very strong for some reason and every time I know somebody is going to the museum I tell him have you seen the hair or tell them to look for the hair and nobody else has seen it and I don’t know if I’ve been there again or if I’ve probably been there once but I don’t think I saw it myself either so I find it funny how Midan Al Tahrir itself changed over those five yeas and the five years after it looked very different I think everything looked very different even ten years ago it just changed so much the thing the one thing I always notice is that the pedestrian bridges are taken out and it’s part of streamlining the city and they took it out from Bab El Louk it’s OK they took it out from Tahrir it’s OK and Astra well there was this really big café that was basically what is now Hardees and Pizza Hut this whole space was one big café that was two floors I sat there a couple of times it was really nice and it’s gone now and there was some some woman who I think she was really annoying I forget her name she was like really kind of a friend of Abe and very bossy we were never friends or anything we new each other very vaguely but one evening I met her in a club I think one of the hotel clubs which one was it what was it called well anyway I think it was it was a club in Semiramis in Tahrir I think it was a party at the club it wasn’t it wasn’t like the club itself as an event and I think this is how I got to know these people I knew for a bit like Sameh and whoever these guys from the DPS and Yourgi I went to a few parties some of their parties and kind of enjoyed the status the status of the whole AUC vs. DPS status and I mean just to demonstrate how fucked that was and to demonstrate how segregated and arrogant the attitude was that a friend of mine who was not nice but a friend used


to say the DPS dirty people society now I mean that is racist type of stuff really these were all people that I got to know vaguely and saw a few times and then kind of drifted away from and clouds it was like we were like clouds there was central group core and then there was a wider core and the central core was actually kind of friends really then a wider core of people who kind of interacted and each person had his group of friends and you got to see them and meet them etc and then there were clouds of different clusters of groups that you met in different situations got to know a bit and then they’re gone and sometimes you’d acquire some of them who became a bit of a friend from this group and someone who became a bit of a friend from that group but they were never really that important but a lot and again I see this as a major difference that it is now very difficult to do something like that and I mean very difficult and I’m happy it is difficult I feel like it is not necessary to really to hang out with all these clouds it is just really a waste of time maybe at the time it was not because at the time it was part of discovering the basic curiosity I guess a bit more trust in the possibilities of interesting things happening with different people I guess less less judgementalism in a way and sometimes you see someone from a cloud and you no longer remember their name it always leaves me with a strange feeling different than seeing someone I knew well but always like this like I know this person even actually people that who I might not have even spoken to just who existed who are part of my eye line part of the landscape somehow and you see them in different situations now or something everybody’s changed everybody looks a bit different and it feels strange wow do I know this person and I don’t now this person and it is basically the fact that they were members of the same club that is the power of the club it marks your memory it marks the way you see people to the point there is nothing that unites you except the club itself that is enough with all our severe differences that is enough to create some kind of basic first step basic recognition and then you might have different emotions they might not like you you might not like them you might look down at them they might look down at you whatever it is but yeah the club marks its own definitely and I think even you know people that are not seen most probably and highly accurate to immediately take someone out who was there at that time somehow there is that special pose I mean it is a pose that everybody is caught in and this is sharing the same landscape and therefore everybody has this similar smell somehow really but it’s not a smell or something like that no matter how different they are but I mean yesterday I I realized fully and I knew that I have become distant to that system and I think that’s true I can always imagine I spoke a bit earlier about that too a bit but in a different way I can imagine the networks created all over the city and there are different types of networks I mean there is geographical and they are definitely focused in Heliopolis Zamalek Mohandiseen Maadi with a foreign contingency in Garden City primarily and these networks I mean these places where people are living they’re also where they’re working too and then these networks are taken to another level in the beginning they are all based upon entertainment and fun but then they are taken on another level people graduating working opening companies % business-geared for sure and then these networks connect again but now the lines are not the lines of entertainment and fun or socialization they are the lines of money and power and business and they control a big part of a flow that goes through the city and that’s for sure intentional that’s for sure the basic part of what this education is supposed to be about really I mean that is also why a business department or an economics department or a computer science department or a big department is definitely better funded and more important to the university than the anthropology department it has to do of course with the number of students enrolled there but with that idea of this is the place where they will meet and in the future get


 married to each other make their connection and do their businesses together it’s a training ground for that and if you can do it with a bit of style than that’s a great advantage for sure you know so I think I was aware of that early on I mean I was definitely aware of those lessons and they always made me feel uncomfortable because in a way I mean there were other networks existed and I mean in a way created our own networks but always felt uncomfortable with those types in a way being a bit super judgmental but that was the case and then some people I was friendly with but invariably a conflict did occur and these two brothers later on really part of that and one might be a bit better than the other kind of friendly and it was OK maybe but then once something out of the blue some kind of a conflict happened between me and one of the brothers and then the older brother again I told him hey may I speak to your brother and calm him down what the fuck is he doing and he turned against me and it was obvious where their loyalties were and they also held resentment against anybody who threatened that idea that ideal deep underneath the surface fashionable OK we’re all cool and we’re all open there was this really hardcore protective self interest business mentality at work I learned it by experiencing these kind of relations and conflicts but anyway it was no big deal because they never came close which is fine really which is good so it wants us to try maybe to try to look at this now on the ninth day of this of this experiment to try to maybe change try to look at it differently this is maybe more difficult I don’t know how to really include that but I would like to try to remember how I spoke how did I actually talk what was my voice like? not necessarily but physically how did I seem maybe it calmed down maybe it’s still the same I don’t know I mean really I’m not sure and really I’m not sure how to do that or even like what kind of questions did I ask how did I read people how did I attack people or is it the same I don’t know this because over those nine days there’s been many details and little moments of stories that I brought back in but I feel I lack some kind of connection with or understanding with this way of being but still I feel really distant or even how I walked I mean yes I do remember that the walk had something to do with the look for sure and that there was an emphasis on a swing like this because of like basically because of my hair to make it move kind of this emphasis on image again I still remember that a bit and it might have had an impact on my walk till now but I mean maybe this comes or it doesn’t come I don’t know of a method or a way to remember that except that it does come or it doesn’t come yeah there were sunny days of course where all those issues were not there too I mean many times I think the majority of the time I have been sitting here analyzing why I did this and why I did that remembering doing this and then trying to see why I did it but I guess the majority of the time it was just like walking through campus and saying hi to this person and saying hi to this person and sitting with her for a bit and talking and then meeting whoever and going for a smoke and coming back and then eating a sandwich and then maybe going to class and then coming out of class and then going out for a beer and coming back this seems to be more what it was like in a way I think that in some ways this is a huge misrepresentation because I’ve loaded it with all those issues while at the time if I was aware of those issues they were not conscious I remember when I was busted on the top of the JC building and standing there with Jenny Black smoking a ‘joint’ and they were sneaky the security guards one came from this side and one came from that side and we dropped the joint that I put my feet on it and they came lifted it and picked it up and we were busted yeah sure and the funny thing is that this classic security behavior they always reassure you they always tell you don’t worry there will be no problems everything will be fine but they’re basically thinking of how to fuck you the most that’s their basic motive there was another scene like the Sam Mansi scene Sam Mansi in this Heliopolis


street scene and that I came across a few times through friends again although Sam was also a friend who became a better friend later on coming across the street Zefta scene was was really kind of distant it was interesting it reminded me big time of the triumph Jimmy scene because he’s again more like shabab heavily into drugs and there’s a lot of social type of aspirations and frustrations but I would say home-fed big time but who doesn’t have that maybe blunt and on your face and what always intrigued me that I went once with Jimmy to Ain Shams to score from Fayala who was a guy kind of Jimmy’s a dealer I mean a small kind of dealer a really young guy who had all these Marlboro packs he had collected Marlboro packs and he was this is amazing he was making like little Marlboro packs statues like a building or people or whatever this is what he was into and we sat in a room and it was very small and he got out his statues he showed us his Marlboro packs statues then we left and it was dark funny how many houses you go into people’s houses you go into maybe once


 ––, : pm a cafe back up to a guy’s house back to someone who you’ve just met me you go to his house and you never see him again or you’re at a party and some go to another party and you go with them you meet someone invites you for breakfast somewhere it was constant it’s really cool to pop around and move from house to house and to meet all these different people in their houses that was really interesting the way it was like a circus continuous partying going on without leaving the party but the moving in the hangout smoking is a big part of it some music and moving and then moving out and hangout somewhere else and different types of people from the heart of AUC life to Fayala maybe there is Marlboro packs and in the meantime we must have spoken a lot hard to remember conversations especially that large percentages were devoted to either scoring smoking rolling different types of weed etc. yeah when acid came into my life and chemicals came to my life there was a big gap there was a big difference I remember my first trip and how intense it was but other than that there was a difference that was the time when the paranoia started to rise and with the rise of paranoia this type of socialization tended to become less this all coincided with this final year of really becoming much more private and I realized till that first real love affair every woman I was with before I was really not with her they were like beside the point I regret that now although I was always regularly saying I’m not into regret but it is a pity because being with someone is a great thing even if it is not a very intense relationship there are still many things that could be done together that are positive I was too consumed by the scene it was really strange almost every woman I was with I was not really into I did not want to show that I was with her I did not want to declare it and I acted accordingly therefore I always tried to keep these two worlds completely different and that changed but that that’s really a very conservative attitude and it’s very arrogant deep inside many times feeling that I was better and they don’t really deserve me somehow and so keeping myself detached and not involving them in my life much more the visitor this is so different now coming back from Alexandria with Roxanne and in the bus kissing in the bus and somehow then in my mind it was like just kissing in the bus like heavily kissing in the bus I mean you don’t really do this in Cairo this causes problems and of course there was a problem and my reaction was like OK the people behind were pissed off and they called the hostess and they said this was a bus a bus ride from Alex to Cairo and that these guys are doing something and she was what are you doing you know this is really bad and stuff and I was like you’re kind of not understanding and then I just put a towel behind me and a towel in front of me and I just proceeded to go on the hostess of the bus was so pissed off and she came and talked to me again and I was not doing this to provoke anyone honestly at that time this is what we do without thinking and I guess this has to do with not being so experienced with the city and naïve in a way not realizing what the general public codes are so it was really a big problem and then we stopped because we both realized how serious they were but it was fine in the bus yeah in one trip Alex that was really very interesting was with Sherif and we went to Mamoura I think Mamoura or Montaza I get confused but it was in summer and it was really amazing because it was like hell in a way and also the playground of shabab big fucking time and it was great I thought really good of that trip because it was really a completely non AUC trip and at the same time it was early on discovering the wider drug culture that was all the young people from different universities or schools or whatever and this place I mean it was packed with young people all smoking and dropping pills and doing needles and everybody tripped out all night and getting wasted it’s very funny to see this huge place out of young people and the families maybe this guy’s father is an army officer and this guy’s mother is a school teacher but


their kids are completely getting twisted and bent and their minds are being pushed around me and Sherif I think we completely jumped into this and we met a really weird guy he looked very strange and he was very strange and we hung out with him a bit and we did some stuff with him and talked and then disappeared I can’t remember even what he looks like very clearly I just remember that he was very strange very a bit uncomfortable but interesting in his look then what pissed me off when Abe died was a lot of people and I was a very close friend to him but he was also kind of a very public figures he knew lots of people public figures that came within that student vibe and he knew lots of people and everything and so all these people came to his house and what pissed me off was definitely there was definitely all these girls who were not so close to him and were completely into the fashion of that they figured like these Heavy Metalish type chicks and this was their chance to go all rock they can be all in black with black nail polish and whatever and live their fantasy but it was really annoying to see that at the death of a close friend it was really turning into a fashion statement and it was also very fashionable to be sad that he died you know even if you were sad or not but to make it a show of being affected by his death and I mean I do think a lot a lot of people were affected by his death if they knew him well or not because he was so much larger than life in a way and so present and so of course it had an impact and we were all young maybe if he was not such a close friend it wouldn’t get on my nerves but he was and so it was it was a bit sad other than that it was a bit sad to see how it was completely dealt with as an opportunity to explore your fashionably dark side the gothic thing is one side the list kind of continued and still goes on till now I was never personally into it but I always wondered what is the attraction of the gothic thing why was that so attractive to lots of people and like lots of girls especially like the dark gothic look I feel in a way it has something to do with being in Egypt in that situation I don’t know what exactly it’s a bit similar to the way Heavy Metal suddenly became popular and then died yeah and it was usually associated with with tablets pills certain pills also I mean not always but also I think they got into certain stuff and I still see more much more than a lot of the other styles that were around but I saw some really great work and Faces was very interesting from a completely different time and a completely different way and in a different country with people from a completely different age even but it was there were two things about Faces number one is that when I first started watching I mean started watching the film for the first half an hour I think I was completely irritated by it and completely not into it and then I suddenly sunk in and then I was completely magnetized by the film and completely I always love that feeling where this deep deep kind of communion with what you’re seeing and every movement and every word and every look meant something and that is like the positive kind of thing in a way there’s a positive paranoia and kind of moving with your film but what really amazed me and I don’t know if I realized it then or if I think about it now but the film was about this man and this woman in their house and they’re talking two men and a woman and they’re competing for her and she’s kind of trying to break up with something but there was a scene where they go to a club and like letting go in the club she needs these two types of people and she’s into them and in the morning she’s not into them anymore but that scene in that there was like in this film there was it was playing with this idea of two of woman’s eyes a hope some kind of hope for some kind of open liberation somehow and then and she looks for it and she needs it and she sees it and she picks it up but then it’s not but then it’s a complete disillusion somehow and I don’t want to throw it to my experience then in those terms exactly but there was something when I watched that film that rang true with me and at the same time at that time I was watching things like Buñuel and Un Chien Andalou there was a deep attraction


 to it and we had an evening where me and Islam had a screening of Un Chien Andalou at Amr Hosny’s house when his parents were away and we screened the film while jamming with it and it was not so successful really it was not so successful and I remember also going to Amr’s house his grandmother’s house somewhere in Giza once during Ramadan and smoking while fasting with him and we were both into that like fasting not eating and drinking but smoking and being with women was fine and we kind of also both had a strange type of affair with a woman and she came to his house and I think at the same month and we all got really fucked up and she got into it too we tied her and she was into being tied she was completely turned on by this and we both started touching her but then Amr pulled out so I continued but he pulled out he was not into this he got a bit freaked out by it but but there was never for me in any of these actions never ever any sense of guilt or any sense of wrong these were always seen as great things to do and I think they are great thing to do and I think it depends just on what we want at a certain time and this is what I wanted then and I thought it was great and so we were following that and I was surprised when I spoke out and again it was seeing kind of realizing that with a lot of people that did this attitude in lifestyle was really a more serious it was a pose for me too but for a lot of people it’s just something that they tried to live in a distance rather than really kind of dealt with and only very recently passed through a strong kind of period just for two three days and this is really strange I was threatened by these things in a way not by these things that I’ve done but by the existence of these things by somehow their destructive energy and I came to terms with this and I moved on but it is just strange for me to feel that kind of paranoia and I was explaining it to someone who was close to me and who is close to me and trying to explain where did that come from or how does it come why does it come now maybe a couple of months ago but a few days like that why does it come now but I am looking forward I will definitely and will transcribe those taped and read them and I’m looking forward to that so much the system for me today is not functioning so well at one evening me and Sari met a professor and he was kind of a young guy but he was a professor I had taken a class with him we met him in a bar and we were getting kind of drunk and we spoke a bit and we wanted to have a smoke I’m not sure if we had or he had but he invited us over to his house and we had a smoke and we got more and more and more fucked up and then we decided to play a game a theatre game and we played the cross which was a game that I knew from Attar’s workshops from his theatre workshops and the cross is basically a cross of four pints or eight or sixteen whatever but the basic the formula is that it is four points and you stand in the middle and then you move and the moment you move to a point you become a character and you speak or you move or whatever so each point you become a character and the thing with a game like that is it is an interesting game but it can also be a lame game because really a lot of things could come out especially if you’re playing it not as part of a workshop part of a theatre workshop much more this kind of weird psychological evening and so I did the cross Sari did the cross and it was his turn to do the cross and he did the cross and he broke down he completely broke down he had a lot of things that came out and then he completely broke down first he got connected to us and then a second he got paranoid and he told us that he got completely freaked out by us and he told us to leave he was completely freaked out and since then I think our relationship has been marked by this unspoken memory of a certain night I think that it was mainly threatening him to be in a situation of being a professor and with students and for that to split and for that to be irrelevant but relevant we also had a certain desire to split our relationship somehow and it worked in this weird way it didn’t work because of us it worked because of him because he had the something going on inside and it came out and we saw it but


he did not accept that so he kicked us out we left the house yeah one of the houses that moved us through at different times the funniest thing is that it’s not funny but just that there was no e-mail at the time I just remembered that and I’m amazed by it somehow just a side thing it sounds like an old man’s type of comment but there was no e-mail at that time and I think this is amazing it’s amazing how much this is now I just remembered that there was something like the grandfather of e-mail or something and it was in university in a kind of research capacity maybe then it was related to one or two computers or something and I heard about it from from Omar’s friends’ or something like that I think so but the world wide web didn’t exist as such a bit like also how the city has changed over the past ten years so rapidly and so without a trace how something like that can change without feeling that it changed rationally I know that and of course the institution itself has changed drastically really changed that I noticed very well and I’m conscious of a lot of the time yeah I remember sitting with Islam the first time I met him or the second time I met him in the main campus sitting on a bamboo chair looking at the book he had with him and then realizing that he said something and then realizing that this guy is not is not like an average guy at all and somehow realizing that most probably we will be very good friends and over a few years we were really good friends and then not but realizing from that first time we met that this was going to happen and he said what did he say? I think he said something critical very typical and very provocative these memories are not are not so easily accessible anymore somehow a bit like something has been understood for me and I feel like and maybe what has been understood is some distance maybe but since that moment it’s like OK they’re a bit but there must be more and more and more because  years and a half are full of things they must be they must be


 ––, : pm always at the end in terms of papers and classes and exams and somehow doing it but really on the edge I remember two hours before the exam in the library really not reading texts not reading what I was supposed to have read just grabbing different texts about it and the text itself and just flipping words here and words there constructing a very vague picture of what it is about and it worked it was always enough to make me go on but not so focussed on that point and I remember writing a paper in the middle of a party at Sari’s house and giving it in the morning and it was really shit of course even the handwriting I wrote it on my hands and I think I got a C but it was horrible it was written in the middle of music and a party in the middle of a party partying and then writing a few sentences and then partying and writing a few sentences the duty that one had to do to continue partying somehow the thing that one had to do so that they can go on with real stuff that they were into with a real purpose which was not educational in the classical sense for me at all was completely something else I did my duty to the minimum but just enough to survive and go on that paper that was written in the party not only was it shit it looked like shit it was scratches on a piece of paper yeah rooftops very practical for in roof tops you can escape the authority of the house and the family and the parents and everything when you go out to rooftops with a friend and have a smoke and sit on the roof and the others that always promised this wide open landscape I still do my rooftops a lot but in those years I got on those rooftops more than I ever did before or after this is the practical side which is probably the biggest I used to have a silver pipe I lost it and I don’t know how I lost it but I used to have silver pipe with a silver pouch and I wore it on special occasions and I put my stash in the silver pouch and the thing is that it looked like a piece of jewelry and so I was never paranoid I never got stopped when I was wearing it and I never got searched in a party maybe two months ago on a rooftop I was standing with Mike who was with me then and in AUC then and Jenny who was with me then and I’ve not seen her for a few years it was interesting because we were three AUCians from an earlier time in a party that was full of people from now also it was really a big party and we’re standing on the roof talking about our difference and the mark of time and then a friend of mine and of Mike also came and then Mike introduced Jenny and he’s like Jenny AUC old school Karim AUC new school and that was really a funny introduction but then even then it was the mark of time again Karim was like yeah but I just graduated and for me at that moment it was funny to just see us and younger people but then he just said well I just graduated it just felt it just felt like a machine was going on and on and that we were standing on this roof it felt like that looking at it just it was signs of different times talking to each other and in a way all trying to understand what the fuck that thing is? and why? and what connects us together? and what brings us here in the first place? and I see it as the machine that produces a certain culture you deal with it and you shape it to your own but that culture becomes a sign a mark a space in which you are trapped but dealing with it depends on how you’re dealing with it and if ignorant and trapped it doesn’t matter but if aware and trapped then it’s an issue and issues do exist and issues can become your wealth and issues are glamorous too and that’s why in lots of good films people with issues are part of what a lot of good films are but that has something to do with the way you always want to look at a certain type of struggle with an issue and that moment on the rooftop now eight years after I’ve already been outside this place with other people with friends on a rooftop realizing that the issues were not dead that the issues were not buried maybe they were distant there was some deep connection created by that machine by that culture machine that created a very specific culture at least for us people who had issues with it for those who


didn’t it created that culture but it was not that culture never felt like it was a culture it only felt for us like it was that thing and that we can make that that Mike can make that statement/talk about old school new school and introducing them together and like him having a little inter laugh and me and Jenny all of us smiling in a way and laughing and knowing what is he talking about but that was because for all those four people in one way or another there was some issue some tension something that had to do with that place and the impact of that place and the impact of that time in different ways one of the projects that never happened that was spoken about these things that were spoken about but never happened part of that very tiny bedroom culture that we created as friends one of those projects was was was a comic book or a tight magazine comic book something like that we had a newspaper seller in downtown who was just an eccentric person and a comic of like superman cannot fly his trauma of not being able to fly and an advertisement of Pulmolar that cuts through all generations with a green Mubarak holding it up and promoting it and that comic magazine whatever never never really materialized beyond just discussing and talking and trying to come up with ideas but I really appreciate that lots of those ideas were fun maybe were not so great sometimes they were fun but rarely managed to take them outside the discussion the group this is one of the things that has in the future in terms of then which is my past now and my present became one of my personal resources energy resources and will to do things is because of that desire of doing things that was always never completed and only when I was out of the institution was I really able to do these things and so without putting the blame on the institution the blame is my responsibility absolutely but there was something related to being in there that took away the urgency at least the urgency it was enough to talk about it and not necessarily do it that already just talking about it said something and that was ok that satisfied us then and motivated us enough and convinced us enough that we were different enough for it to exist and that was fine but after I left the institution and that frame was gone that box which I could throw things at and get that that echo without doing it after that was gone I had to either do it or suffer from major depression all my life basically so then the drive and the energy will was magnified after after coming out because it was so worth it inside for personal reasons and the way of seeing myself and seeing the place I was in and it became really urgent and it became really important that actually yes not to just say it but actually do it it meant something different it was also the breaking of a shell it was also the unfolding of a new horizon without sounding too seduced by the romance of  years of adventure if you think of that I was so happy when I graduated I was so happy and that was such a relief really and although in a way or for a time I was a bit disturbed about what to do with this now the happiness was more the happiness the joy the joy of leaving was so much more and even without the guarantees of the conventional guarantee of of security especially without those this joy became bigger and bigger yeah and I can see them now the roots or part of the roots of that will and motivation that expressed in a project like this came from the fact that there were a hundred and one other projects at that time that we’re always talking about them but never achieved always these paranoid moments were related to reading to the person in front of you to reading the elements it was about in many ways an analysis and it remains to this day when experienced about analysis and about reading because it is the look it is the breaking down of what is around you and and this is where paranoia is I’m not saying it is the truth at all because you are reading it in a specific way but it’s reading and breaking down the words the elements and then reading those elements is meaning something specific and therefore a conversation with someone or someone’s look or a car passing by or a walk all become so heavily full of meaning that


 one reaction is of a deep fear and that deep fear was born in that place did not exist before it is not necessarily fully related to what that place is but was born there and that is its birthplace that deep paranoia and for a long time that deep paranoia was my central theme and my greatest fear and you learn with time how to deal with it but it was born there why was it born there? I can sit and ask many questions why was that deep paranoia born in that place? it was about two things it was about the way I saw myself as a deeply disconnected individual and the way that place framed space and spoke about itself as something else and that conflict between both those elements and the conflict between that and the world around it but primarily it is the way of framing myself that allowed this paranoia to exist and I don’t see this as a negative thing as it allowed this paranoia to exist it allowed for many other things to exist too and those other things are valuable and valid and that is part of the combination that makes me who I am and therefore it is not something to be condemned it is just something to be aware of and something to deal with and something to learn about and maybe one day overcome this situation is about paranoia of course it is about the paranoia of the spectator as much as the paranoia of the performer and that frame that’s another moment where the content and the frame connect and I point it out now and that frame becomes so important and so political too and a chance to uncover a potential way of dealing with that situation really and that is it and this relation to the flow of memories is something else that for me is still a bit problematic but I need the flow of memories to realize where that paranoia comes from really shit so yeah once in Amr’s car in his Lada me and him and Islam were in the car we were stoned and we’ve gone to Al Hussein and we had thankfully thanks to Amr it was Amr’s idea hid the weed inside the car behind the speakers the speakers embedded in the car it was his paranoia but thank God we did that because after we came back to the car we came into the car we sat for three minutes and we spoke a bit and then we were about to drive and the moment we turned on the car there was a police car in front of us but we went on not thinking about it the police car went and like stopped right in front of us and everybody jumped out with their guns and pointing at us and told us to get out and searched the car bit by bit and couldn’t find anything at all and their problem was like who are you like this was these policemen like they were disturbed by who we were and they just wanted to know who are you? they were like who are you? what are you? we had beards and we had long hair and we were Egyptians at the same time and we’re in a Lada and it was just for them confusing and that was just dangerous for them somehow without us intending any danger to them that was dangerous for them and so then in the end after of course a few games with the police which is part of life in Cairo and a great asset I would say to deal with the outside world always an advantage knowing that but after a bit of that they let us go yeah bitch and in the SS  I used to watch films also in the JC auditorium and the SS  and those they still exist but they don’t exist as film screening spaces anymore and I think I saw some of the most amazing stuff in both those spaces I did take Anthropology and Film class once and the final paper was to write a script for an Anthropological documentary and mine was so completely fucked I got a really bad grade for it I don’t remember it but it was probably a C but all these ideas of trying to analyze an industrial district and really silly stuff too full of silly stuff like breaking into houses randomly shooting and running out again and imagery breaking up people’s bodies and stuff it was fucked I think it was a fucked script and I think that it got what it deserved somehow but it was interesting too not as an Anthropological film but as some mad idea in a way and it was called I have called it Daght El Badan Fi Saft El Laban which means compressing bodies in Saft El Laban which is a district a slum industrial slum district which I have been to because a friend of mine was making T-Shirts there in a factory I


still have that script at home somewhere because I saw it maybe a year ago when I was going through old papers and I was throwing away a lot of stuff and I looked at it and I decided not to throw it away although I’ll never make this film and I’ll never make films like that in that way but still it was completely wild which is what I liked about it it was embarrassing somehow but also so wild that that I didn’t care it had some value of being so wild in a way at least it wasn’t about the pride somehow somehow and I liked the title and I like the silence too oh yeah yeah


 ––, : pm Abe got me two tapes one’s Bob Dylan’s Highway  revisited and the Stooges and I have lost those tapes now but they were both good albums yeah and I remember I when I went back home with the woman I was with and her sister and a friend who was trying to get on with her and then my parents were out and then they came back and they looked at the scene we were just hanging out in the living room and when they walked in they didn’t do anything but they were pissed off just a memory so many tensions were about that using my space your space my space that thing and those tensions they are I think basic it’s the basic conflict that is always about space somehow in the house your house their house the canvas of space in the city in the streets that surround it embedded there the conflict of that the conflict of being able to go and not being able to go the conflict of and I remember once I went with Attar I think it was me Attar Maya and someone else I don’t remember who else we went to President Hotel which used to be B’s Corner there was this guy this guy searching for a creative fabric that is related to Benetton and something that had a creative workshop thing and they were looking for people and they all had to be under a certain age I forgot what it was it was  or  but really these young people and it was really quite a shop for creativity and at the same time I saw it as an opportunity and for a while I got into trying to create some portfolio for that and seeking some opportunity to travel somewhere be part of that creative group and as far as I know no one from that meeting made it to that thing I don’t know if anybody did I remember they did make a video all together Attar and Maya also made a video and they sent it I tried to do something of my own a certain text and take some sound and stuff but I never sent it I lost interest half the way and I remember another night of being at for some reason I don’t know why or how but we were at Mohamed Shebl’s house and he was a filmmaker and used to write in Al Ahram Weekly and just knowing some people and sitting and eating was a bit strange and puking in his bathroom just completely vomiting all over his fucking bathroom I can’t even remember his office him sitting behind his desk he loves sitting and talking about all that bullshit a bit and then people would be like yeah that’s really cool like this aura but it was like bullshit in the end I think people who also search around everybody was searching for auras to be addicted to well I vomited it all over the toilet and maybe that was good maybe that was an answer to this bullshit somehow and going to Ismailia with Islam for one night we spent one night in a hotel that cost  pounds and we just one day decided OK we’ll go to Ismailia and we took the bus and we got there and we walked round and yes beautiful city all of that bullshit and then we took a hotel room and the next day we came back to Cairo and it was all right it was all right somehow jamming in my house with Islam really loud wild noise jams that were I think really fucking good really hardcore freaked out stuff and it was good and somehow my relationship to music also changed completely from this complete loss to much more controlled exploration and sure these jams were full of shit but they had these moments where it took off and it was wild and what’s amazing is that then I did not know really much about noise as a form of music I did not know I did not listen now I know much more and listen much more to a lot of noise music but then I didn’t but it was just a really distinctive type of reaction this is what we produced and I loved it I loved the power of it I loved the strength of it I love the force of it and I loved the wildness of it definitely and it was sensitive too really it was a very specific understanding of beauty in a sense but it was sensitive too and we did a lot of it and a lot of it was good and we were our own audience and completely protected by it for sure plotting and plotting and plotting my memories on a map of myself looking at that hanging my consciousness on a line that stretches from that side to that side and looking at that and really


wondering and I remember being in a party in Zamalek where Wessam had a place and there I met Eva for the first time and we became kind of friends till now and Martin came with me and I was wearing a shawl part of the image and it caught fire someone stopped it and that was alright and Eva was walking around waving continuously with one hand continuously waving with one hand like a nervous tick Martin was really pissed off by that he was like this woman is completely pretentious and we were thinking me and Islam there was an opportunity at one point that never materialized of playing at the British club and what we had liked to do is to play at the British club with a British flag and burning the flag at the same time it never happened anyway the music we were producing would not have been appreciated and it never happened partly because we were not so organized but partly because our ideas did not really fit and this was there for a while the possibility and the answer like the system an emotional system although that seems a contradiction but it is an emotional system what I liked about this project is that and at this very moment it doesn’t not hide the pause my pause it does not hide its pauses it is about me acting an image while talking to an image being an image while speaking about an image and is interesting that has nothing to do with authenticity and has nothing to do with being real at all it’s the opposite it’s about reading the surface in a way expressing it creating a situation where you got to be the pause and speak about the pause I really like that and appreciate that in many many ways and I realize that when I finish a pack of cigarettes it did not reach and that it fell and then I realize that my gestures are also such a pause like OK you take a cigarette and you throw the pack in a corner of the table and then it failed the moment it failed it became clear to me as a pause then I appreciate it as part of the project at the same time just that framing that pausing that’s being fashioned shit yeah at that point it’s always at that time yep at least there’s time for one more this project is absolutely sensational because the memories are sensational and for sure it is not easy to remember these sensational memories but almost in this situation impossible to not remember sensational memories and it seems like I can’t remember except what is sensational in a way so I’m curious I’m curious


 ––


––, : pm yeah and today on the tenth day first thing I notice is process has a platform where certain things have been established and more or less a system has been drawn out and a series of memories have come and gone because I don’t remember everything I have remembered for the past two days trying to find out how to do this what other direction to take? how to go beyond remembering stories and coming up with theories about them or about the institution I don’t know if I will find another way and if I don’t then that is where this project has led to so I think it is good that I refuse outside this room to think about this project I refuse to program it during the day I refuse as much as possible to think about it of course this is not really a hundred percent true but as much as possible to still try to keep the situation a bit open and I remember being at someone’s house maybe in my third semester and having a pretty violent vicious fight with this guy and we really hated each other he was really arrogant and he was much older and physically much bigger and he was really hitting me very strongly but I was fighting back as much as I could although he did really punch me out I still managed not to be broken by this and after the fight stopped we were at a mutual friend’s house and he stopped it although I was badly hit I felt good for not giving in sand yesterday I dreamt again the dreams have been coming and going but yesterday I dreamt of someone that was never important for me some girl who was a relative of someone then at that time at very early time in AUC and even then actually it was interesting in the beginning these were friends that I had from school actually they were not even really my friends they were from my same school but they weren’t really friends in school they became people I hung out with a bit with in my first and second semester and this woman was a relative of one of my former schoolmates I don’t know why I dreamt of her there was no reason it was a very banal dream she was delivering a package to my door underneath my house picking up the package something like very banal I have been having lots of dreams related to this project more than I can remember over the past eight days and I think a lot of them were moments when I saw people’s faces people that I knew at different times vaguely or closely just remembering how they looked like in a way there were these the group people who were in my school but older than like Sam Mansi and Mohamed Nassar the brother of a friend of mine who was with me in school and also with me in university this was a totally different group they were older they were maybe the same time as Attar for example but they were on the different side completely much more sporty much more into basketball and stuff like that it is interesting how a place immediately breaks down into little groups all these little groups connected together by some thing and it’s not necessarily liking or disliking each other it’s shared motives or some shared interest and also of course this always amazes how in the beginning it was a sudden explosion that happened how things like being attracted to someone was so big and was always something that became absolute and was so easily forgotten too even strangers even women that I never spoke to but just these sudden infatuations that disappeared suddenly almost without noticing they grow and almost without noticing they disappear I think that’s countless but that must that is related to to age related to the time and related again to I keep coming back to that point the basic boredom in which which we also somehow float and talk people react to differently there’s also the search for this strong emotional connection of some sorts whether it’s into ideas or actions or excitements and partying or sudden infatuations with people and sudden shifts all concentrated in a few years and because I was there when I was quite young younger than the average university age all these things were much stronger and all my reactions were extreme because of that or were considered extreme but you know it’s also the moment you put yourself in a position where the surroundings consider


 you extreme you persist depending again on who you are but if you’re interested in having a strong sense of yourself you persist in that and refuse to be taken into what is considered the the general average code and even with my professor’s at different I wanted to communicate that so in the seminar I mentioned this incident before also in my seminar paper about season of migration to the north I added a small private section which I explained to the professor was private and about my own relationship with my first girlfriend at university Roxanne and in other classes with someone like Vitkus I discussed and spoke with about what I was doing outside these classes and also before and after these classes the smoking we did invite him to a party at Sari’s house an evening of whipping and poetry I think or the other one the second one cannibal love festival I don’t remember which I just remember him standing in the balcony he was very tall and I was talking to him and then there was a corner with an old chair and stuff put on top of it and I was standing on top of that talking to him completely wasted and holding on we were talking about the party too and what he thought of it for him it was exciting always the bug Omar’s bug the Volkswagen with a crate of beer on top and coming to pick me up from my house and I don’t know the amounts of people who got shoved into this car it was a really small car I don’t know how it could take –– people all stuck in together and picking me up and coming out of the car and then there was there was Dina blond who was this woman with this Marilyn Monroe type look and of course considered massively attractive by many people I had a crush on her for one week or something and she was not really attractive but just part of having crushes on everyone thing and coming out of the car and all these people Abe and Doodi I think Dina Blond and other people in front of my house waiting for me I look out of my window and I see the bug and all these guys outside standing and I see my neighbors and the people in my area just watching them completely fucking shocked really they weren’t doing anything just shocked by the look of course a bit angry always a bit angry but fascinated angry the best way to deal with such situations was to ignore it and to ignore them wherever the bug went it took a little bit of our life with it and in a way it took a little bit of where we hung out in AUC into different parts of the city with it too so it was like a little part of that world that moved and and threw itself out and people watched it with fascination and anger but in many of the times when I had clashes with people about my look for example or hair there were different responses at different times but I remember a time when I was more into explaining or aggressively answering back and making my point so someone saying what the fuck are you doing with this hair and stuff and I my answer was yeah this is sunna of course this has nothing to do with the reality it was just a way of getting back at people and like OK you fuck me I fuck you back in a way and the YABs this was three years later the YABs who came one summer this group was completely into their west coast grateful dead acid radical chic and playing with their Hackensack on the green grass I played it a couple of times with them and was not interested in this game at all but people got into it for a while Wessam was good friends with with those people I went to Maadi once to one to this guy’s house Keith I think and we were sitting in a big living room smoking and talking not so interesting they were all very bubbly they seemed to fit in to AUC very well and the music a place I have not been to in years but the music room was in the SS building it was a place that became a bit important for a while one it was the place where Attar did his workshop and interesting things happened in that workshop I spoke about how it was a field of traumas in a way minor self-indulgent traumas somehow through which you could see a snapshot an image of a certain group of people’s minds really connected to being in a place like AUC with its hypocritical emphasis on individuality and at the same time its emphasis on being a certain way


both at the same time and this is interesting maybe in other institutions where this is not promoted this liberal individualism is not promoted this tension doesn’t exist where the system’s clear line is OK you follow that system and you become part of it and we are all like that and that’s how it’s supposed to be but being in a place where it is always said always presented always promoted as the place where you will discover who you really are which is a complete fucking illusion because you’re never really who you really are as much as you are what you are in that place in that context at that time shaped and shaping and so these these moments these minitraumas in the music room where people spoke on microphones and set storms was very fascinating for me to see because it was a snapshot of that issue always coming back again and again in those monologues that issue coming back again and again the position you have to what’s around you and these exercises they were done without experience and maybe Attar didn’t have the experience then to deal with them in a very subtle fashion and maybe it needed a bit more care and a bit more focus but still these exercises were based upon dissecting yourself breaking down your actions breaking down your movements breaking down the way you spoke to discover something beneath the conditioning so whether it was successful or not for a bunch of AUCians to sit in that room and to work on this together and that was probably a side effect that no one thought about then I didn’t think about it then in those terms was also about breaking down this place breaking down AUC itself and of course again this workshop was full of smoking although there were attempts to not do that and to try to make it not like that but in the end it was really like that and so I can also call call this  and in AUC or four years and a half with a joint going back to the music room that was one side to it it was also the place where smoking happened Islam playing the piano there jamming there we also jammed there a few times I don’t know what it’s used for now this place the hardest emotions to speak about to really sincerely remember are jealousy and envy things like that anger is much easier to speak but I find it very difficult to remember things associated with this it’s the most difficult emotion to touch to hold to grasp where it came out or the situations that created it Yanni always reminds me of a time he came to my house before he went to AUC when he was still in school because I was there before him and he came to my house one day I didn’t know him at all he came with a friend of mine and I had this canister this film camera with crushed pills all mixed together a mix of different things speed and other stuff that you sniffed and it did have an impact and I remember somehow playing the game of being a bit older and a bit more like in the world and I will show you my son type thing and taking out the canister and showing him this and he asked me what is this and I’m like this you do and it makes your mind go bent completely bent I did some and he was no I wouldn’t do he mentioned it to me a couple of times and for him that bent the bent was his introduction to me through the bent maybe that first image that first introduction persevered with him and he continued to see me in a way through the idea of the bent mind he was always a bit more careful and when he did come to AUC we had a morning sitting in Stella drinking beers with someone else a friend of his called Christina they were younger and it was strange for me because I was always used to be the younger or the youngest it was also a moment when I realized inside that time passes and things do change we called Abe’s house the clubhouse so many things happened there just hanging out there at different times him having a bottle of whisky in his closet and us nagging open the bottle open the bottle and he opens the closet and takes out the bottle opens it and takes a swig and drinks half of the bottle in one swig definitely also showing off and a bit like I do that I am big and my gestures are big and a bit like you are all nagging for it well I’m gonna drink half of it anyway and then he gave us the bottle like a king really this guy he had


 that thing he had that that touch somehow and of course we drank it and yeah it wasn’t whisky it was Jim Bean or Jack Daniel’s either a bourbon yeah how are they formed in a place like AUC these friendships? I try to go back to the roots of different ones sitting early on with Rifai or sitting later on with Sari I think other than the saying yeah but I believe this is like that and I believe this is fucked and I believe this is fucked and a lot of at least initial coming together initial moments where certain friendships were formed was about bonding on how things are fucked or we are against this or we like that there was this tribal feel connection which is strange because it goes against it goes against the pose of being this complete individual type person these bonds were group-based especially in the beginning there was a desire a need to find others that you can stand together with against something and feel heroic together that’s also the thing with with long hair and I think it’s really part of it and even Mo said that in a completely different context like six months ago or a year ago after a screening of some of videos that me and Sherif had made he said these films have their hair long and they’re blowing in the wind something like that in Mo language but it’s basically similar idea it is the image the picture of standing and your hair blowing in the wind and this blowing in the wind is what makes you imagine yourself a hero this illusion of freedom basic ideas that are very superficial whatever your pose is it doesn’t matter the problem is in the end they did not deal with the situation like where you were or how you were in a conversation with Attar recently maybe three months ago he was comparing us but not us necessarily me and him us in a wider sense with earlier generations and he was saying these earlier generations were into more traditional politics this was their concept of fighting back or having some resistance and he was saying but we totally didn’t have this and I was agreeing with him and yeah we totally didn’t have this in a way it didn’t go with the self-indulgence when I use this word I don’t see it as a negative word but there was this swimming in yourself sinking into yourself drowning into yourself or surfing in yourself whatever this which relates to what I was saying earlier about testing yourself and that’s why fights fights are the clearest and there were not so many of them rarely did they become physical some conflicts and some clashes there was them standing in a row next to each other and us standing in a row next to each other and facing each other and walking towards each other and that picture is a bit like two armies testing testing their orders or pushing you know and these are all young men that is important to remember young men that becomes important for them that becomes part of really it


––, : pm because we were into this shaping our anger into a picture into an image this was not the only thing the picture was formed from but one of the things it was formed from whoever was not into that picture was anger too was anger at our anger it was like why are you angry? you know if you are in AUC you should not be angry you should be part of this club and enjoy it and of course we were part of this club and enjoying it but we were just forming our own club within the club the delusion we I shouldn’t be speaking about we all the time because I don’t know what all these colleagues and friends really went through at the time I’m assuming and imagining but at at least for me the the basic problem or the basic delusion is that I assumed that this club within the club was actually outside the club what I see so clearly now that it was never outside the club it’s basic impulse maybe it changed also as it went on and became like harsher and sharper but it’s first initial basic impulse was very simple and clear young man teenager in a place like that coming to terms and trying to find a specific place for himself a specific image for himself that was the basic impulse in the beginning standing in the kitchen of my house and speaking with my mother and I was  I had started not to cut my hair and we were talking about it and then she was like why are you doing this and I had by then learned the word stylish which I did not know before and I was like because it’s stylish that was an answer that I forgot afterwards an answer that became really irrelevant but it reveals a basic truth about it is that of course the element this is not to condemn and this is not to say that it was wrong or bad or anything like that but it’s just to try to uncover what it’s composed of yeah I sometimes think about the crack and the crack I don’t know why I think of this word and I relate it to this project the crack and I imagine the crack as a moment where I feel a sharp crack in myself I can’t explain it the situation creating a crack or looking back to the crack I don’t think it will happen but I imagined it many times which says something too because basically in some ways I think this crack this crack is there in everyone we are constructed of cracks in a way speaking in this situation can just uncover a crack rather than actually create it but that is not necessarily tragic I don’t want to look at this as in a tragic way at all three days ago I suddenly felt this happiness inside here I really feel deeply that this crack is also something one can deal with well and constructively and with joy too it’s not necessarily a crack that is painful or destructive not necessarily it could be absolutely the opposite it is how one deals with it I guess but also of course this is about time another parallel between the form and the content it is like the shaping of time everyday I think about that too in I think OK now the difference between several hours spent in life normally and several spent in this type of situation what is the difference? they are the same amount of hours it’s the same amount of time but of course this is a very superficial way of looking at it but it is absolutely different and it is the highlighting of time and the highlighting of time to remember a certain time hotel rooms were always exciting at that time whenever a situation existed there was a hotel room it always had just sitting in a hotel room felt really decadent I wonder why? once scoring with Islam on the streets of Heliopolis that was really a paranoid experience we had called the guy and he was going to show up and we were walking somewhere near Midan Il Higaz walking in a street and he was coming I think and it didn’t happen something went wrong and it didn’t happen and Islam was so freaked out about it and he was convinced that he was being followed and shadowed by the police etc after that he went to his his home he was living in Heliopolis then before he moved out and I went with him when he first started looking for places to live I went with him and saw a flat downtown close to where I live now and he refused to take it and although in the end he took in my opinion a much shittier flat in Zamalek but he refused to take it I’m not sure why exactly and


 I remember that I was just so excited by my friend moving out that was always a big theme and part of what motivated the time when I left my house trying to make it and not happening but also flirting with the idea of going somewhere else completely different like going to Assiut and becoming an English teacher and changing my life completely that is again a very clear sign and mark of coming out of and being part of an institution like that where your sense of self was promoted and at the same time asked to be part of a specific ideal that was rejected completely thank god it was rejected because I think it’s a very poor and boring and uninteresting ideal and concept anyway but that leads to these daydreams changing my life completely becoming an English teacher in Assiut or a drug dealer in Cairo that desire to escape this closed limited life and also the excitement at anything that promised something beyond excitement that was real and strong at many times walking in crowds was always powerful whether positive or negative depending and always and is still now to me something I see something spiritual really without liking this word very much but truly the only word I can think of something deeply spiritual about this walking in a crowd for example the rhythm of it and that’s what I definitely don’t like in a lot of European cities or what I think for example they lack that experience I believe very important experience and very important as part of city life being in cars late being dropped home : in the morning or : in the morning passing out in cars and being awakened you know somebody shaking me up to wake up you’re back home and feeling several times this is not exactly real not clear what exactly is not real what I was in or what I’m going back to but somehow just vaguely being very blurred image looking at my the apartment building and OK I will go up take the elevator and sleep or earlier on puke and then sleep but with disbelief like I’m here where was I? something like that these moments and also coming and going in a way like this trashed slightly being awake and alert for seconds and seeing the city empty at night speeding by and then sinking back into this sleep of wasted exhaustion and then being back home and not being sure what is real but of course the moments of stepping in and finding my bed was always real enough because then you just pass out into comfort one night I started that story a few nights ago and I never finished it when we went me and Sherif we were watching either we were watching the trip sequence in Easy Rider or we were watching Eraserhead either this or that I don’t remember in my house in Heliopolis and we had dropped a bottle of Pulmolar and yeah smoked a joint which was a fucking lethal combination and then we went down and we were going to an exhibition a pottery exhibition and we went to the place which was under the ground I said all of this before walked down saw the pots and loved them and hugged them and acted all weird and tripped out and my mother was there and her friends were there that’s where the story ended last time everybody looked at us strange and blablabla but also there in in that opening there was a friend of my mother’s and he told me and Sherif why don’t you come over to my place after this and we went with him and he had a small studio place that was quite nice and we got there and the moment we got there he just took out the biggest piece of hash and we just sat and smoked with till the morning and he was playing the whole older brother let me direct your drug usage very typical Egyptian smoker style the older they smoke hash of course not bango because this is more prestigious whatever and they always have this attitude we will show you how to navigate through it this is for me complete bullshit and it’s whatever their high means something our high meant something completely different but we definitely did appreciate the hash and we did have a good conversation with him all night till like : in the morning then he gave us what was left of the hash which was a big chunk and went to university the next day and then to Sari’s for two days smoking that piece and that was quite tremendous actually within what we were doing at


the time that was a tremendous two days like not just continuous fuckedness it was the first time I guess this was early on it was the first time of continuous fuckedness that really made something more beyond just going up and then zoning down it was like persevering and going on and on and of course we made such a big fuss about it we spoke about it for weeks we went around living it and I remember that the first time I ever smoked in my life in Sinai when I came back I had developed this theory and it was all about developing theories and ideas and stuff I had developed this theory in which you smoke and you have a mushroom a bubble inside your head of fuckedness and then it expands and when it expands you’re in it and then it contracts then you’re OK normal and that it’s if you smoked so much the bubble sustains itself a bit longer for a few days even without smoking and goes up and goes down I was basically describing my state I was describing the intensity of that experience then coming back to Cairo I came back and I looked different I was speaking to people on campus about that experience and describing it in that way but I think this was really about what was happening to me it was accurate in a way I don’t care if it’s biologically accurate but it was accurate because it described the way I touched something and was zoning in and out of it and on that first trip I even remember the bus trip and just the massive excitement of knowing that we have hash and we will we will smoke it there and we were in basata yes first time that was my first semester the end of my first semester it was a long weekend or it was a holiday there was something it was in the first six months of me being a student and the transformation was massive with that smoking experience I remember going up a hill and yeah Rifai melting the hash and then rolling it and smoking it on top of the hill and also waking up in the middle of the night like Sam Mansi refuses to admit this he was there but not with us but he was there and seeing him we were sleeping in a sleeping bag and squiggling on the sand standing up and jumping up and down and falling down again having a nightmare something was happening to him and he always claims that this was bullshit but we also went together that mushroom bubble theory had a lot of truth in it because I feel like it was about coming and going between who I was then and what I was becoming and the gaps would become closer ‘till I became something else of course something else connected to who I was before but there was a transformation there was a transformation and the transformation was this accumulation the added layers of layers upon layers upon layers of the first six months in that place in which I realized this element I spoke about before keep going back and repeating the same things and I don’t care whether it was heard before or not but it was said before all these elements that I came into that place with and then being confronted with the space that at that time seemed open the space for testing yourself and so that was there in me and then going to that place in Sinai sitting on top of a hill and smoking for a few days made all these things all those tensions and all those potential discoveries that I was really touching and feeling come out and uncover the beginnings of a new self from that moment that was partly why I zoomed so much into the smoking from that moment I realized how it was never for me about it was never about being calm it it was about pleasure it was about joy it was about ecstasy it was also about seeing things it was also about paranoia and that was part of it and I loved that too but yeah so that made me zoom in this realization that a new me was being born was being uncovered at that moment this was the path of digging out the new me and that took a few years of different explosive directions conflicts breakdowns joys but a few years of those to shape that and then the next mainly transformations in the middle and then the next major change by leaving that place and realizing something had been shaped and then also seeing how it was being shaped and what it meant and how to deal with it and what one could discover in it that was new that was different


 that looked back at itself and critiqued it and so that whole direction takes me to this very moment to this very point where that process is for me in a way being finalized I’ve been touching this in the past few days that this is about finalizing this process and getting it getting it really finalized and getting it finalized and really yeah ah yeah


––, : pm once going to a party in Maadi in one of the towers in the beginning of the corniche strange party that was a mix with a lot of people from Cairo university also there was something really decadent and dirty about this party and I liked that I always somehow was attracted to that but also definitely more happy and satisfied when I saw it not being exclusive I was always into OK let’s let’s take this dirt this decadence and let’s do it all of us rather than just within the AUC circle and so whenever I touched these moments like being in Ma’moura or Montaza with Sherif and seeing this young people from everywhere in Egypt from Cairo but outside that circle all really partying hard I was always happier and more excited by the wider it became I don’t remember how I was invited there but it was good because of that too because it was mixed and dirty at the same time I remember I used to in the beginning not shave and then like when you don’t shave and you have a weird funky beard and then I started shaving with an electric machine but then I remember the first time I shaved actually with a razor blade and my father was there and for him it was something too somehow like the whole son becoming a man thing I guess but it did change my look of course from that funky baby beard curls soft beard stuff to rougher I have no idea when though it must’ve been in my second year I had a girlfriend also at one time she lived in Maadi and it was nice because of course for a while she hated me after because I had that distant attitude not wanting them really to be with me as much as having them at the same time which was related to arrogance this is very male conservative stuff I was so into my life that I could not and lifestyle that I could not take someone into it I had to be me alone and I did things but I had to be me alone so I visited her and when her parents were not at home she’d call me or I would call her OK our parents are out we’d know how long they’d be out and we’d make out on the couch outside she had a younger sister and very typical her younger sister would come and she’d be like go inside go inside but it was nice and I remember the smell of their house and the smell of her body very well yeah but then it turned nasty because with my cycle of hurts based upon some really not fear based upon number one that social aspect and this I will be who I am and the arrogance of no one is good enough for me which is ironic because at the same time really lusting and desiring but no not good enough like really this tick tick thank god I went beyond this shit really thank god I learned to go beyond this stuff because it just leads to very limited very poor type relationships but anyway it turned nasty because also the more I felt that they wanted me and therefore I had power the more I abused it and that was also someone being young and completely freaked out by many things at the same time and so I abused these situations and I remember with her nasty type thing being in Yasmina when it was like semi-decadent band playing AUC playground and her wanting me and I want her but like too cool to want her but then wanting her and then kissing her and then spitting in her mouth and pushing her away I must have really deeply hurt her then but I was really almost proud of those actions because I remember telling Dina Red my friend about it with pride and of course she was definitely not the right person to tell such stories because she was living her own image of fuck men fuck you but she was loving men all the way by living her own little double thing so of course she gave me a lot of shit when I told her that story and going to this guy was always strange really Basel El Qasabi he had these weekly get-togethers slash evenings once just going there I don’t know if it was at his house or someone else’s house and there was a little back garden and you can go down the steps and people hanging out but strange atmosphere and this guy always carried with him a really strange strange atmosphere he was a musician he was I guess a good musician but strange person I saw him again he disappeared I think he he went to the States and but I saw him again


 he came in ‘ and I saw him briefly but it was as if I didn’t see him it’s as if he’s just a person there in the deep past there was always a search for a hangout not always but beginning of the search for a hangout beginning with first different people’s houses maybe as you moved from different group to different group you find different houses to hang out in so distant this is so distant for me now always liked the word blind drunk and then yeah of course you can be blind drunk anytime but the blind drunk of stumbling out of a car and seeing it but it’s a really good word because you see the road without seeing it but maybe not then but when I remember it the next whenever I was in the blind drunk moment it was always like oh wow I was blind drunk there was always that fascination with the word and what it meant and the excitement of it to try in a way just to try just to try really seems like in a way unnecessary to really formulate any analysis of the institution because that has been done based upon that was heavily done in the beginning but then now maybe I can say that there is one big irony if I could the same gesture I use to finalize a certain time shape it break it understand it is the sign of its power too the same moment I claim to go beyond it I subscribe to its power absolutely I take the time I make the time and I give the time to this institution and give it that power but I do that but then I question that at the same time and this is very much like the basic acid question I experienced on my first acid trip is the trip me? or am I the trip? that basic question very hard to understand unless you experience it as images unless you experienced it lying on a couch going through its logic seeing the insects flying into your face seeing your hair turn into snakes unless you experienced that it’s very difficult to explain why that is a very basic question but it is am I the trip? or is the trip me? and I can take that and put it and see it through the institution through that institution and I can take that and see it through life through upbringing and I can take that and see it through socialization definitely that same question is so relevant and it’s such a basic deep question and now I know why I was so disturbed by it because it was so unclear in a way who? what? how? why you are this? not that? how where do you end? and where do you begin? that was the question in that trip that was the question in that acid trip that was the basic question outside the beauty outside the joy outside the loss there was that basic question there underneath all of that like raging to get out and facing it with questions now and just still lost for me still so many memories lost still so many years gone and I thought that before I started this project I would sit here and become those years in detail and not be able to escape those years those years in detail but so many years lost maybe lost not forever but lost beyond the grasp of what I can grasp of what I can catch what I can hold consciously maybe moments and pulses and waves from those years do come and go but hard and difficult to frame definitely and those years gone just amazed amazed amazed by how gone they are somehow and maybe that’s a realization in itself that it took it an actual structure an actual building for me to say OK those years are gone and they are gone they are gone whether I like it or not whatever details I remember whoever whichever faces I see whatever moments whatever emotions whatever understandings of why and how constructions but those years have gone they have gone they have gone that is how it so yes so yeah the conspiracy that everyone subscribes to when connected to one thing it’s there a deep and basic conspiracy that always exists at these points and that conspiracy is about everybody feeling good and exclusive and that conspiracy takes many different shapes and is expressed in many different ways and is very subtle and is not necessarily something that people are aware of but it does come and it is acted upon and it does shape certain perspectives and certain decisions all the way what would make me satisfied in that situation what would make me feel good about myself in that situation that comes from some deep conspiracy of identification first phase first stage very


important very stage towards shaping of a self this conspiracy of identification we identify with something and then we identified with at least partly an image a picture that came out of popular music film certain texts certain sayings it’s like the betrayal of culture in a way the way it becomes a shaping force and still unanswered the question is still unanswered I have been trying for ten days to answer this same question and it still remains unanswered why that specific choice? I see touches of it and the edges of it and I see why this action why that action but why that specific focus why that specific choice why deciding to look act speak be that way specifically because it is not abstract it is not absolute it is connected to a certain culture at a certain time at least its sources are whatever the way it is taken like jeans come from somewhere but everybody wears jeans everywhere and people wear jeans the way they wear it because some people wear jeans and they they pull it up while other people wear jeans and they let it down whatever it doesn’t matter they deal with it their own way but then jeans themselves as a form of clothes as a as a certain thing you wear are indicative of something that everybody a certain time and a certain culture came out of that and then became absolute but what I and some other people subscribed to was not an absolute we made it an absolute for us and then why that image? why? why that image of course related to resistance but there were other images related to resistance too why that one specifically unanswered for me remains unanswered till now not sure and not clear


 ––, : pm yeah I feel like I’ve dreamt of this situation before somehow like a list of strategies a list of ways to deal with certain situations a list of ways to overcome certain situations learnt at a certain time I remember someone me a garden in the middle of Shari’ Il ‘Orouba one of the gardens there and telling me that he found a weed plant there and he smoked it and it was gone someone had planted it but everybody at that time was into throwing seeds in different places and public places and somehow planting dope really but I don’t think I ever really saw it I only heard of it only heard of grass growing publicly several times but never never saw it and never smoked it myself but friends of mine did and that was always like part OK we will take this outside our little shell and plant the weed everywhere people drop out not because of any intellectual failure but much more like they couldn’t deal with the social situation so people who dropped out like Sherif and then excelled somewhere else nothing to do with the social nothing to do with education and stuff but much more to do with the way AUC was as a place where people it was very exclusive very claustrophobic very boring limited atmosphere too and as much as it held all this excitement for these people friends who did drop out finding other solutions finding other places was important and they did do well in other places but then I would not say it was a gap but then a difference did come in because between those who stayed and maybe had similar problems with the social situation but dealt with that situation and socialized it and others who left and did other stuff and I remember Ali for example he became a dentist in Alexandria and I have no idea how that experience leaves him how that one or two years in that place leaves him and what does it give him as a dentist doing people’s teeth how? why? what? how does it affect him as a practicing dentist in Alexandria? I wonder different strategies again he was forced out his parents pulled him out and I spent a few days a week maybe living in his house at one point and it was wild and it was good but he was then gone and I have not heard of him since except vaguely like Basel El Qasabi except vaguely and even when I see him again and I think I did see Ali again but it’s as if I didn’t see him also it’s very strange those friends at those moments who left who dropped out seeing them again for brief moments is not enough to hide what they were before it’s as if their image before leaving their image when we were together in that place is so much stronger is so much stronger than what at least in my eyes at those times when I see them so much stronger than what they are now although what they are now for them is absolutely stronger than what they were then but that is not the point the point is that from my perspective from my eyes I only see it this way and even Omar who I met again a few times twice once in England his image still although it was a bit more and I understood him a bit more as he is now his image is still so much associated to the time we spent together in that place a certain life that overcomes all other moments a certain memory a certain dangerous memory somehow but there and not forgotten in a way not forgotten at all overcoming so devastation somewhere lies there somewhere somewhere lurking behind and I always thought that Sherif although he in Basata was a complete fucking asshole pretentious fucking asshole wearing his Bedouin shit speaking about the environment exploiting everyone always from the very first time I was there which was when I was  or  I thought this guy was a complete pretentious dick giving us lectures about the environment my god I remember also in Dahab going to a a small bay and walking next to a cliff walking on the edge of a cliff and finding a little cave and sitting in the little cave and then snorkeling in the bay and people died in that bay but snorkeling there and sitting in the cave and enjoying that immensely going once to a camp to meet some friends and then being stopped at the camp me and some other people with us who knew these people and everybody was freaked


out and I then realized at that moment that this place has changed there was something and Abe was also taken to the police station for a few hours him and a couple people and I realized then also that this place has changed because it used to be our playground it used to be the place where we completely let go and it did not matter and there was no presence there at that point of time of the Egyptian state and that was definitely something we enjoyed enjoyed deeply although it was all around but then that changed and it was clear in both these actions in the paranoia of the camp owner and in the way the police investigated Abe for a few hours and he was pissed off and he one day gave me a shirt a big wide shirt that I had for a few years and then it disappeared it was his shirt big big shirt that I liked a lot he gave it to me as a present only time only time only time only time yeah just fucking time says something I’m sure whether we like it or not it says something working it breaking it breaking that breaking it breaking that institution pressuring it and breaking it inside myself no hold no hold anymore time to do that definitely time to do that absolutely time to do that everybody is responsible for who they are as much as they’re not in a sense and I think this project for me demonstrates that very clearly my own personal responsibility for who I am as much as my own personal non-responsibility for who I am both really balanced and both completely equal both at the same that is a very difficult state to explain but it it’s real everyone is seduced by a certain position of power whether institutional or not that is the game of it too if you can see I feel like another parallel between the content and the form this shape in a way it provokes very similar aggression that existed then very similar type of reaction playing on the rhythm of the outsider I take it to another moment and play with it as a structure I play with that outsider image again and again I see it provokes similar reactions and that says something not just about people but it says something about the structure we are all living under whether we like it or not because it’s in our minds so we live it and it dictates this type of reaction although we can break that too I believe we can do that at least the desire to fight back exists and I’ve dreamt of my desire to fight back at its most extreme and it existed and that is good Bergman to the extreme absolutely Bergman to the fucking extreme takes it to the extreme Bergman takes it to the extreme the silence is taken to an extreme yeah wondering about and taking to an extreme that realistic moment taken to an extreme all the way in a party where Sari was bartender in some place in Maadi villa with double floors and being on the second floor and drinking and smoking again and beyond and coming down and asking for more drinks from Sari and the mud that was created and being in another party like that very similar where I saw Allison and Stephanie two sisters who were part of an earlier time they were part of a time with friends who were not friends friends who were only potential betrayers flat at that too nothing deep there nothing deep but just the way faces come and go in parties in moments where we are all out of our minds yeah I loved those moments deeply with my heart I loved them deeply with my heart and I do love them deeply with my heart yeah those moments


 ––


––, : pm once we took a rowing boat me and Sam Mansy and we were rowing in the Nile Sam was always hard to trust cause he can always do something suddenly we don’t really know how to row but we got into the middle of the Nile and then he started rocking the boat of course typical Sam stuff and then we started drinking we had a bottle of vodka with us which I think we pretty much finished during the day and it was kind of difficult to come back from this boat because we were drunk and we did not know how to row but we got back and when we got back the rowing boat guy was attacking us and saying I think maybe it was in Ramadan I’m not sure but like how could you do this and how could you drink something like that and I then I told him if you think your religious better look at your self more than looking at other people and he shut up and Sam was very happy about that and I always wondered why this specific comment he was almost proud that I said something like that I wonder why I lived in Heliopolis then so I must’ve been in AUC cause I moved out when I graduated so that was a long time ago I thought there was a time when we used to sometimes go out within Heliopolis a bit and he used to go to a bar and he knew the bartender of course and just have a few drinks and talk by then he had graduated and was working in the oil business and wasn’t very happy he wasn’t very satisfied he wanted to have a circus or be a clown or something like that and he was an oil engineer instead so he wasn’t very happy about it but I was really supportive of him leaving his job which he did in the end he left it I also used to have a friend outside AUC that was interesting he was my teacher in school Ian Martin he was really a special person I had a really good close relationship with him and the thing is he knew me from school he knew me since I was  or  and he witnessed the beginning of certain attitudes that became full blown in school he saw that and because we were friends and it wasn’t like teacher-student at all even when I was still in school when I was pretty young and I remember the first time I invited him to my house to have lunch with my family and it was good and so he was a good friend and necessary cause he was much older and at the same time he knew me from before and at the same time I always spoke with him throughout those years about what was happening in a way to me in AUC at the time I didn’t put it in those terms but he could see how I was changing and I was telling him stories because he was outside AUC and much older I could really speak with him in a way I couldn’t speak to any other friend who was part of that so he he was removed and I could tell him stories and he can give me his reactions and his comments on what was going on and I remember in the beginning speaking with him about a lot of things ranging from personal to academic like speaking with him about what post-modern was because of taking a post-modern course and him helping me with my paper like that was second semester I think and looking at what I have written and then telling me that it was not very understandable and then talking about it together because he was a literature teacher and I was studying literature so it was related but he came from a totally different time and a different way of looking at it and then I spoke with him a bit about what I was writing in this paper and it started to make more sense to him and it was helpful I think for both of us I also spoke to him about for example Mamoun who was a friend of mine that nobody else really knew he was a bit older but I felt he was fascinated by me and I totally enjoyed the attention he gave me and the status he gave me I only spoke to Martin about that about how I enjoyed the status given to me by Mamoun for example this I did not speak to anyone in AUC my own age or slightly older because this reveals some insecurity about status about wanting to have attention wanting to be highly respected and seen in a good light somehow very normal desires but you don’t say them you don’t come out and say them because the moment you say them you put yourself down if you


 say them to someone whose in the same situation your in your giving him or her an advantage so with martin I could speak about such things and he was critical of these attitudes of course he was like you really shouldn’t think like that but I bought into it I mean I was also a bit like boasting it was like I am not a school boy anymore although he never did treat me that way but I needed to prove that to someone and with him it was very possible so many nights I met him at Hana Hans Hans yeah Hana is another Chinese Korean restaurant in Zamalek Hans was in Heliopolis it doesn’t exist anymore I think now it’s deals Heliopolis is where the space used to be and it was this Korean restaurant that was Korean restaurants are known to be a bit sleazy some of them at least this was not super sleazy just a bit and so he was like a refuge I mean what ever happened who ever I met what ever turmoils what ever conflict it was always go to Martin and speak about them and he got to meet some of my friends later and became friends with some of them but in the end I mean he also taught Jimmy for a bit he gave him private lessons but in the end he couldn’t take it which is fully understandable so we used to go to Hans again going down the steps walking up he always sat at the end of the bar at the end of the restaurant there was a bar and I would sit next to him and then we’d have some beer and talk and I would talk to him about what was going on I guess that  or  percent of what I told him was true the rest was exaggerated maybe not lies but definitely exaggerated out of proving I am not a school boy anymore I am now an adult out of that thing and sometimes I also visited him in his house in Heliopolis he used to live next to Hans and then he moved down he moved he lived at a houseboat that was much later he moved I think to Agouza for a while and then I guess I visited him there a few times and then to a house boat and I visited him there a few times and then he left but it was a friendship that continued throughout my university career and now pretty amazed by how long it stayed and even after I graduated for a bit and then he was gone and I’m not in touch with him he never left a forwarding address and I wonder why I think of him he also had lots of trouble with being in Egypt and had a real hard time and in some ways I think when he left he decided to cut off all ties that’s my only explanation I could almost see some people that I think I’ve missed and forgotten like I mean what was good about Martin is that he looked at it in terms of my life but he also saw AUC as what it was really because he was older and because he was smart and understood things he also understood how my very serious reactions were sometimes just the silliness of university life and just the way that these gestures become so large and so big it was good to see him because he saw through that and and he always told me how he saw through it but I mean he was not harsh at all with me cause he really liked me and I really liked him and we had such a good friendship but maybe sometimes he was a bit fed up with the whining and the boasting but it was really good especially especially when he was at hans going to that bar going down and walking having a few beers and he bought me beers a lot cause of course I was broke a lot of the time which is normal at that age I think at the beginning also I knew this this really weird group of people Tatyana who was I think German and her brother Sasha I don’t remember how I know them where did we meet or what ever but I knew them and the brother was just very bland normal but she was a very very troubled woman somehow she was yeah lots of issues she was not in AUC I don’t know I mean maybe she was in the German school or maybe not I don’t really remember but she carried issues with her and of course I was always into issues always attracted by issues because it complicates life and makes things exciting or whatever but issues could be really silly and superfluous sometimes and make you not see extremely important stuff so I don’t know when she disappeared at one point she disappeared I guess she left I mean nothing nothing that dramatic but just disappeared from the scene I don’t know when that happened of


course we also crashed parties which is a hobby that I keep to this day with great pleasure and great pride because then it was not good when we crashed parties where we were definitely not welcome because there were parties by groups of people who already resented who we were but we’d just go if we heard of a party we’d just go and not care who who ever owned the party we’d just go in and impose our presence and that was part of the fun that is what later on became this hobby of crashing weddings in five star hotels as a joke and stealing ashtrays and just running around this little criminal touch that’s also a bit of fun that was alright if we crashed parties I always definitely nicked a bottle or two never leave the party without a bottle tucked under my jacket of course it was partly about getting free booze but it was also about the act of stealing these bottles from those parties of people that we didn’t give a fuck about anyway and then out in the street just pull it out and then we’d be like ahh one new year’s we did that and then I pulled out two bottles and they both fell and smashed I was disappointed no booze I lost all the booze I worked for so yeah but every day I wonder how many parties can I remember because of course they’re finite and it is just impossible to remember some I remember very clearly like grasshopper the first one was really great that was a really fantastic party and it was on a Nile boat but with two floors with a band on top early AUCian like rhythm and blues band and the boat took off into the Nile and we partied on the boat and it went all around and back and I remember on that party at night I remember on that party I also met another dark woman someone I knew from before but because the party was on top and then the bottom was dark and no one was really down there and I went down just to look and there was a woman that I knew sitting depressed and she started speaking to me and I started speaking to her and we had this mini bonding session nothing more just talking and it wasn’t about anything else but it was just like the darkness but this darkness very typical I think very typical of this hyper-sensitive narcissistic I’m an AUCian I’ve got issues talk which is fine which is true to an extent but sometimes its overplayed sometimes it is an image too and so but that was a good party anyway I mean I did get my dose of dark depression and then I went back up and enjoyed it the second time they tried to do it it didn’t work because the police came and busted it before the boat even moved and that was it and they didn’t try again it was over but at least the first one was good I remember it clearly but they were very different even the big ones I mean they were I’ve been to later and later parties one big difference I’ve always noticed is that how these parties have become much more commercialized now and much more of an industry then there was no DJ circuit or anything like that the whole rave scene had not come here and it didn’t matter it was not about that even the really big ones I only started seeing this idea of tickets for a party after I graduated and always the the way the hype moved from place to place now it’s a bit less because places are also more geared and more in touch with a certain style etc my feeling is that then these places existed and then somehow certain crowds moved in made it theirs it became hip everybody flopped in and then it was lost but the place itself wasn’t in touch with that type of hipness it was much more related to the people taking it there and I don’t think that’s better or worse at all it says something about AUC itself because it was smaller and therefore even though it was definitely an institution it had less of an institutional character it was much more I can’t really say that but it seems to have been more more intimate with the shit that this also is intimate university is not necessarily such a great thing cause it personalizes everything and maybe that was something else everything was absolutely personal too at least for me and in a way it was like I couldn’t take a class without having a personal relationship with a professor good or bad friendly or hostile but always making the point always saying I am here the presence always pushing my presence to the max in


 annoying ways sometimes in intelligent ways sometimes in critical ways sometimes in really stupid ways but making that clear so the way I walked into a class was already a message the way I interrupted without raising my hand was already like I am here I am part of that but I am not part of that that’s of course a way of trying to convince yourself it was partly a way of me trying to convince myself that I had issues too superfluous issues too and so trying to convince myself that no I am not like the rest of those people and that was because a large part of my own personal history is outside before AUC the other part is of course affirmed by being in AUC with a constant propaganda the constant you’re an individual propaganda so you react and now I would say to anyone who then critiqued my behavior is that well my behavior also came from what you were selling us you are selling us something and we took it and that meant this is how we become you can’t sell it halfway you can sell it halfway which is what they do all the time but maybe I was too absolute in my direction and too absolute in how I perceived things and consumed things that it was not possible to half-sell it it was either I buy it or I don’t and in a way I bought it and I didn’t at the very same time this buying and not buying had a big impact on who I am who I was and who I became because I see it as a major trait and even in my work as I go on I start to realize more and more that this is the space I am interested in being the space of buying and not of resisting as you sell that space always intrigued me and was partly constructed out of the atmosphere that existed then the feeling of the possibility and I said this before I analyzed this before how places like Sinai became the real the real of our imaginary what we imagined and how we saw ourselves for some people of course Sinai became real so yes we needed an empty space to be it and AUC was with its tensions also an empty space because no matter what it managed to keep its doors guarded and its walls high and therefore it could give you the space to be to test to stretch to test and to stretch yourself and to be that and to fight the little fights while believing your fighting big fights that was part of it this is not necessarily so negative maybe it was a way of practicing something and then taking it further as you move I don’t condemn any background I think it’s what you do with it that counts more than what it was so I conceive it that stretching and testing could and did in certain ways help develop an understanding where I could see that I have a position where I could see I am this type of person and I work it out that way of course awareness changes because then one was more prone to the generalized idea of what everything was and one was more prone to a self melodrama but that existed for sure OK taking it into the city that’s why when I first started going to Mawalid for example it was such a tremendous experience and I mean I had gone as a child and seen it as a child but always seen holding my mother’s hand or I saw it also a bit later maybe a bit less but again through the embarrassment of being an adolescent rediscovering it again later with friends peers like colleagues like people who are equal to me and I’m equal to them in some way or another meant something completely different and I remember the first time we went it all started with tapes while doing this all this AUC stuff and while being completely into psychedelic and noise and experimental music and free-jazz and all these different things and some other stuff too and certain types of of punk rock and a certain type of rock too a bit but while being into all that stuff I was also into Yassine Al Tuhami tapes which I started listening to when I was  so pretty early on and completely fascinated by him and they meant a lot to me also I think partly because I was so into this other musical culture that I was so happy to find something like that within the culture that actually exists everywhere around me and that was that strong and that spoke to me in some way or another and so I listened to it a lot when I was stoned and I remember once having a tremendous inner orgasm with one tape ya hosn sabry (O’


the beauty of my patience) remember that the first two times I listened to it and then it just blew my mind but other than this slowly listening to these different tapes I had in the beginning two tapes the first tape and the last tape then and listening to them both over and over and over again and in the beginning of it its just like the wildness completely attracted me and then I started understanding what was being said and of course reading it in a completely different way I always interpreted and looked for these revolutionary rebellious resistant understanding of these words I was not interested yes I was interested in also how these words were about how people dealt together but that I saw as something revolutionary too so I was not interested in it as religion although this is really religious too but the more I listened again and again and the more I actually understood what the words meant and could see sentences and could see how it was performed and then I wanted to see it I wanted to actually see a live performance of it and of course my idea of live performance had nothing to do with what this was so anyway one day I think we went me and Sari and Islam and that was the first time at that stage we went to we went to Mulid Al-Hussain and then we were walking around and it was really like amazing and the crowd and then we stood watching a Zikr and we’re just like completely all of us all three of us completely fascinated and in a way lightly shocked but not shocked in a negative sense at all but more like shocked this really does exist you know this is so amazing that people can do that and that a community can be like that and people can create this type of language together because I was seeing it as a language together so we watched completely fascinated but really hesitant not knowing what to do do we join we don’t I don’t know not knowing what to do and and then the music stopped and the people got up and it was like a rest and Sari was like he was really making this up because it’s not true this is not how it is he’s like they’re changing now so now you can join you know as if he knew but he didn’t know because this is not how it is as if its like groups of people and then they stop and then they change and other groups of people join and then the music started again and slowly without knowing it without realizing it we all found ourselves in the middle completely in trance completely hypnotized completely in the middle of this and completely part of it was really amazing and in the middle of it you come back to yourself and also look and that is part of it too its not like your just gone you also come and go and you see you read yourself at the moment and I remember for a moment because my eyes are closed for a long time and then I opened my eyes and I saw all those people and I saw my friends in there too and it was a strange feeling because even then I felt this part of and not part of and I knew this would go on this night was something of course but this would go on and my involvement with it would grow but always with suspicion to which I am also happy about because that is who I am and in a situation like that it is necessary to be who you are and important even if who you are rejects it that’s fine that’s fine its better than a lie in a way and I saw the connection and I saw the distance too when I saw my friends and that lead to really serious thinking and a huge impact on me also I mean very strange I mean I realize this is the first five or six days of this performance were devoted or largely devoted to paranoia isolation alienation and things like this I unconsciously that’s what happened and a few days ago two or three days ago I spoke about what paranoia was as a way of breaking down elements and reading things and then I realize I was always speaking of this paranoia that grew out of acid and smoking but also grew out of seeing yourself as a complete individual disconnected it happens to people who are a part of something too but it is more when you are already in that situation and so I realize now that this paranoia was also fuelled by this other side by on one side I’m there I’m in the middle of it I’m consuming dealing with reading a certain type of culture that is dislocated from what’s around it to an extent


 and could be really strong and it could also be connected to it but spoke a different language and was seen in a different way and then at the same time I was plugging into the opposite of that I was plugging into this really mass culture on a mass scale plugging into it with a distance tasting it in a way but still plugging into it and that was also about paranoia because with that popular strong mass culture was also speaking about how to read it the lyrics of these tapes a lot of them are about everything meaning something that is one of the basic foundations of paranoia everything meaning something and I remember being on a micro-bus number  and coming back from AUC and going into Heliopolis and looking out of the window and reading a street name I cant remember what the street name was but it was related to what I was thinking like a coincidence something like that or if you want to see it in another way a moment of synchronism which ever but at that moment my paranoia raged because everything meant something and that is paranoia and that came from the opposite so I was creating a bubble paranoia this is what I realize right now a bubble paranoia one coming from my my my involvement with and being part of the semi-isolated elite club and the other coming from my participation or looking at or dealing with something else that was the complete opposite that was the mass and so both existing at the same time gave birth to that deep deep paranoia for sure and that says something about my motives what lies behind these actions what I wanted my desires say something about that I’m going to the Hadikat El Asmak where there were no fishes going there with Sari one day completely stoned out of our heads and it was fun there was this animal what was it like? there was very little fish I used to go there when I was a kid there was more fish and then we went together and there was nearly no fish but there was this one animal that had its fist out and it’s some sea turtle without a shell and it has a rubbery body with wrinkles a bit like an old man wrinkles in a movement by contracting and expanding and of course this was our like our little object for the day what we sat and spoke about and got fascinated by and looked at and that was really how we looked at many things because things came and went and then you picked something and you really made it intimate yeah this thing you really gave it a lot of attention and got completely fascinated by it and of course it could be really real you could really be interested in something because of that but as friends and as groups that was a part of what we did to tell each other we are into the same thing in a way we have chosen not to fit in and by choosing not to fit in and by choosing to live that image of being against what was around us with all its issues we had to bond together and we had to find objects that we can look at together so we could look at maybe it is fascinating a fascinating animal but its not being fascinated by it it’s that after being fascinated by it how we spoke about it this is where this shows I mean we obsessed on it and we made little songs on it and jokes and imitated it and we took it really hard and by doing that and that’s part of playing where playing is nice and fun and its OK and its partly a way of defeating the ordinary that lies underneath and that’s alright but it was also a way of telling each other we are together we see the world the same way of course as the years went by and as I grew a bit older and also understood things


––, : pm and I we went to in Alexandria again but these things I did with Sari but that was also because he was prone to that that was part of his personality of course with different people different shapes of their personalities interact and you do different things so with Sari definitely a lot of the playacting because he was into acting all the time and a lot of this exotic fascination cause he was into that too and I was into that too and then it was not bad because we saw cool things we went to a circus in Alexandria not a circus a fair not a moulid it wasn’t a moulid it was like a a popular fair and it was cool we saw a cow with a big fifth leg hanging on to it and we saw Sonia El Masry who was supposed to be doing gymnastics but was stripping without taking her clothes off and we saw the guy with the motorcycle going round and round and yeah it was fun at least we saw these things and enjoyed life enjoyed things that were happening around us but then turned them into something else that is the difference definitely between someone who is going to to a show like that and people like us where whether we admitted it or not this was something exotic in a way and so we had to see it and treat it as something that was tricky or trippy or whatever exotic in its own way and like play around with that so with Islam I didn’t get for example with Sari I got into the provocative stuff a bit because it was also my turn but with Islam for example that was not possible because because if we both got into it then tragedy would have occurred I mean that was a problem always it was necessary to somehow keep things away and keep a balance between what he’s doing and what your doing because if you let go with him too then its gonna end in real tears and I don’t think no one wanted that especially him that’s why we ended up not being able to get along because he was always putting pressure on whoever he was with to balance his provocation out and that gets tiring and that’s another person with lots of issues which AUC definitely magnified I think being in AUC he was probably dealing with something similar but in his own different way this individuality being promoted and then the tension with you’re supposed to conform both of these things at the same time he was also dealing with that once he was speaking on the public telephone in front of a mosque of course I don’t know what went wrong someone did not answer or something whatever he was asking for something and it wasn’t there it didn’t work what he wanted to happen didn’t work and he just completely destroyed the telephone and he kept smashing the headset on the box and completely smashed up that phone that phone was close to my family house and they took it off it doesn’t exist anymore there is no public phone there because Islam so completely vandalized it was beyond repair they just took it away so that’s one down for public utilities but Sherif always reminds me of it and I always laugh I I somehow feel good when he reminds me of Islam sitting on his keyboard maybe just having a shower smoking a little doobie and playing happy songs this is the other side like really joyful and then looking at us and saying we are evolving like as human beings we are evolving and there was always so much hope in those words and it always felt so joyful somehow but it never lasted too long it always flipped to the dark side moments moments evolving moments were not bad at all being introduced to fractals by Islam that was interesting not really so scientifically but commercialized spirituality of practice I remember he had these books on chaos theory and fractals and all of that and sitting in his room before he moved in Heliopolis in Midan Ismailia his room I remember it very clearly and him showing me these books on fractals and chaos how the deeper you go the picture is the small picture of the wide picture and that that idea completely intrigued me and said something to me the way the small picture like the big picture and without getting into fractal or chaos theory or mathematics which is not important in this context just the idea made sense and it still does make sense to me this this


 parallel this mirror in Islam’s room in Heliopolis and listening together to Ahmed El Tuni for the first time who I met actually last year in Paris of all places but whatever and looking at the cover and it was a picture of him when he was young and was I like I think in that picture he really looks good looking and Islam was like no he looks really stupid that cynicism was there that cynicism that was poisonous sometimes but sometimes really great too he had a lot of anger towards towards AUC itself he had lots of anger and it was expressed at the world but it was also expressed at AUC itself he intentionally provoked the shinny happy people continuously just went up to them and said things to men and women I never thought of it this way but I think that had something to do with what AUC was doing to him because in a way he was deeply frustrated about something and at the same time he was surrounded by and was part of what was supposed to be fulfillment and it was not fulfilling at all for him or for me or for other people too but everybody dealt with it their own way and therefore he almost physically tried to break it and tried to make every body not fulfilled like if I’m not gonna be like that than I better not be alone in that situation somehow I see a reflection of each person I knew and that’s when I knew them in a way at least people I knew deeply and chose to know them and chose to be friends with them I see in them a reflection of who I was too either things that were similar or things that were different but there was always these connections based on something that was shared if our motivations were different our desires were the same for example or if our desires were different our fears were the same but there was something all these connections some survived and some didn’t but in all those deep connections there was something shared and in that shared thing I can see a picture of myself a different picture a different possibility of what I could have been of course never would be I dreamt again more dreams about this project yesterday last night in the morning actually a very strange dream it has to do with this it was really about magic in a way because I was sleeping I was sleeping in a field surrounded by microphones an actual planted field and I was sleeping the sleep of joy a peasant who owns the land asks me I was sleeping naked in that field surrounded by microphones spoke to me but I was completely fine and it was his land and he allowed me to sleep in his land and he had no problem with it and then there was a long sequence of exploring mazes and things like that and being guided by dogs who died and seeing friends and a friend of mine being shot in the back and the bullet hole being a complete circle in the back and collapsing and then I was helping him and standing him covering him trying to cover and he’s fine about it and realizing that there was some magic at work and there was some deep magic at work and being in some big office somewhere else outside of Egypt somewhere else with objects hung on the wall and objects that had some magical significance to me somehow different things and then being guided to a room and this is not bullshit it sounds so constructed but it is not being guided to a room where I meet myself standing and looking at myself and being both people at the same time I do remember though that in a psychology class my second semester I did lie and he asked us something about dreams and I told him a dream in which I saw myself which was completely made up and he told me that’s made up he saw through it so that did occur before but that’s not the case here and I do recall also lying again in astronomy class and that must say something about the quality of education at AUC because I wrote a paper about something that did not exist and I got an A so what the fuck does that say I don’t know like who cares anyway about dedication but that’s really true and Amr was with me in astronomy class and he knew that I made up this and he was really amazed by how he was a particularly inattentive professor I used to have this pair of jeans that were torn yeah first I had those shirts like the ethnic radical chic shirts very hippie type that I really loved and they were a present from I had


two shirts and they were a present from Amin who was a friend who I learned betrayal from as I mentioned maybe eight days ago or something but those shirts they were cool shirts and then and I made a few shirts based on them and I had those pair of jeans which got torn and I remember cutting the shirts sowing the shirts at the tear and they were torn like right at the crotch and so cutting the shirts and sowing this cloth at that point and that was my jeans and that was my look it was a bit like that but I liked I really did sincerely like it and I loved those jeans and if I had them now I would wear them now they just got completely torn to the point of no repair at all but I’m happy to say that I never got into actually tearing my jeans they only got torn with time I’m always good at wearing out my clothes because I’m very physical myself and I walk a lot and I use my body in many ways violently somehow so clothes are always consumed very fast but of course like you’d get those comments on the street of like why are you tearing your jeans etc. but that was the time before malls there were shopping centres of course in the ’s and the malls started to come up but it was really the time before malls which is interesting because I mean I’m not into the malls but sometimes I like to go for one reason I really do see young happening even if it’s completely consumer oriented it’s still young and it has some dirt in maybe now in the time of malls although the style is totally different this would’ve been more accepted then it was before that anyway I’m still interested in looking at this institution in terms of insecurity it is hard to talk about insecurity I’m not sure how much that was part I’m sure it must’ve been there because I think it’s always there somehow but how did AUC play it out? if I was paranoid then there must have been a deep insecurity somewhere what form of insecurity did it provide? that had nothing to do with how I judge myself or aspirations but it could provide an insecurity that is related to welfare privilege or power or class but this really had nothing to do with me I’m sure that this does happen does function with lots of people but I wonder for myself what form of insecurity was shaped with me for me by me? unclear and maybe I can’t answer it and I can’t remember it and its OK I don’t have to just raising the question could be enough too but I would like to know maybe I’ll remember one day when I’m walking down the stairs somewhere would just hit me but it must have been there but it must be buried really deep or maybe I can’t even recognize it maybe it was so obvious and part of who I am that I can’t even recognize it as such I had a great collection of tapes I lost it all my first collection of tapes by the time I was  and a half just forgot a large section of it at someone’s place lost touch with that person and it’s gone and it’s OK because as much as I lost those tapes those ways a lot of music came my way the same way people give me something forget it lose it it’s mine I gave people shit forgot it lost it’s theirs it was a lot of psychedelic stuff yeah and probably a lot of stuff I can’t remember too there were this I didn’t know them very well I think they were Ethiopian brothers and I bought my first guitar from one of them second hand and maybe they were brothers or maybe they were friends I just I don’t remember I can’t remember them very clearly and they also made T-shirts like these Africa unite and Bob Marley T-shirts and funnily enough I still have one of these T-shirts till now it has survived like twelve and I still wear it sometimes much more something to wear at home but it’s still there and I visited someone I don’t even remember who in a hotel in Garden City this guy who was this guy? in my second semester or something once I think he never became a friend or anything and of course there was always John CIA that was what he was called and he was hanging around since I was a freshman till I had graduated I never really and that was the whole joke like no one really knows what he’s doing like what is he doing blah blah blah that’s where John CIA but I think he was older he was in his forties and he was just maybe doing some courses or something I spoke with him once maybe two years ago I hadn’t seen him in a few years and I


 saw him again I was like hey what’s up and we spoke a bit and I asked him what do you really do and he told me he was a swimming instructor at CAC for a while but I don’t think he really ever explained why or how he was part of the campus and part of that life but it was sunny my memories when I see pictures or images of the campus its always sunny wherever I hung out different times different places from the Main to the Greek from next to the courts to on the platform steps to under the SS building and under the SS building up a bit and then more roaming around sitting here sitting there coming back but always always the picture’s sun it must say something cool it must say something positive too I remember when Sherif had left AUC and he had went to study film in England and he came back first time he came back and he came to AUC and he walked in through the DPS entrance and I saw him by complete coincidence I did not know he was coming and I was walking close by just saw him and was really like wow man what’s up it was good to see him and I think its funny and I even thought it was funny then that he walked through that entrance not through any other entrance but it seems to have some significance from the very first time I went there and the very first day I went there and maybe earlier not so clear but there was like supposedly student orientation where they take you around and showed you places explain things and I knew I didn’t want to do that I knew from even I was  and whatever and I knew I did not want explanations I knew that I wanted to fall into this place to fall into my adulthood in a way for me it was really this movement out of childhood into adulthood from the very beginning I realized that this was what was happening and I did not want any explanations so I did not join student orientations and it was it was better of course and it was in keeping with lots of things I did not need boxed answers or ready made answers at all it was more like better to discover it on your own even if it takes longer even if its harder even if you fuck up more but still that’s better and of course its easy to act small so


––, : pm I was really happy when I did an Arabic literature class I think it was my last year maybe the first semester in my senior year I did a paper about the ‘s Egyptian poets the professor was good but conservative he was good and serious and decent it felt good to even look at in my studies at something that was happening in this city that was part of the history of that city I mean I did American history and I did European history for example which is fine which is good but I mean it you could do whatever history you want I’m not into this complete nationalist do this do this but it still was good to look at something closer in the sense of where you are I enjoyed it and I worked on it hard one of the few classes I worked hard on and with pleasure I remember now this some of the stuff that has gone through this room and I realize that there were so many different phases and periods and groups very different to each other and what amazes me is that the movement so smoothly through it those are your friends and those are not your friends anymore and then those are your friends and those are not your friends anymore and I need to go to Atlas but I don’t go to Atlas anymore I used to see these people but no not anymore just this touch and go and here and there fast changing and not noticing it that’s the amazing I’m always struck that these four years and a half seemed like they were  or  years stretched out full of differences full of changes full of people and coming close but never really close to groups in and out in and out and changing changing all the time that was what was amazing I mean I remember being in my first year a guy friend of friends and he was there and he always had a small moustache Hisham Matata although for a bit maybe we clicked for a few days as far as I remember I don’t know but being in his house in my th year did not make any sense a completely different life as if this never happened and then each movement cancelled what came before it as if it didn’t exist but reality is they all existed and they followed each other and they made each other I could not see it then because I did not even remember it then because then I just went for it went from it to it because there was no need to remember it was just a headlong rush a run a race and to jump from one place to another was how you did it watching Prospero’s Books in my house with my friend and watching it and completely fucking stoned we play the film and the beginning’s really amazing working on the senses and I pressed the remote by mistake I switch it to an Egyptian TV channel and the spell is broken completely and she was really disturbed by how that spell was broken like I committed a sin and I understand that you watch something you get into it you shouldn’t break fine I get it but it was so judgmental so like you broke our privilege you broke our access to high culture you broke the moment where we can really be who we are supposed to be and that is the problem it’s not appreciating the work and looking at it and dealing with it and living it’s the problem of seeing that appreciation as if it is a privilege above everybody else and that is definitely in the situation of someone like me someone like her someone like Attar someone like Amr someone like Sari someone like Sherif someone like Islam all in their own very different ways dealing with the fringes and resisting something that was the privilege this access to this what they did not know but that is also deep self delusion making yourself feel better while actually Egyptian TV is what is out there and you don’t have to like it but you have got to accept it and deal with it in one way or another from my perspective healthier than acting as if it does not exist because it does don’t have to watch it but realize inside that its there so that we don’t live any illusions how far can one stretch oneself and feel like this is where is the point where you go beyond who you think who you are? I know this sounds like a strange questions maybe not so clear but very important I need to know in a way how far do I go from a certain idea and still remain who I am this question was being tested all the time because it was about in how


 far you can go how far you can hurt the person in front of you how far you can hurt yourself how far you can give joy and pleasure to the person in front of you and how far you can give joy and pleasure to yourself it was not so dark all the time it was also fucking bright where and how how do I draw that edge? this project is about drawing that edge again another parallel in sitting inside this room where I can move and have to stop because of limits and borders that I cannot pass I draw an edge to myself that begins and ends that is necessary at points not as something to believe in but just as something to experience a paradox irony whatever but I do believe in not really believing in somehow this exercise is about that too it’s about bringing up this ocean and not believing in it at the same time one of the major problems with the way I see my self formation at the time was that complete heroic self image necessary to fight against and to break down and to relook motives relook what why you did this relook what fueled you what pushed you what allowed you to do these different things I walked a certain walk to make a certain image friendships were about shared motives shared desires shared fears friendships about making sure that you are not alone in your space because you’ve decided that your space is going to be against what is around you so at least you need some company in that friendships forged upon the company of resistance everybody was fascinated by everybody else and that is positive that is beautiful that was part of the depth of these friendships there was a culture that was created in that institution by that institution unwittingly we were the side effect of their conformity we were the side effect of how they shape a certain elite yeah dealing with a factory what’s also quite amazing is as much as pictures and images and memories flow through my head I keep seeing things and I realize yes I said that a few days ago I said that  days ago I said that three days ago I said that yesterday I said that first day I said that the th day there is some internal resistance against going over it again although I think in a way I should not have that because it does not matter in a sense if it comes and if it doesn’t it doesn’t and if it comes twice then it comes twice but also to push towards uncovering the other thing that must remain silent somewhere and those how do I touch them? that is more difficult how do I touch what is supposed to be silent because it is silent because it hides and but I do want to touch it that hidden silent thing sure I did do video experiments when I was hung over and wearing training suits and T-shirt and I did that was Abe’s video camera that he lent me I did make a rope out of cloth and tie the camera to the rope suspended from the ceiling of my room in my family house and twist the camera and then leave it and let it rewind unwind itself very fast and shoot the room as it went like that Abe took a film class and he tried to make a film that really sucked a car and an accident total Hollywood shit at the same time he did something that was fucking amazing he shot video feedback with his camera shoot TV with a video hooked up to the TV video feedback early video technique from the ‘s really beautiful and I remember after he died Doodi said I will do something with this and the tapes maybe were with him maybe are still with him it does not matter it was very beautiful I was mesmerized when I saw it when going to the club house Abe must have suffered too because we turned him into an image of a group when he died it was a great marker and I then outside groups and I fell in love after that for the first time but the club house was always special and always charged always a social place and we watched we watched films and fucked around and got stoned and got drunk and sometimes we had different girlfriends over and different people made out with different girlfriends in different places in the house if it was empty and that was part of that club house that space there in Heliopolis a little bit of AUC right there in the middle of our lives the continuation of our lives where did it come from? did it come from there into the campus or from the campus into there it was all connected for sure when


when I walked into this building I knew I was going somewhere else although we opened the back window of his house and from the back window of his house I could see my house but it was like bedrooms my bedroom his bedroom Sherif ‘s bedroom bedrooms were the world you shut the door and you are outside the family


 ––, : pm called Tarek and he had blond hair he was a club junkie and there was a guy called Sherif and he had short curly black and he was a club junkie and they lived for that club moment it was not about AUC it was about a charmed moment it was about a time where everything became something else not necessarily any issues or any troubles but much more the living it thing I had a friend she was a friend for a brief period of time very gossipy friend we gossiped on the phone for hours and went to clubs together and partied and stuff but for her it meant so much much more than it really meant for me we were not really friends I never saw her in other parties outside those club situations that ensured her elite status but we we bonded on that so even on that level there was a necessity for a bonding time strange game strange game today I discussed this project too much today I had to speak with people about it twice and it was too much in a way and I would’ve preferred to do it on another day in another time outside it completely but situation did not help so that’s how it is gaming it playing it I was on a felucca with Amin with Alison and Stephanie two YABs I was maybe barely  the idea was that we would get them both but it didn’t happen he hooked up with Alison but I didn’t hook up with Stephanie we just spoke and it didn’t happen slowly this room collapses play with it till the fucking end so many questions were raised in discussion about this project I remember a guy called Sherif Omar that I knew very vaguely but he always struck me as someone who wore sneakers and he did wear sneakers and it fitted and I do remember Firas coming to my house a long time ago and jamming and we were playing hard core chords on the guitar with hard core distortion and reading sentences out of George Bataille’s “Death and Eroticism” that was a peak that was a peak of poetry and resistance together I wrote an article about masque Heavy Metal group full of anger and it never got published and that article was written against structural and poetic at the same time very broken words and not accepted for a mass media but I loved it and I put it under the glass of my desk for a bit I loved the moment of not remembering the moment of forgetting the moment of forgetting it’s so good the moment of forgetting in my bed for hours and hours and sleep naked in my bed for hours and hours in my bed tired I’m tired can it survive the frame of question arise and I cannot answer can we live it for a moment sprung upon a peg my consciousness questions that do arise this personal game will persevere ah shit the sinking in the not dealing part of the picture that I offer to the viewer and part of my strategy of offering a picture so that idea with bombs that have not exploded yet my own personal history like a fucking bitch comes at me do I know it or do I not playing games with human communication me I sit there waiting for those memories like watching William Burroughs in a video that Sherif gave me amazing parrot the video was him sitting next to a cage with a yellow parrot and the camera moving left and right but it was amazing I do not know why but it did touch me very deeply and I loved it as much as I loved the science fiction that came after that we try we try to resist but we have got to work fucking hard and we have got to know who we are first and we have got to know every motive and every desire that drive us to be what we are and who we are and not to care and yes to see it and to fight for it yes to love that love that love that all the fucking way yeah try to recall moment that passed by like going out and down with a theatre workshop with Attar and walking the floor was wet because they were washing they were cleaning the campus and walking and speaking with someone I don’t even remember who about the workshop and feeling like we were doing something also an illusion absolutely whether we like it or not even if I walked across a wet campus someday with someone walking and talking whatever the fuck happens it is something yeah true true true meaning and truth can be


negotiated always and give me that as a way out absolutely to be trashed yeah to be trashed that is shit this is shit man


 ––


––, : pm I actually started smoking grass before I smoked cigarettes not very common but for me in the beginning I started with smoking grass before I started smoking cigarettes and I used to smoke cigarettes every now and then in a party something like that but not as a smoker just with drinks the first party I went to I was smoking cigarettes in I wasn’t a smoker but those cigarettes were really good they tasted it was part of the excitement it was the first party I feel that it was a first party in a way and I was bumming cigarettes from people all the time because I didn’t smoke I didn’t have a pack of cigarettes of my own which was also good because it was a way of striking conversations and conversations were very few in that party I remember and they were smooth maybe I did not even know the people who had it but it was it was just very smooth and pleasant and warm and very inviting although low key but inviting for a while I was smoking dope and not smoking cigarettes and making a point of yeah I smoke dope because it has an impact it has a certain effect but smoking cigarettes why should I smoke cigarettes having a conversation about this with Abe I wonder the first time how did I know him before I met him because he was so recognizable I had always wondered who is this guy he told me when we became friends he had also known me how did we get to talk to each other? I am not so sure he used to wear either extensions or a wig so when I first saw him I thought he had really long braids but it was a joke when he got angry he would punch the wall or punch something because it was good because he knew his strength and did not inflict it on people sometimes jokingly especially at this age everybody is physical a bit but very rarely did he inflict it on friends it’s very easy for people that size or that strong to really bully people and he had a bit of the bully in him it was not so strong he was good-hearted in a way although although we must have had some conflict it escapes me and going once a long time ago I think with with Basel Qasabi to a bar on the Nile in Maadi that doesn’t exist a restaurant slash bar that was there for a short period of time and then folded Basel was playing there with a jazz drummer and Mika was the cook that’s when I first met Mika he was working as a chef at that bar it was once and I think it closed pretty soon after this yeah and we used to go up to the roof of the university where the flags are in front of Tahrir sometimes also for smokes I was not into such gestures but it was always seductive and inviting to burn the American flag because it was right in front of us which we did not do but always played around with this idea and the bookstore was totally different organized in a completely different fashion these little changes are also part of how this institution moved on to become more official more cold the way the bookstore changed was really a mirror of how the whole the whole university changed it just used to be more sloppy not better just sloppier and more of a maze somewhere you can get lost into it’s too small to get lost in anyway but more disorganized not so spread out and so well lit and that has something to do with also more easily watched the bigger it became the more difficult it was to gain access to rooftops to hidden corners and the more easily it was policed and secured when it was still a place where we had more of a chance to fuck around more of a chance to make it even if that was a delusion to make it a bit our own there was a concert organized at length was another one of the AUC bands bluesy rock something like that more or less the standard sound they had a concert in Heliopolis and Islam was supposed to play with them and he got locked in the room he was doing opium and I don’t remember what happened either he got locked in the room or he refused to play unless something happened that concert was in Heliopolis in the French cultural centre they had a stage they also had another concert in AUC in the main campus fountain area Attar was one of the organizers he was really living the whole like rock promoter he had some problem with getting in a bottle of booze and being busted


 and what they did is they mixed the vodka with the orange juice or the whisky with the coke I don’t remember which one it was and they stopped it and he came on stage and he said something very typical Attar then and now somehow also in the fountain area seeing a play Circus Beckett that I did not like so much but I saw it and I met Dina Red there and she was really into it as far as I remember another weird event they had this club it was Attar and his early friends slash group they were into style and fashion as in what is fashionable right now but they did have some event in the JC auditorium reading poetry and being whatever hardcore about things I was not so impressed it was very loud with not much effect as far as I’m concerned and once in a bus coming back from Alexandria coming back from Islam’s house there was like some stupid movie in the bus Arabic Kung Fu movie with what’s his name Youssef Mansour or something and there was a scene in which he stands speaks about the pyramids he’s a tour guide and a kung fu player or something to a bunch of tourists telling them how great Egypt was and bla bla bla and then there’s a panning shot and there were all these tourists clapping and Ahmed was one of them and it was very surprising because we did not expect to see him and it was just like wow and when they shot Malcolm X here a lot of my friends worked on that set Islam Mo Attar of course Islam did not last more than a day or two he had fights with everyone and quit or was fired and I was not involved in this and did not go to the set or anything but what Mo tells me which I always find really funny is they were shooting a scene supposed to be a pilgrimage scene in Mecca and all the extras are like going up a mountain and Mo of course grabbed a megaphone and started shouting at the people and he’s like OK all together now I want to see belief and like really getting into it and then Spike Lee apparently was like who the fuck is this guy what is he doing get him off my set and basically they took the megaphone from Mo and kicked him out but of course for him he was convinced that he was doing it the way it should be done he’s always like that always convinced that he’s doing it the way it should be done but you know although I spent these years with these people in different places at different times although we did that and went through a lot of things together I feel that in a way it was a bit too fast friendships were too fast I don’t think anyone ever really got to know anyone that close I got to know maybe Sherif really close in a way but maybe not too or Amr really close in a way but also maybe not there was something fast especially in the first two and a half three years there was something super fast that speed was definitely connected to the environment to the way a campus especially a campus like this for people like us works the way it is fragmented the way it’s broken up and the way that everybody carries his or her own image on their back it’s like walking and carrying a picture on your back too at the same time and it was so important and maybe rightly so because it’s that situation and how do we initially communicate with each other if not through these pictures everybody carrying this picture the weight of carrying that image also crushed a lot of depth so people got to know each other fast and forgot each other fast and it was scanning and looking and scanning and picking up pictures and the pictures that fit in with your pictures were interesting for that market a market of images everybody played it that way on one level or another of course you had deeper stuff happening between individuals on a smaller scale but on the general level it was like that once on a Monday being in AUC with Amr to Sidi Aly Zen Il Abideen and it was the music was on but it was before or after it was not in full sway and remembering that moving out of AUC and going there a completely different life and directly from there to there made clear in my mind not so clear not like the way I spoke about it yesterday about this double paranoia comes from two two associations not that clear but a touch of it and also there carrying an image too like changing and I think that day it was so clear because the image changing in the span of


ten  minutes we walked and through the walk that image changed so it was like OK being in that city and having different arms into different branches of that city one major main almost dominant arm of course being university campus and university life and everything that surrounds it another much smaller more minor arm still related to that major arm was the whole downtown Sari and sleaze and bars and night clubs belly dancers that lifestyle a bit there a different arm and then a third arm much more connected with Amr for example and Islam at moments in different ways that was a third arm that was plugged straight into Moulid life and this mass popular thing plugged into it and quite strong but different from this and this and then another arm that was based more in Heliopolis connected with Sherif Islam and maybe Jimmy at moments more about music more about bedroom culture more about the jams and the freak-outs these these things became bigger and smaller at different times but it was elements of a certain picture of myself although then I differentiate them now and that is false because they were all different and they were connected but at the same time they were all part of one same thing one of the major points of this project is me trying trying to touch that main thing and to maybe break it down but maybe I need to find a way of breaking it down without disconnecting them into different arms so seeing why going to clubs night clubs in downtown was also why in some way or another one went to for example to moulids which was also the reason why in some way or another one produced noise music in bedrooms which was also in another way the same as or related to hanging out on campus going to Stella drinking smoking going back to campus meeting people going to their house having a smoke coming back to campus breaking them away from each other is false I see in a way how they are the same thing too that’s in a way what I’ve been discussing today I’m quiet and calm I was always fond of long dangling jeans for a simple reason it felt like it was called a flare OK but it felt like it gave me flair I always felt like the way this bottom moved it’s similar to what I said about hair blowing in the wind it was also kicking with your feet and seeing that thing I think it was it was also something picked up directly from Jimmy Page playing his guitar “the song remains the same” and kicking while playing a solo and this thing waving that gesture stuck in my mind from the first time I saw that concert and became something that I wanted I wonder why? it always seemed to me really cool it is about something being fluid and open which is how we liked to think of ourselves yeah we were seduced by that picture stupid cigarettes this tastes like shit I used to have all these clothes like these ethnic radical chic thing some of it was nice sure and being in a market like the army surplus market close to Ramsis buying boots and army jackets and stuff like that it was so cheap I think the army jacket was for six pounds and the boots were for four but anyway being in that market and dressed like that completely sticking out and of course all the jewelry all the silver stuff and having a conversation with one of the sellers one of the stall keepers and he was asking me why do you look like that? I lied to him completely because I made up these people must have really not believed whatever the fuck I was saying I did this with Sari a few times we’d make up stories about belonging to a tribe in the desert and being sent by the family to study in Cairo and see the new technology and this is our tribal dress and and making up names of tribes and areas that did not exist complete lies playing games I don’t see them as did people believe us? maybe but it would be very funny if they did because it was just a lot of bullshit so I was telling him something like that being the eldest son of the tribal leader and coming to Cairo and this is just how we looked you know and yeah nobody really knows about us but bla bla bla something like that and if we look at these stories I think they really demonstrate something something that me and Sari bonded on they betray our desire to be fascinating and exotic too we wanted to be exotic


 but at the same time we definitely did to want to be connected for example to AUC we we wanted to be exotic but at the same time connected to something certain groups or something authentic or what we thought was authentic this whole discussion is completely different now we wanted to be both both exotic and authentic and therefore made up these these really funny stories about who we were some people maybe believed us because they acted like they believed us but maybe nobody did because if I look at the way and what we were saying it was really so farfetched but maybe because it was so farfetched maybe then it was believed it’s also ironic that there I am in one of the cheapest markets and like most popular this market does not exist anymore because it got outlawed by the state because of political stuff they didn’t want people to dress up as soldiers or something it doesn’t exist anymore I think that ‘till now I’m very I do not lie about it but as much as possible really not reveal the fact that unless it’s necessary not volunteer the fact that I graduated from AUC in my dealings with people because of course no matter what you’re dealing with people and it’s completely normal and they deal with you but the moment this comes out everything changes and of course I would rather just deal with people normally I’m not just interested in these strangers I don’t necessarily want to bond with them or have a friendship with them but I don’t necessarily want to have unnecessary barriers just dealing normally is already full of people trying to fuck with each other I don’t need to give anyone any extra ammo unless it’s in my interest to play the AUC card and sometimes it is in your interest to play the AUC card and then I do the way I treat AUC is really cynical in that sense something to be used when possible and I’m fine by that I’m happy with that I’m comfortable with that it’s healthy I have no other illusions about the place and no allegiance to it as an institution except what it can offer me that’s my attitude towards institutions anyway they win anyway whatever you do they win and even if if you take the most cynical position possible with them they win because they’re an institution and that’s the nature of institutions they win or they collapse if they don’t win they collapse they cannot continue without winning yeah and the only time I ever wrote a letter to the caravan which was unsigned I wrote it with a friend I vaguely remember during the second gulf war a letter about the hypocrisy of the sit-ins and the demonstrations which I was not into and found I could not take that somehow I was opposed to that I was opposed to this war and of course opposed to this war now I don’t know a bunch of AUC students sitting down on the platform what the fuck does that mean very few pictures this I also wonder about very few pictures remain from that time maybe I have five or six or something that’s it and with pictures that is related to this whole ethnic chic thing when Amr started doing photography I basically became his model he still has these pictures he doesn’t live in Egypt anymore but maybe he still has these pictures we did this series of pictures my god I think they’d really look hilarious now all that ethnic chic clothes with swords and the jewelry and like complete exotic fantasy that that’s interesting when I think about it now because it again seems to me to be so clearly connected to this same idea of wanting to be exotic yourself and to stand out by being exotic and at the same time to be connected to some strange idea of a certain root however the actual lifestyle we led was completely not like that just completely contemporary life in Cairo and completely not like that


––, : pm holding a sword and staring at the camera always staring at the camera living these fantasies but confronting I remember this guy I forgot his name but some guy never really a good friend he took a picture of me on campus and I completely got into like your eye is the camera but this looking back which I think I still have when it comes to pictures was important because it OK this is who I am deal with it that’s what it was about there was a really terrible band called TERA and we always called it TERAble this story demonstrates the opposite drive I didn’t really get how this worked they had one concert in Ewart hall it cost them a lot of money they spent all this money with a light show and huge banks of monitors and they played really terrible hard rock and it was gonna be on MTV this was the big thing so the concert and MTV was on monitors so that people could see them go on MTV live the whole thing was about reaching MTV somehow what happened was they were on MTV for  seconds all that happened is one of the announcers maybe it was even MTV Asia maybe there wasn’t MTV Asia then this was like ‘ but one of the announcers OK and now we’re gonna see TERA from Cairo cut live to them playing a riff or something not more than  seconds then cut back and just went on with their programs and the fuss they made about this was really amazing it was very important for them those  seconds OK the opposite of let’s be exotic and touch imaginary roots was OK let’s connect with the world and live that moment of being out there in the media of the world which of course had a huge impact on AUC life this world media in terms of lifestyle fashion music etc now does always does still does but maybe the division was sharper this was the division it’s strange although maybe now that the class differences are bigger and greater in Egypt the cultural division between what was inside and what was outside was bigger that was because the institution has become more standardized more of a machine and therefore also more in tune with the mainstream of course there were different types of people with all these generalizations but at least different groups there was a group that also had this rebelliousness that was chic but that also came with being very wealthy like Patricia smashing her car and coming into campus with her license plate like that’s what’s left of my car thing like this yeah super-spoilt bitchy but also rebellious cool in a way everybody is speaking to each other from their own pose the identity if I want to say that which is a bigger word is created by something bigger than that what I keep coming back to more and more as I go on with this project now on the twelfth day is that this identity had something to do with a certain tension between what they promoted and what they sold us and what they did at the same or no that sounds so conspiratorial I do not mean it like that but more like what was created in this atmosphere in which an idea of individuality a liberal idea of individuality was promoted while at the same time stolen in a sense and partly out of that tension and then the other tension being in and out invisible and different because of the invisible taking this outside the small campus we were in helped form specific identity and that identity was fragile too and although it posed although it acted as if it was completely individualistic it needed the support of others who you could identify as similar to yourself and therefore these communities were born the need the insistence on dealing with each other and posing ourselves as something I feel like there’s unwinding going on through this from the beginning till now and accumulating and thinking about and over and over again I reached this point now where it starts to all get a very blurred again and what I said about how that time was blurred and part of the motivation behind this project is to clarify in some ways it gets blurred again because I feel like masses of these moments have been resurrected and have come back to the foreground of my mind and my memory but at one point in this project I was classifying things according to emotions and other


 points I was not classifying things what seems the main point is that these resurrected memories remain blurred and flow into each just attempts without real clarity in the end but an archive once when Omar Bug he had a great laugh and we all at one point had a great laugh and everybody thought it was a great laugh it was very distinct a distinct laugh therefore we all got into the distinct laugh and it was typical he had a great laugh we got into it he magnified it we got into it more till it became something that was not really his anymore we all did in these little groupings at different times offered things in ourselves things in ourselves became melodramatic to the point that they were not ours anymore a certain way of talking a certain word a certain way of smoking a certain way of walking taken in by that group and what does that say about individuality I don’t know part of how we socialized and discovered a common language and when I met him again years later of course he was not like that and that’s always what’s interesting as much as of course everybody is the same in some some way these changes are not about becoming smarter or more experienced I think it is about the end of that time the end of these groups and therefore whichever part of us that was part of the group died when these groups died it was not necessary to live these things anymore there were victims of that people who wanted to maintain that forever like Sari he’s the best example of that in some ways he wanted to live in that forever and never go beyond it and that is not possible in any situation it always changes and deal with it a situation can change grow sure it doesn’t mean it has to die but it changes and for those who refused to see the changes I think it was sad because they then became isolated there was tension and it was not possible to be friends anymore because they still want to deal with you and deal with themselves as if they are  or  or whatever in AUC in that place at that time which is not possible so Omar Bug he had this laugh when he left his maid called me which I did not understand why did she call me I did not understand how she got my she called me and she told me that they had left this equipment with her like film equipment super  editing thing and a projector that never worked and she told me if I wanted it and I said I want it and so I went to her house in Matariya and bought it from her for twenty pounds it was interesting how these connections happen in the city and they take you to different parts of the city from Heliopolis from AUC to Heliopolis to Matariya through different connections I went there and I was not sure what she wanted exactly I felt like she wanted to sell something she was not very clear she showed it to me and I was like OK I’ll buy and I bought it for twenty pounds and I left with it and that was it and of course I never saw her again and that brief moment of coming into someone’s life in a completely different situation is always interesting especially when it comes this way unexpected and unconstructed and unforced just really the way materials move around also going to Mohamed Abdallah’s house in in Heliopolis and it was really funny this guy was really strange because he’d sit smoking shisha smoking hash sometimes and have Elvis Presley music for some reason while at the same time playing porn on TV or ‘s music concerts and videos and stuff like that and his house was dark and he really was not that AUC thing at all he did not belong to any of these groups but everybody knew him and we were friendly he used to drop me home many times and it was cool to see him in parties somehow providing a little bit of sleaze to the edge yeah and so I went to his house a few times smoking watching talking and once with Sherif or twice with Sherif and we were talking to each other and not really talking with him which to him is completely alright he was just into people come doing whatever and all part of the process as I slowly started to move out of out of these patterns in a way and out of these groupings and really to start to understand something about myself alone or like with the woman I was with it was related to being in love the ecstatic music started to die and I wonder


how? it was because I started to get out of using substances so much and so obsessively and to such an extreme but as I did that these moments of complete loss and breakdown which was associated with music and noise and the creation of noise that was so fantastic really so orgasmic started to die and became less and less and it was very frustrating for me trying to recover at that point trying to force it to come which means it will not come it used to come on its own and if you try to force it doesn’t come so I become more ordered in a way and I started to understand how I want to work and what I want to do a bit slowly but as that happened this other chaotic wild energy loss breakdown freak-out was going away and I felt sad about and I still feel sad about it because it’s gone I can work with this media in a totally different manner and I’m happy about that but I know I can’t anymore play two notes stupidly over and over again till I collapse this can’t happen just does not happen the lift-off when it doesn’t matter if you can play or not anyway it’s not the point this lift-off where you are completely consumed by this act is gone and started to fade with the last year I think it was there for for two central most fucked-up years and the two cloudiest two most fucked up this was a very strong part of them and it started to fade away and with its fading away there was sadness there was a certain sadness for sure it became redundant it became boring for example sitting and jamming with Wessam playing the same riff over and over but not going anywhere and we both know this is boring this does not work or trying with Sherif again and playing a bit of bass playing a bit of guitar he played a bit of whatever it was not going anywhere anymore or even playing with Islam we did some wicked electric shit together it was not going anywhere anymore it was not going anywhere anymore other things were being born it was about a state of being it was about being someone and therefore when that someone changed and you became someone else that died that went away and that’s one side I till now miss deeply and maybe I’ll never experience it again in a completely different way that’s possible and I do experience other things related to to making stuff or working or whatever another horrible loss but not the same definitely maybe I will never ever touch this again never taste it again and that is how it is it was a beautiful thing that died yeah once in Atlas kissing some woman and I think Amin was there that’s early on again these were like CAC (Cairo American College) girls and I think there was a lot of stuff happening I was never into this this was just one incident I’ve heard and saw like a lot of between these language school chicks like CAC or German school or whatever and AUCian guys some people were really into that scene and I saw it a bit because I had a friend who was going out with someone in CAC so I hung out with him a bit at one point with her and her friends and stuff but it was not so interesting really it was very like Hollywood high-school stuff it also had older younger which I was not into never worked for me that thing never worked for me this archive is is really unorganized disorganized disorganized mixed up messed up archive all how to maybe not necessary to give it a shape it has the shape that it is that is enough even just touching it that is enough I feel it was personal but it this is maybe the discovery or the realization how personal it was or maybe I’m just willing to admit it now how personal it was was also how public it was another parallel to this structure where how personal it is is how public it is in a way but I highlight this time I give it a shape whether I like it or not and someone said a comment on authority but this is about authority because definitely by authority the whole semi-struggle the whole way we looked upon ourselves was based on something that went against a certain authority not in the traditional sense but just in the way of living and in the attitude one had it was about that in many ways that was so important it was the unbearableness of authority I remember the massive resentment I had against family some rightly so definitely but also partly


 just because of authority for me personally being thrown into that scene dealing with that situation with that institution living that institution took these issues that one had with authority and completely magnified them and made them extreme and pushed them to an end and they dictated the way one spoke they dictated what one did in many ways in other ways it also made one strong in some ways you were also seduced by just a picture but in other ways that picture was enough to hold on and to push back and just the effort of pushing back whichever way it took whichever way it took if it was the way you walked into your house or the way you vomited at five : in the morning after a party


––, : pm I do like the few friends who remain from that time the way we deal with each other now not anymore as set groups much more just as people who were connected within some big machine at one point and then gone their own ways but can still still touch something together me and Amr when we were living in what we used to call Funhouse that amazing house with these two women which was an amazing time one year my last year of university once we we did go overboard in funhouse many times we went overboard but once a day a morning a beautiful sunny morning and both Mirjiam and Marliese were gone and it was just me and him and we just started drinking from the morning and listening to music and then going completely nuts in the house dancing all over the place smashing the windows our we got cut we didn’t cut ourselves but we got cut and spurting blood everywhere on the sheets on the floor on the table and I don’t know what we were thinking it was just a wild moment I was not there when they came back home I had left I went back to my family home and Amr called me that night and he was like OK I just went through shit they came back home they saw the destruction and they they told him to sit down then they both sat next to each other and they were like a court trying him for the crimes he did with me but I was absent and he called me and he told me look you know they have decided to leave us it’s over they’re leaving us I was so shocked maybe I understand this now much more clearly I understand why doing something like that even with the woman you’re with could be something semi-unacceptable but at the time I could not see it for me we were being who we were and that it’s it and that should be acceptable but that was so related to the basic narcissism self-indulgence and arrogance and I don’t put them with negative connotations just as facts that we experienced and shared and lived plus the paranoia alienation and insecurities we lived these emotions to the max and I was shocked and I spoke with her what do you mean? and we spoke and spoke and then they decided that me and him have to come and clean the house and take away every single bloodstain and we did yeah my mother dropped me off the next day in the morning to the house and I went up and me and Amr together we just started cleaning it was really funny we were talking to each other like a bit relieved they are not leaving us they’re still with us we have got to pay our price we have got to do that and we were doing that and it was fine we laughed about it too and we did it and we were happy that we overcame that that was a clear moment in which someone that is close to me now told me spoilt AUC baby she called me spoilt AUC baby maybe that is the action of spoilt AUC baby spoilt AUC baby lives his trip and fucks the house does not care that was how it was fine and we dealt with it and solved it and we cleaned that house what trust did we practice? there was a basic trust a basic simple almost naïve trust learned later on not to believe in that except in very deep connections but then there was a basic trust in the situation with all the issues and mini-traumas there was a basic belief trust that was between you and friends for example but I did things to break that trust intentionally just as a way to resist that this because that trust was in some ways a bit unfounded there was truth in it but it was also a bit taken for granted and therefore I believe that this makes sense to want to fight it back to want to fuck it up one of the most paranoid films I’ve ever seen and the first time I saw it I was really flying I was completely high and it was even very difficult for me to finish the film partly because of the soundtrack which was amazing continuous controlled white noise was Eraserhead all these films at the time were very powerful for me and remain the way I saw them the way I really touched the people in them these silences heavy silences in Bergman in Eraserhead in other films even in Casavettes where there are no silences but a moment where I see trust and paranoia again these two conflicting things that existed side-by-side near the end the paranoia won big


 time but those like Eraserhead the fascinating thing for me in Eraserhead was the way the guy not that he was defeated or small or whatever this is not what interested me but the way he lived in this field of complete mistrust and the way everything was so strongly hurting him in every possible manner the sound of the film was so distinct and created a world that was so apart that strongly struck me the way it created a bubble and the bubble is what leads to this paranoia earlier I spoke much about the bubble in here in the street and in AUC itself but that bubble is really one of the main elements that motivate paranoia and it comes especially in the beginning maybe with time you learn other things and you understand more but in the beginning when you are starting to have a sense of who you are as an individual socially and everything that was definitely magnified by being on that campus you have that sense this bubble becomes also clear and I was struck by the power of these films because they played upon the bubble like Eraserhead what a great title but anyway Eraserhead was completely about the bubble the first time I saw it I almost could not finish it because it was so strong I had to force myself to go through it to see it to the end and watching Pink Flamingos in SS  was also great completely different it was about this playful crime this dirty obscene playful crime which was also something I flirted with a bit this stealing ashtrays or wanting to break into houses or stealing a twenty-pound note or stealing books playing with what is unaccepted and obscene and crime is the most unaccepted and obscene and playing with that wanting to play with that and so John Waters Pink Flamingos sleaze and major sleaze a film about people competing for being the most disgusting on the planet and therefore was major sleaze and major obscene and had this light playful criminal light playful criminal touch that attracted me too the other side I can read myself in the films I like for sure in one way or another and at least in those years I did watch those films and so John Waters and Russ Meyer that I really liked and enjoyed too but I saw him after I graduated in London all his films in one go definitely less obscene but the playful fucking around with that some ways like lonesome cowboys Andy Warhol‚s lonesome cowboys also touched me then but this was part of the Sari thing part of let us be fascinated by this film it came through that filter and a day a night in Loran in Alexandria at Sari‚s house in Alexandria and Abe was there and Doodi was there and we were walking in the balcony I think and smoking a joint and looking at the garden that was completely destroyed with no plants in it not a garden really a wasteland Sari‚s wasteland and smoking the doobie and talking about the wasteland in a way just a moment like a relentless string somehow I wonder what this project will mean to me now as I go back to what has become for me a real club which is the university campus as I go back to it now after going through this experience I wonder with time with the accumulation with the way this experience will echo with me in my mind how will I see AUC now it has become a club for me a place for leisure jumping into the public arena to be taken out into the private space everyday the contrast always so great and always unavoidable always a marker always something that you had to think about in some form or another I was shocked when I was going to graduate when we had to pay I don’t remember how much but we had to pay for our cap and gown we that was amazing for me very typical of this profit-hungry and greedy institution for sure before I graduated I was coming close to the point OK I’m going to leave I’m going to finally get out of that place and I was like OK so what am I gonna do with my life that question and in the beginning I was completely into the idea of going to either Latin America or East Asia Japan China Hong Kong something like that to teach English to work in a school as an English teacher somewhere that was really fucking far at the time it was about I’m gonna leave that bubble I really need to very fast find another bubble of course bubbles are real too but just like escape the context escape the city that I have dealt with


and not dealt with all those years I did work on it a bit I did gather lists of schools from embassies and stuff Argentina Brazil Hong Kong Thailand Japan whatever I was whatever anywhere but it had to be either South America not Europe not America not Africa not the Arab world but either Far East or South America really the farthest points I was like maybe I’ll go to Uruguay I never did but crossing the bridge sometimes going to Zamalek and crossing the bridge to visit friends sometimes deciding to walk and crossing Kasr El Nil bridge I love that bridge and once I crossed when I was tripping on acid and looked at the river and looked at the water and it was muscle it was muscle the water was muscle like muscle full of tension I was walking back across that bridge another night I was at this woman’s house I mentioned her before nothing happened till after I graduated by years but there was some attraction but it did not happen till seven years later I was at her house and I left and I was completely high I was smoking with her and I was walking back and I walked from Zamalek and I crossed Kobri Abu El ‘Ela (Abu El ‘Ela Bridge) it doesn’t exist anymore there was a lagna ( police checkpoint) and they stopped and they looked at my ID and I had a British passport he was like you’re British how come and then in English so what is your name? like that and I was like OK my name is Hassan and he was pass as if that was the test police always fucking stupid but dangerous more dangerous because they are stupid more dangerous walking has always been a friend in a way and did provide me with a taste with a touch with a way of really touching this this place this city and thank god I never had a car thank god I never fell into this jumping out of AUC into the car or into the house into the car into the club into the car into the house into the car into AUC into the car into a bar into the car into the house etc my sense of struggle with isolation was not isolated because compared to lots of people in AUC I kept much more in touch with the city that caused more struggle if one was so isolated and not dealing with the situation and at the same time everything around him helped him in that and protected him within that then what happens is that you don’t really have issues because it just becomes that is life and that is how it is that is the mainstream attitude being in touch with the city in one way or another sometimes exoticising it sometimes exoticising myself sometimes fighting it sometimes it attacking me and defending myself or me attacking it whatever but that relationship thank god was deep enough powerful for me not to fall into this complete blind isolation so at least questions were raised at least there was a struggle at least there was some tension I think in a way you pay the price of that tension with your nerves with your blood with your very consciousness but that’s alright because it is more important that it exists than it doesn’t my insistence on connecting with the city in one way or another also also helped in creating that identity so it did not become pale or one-dimensional or really something that was neurotic and sick but something that had neurosis in it and was struggling with something inside but was still connected to the city in its own way and that is my basic position till now that whatever background whatever form I am connected to that city and I fight with or fight against but that comes out of a connection even disconnection even alienation is part of that city and that should be recognized and if its not recognized one should fight for it to be recognized skipping down platform steps once just skipping yeah just being happy one day I think must’ve had something to do with being looked at too I think someone raised that question yesterday in a discussion about that about the image you have of yourself and who you imagine is watching you and it must’ve had something to do with that too the skipping with joy like standing in the rain in the middle of AUC raining on my head and my hair being wet and becoming longer because it’s wet and enjoying the rain for sure but also enjoying the image absolutely always part of that game a frame in the sense of it something to be looked at and that was interesting and


 therefore that is another parallel with this construction with this situation which is about being looked at and looking which is about looking and being looked at which is really connected to that and I am amazed by the amount of connections I find between the construction and the content maybe that is also an illusion that comes out of being in this construction but I don’t care because I see it that way I perceive it that way and that is fine


––, : pm and times where we were trying very hard to connect with something else it could never be it could never be traditional conventional Arab politics because that did not work for us we were very critical of that it had to be something else but the problem was that it never completed itself as much as we tried I don’t think we tried hard enough once me and Sherif we played in an opening and then we played in the atelier and I played with a few bands in different places and did a video with Amr little things but they never really captured the power of that time which was strong that was our failure we were not able to capture that like me and Islam thinking of playing in the British club then burning the British flag and doing noise but not working and me and Amr coming up with an exhibition of meat attached to walls but not really doing it something missing and maybe that something had to do also with the amount of energy one had put in being in AUC at the time just being there just sustaining that image took energy and took focus and took some concentration that took away from the ability it was also being satisfied with just that living the student life being satisfied with that so we failed to take it over but maybe that’s a pity because there were strong things they come out now in the few people who have continued from that time their work is generally excellent Attar or Sherif or myself without arrogance excellent or not at least interesting at least providing something and and Amr of course could have done a lot but he decided and that has something to do with AUC too with being in that bubble and then seeing that outside that bubble you cannot do which I don’t think is true for him he saw I can’t do that outside that bubble and therefore he stopped he opted for middle class European married life and that was his choice consciously these experiences provide a background a history an understanding of why it is like this now too even if there was such a tremendous difference it still manages to provide that and that I see as a value definitely I wonder why I think there should have been more people out of that time who pushed for something else? too many people just accepted or just dealt with it as a time of trouble they were in and then accepted the role they were assigned more should have tried to strike it out but there was a lot of mental disease hanging around too minor mental not much but some mental disease maybe it exists everywhere in all times in all kinds of situations but I can only see it from my own lens I saw that mental disease this need to be seen or this need that someone was special maybe important maybe not necessarily mental disease but took that switch took that turn because there was a barrier so much else was happening at the same time in the immediate surrounding that it became something unhealthy the baby in it the comfort the softness that has something unhealthy about it what am I? who am I to say that? there were great ideas maybe we should have pushed them outside more there were attempts and we did some little pushes but maybe there should have been more going to score in Madinat Nasr I forgot what this guy’s name was I remember his face vaguely and we used to go and he had a dog an Alsatian very typical type of Madinat Nasr thing man with some money his name was Hussein and he was a friend of Doodi’s from AIS (American International School) Doodi was in AIS before he came to AUC and Hussein was really old then he was like  I was  so he was really old then and he was still a student in school but he was a small-time dealer and I vaguely remember where his house is now I don’t think I can get there anywhere but it was off Abbas El Akkad somewhere and we’d go sometimes me and Sherif sometimes me and Doodi sometimes just different people we’d go and score from Hussein and whistle to him and he’d come out on the balcony sometimes he told us to come up and I was in his house a couple of times we scored really good weed from him always really happy when we had it the joy of the score so strange for me how that is so distant now how that is so


 far away that joy of the score is so far away and there used to be Nagwa in Zaytoun we used to score hash from her I’ve never been to her house but I’ve been in cars and taxis where people scored and once we were completely wasted and really dry and wanted to smoke and we went there to Nagwa I was with Sherif and he went out we took a cab we he went out of the cab went up the street he dealt with her he told me about the atmosphere although I never went to Nagwa’s house and she was busted for two years or something but the people who worked with her were still working so it was still going on and he scored some hash and it was not bad it was not bad at all how much we scored and how much we smoked? it really was a lot for sure I went to Taji’s graduation in AIS Romantica does not exist anymore used to be for a time the haven of heavy metal wild macho nights with few gothic women but something wild funny how all these semi-wild things were contained and kept back so many never reached their full potential that was frustrating one always wanted more one always wanted the complete break-down or the complete collapse or the complete violence something major and it never happened and there was a sense of waiting for it that hid the deep student boredom all those times and being in Jimmy’s room it changed because I visited him years after I graduated and he moved into a smaller room but he used to have the bigger room it was really a dysfunctional family somehow the way he packed all his codafene bottles and drank them to study sip by sip and always had something to smoke and wore shades at night and had deep complexes about many things but I would have been there and we jammed and we made music together and one evening he was at my house with his drum set and we were playing music and sniffing some speed and my door was closed my father opened it and saw me his son just there sniffing speed and freaked out of course and called me went out and called me and I went to see him and he told me what are you doing? why are you doing this? this guy should leave and I was quite high and I was like look don’t spoil my high this guy is here we are playing music and we are gonna continue that and I just did not care somehow and I am happy that I did not care that was my position and I’m proud of it so I went back and just like Jimmy it’s alright let’s play and we played drums and guitar and it was great it was a huge joy huge fun yeah but also going to a pharmacy where you scored Pulmolar bottles seeing all those young people around the pharmacy and imagining fantasy all young people attacking the pharmacy smashing it and stealing all the hallucinogenic medicines that were there it did not happen it was just a fantasy but I enjoyed it I was also struck by that how that pharmacy glowed at night everything was dark it was in Triumph and crossing the metro tracks and walking up and going to that pharmacy with Jimmy and meeting his friends I don’t remember any of their names or the way they look at all just the whole youth scene and dealing with it and being part of it too because of cough syrup and we loved cough syrup it was our joy I remember that it spread like wildfire and it was good it was really good but they killed it too that pharmacy glowing at night totally and going to Sinai also with Jimmy once and he hiding bottles behind the curtains and that was smart because when the police came in to search the they searched him and they did not find anything he had hid the bottles behind the bus curtain again wearing his sun shades he was really into the sun shades and there was a bar in Heliopolis that was in for a bit but died away in Midan Safir and a party that I went to there once and left completely out of my mind wasted and stumbling through and not really knowing I was somewhere in Heliopolis but not really knowing where I was exactly but somehow getting a cab and going home and also for the record it was possible to take a cab from Heliopolis to AUC for two pounds that I actually experienced out of the old-age talk but yeah that I actually experienced that is absolutely impossible now but it did exist even there was a hunt though in some ways there was a hunt there was this instinct of being


a hunter and being hunted at the same time walking down the street with a certain image in your mind feeling so good about that once being at Jimmy’s house and I had worked on a piece of music that was made out of feedback and just going there with the tape and putting it on in his house his parents were not home and it was layer upon layer upon layer of guitars feeding back massive noise and we were smoking and completely out of our heads and we listened to it and it was so strong we were just both collapsing and laughing and being in an ecstasy of listening in a complete ecstasy of listening to I don’t think I have this tape anymore but I would love to have it it was so strong it was so so strong it was really a crazy moment we could not even talk because of its strength me and Jimmy once sitting in the garden in front of my house for hours for two or three hours and talking and he went through his own personal traumas for me and broke them down we looked at them together and built them up again and found a place to be safe and although we were very different and although his traumas had nothing to do with my issues at all just going through this sitting with him going through issues and building them back up made me feel something about my own issues and made me look at my own issues in a way that really surprised me I did not expect to see or hear or understand that much just by being with a friend I learned something about myself too sitting in that garden that happened with different people at different times like connections based upon breaking down who we were with Sari when he was tripping at the New Years eve party someone spiked his drink and he was tripping and I walked him through it me completely lost in a palm tree forest and just people listening and they walk into it just by being there and listening those times connection certain connection issues many issues many fucking issues for sure many fucking issues all the way to comprehend dealing with it trying that and dealing with it absolutely dealing with it I saw myself in a dream as a magic boy and that means something too sure


 ––


––, : pm I always thought it was really ironic how when I first entered AUC everybody thought I was really young almost younger than I was and how by the time I left everybody thought I was much older than I was in those four years and a half something happened not in terms of actual years but in terms of how I felt about how old I was I changed from being a young young boy to someone older than I really was people assumed I was older the first time this is also really it sounds like something that wouldn’t happen but it did happen the first time I was ever carded in a bar asked for my ID was on my –first birthday when I was actually legal it was so strange to be asked for your ID after you had lived the last four years completely wasted and doing so many things it just became really ridiculous it’s good that it was my birthday I could live that moment and enjoy it too yeah in the beginning I lied about my age a few times and tried to make it older especially after an early experience with a girl that I was attracted to and then I told her I was  she was  which then is a big difference she was completely disinterested in me from that moment then I learned that this was not such a great advantage later on it was a great advantage to actually be young and to look older and to be assumed to be older somehow its not exactly the way you look as much as your own spirit which for me was mixed between completely infantile and very mature at the same time and that was an advantage for people to assume that you’re in your mid-twenties when you’re actually  that whole situation flipped around but I only lied twice or three times for example and it was always to women because of that experience I had before by the time I was  turning  by that time it didn’t matter anymore because by that time my age was not relevant anymore and people could not tell and it was not important I think that was a time of how integrated I got into this social scene the fact that people thought I was much younger must have also meant not just in terms of looks but in terms of me coming into this place and being a bit naïve about it and being quite inexperienced and slowly catching how to deal and finding a position for myself and really pushing my position for myself you know deciding this is who I am and that’s who I will be very clearly and I think the moment that was set and it was clear to people also not just to me that this was related to a pose and I spoke about that before it was deeper than that too and it had something to do with who I actually was and therefore at that moment somehow my age became invisible and I was not young or old anymore I was just there then was the time I fell into a specific place on that campus when I turned  that was a big deal but then I had already graduated anyway it was strange that    that they as far as I remember didn’t mean much to me it all seemed to be part of the same thing like time that was just blurred the whole experience has to do with how time was blurred anyway because part of the motivation behind this project is to try to understand what rhythm this time had what internal tempo logic it had was it fast? was it slow? and still till now on this th day of that project still there is no chronology for me I do know that there were things that happened in the beginning things that happened near the end and things that happened in the middle but still there is something extremely blurred it remains extremely blurred it had something to do with university boredom too with the way it really always strikes me how there is the essential static thing and even if you’re changing much because you are inside a certain bubble and a certain confined environment where things are marked but not so clearly it at least for me seemed to be quite endless and I am shocked now by the amount of changes I went through and I remember very clearly being like this and then being like this or hanging out with those people or those people whatever massive changes dynamic and radical changes and transformations and it’s shocking for me how these changes I did not experience them as changes they just seamlessly


 blended into each other and I realize that the major markers are the time of entering and a few things in the beginning and then coming out of it and then leaving but within those four years and a half that I was in there these really big and fast changes it’s not such a long time and the amount of shit that happened it was really a completely different person at different times I was not aware of it then in a way I mean only near the end and near the beginning but throughout it was very seamless it blended into one another there were moments of realizations but sudden decisions not to have that person as a friend for example just sudden sharp breaks I never thought it as breaks and it was so easy it was like a decision made and a decision taken and that is it I never went over it again as far as I recall they were just made and done and forgotten about in a way but I think that was important actually it was flexible because without noticing it my main concern was to somehow and in different ways one by belonging to a specific community that changed and having a certain relationship with it and then becoming distant to it but by building actually not belonging what happened then is that we built a specific type of community almost too big a word for it but a certain type of grouping and within that or outside that I was always at this point of stretching out I keep coming back to that sentence but it must mean a lot it must say something because these two sentences these two phrases I’ve been repeating them the past five–six days I think stretching myself to the limit and testing myself testing my boundaries testing understanding where I started where I began and where I ended in a way and doing that through social things doing it through personal things doing it through a certain type of image doing it in many many different ways that seems to have been one of the main driving forces foundational elements motives behind my actions at the time and again maybe not behind my actions but rather were my actions were about feeding this new self that had been born on that campus born again is maybe too strong because it is related to something before but had taken shape on that campus and it was really necessary for me at that time without really realizing consciously that this is what was happening I remember in Basata the first time I was there I was  and there was this guy who used to play guitar a Jordanian guy Ashraf little Ashraf he could play a blues solo and I was so impressed by that then and then two years later when I could play a blues solo I remembered how I used to be so impressed by that and realized how not impressed by that I was at this point so I think things like this moments like this were about realizing that I changed but they were realizing the details without me being aware or completely conscious of change maybe only now I try to put on this form this shape to understand it as if these changes were really changes and maybe they really were things that flowed into each other I was so impressed by his guitar-playing and I was impressed by him just because he could do that and I realized later on that this guy he disappeared later on but even one semester later I really disliked this guy I realized that he was just a boring fuck anyway and again that time when we when we took to Sinai and had a really great trip and started in Basata and we were kicked out and built a tent outside the place and used to walk in indulge and enjoy in like pissing Sherif Ghamrawy off who was the owner of the place and somehow I don’t think it was based on this trip or another trip but somehow one day he met my mother and he realized that I was her son and he told her your son is really fucked up he’s on those Technicolor drugs that’s literally what he said Technicolor drugs whatever the fuck Technicolor drugs mean I don’t know what Technicolor drugs mean I was really pissed off when I heard that and it was also a big disappointment because although he was a conservative bastard anyway and we did have this attitude towards him I still thought that this was the zone where we can screw around without really caring about these things and that was part of why Sinai was a huge fantasy playground then of course also the fact


that you are not reminded of living in a city that is extremely different to your lifestyle anyway searching for the empty space to assure yourself that this is alright and of course I think that’s quite problematic and very typical university boredom I was disappointed just because it meant that this romanticized fantastic zone became a bit more connected to what was more mundane and more real daily life parents home connected in a sharp way but it was no big deal my parents didn’t do anything about it and it was a bit half a joke and half of it like you should be a bit careful but not so serious that was good they really were not that authoritarian although there were tensions all the time and insistence and I did insist always on my way and therefore lots of times did get my way somehow I’m also amazed by I really did I did not make any money because I was not working I was just a student and I wasn’t given such a huge allowance anyway which was partly my parent’s idea of what students or whatever shouldn’t get huge allowances anyway so I’m quite of amazed by the amount of things things I did and the amount of drinks I drank and the amount of scores with really almost no money and I guess it was really that worked because that worked because as a group of people connected on that tension with the mainstream in a way and who all indulged and lived that lifestyle very extreme and to an extreme extremely we supported each other not in the sense of I’ll buy you a drink but much more like things were bought together and bottles were bought together and whoever had a bottle was shared not for any utopian reasons it was much more mundane and much more selfish than that everybody needed someone to be with in a way everybody needed someone to get fucked with and everybody needed someone who could remind them that they are not alone and that the way they’re living was also shared by other people that was so important for it to become a lifestyle it had to be done that way and Abe he got a bass and at one point he got into learning to play the bass it didn’t go very far and knocking I don’t know who was doing this maybe it was Sherif I don’t remember but just the the bass on the floor and its plugged in and someone like hammering at it with a hammer and these deep boom sounds coming out of it I don’t remember where that was maybe maybe it was in Abe’s bedroom and we used to lie on the bed drinking smoking open windows of course always open windows lounging in the room and people dropped in and out all the time I got out of this slowly and slowly the more selective I was about people the more I distanced myself from this type of thing also the more I got into more fucked up shit the more personal I became I don’t necessarily mean more harder drugs at all but just a way of life that was more explosive and the more explosive I became the less interested I was in that type of connection although friends remained from these groups but became more personal friends than group friends and of course Abe died one day and that completely immediately ended and stopped the moment he died that whole group disintegrated which was OK but which also said something not just about Abe as a person but about the power of his image it said something about how he looked to the world and how therefore for all of us it was easy to gravitate around him as an image as a picture and so the moment he disappeared it was not possible to keep that going anymore and I was definitely not interested in trying to keep it going at all I was already by then not interested in it anyway and there used to be a counselor a psychiatrist I forgot his name this counselor left ages ago and he did a demonstration this was really fucked up I think he did a demonstration he was really antidrugs also so we really resented him but he did a demonstration in the Wallace theatre which doesn’t exist anymore again and in which he demonstrated hypnosis as a way of overcoming addiction something like that and it seemed to me whether this works or not to use an idea that was so based upon faith and personal belief as a counter to something like addiction which is also about faith and personal belief to be a very


 destructive thing I felt we went to that lecture slash demonstration and were very critical of it rightly so it felt strange it did not feel good at all can’t remember his name though can’t remember his name I used to know these two guys who were not from university they were like downtowners they didn’t live downtown but they were like shabab (youth) downtown and one guy but I used to meet them outside campus go for walks with them have a smoke on the bridge which does not exist anymore the pedestrian bridge in Bab El Louk was a favorite smoking spot because you can go up the bridge and its completely empty walk across while smoking a joint and then come down and its already finished and it was like a moment lifted on top and isolated and what’s interesting is this pedestrian bridge was also used by street kids to do glue to sniff glue in it and they finally took it off and now there is no pedestrian bridge and I suspect that part of the reason why they took it off for sure something to do with traffic and stuff like that and their idea of what a beautiful city is but also something to do with the way that this bridge was such a dead zone was an area where you can really do things you are not supposed to do and it was good to have a smoke there because you could always have a smoke on the way to Stella or on the way back across the bridge so I having walks with them and talk to them but again after a bit I was just really not interested in them and it was interesting to see and I was always aware of that and really not naïve about that at all and always careful and also playing my own games but that if you are dealing with people and that AUC label exists somewhere then you’re definitely dealing most probably especially in these types of situations with something with something opportunistic and for me it was also something opportunistic I wanted something too and so in these types of relations I always made very clear that you can’t fuck with me in a way and OK that’s how I deal so you have got to deal like that too but then it becomes boring because nothing nothing nothing happens there is no communication going on I only really made friends with one professor which was Ruse who was philosophy professor and he was there for a few years and he was gone I don’t know what happened also not very close friends but some friendship and the thing about him is that he was he was without any poses which a lot of professors do have and are always talking about and present it in this form he was not just critical of the institution because everybody is critical of the institution that’s a part of being in that institution anyway that’s what you do in it too but he was really alienated from it and alienated from it without the image of being alienated from it he really looked like he was just flowing with it and just a young professor who was doing it but I realized when I got to know him a bit better and I think maybe that’s why I was interested in him and maybe that’s why he was interested in me was that he was alienated from this university and maybe from universities as such because they do have that atmosphere its almost unavoidable especially as an undergraduate of course if he is doing things with universities in other capacities it’s completely different but as an undergraduate the thing is it really truly becomes the frame through which everything is constructed and perceived and I did get into how I was plugged into many other sides of the city that I am happy about and that in my own eyes saved me from something and at the same time created intense inner struggle but because of that it deepens that sense of connected and disconnected it highlights it more and you deal with it OK earlier on I dealt with it I was joined mainly by Sari I dealt with exploring the city looking at it as exotic and presenting ourselves as exotic that was how I dealt with it at the beginning and then I probably moved a bit beyond that and got into really looking at it and really trying to understand maybe not understand but find how I did or did not fit in with that city but one thing I realized from the very beginning that has something to do with why I’ve always felt that crowds were such a great thing almost a positive value in themselves just the fact of a crowd


which is something else than than the people who are in it is there’s something extremely free about that and something also the potential even though it never happens but the potential for something suddenly breaking out something that broke these categories was there just the possibility of it was there and that that made me understand in a way that whether you like it or not and whether people like it or not everybody fits in somehow even the most extreme outsider slobbering on the streets is fitting in as there is something that connects them connects it all that feeling that emotion of something that connects it all became very strong for me in my third and my th year and when I graduated everything changed again and I understood that in a totally different way but at least if I speak about being there it was a very strong emotion and it became stronger and stronger for sure yesterday I spoke a bit about the pictures that Amr used to take which I modeled for in the beginning when he started photography and I was almost his first model really and they were always exotic images but it was interesting he was also doing selfportraits and his self-portraits were almost completely the opposite of the pictures he was taking of me were usually very flamboyant very exotic very something to do with our melodramatic idea of magic and the roots like the eastern magical roots really fucked up ideas really stupid ideas and the self-portraits he was doing were all very minimalist and very influenced by we always laughed about that definitely influenced by certain uh certain New Wave and Antonioni films I never thought of that but I wonder what that says about how he saw me and how he saw himself in contrast but it does make sense because in our relationship I was the one who was really fucking it up not fucking it up as in it doesn’t work but pushing for the explosion and while he was into it but he was into it more as an a an observer more than a participant he did get into it sometimes but he was always a bit more distant and a bit calmer a bit quieter a bit more reserved and he probably has both I would like to look at both of them now again when I see him again he doesn’t live in Egypt anymore but I think it it says something really about how we were as friends together and there was a thrill I guess for him to do that to indulge in that without without truly indulging in it I don’t know if I can say that maybe I’m being presumptuous but to participate to be to be there to see it to do it sometimes and sometimes not I think was important and then that makes me think how he chose consciously to leave after we were completely out of this to live a completely different life straight-forward European middle-class life he lives in Holland he’s married and he’s going to have a kid and works he’s gonna buy a house mortgage whatever to live that life he consciously decided and that’s what I think I respect about him is that it really was a decision it was not something he was forced into was not something that he did blindly he chose to live it like that and I think its also good because somehow he chose that after seeing the other side and even if I don’t live this other way at all anymore but even if my own life has changed too and it has radically it stems out of what that was but I see in him a complete change of direction and when I was suspended I tried to speak with Dean Montassir about OK doing this play with Attar and she completely refused and that was also really nearing the end of my graduation anyway and it put me back a bit but it doesn’t matter but I was always till then because of my experience in the department I was in which I was for sure extremely spoilt and always managed to get away with stuff and that experience that suspension I was so blindly arrogant and confident that I can talk my way out of it and that I can convince whoever I can convince the dean of students and I failed first I failed in not getting suspended and then I thought OK at least when I come in with this argument about you know art and culture and I’m working on a play with Attar and stuff that she would understand that and there was no way she was a bureaucrat she was a complete bureaucrat and putting down the rules or working with the rules not caring about


 these arguments and then at that moment I realized that the privilege I was in within this closed small department where I could really get away with all that stuff and realized that this is not how it works just a tiny bit bigger its not really how it works not even the world in terms of just bending rules it doesn’t exactly work of course everybody bends them and they can always be bent but not not for those arguments not for the sake of you can be really smart with them so they’ll bend it for you these were not the reasons that everybody bent rules for and when that was clear to me I saw how spoilt I was and how spoilt I had become by being given the leeway all the time somehow somehow just being able to make it while really not putting any effort into it all my energies were definitely put into this stretching and testing stretching and testing not in the path that was drawn for me and that was clear then so I just had to take that suspension and do it and pass it it was a bit of a defeat but it passed quickly anyway I did enjoy the holiday for sure it really was a holiday I remember one jam at someone’s house in zamalek and uh I was out of it I was on the and stoned at the same time and we were jamming really hard really hard I don’t remember whose house it was but it was really a big jam there were ten people playing at the same time in a house in someone’s house and I had started speaking while playing I started speaking I was never into singing or anything like that but just speaking and talking and it was funny how at the time everything that was produced like that like that bedroom culture outside music it’s hard to grasp that and to make it solid but everything else was extremely focused on trying to describe this state this like tripped out state and the thing about this tripped out state is that it was not superficial it was not like lalala it was actually dangerous it was meant to be dangerous because it really was it was a way of touching the limits of who you were and what’s related to everything that was real and concrete was not as some people who do not know or who have not experienced that have very presumptuous ideas about what drugs are and do was not escape was almost the opposite was the opposite that’s why I stopped in the end it because it was the looking not the escape it was whether one liked it or not and if it began with a take-off and ended in a crash at the end it was not an escape it was always a focus it was always a focus upon upon who you were that was the basic question in a way seeing from different perspectives and angles yeah


––, : pm Islam had a book that was really fascinating a a theatre anthropology book I didn’t read the book but the pictures were very fascinating of gestures and masks and poses and images from all over the world including avant-garde to traditional to whatever but all dealing with the power of the look he had that book and he was really into it and he always made comments about that book and made comparisons between that book and campus life and Mike told me once recently maybe a month ago or two months ago he told me this we decided to hunt down we really have to hunt it down personally I would love to see it he told me that a YAB or someone did his MA thesis in sociology or anthropology at the time we were there so maybe ‘ or maybe ‘ or ‘ on the Greek campus and on the different groups who were there so it is a task I should not forget that I should really find this thesis and read it and Mike was saying we should do it together because he was there too and it would be very interesting for both of us it must be in the library or in the department in the sociology department or in the anthropology either sociology or anthropology so it must be traceable but I did like the way the head of my department did not talk to me for two years after I graduated because I stood her up and did not show up at the graduation ceremony and it’s silly or whatever to even like that but I did like it somehow I’m just very cynical about the whole thing in a way which means you are enraged some deep resentment against the whole university including the department of course although they gave me such an easy time compared to what I was doing they definitely gave me an easy time but that resentment was there it was unavoidable it’s strange to look back at this project and to realize now as I’m near its end how it also has been another power level between the form and the content or the experience itself and the content I’m dealing with it had its own different stages and times that seamlessly went into each other and because right now I just remembered ten or eleven incidents or things that I had said all before right now and therefore chose not to say them again but then I remembered that I had said them all before and I realized that like OK was in the middle period that was in the beginning that was between the middle and the beginning and the way things were a bit is that like an incident comes up and then the next day it can come up again and I remember another side of it and then come up again and then its repeated a few times worked out and ends strange that when it ends now I have almost no desire maybe this will extend to this project that its like killing my desire to tell these stories again because some of these stories I’ve said to friends who were not there or you meet people who you knew and you say remember this remember that remember it together the things that happened but I feel I cannot be certain what this project is doing is finalizing it and really stopping it and killing it and maybe I don’t see it absolutely as impossible to ever mention the story again but I feel the drive to actually remember lots of these things or to go over them or to talk about them is probably exhausted by this project and maybe that is one of the secret motives behind this project that I was not even aware of secret personal motives behind this project maybe also strange how every dream I’ve had about this project sometimes in my dreams I of course see myself as I was many times I dream of myself with long hair for example and see myself the way I was at that time as if that is me and this is rather common with my dreams but every dream I’ve had since I’ve begun this project has been me now absolutely me now and a lot of these dreams were related to this experience and always me now and I think that also says something about what’s going on in my relation to these memories through this experience and this experience exists because I must have in a way felt that my relationship with these memories are changing and partly these personal motives they’re personal motives outside other more technical motives but as personal motives I see that also but


 there are gaps I mentioned them before the hardest I think are definitely gaps when it comes to hatreds or jealousies or envies it’s hard for me to remember them or get into them much harder than I thought initially that this would be the first layer that would arise but it seems to be the most difficult side to access really we spent a night me and Omar bug it must have been ‘ in a youth hostel in Sharm one night we didn’t really spend the night we got there we put our bags we went out we had a really completely fucked up night in which we were going to die easily and ended up passing out in a car we couldn’t even find the place and in the morning we found it and took our stuff so we didn’t even really spend the night but I just remembered what it looked like very government type building and then I don’t know this trip I did with Omar in his bug with his car to to Sinai it was early on I know it was not the first trip but I don’t know if it was the second or third or fourth I can’t tell because most of most of those all those Sinai times and they were months and months spent months there these years have all with the exception of like the very early ones because they were a bit different have all melded together or melted together and became one huge blob with different people and different events but really one huge blob but hitchhiking once other than the trip when we got busted another time with Omar his car wasn’t working or something but standing we had run out of gas or something and and hitchhiking and these girls stopped and they were from AUC and we we vaguely knew them and so it was OK and they gave us a lift in the sun and there was a guy who had he invited us for food once either me and Sherif or me and Sari in Dahab and this guy he was really sad his name was Sa’eed but everybody called him Jimmy for some reason and so he was Sa’eed Jimmy whatever something and he was trying to open a camp in Dahab but it was failing and I think I was with Sherif I think I’ll check with him but I think was with Sherif but he invited us over to the camp one day and cooked us a pot of potatoes for some reason and we were very happy because because we were very hungry and through him we made a deal we sold some dope to an Australian girl and we really ripped her off I think we ripped her off I think she paid a hundred and twenty pounds we bought it for forty we took the hundred and twenty pounds bought it for forty and pocketed the rest but we had we had no cash plus we smoked a lot of the shit with her too I can’t remember who she was just someone but once also in Dahab this encounter really a conflict and I was so pissed off this was definitely with Sherif we met this guy some American guy who freaked out we met him and we spoke and we were smoking I think he was intimidated by us somehow he could not deal with his image of what an Egyptian is supposed to be somehow his racist image and colonial image of what an Egyptian is supposed to be he could not deal with that being destroyed he could not deal with he presumptuously thought he should be superior to and realized that we knew much more than him and definitely had the upper hand he could not deal with that so he freaked out suddenly in the middle of a semi-friendly conversation and smoking he suddenly freaked out and started shouting at us and saying you guys you are not Egyptian you’re fake bla bla bla stuff like that and I just stood up and I said look Sherif let’s get out of here before I kick the shit out of this guy and I just looked at him and I think Sherif was fucking angry too and we just left it was good we left because it was going to get really very violent if we had stayed I think it was going to get very violent if we had stayed because it was not even necessary to get into a conversation with someone that bigoted and stupid it was not necessary it’s funny because in the beginning not the first day or the second day maybe this like beginning middle time for a few days for four five days in this project I did get into what could in a system that I think collapsed completely with time into a system in which I tried to organize my memories according to emotions for example and always connecting specific emotions to the social setting and the


context and the university and look at how this created these emotions and therefore these actions occurred and my reactions whatever something like that and for four or five days this worked very well I think and I did a lot and when I transcribe these tapes I think that segment will probably read pretty coherent and will probably read as something well thought out and like almost written like a written text I imagine maybe I am wrong but I noticed that I passed through this and then it ended analysis the structured analysis ended and then it slowly became a desert of memories and little moments of analysis and stuff but that basic deep structure was broken and maybe that is healthy too because I sit now here today and I think of sometimes working on how how to give it a a specific shape and sometimes not but sometimes really working on that and realizing now that the way it works as a pattern for example is that they build themselves and break themselves down and that is interesting because it’s related to one of the main drives behind this project which is to take a certain self image identity something and to break it break it down and now more and more clearly I realize that it is not really possible in a way because every explanation is not really an explanation it’s just another angle of looking at it and its really impossible to grasp to be able to analyze it away I think it’s possible to kill it by going over and over it in many different ways one thing I realize for sure now is that I don’t have any any specific deep understanding of what it exactly is basically once again walking in Ramsis and I’m not sure what I was doing was I doing anything specific or just walking around but finding one of those very popular hotels three pounds a night four pounds a night type hotels it was really like old Arabic movies it was called Loqandit Il Sha’b “The hotel of the people” and I walked in just out of curiosity and there was no one there it was completely deserted and it was functioning but there was no one at the reception and just at that moment there happened to be no one there and so I just walked through it and went into rooms that were open and there were people’s stuff around just looking and coming out again it was just a strange feeling passing through people’s lives without them ever being aware of it and walking into a an old I think Qasr El Ghoury but it was empty again it’s usually it’s a functioning space that’s used for things and bla bla bla but in the middle of the day at : or : just walking in and there was no one there at all and I just walked in and the doors were open explored it and I had a joint so I just smoked it immediately I just smoked the joint in in this place because it was empty and it was really good it was such a good feeling to get stoned in that place especially because it was a functioning public space and it was just good to walk in and do that by coincidence and taking fellucas at dawn that happened a lot for a while from Maadi like post-partying and felluca times at dawn wasted on it and really beautiful really an hour or two at dawn it was really amazing I remember yeah really good really good feeling and being broke completely broke and when I was living in funhouse with Mirjiam and we called it funhouse because there was a Stooges album called funhouse and it was a really hardcore album that was really good really good hardcore album and we were listening to it me and Amr in the house and it just became like this is funhouse and we called it funhouse and when I was living I lived there for a year because I spent three days there then two days back at my parents place then two days there and then one day there so I wasn’t living there fully but living there and I was broke I was still a student at AUC and it was my last year and wanting to participate in this house’s budget because I was a student Amr was a student Mirjiam and Marliese were not they had graduated they had their income but we were students younger students so going to AUC and stealing sugar and stealing tea and stealing stuff just from the cafeteria collecting stuff and stealing it and taking it back home and OK I participated in this house somehow of course whatever I got was very little in the end because how much of that


 could you really steal but I guess the whole thing was more about the gesture than the actual amounts yeah sunny always sunny I wonder why I wonder why a deep sea swell and a deep sea churn for sure there was a Sri Lankan guy called Ali Jafaji and I met him for the first time in that bar slash restaurant on the corniche in Maadi that opened and closed very fast he was friends of Amin and Ayman I think maybe I went with them no I went with Basel El Asabi and I guess I got to know Basel through Amin or the opposite I don’t know but Aly Jafaji was there for a bit and his sister started going out with Doodi for a while for a long time and there was a time I can’t locate but there was a time when this tribe slash thing really got big big big bigger and bigger and was full of people who were like I think were trashy people and the situations I remember the most I also was not so interested in this group anymore because of the way it was becoming in a way really trashy but the situation I remember the most situations I remember the most was really just being packed in a car with lots of people with people sitting on your lap whatever lots of people and all different kinds of relationships criss-crossing in a way unclear really who is exactly with who really just a wide arena and somehow in my memories being stuffed in these cars and always associated with Maadi I guess at that time I guess there was always the same average problems more or less but at that time at least for me I was always ending up in all these parties in Maadi for some reason and so more than remembering the parties what sticks to my mind clearest is being stuffed in these cars being stuffed in these cars with a lot of people I had a friend now I remember him very weird I had a friend called William he was an American living in Egypt I think he converted to Islam I’m not sure or he was nearly about to do that something like that and he was one of those I had different friends that were not friends with anybody else I knew just a few they were not necessarily very close at all but just personal friends in a way outside the scene and he was one of those friends and uh he played bass also and he lived in El Darb Il Ahmar in a very popular neighborhood and I visited him three or four times we jammed together a couple of times and just hung out and he was really a nice guy really unpretentious really not into anything he was not orientalistic about anything he was just very modest and lived there and maybe it was his financial situation also whatever just a very humble guy I don’t even know how we stopped being friends just at one point we were a bit friendly and we met a couple of times jammed a couple of times spoke a bit and that was it and I never saw him again and I guess he probably left or or just his life took a completely different turn or my life took a completely different turn but I don’t think I’ve remembered this guy for a fucking long time but I remember the way he looks very well was weird and it was good that I always appreciated that somehow things took me without even me deciding but things always took me to different places in the city and without being conscious about it each thrust into a place I did not know was like a way of touching it and a way of OK being there somehow and always strange when I was in the middle of that life really and the way it became absolute for me that was the thing it really did become absolute I think this is something I’ve lost now completely no matter what I’m into it’s never so absolute somehow as those times when you’re a child it is like that but when you’re a child you don’t mark it or I didn’t mark it when I was a child it was just like that from beginning to end from the time I was aware to whatever I never marked it but with with AUC it became absolute but only I went in I experienced a transformation I had there was an impact of this institution upon my life very strong impact resistance against and then I settled into a pattern a lifestyle that was always changing but always connected to each other and that became very absolute that was in a way not questioned and this is where this is where I have a bit of a problem the fact that I turned it into an absolute thing this is where I feel the problem maybe lies that it was turned


into something so absolute and so it was always strange in the middle of that absolute lifestyle to for example meet friends from school who were with me in my childhood or relatives more difficult than now and more strange than now because I was completely involved and enveloped by a bubble by a thick skin that I could not see beyond that I could see beyond but only through I did meet once in a party a girl called Agatha who was with me in school very distant not a friend but someone who was with me in school and we were like hey you yeah you changed bla bla bla but it was strange because it was as if it was not real somehow and last night I dreamt something related to this project I dreamt of Dahab in a way as land of whoredom and I’m into whoredom too not as a judgement at all but just that


 ––, : pm this project I’m sure anyway this dream was related to this experience seeing my school friend in the dream was a bit like that time meeting friends from school but that time definitely always that skin bubble falling into or rising into being within a life that saw itself in absolute terms and could not see beyond itself or hear beyond itself easily although was always trying to touch other moments especially in the city and trying to break that barrier in my own ways and go around it and did go around it in many ways but at least when meeting school friends always through the skin and once now I remember this shit at one point again from all these different places that became hip and then not and then hip and then not and then hip and then not at the very end Casanova quite a gay club in a hotel in Zamalek one night being there dancing drunk no smoking really drunk and coming out of it and it was right in front of the gardens The Andalusian Gardens and I think Dina Red was there also and I just jumped into the garden and it was closed of course at night just climbed the walls and jumped in and ran around and explored it and found a small room and opened the room it was open again another open place just opened the room went in there was a desk and I opened the drawers of the desk and then I find a script this is really surreal somehow and it’s a script of a soap opera you know I don’t know what the fuck is that script doing there with scenes of lovers meeting by the Nile in a cafeteria and drinking lemon juice and talking to each other a complete soap it was the script of one episode now I think about it maybe they were shooting this tamsiliya (soap opera) in that place and therefore that was the script that was there or something I don’t know I took it with me and I left the garden I jumped back out and I had the script it really amazed me I haven’t done it in at least eight years so there must have been one last time but I have no memory of what that last time was and I have to admit that every time I see bottles of cough syrup on the street and I know that kids have been dropping them I always feel some solidarity with whoever did that in the beginning I couldn’t even roll I couldn’t although I was so much into smoking so when we were stuck me and Omar Bug in this trip and we both couldn’t roll but we had all this weed with us we just dropped it in our bottle of Pernod and all we had was tons of alcohol and we just put the weed in it and made it ferment and drank and that was a potent mix with all these buds for a few days soaking in the alcohol and I don’t know what it did maybe there were no chemical reactions or anything but it was fucking powerful it was really like a drink that was not a drink at all and once standing in line to get a signature for advising I never really advised I just said I want these courses and got signatures to get a signature from the Arabic department near the end and I was completely flying and standing in line waiting for my turn and then I got to the secretary and I was really confused literally confused I did not know where I was what I was doing why I was there and I just stood in front of the secretary and looked at her and she was waiting I was holding a piece of paper and I smiled at her and she looked back at me like yeah what and I just walked away I couldn’t deal that was near the end when the paranoia was raging and I was reaching moments of paralysis when I could not deal with whatever was going on in a way and at that point of time I was not even paranoid or anything at that moment I was just deeply confused really not knowing why how where what whatever completely dislocated I remember this clearly when I told Islam listen man I cannot be your friend anymore I said it in the SS building in the third entrance the last entrance that used to overlook the garden but there’s no garden now and just like OK we cannot be friends anymore I have had enough and he was deeply hurt and we have not communicated in years he does not live here anymore and he was really deeply hurt by that and maybe I should get in touch with him because we we were friends and it was deep and we made a


lot of music together and worked together and stood against a lot of shit together too so maybe necessary now I would have liked him to see this whole project it would have meant something quite deep to him really because with all the differences I’m sure that there are many elements that he could have connected to in a very deep way sitting in house in Alexandria at : in the morning me him and Amr smoking together and listening to the layers of sound and being fucked by the layers of sound it was really a harsh trip and Amr stood up and started vomiting in the toilet and he told me he was not vomiting because of anything that was organic or chemical he vomited because of impact of the moment itself on his mind and so he had to vomit at that moment he had to it’s a story told by cum tears and vomit no blood but cum tears and vomit somehow suddenly this sentence comes to my mind one more time yeah one more time and I made a song once at Samer Mina’s house of all people someone who was not even a friend someone who was connected to everything from a completely different perspective a song called Pulmolar and I did it with of all people Amin and Ayman who were completely not into it but it was good it was not bad yeah it was alright heavily influenced by the Velvet Underground for sure Taji did a studio recording of his heavy metal songs that were not very good but I remember I went to the recording session and it was not so good a time of need definitely and when we played in the Cairo Atelier me and Sherif in ‘ we had a fight on stage it was not really a stage it was funny because before we went there he at the last moment did not want to do it and that really fucked me up but I pushed him to do it and we did it and then it was working really well it was strange to the audience but they were fascinated and then I thought like we should stop but he wanted to go on and so we had a little clash on stage but then found a way out it was going to erupt into a fight but it didn’t I just went with it a bit and then we stopped and it was resolved but it was funny our first public appearance as adults even the university students as adults and it was good in its own way but the fight was symptomatic of our relationship anyway god yes to improvise those past years to improvise again and again and again and yeah


 ––, : pm absolutely times and times we flowed yeah times full of brittle anger always we trusted no one except ourselves no one in times of brittle anger we trusted no one absolutely the drive I romanticize it without wanting to but inevitable it has to be romanticized it demands to be romanticized and so for everybody else a walk a talk a way of looking at but for us how it was absolutely to struggle with that memory is a way of breaking down that memory which is good for me good somehow these are my favorite words somehow has become a favorite word by mere repetition it has become a favorite word it is because I cannot I cannot grasp or claim to grasp this time in my hand say this is how it was so absolutely I can’t do that and therefore words like somehow become favorites now in my moments of recollection they become favorites no way around that it has to be this way for me so this game of memory goes beyond that to the present it plays games with my perception all the time but that is part of what I have been striving for this moment and private rituals that in my room where I did burn I had a little wooden container and I filled it with stuff to be burned and so small but necessary to feel then at that time that cruelty of burning something and I burnt stuff in it and it created a solid layer of soil made out of the ashes of what I burnt but I needed to burn things in a way in this container even privately without revealing to anyone just for myself I remember that clearly it’s funny in a way I feel like the design of this structure is like a perfect prison it functions really well I could almost send it to a fascist regime as an immaculate prison really and the way it works with imprisonment and complete openness at the same time I notice how in a way it’s like slowly dropping out of conversations the rhythm and the pacing slowly dropping out of conversations but when you deal with time you have got to play the game of time a picture I have me Sari and Omar I don’t know who took it someone must have taken it me Sari and Omar standing in front of the JC building smiling and being happy and total joy and in that picture really very un-self-conscious picture all of us happy to be young and alive in I still have this picture somewhere one of the things I deeply like about this project is the way it frames life blood skin flesh life fully physical life frames it and that is not bad at all and then my fascination as much as the liberty of others and that’s fucked up but that’s where I function completely so to struggle with it in a sense in a way there is a thread that has been lost to the breaking point always to the breaking point and that was always dangerous and fucked up a lot of stuff then now much more in control but then always to the breaking point no hesitancy just straight to the breaking point memories found me now and it’s not important I do not feel the pressure of memories coming anymore at all I don’t care about it it’s always strange how I sink into this platform and then discover things about myself that take me outside what these memories even mean and then at a certain point it is not important anymore although technically I believe in the frame absolutely very significant and very important but there are many moments at the end where these memories are not important anymore as such but something else has been touched something that needs not be revealed at all I make a mental marker of them for me to remember and I do not care if those memories yeah I do care though because they are the frame of this project and this situation is based on the act of remembering really I like the way remembering means taking back a member of yourself into yourself re-integrating it into yourself because that is what it really is the deep meaning of memory to attach your arm that has been cut off back again totally and truly it’s amazing how I need to focus it’s so hard to even focus now it’s just like a completely lost cause in a way


––


 ––, : pm difficult for me to finish the film partly because of the soundtrack which was amazing continuous controlled white noise was Eraserhead all these films at the time were very powerful for me and remain the way I saw them the way I really touched the people in them these silences heavy silences in Bergman in Eraserhead in other films even in Casavettes where there are no silences but a moment where I see trust and paranoia again these two conflicting things that existed sideby-side near the end the paranoia won big time but those like Eraserhead the fascinating thing for me in Eraserhead was the way the guy not that he was defeated or small or whatever this is not what interested me but the way he lived in this field of complete mistrust and the way everything was so strongly hurting him in every possible manner the sound of the film was so distinct and created a world that was so apart that strongly struck me the way it created a bubble and the bubble is what leads to this paranoia earlier I spoke much about the bubble in here in the street and in AUC itself but that bubble is really one of the main elements that motivate paranoia and it comes especially in the beginning maybe with time you learn other things and you understand more but in the beginning when you are starting to have a sense of who you are as an individual socially and everything that was definitely magnified by being on that campus you have that sense this bubble becomes also clear and I was struck by the power of these films because they played upon the bubble like Eraserhead what a great title but anyway Eraserhead was completely about the bubble the first time I saw it I almost could not finish it because it was so strong I had to force myself to go through it to see it to the end and watching Pink Flamingos in SS  was also great completely different it was about this playful crime this dirty obscene playful crime which was also something I flirted with a bit this stealing ashtrays or wanting to break into houses or stealing a twenty-pound note or stealing books playing with what is unaccepted and obscene and crime is the most unaccepted and obscene and playing with that wanting to play with that and so John Waters Pink Flamingos sleaze and major sleaze a film about people competing for being the most disgusting on the planet and therefore was major sleaze and major obscene and had this light playful criminal light playful criminal touch that attracted me too the other side I can read myself in the films I like for sure in one way or another and at least in those years I did watch those films and so John Waters and Russ Meyer that I really liked and enjoyed too but I saw him after I graduated in London all his films in one go definitely less obscene but the playful fucking around with that some ways like lonesome cowboys Andy Warhol’s lonesome cowboys also touched me then but this was part of the Sari thing part of let us be fascinated by this film it came through that filter and a day a night in Loran in Alexandria at Sari‚s house in Alexandria and Abe was there and Doodi was there and we were walking in the balcony I think and smoking a joint and looking at the garden that was completely destroyed with no plants in it not a garden really a wasteland Sari‚s wasteland and smoking the doobie and talking about the wasteland in a way just a moment like a relentless string somehow I wonder what this project will mean to me now as I go back to what has become for me a real club which is the university campus as I go back to it now after going through this experience I wonder with time with the accumulation with the way this experience will echo with me in my mind exactly like that in terms of arrogance in that sense but I can understand how that comes it was about pushing an idea of who you are to a point where of course it became a certain type of arrogance but I definitely resented more this arrogance coming from people who were the arrogance that we or I or somehow that invisible community that was actually very visible the arrogance that at least for me very clearly I ignored in a way in my mind so much above it and actually enjoyed the


fact that these people even felt arrogant towards me was the arrogance of the typical average AUCian platformer but then to experience another arrogance from people who were also different from what we were doing but still connected to it who were for example into Uďœ˛ rather than being into the Velvet Underground that was more difficult to deal with because with this romanticized ideas one had at the time about oneself and how one fitted within a certain spectrum a certain connection continuously seeing that there was a connection seeing it as important seeing that connection as something quite important that was created by the bubble this AUC bubble it needed a reaction that was another way of creating a certain circle that protected itself because in that place where they sold you this idea of being an individual where they promoted at least on paper a certain ego at the same time tried to steal it away the system itself working was a way of trying to steal it away it tried to steal it away in two different methods I do not think of it as consciously tried to steal it away but just this is how an institution like that works and one way of stealing it was just how it was defined how a place like AUC was defined in the city it was in how it already took a certain arrogance towards the world around it and therefore whatever ego you were allowed to create or shape inside those walls was always questioned the minute it was thrown outside in the street in the middle of crowds in marketplaces it was always questioned and challenged and therefore that was a way of stealing that ego like selling you something and taking it back the other was more about the way the institution wanted things to run inside so they promote these ideas of a certain concept of a certain ego a concept of a certain individual and it is it sometimes very superficial the way they promote it but it something to do with the way the campus was running itself just the way young people can get together and connect and decide certain things but then they tried to take it away because it was so polarized and had its own mainstream and its own idea of how people should be and how people should subscribe to that idea and also a hidden sense an invisible sense that this was all a big privilege I felt people walked carrying it on their shoulders all the time this idea and I’m not talking about either wealth or class or anything like that but another internal concept that was there and that everybody subscribed to was this is a privilege as opposed to the rest of the world this the institution promoted rather in the way it was structured rather than promoting an idea of merging with the city you were in being critical could be critical of the city you were in and deal with it but always taking the the route of charity working with that idea and that was always clear to me when I saw like many AUCian girls walking from campus to campus and talking to street kids and saying how cute they were whatever something like that something as fucked as that that was definitely there was this charity that works with a certain arrogance that works with a certain idea of a privilege that one had just being in that place and that I think is both true and untrue at the same time because now I think about it this idea of a privilege also comes with how you see yourself as a specific ego as a specific individual and so I remember myself like walking through campus going in through the door and coming up the steps walking through the platform and coming down on the other side to where the SS (Social Science) garden used to be and taking that walk I did this everyday but also I remember the emotion I don’t remember specific walks but I remember the feeling of layers of arrogance on top of each other walking through and knowing that within the system my enemies are watching me those who wore tight jeans and boots and had Zippo lighters whatever and the more I realize and see and feel their eyes watching me the more I would strut and walk and make a point of who I was and how I walked and whatever always pushing that to an extreme and that is why and I think I spoke about this before in this there was a point near the end where I feel like me and my friends were really


 becoming pictures of ourselves it was great in the beginning because everything was so dynamic and we were changing all the time and it was always so rich and I remember clearly that I had a certain touch a certain touch with flow of words and a certain way of shaping and controlling them that I really enjoyed and it was a good way to communicate and I remember that in the beginning that was something that really just flowed and I played with it and I spoke to people in that manner and that created a certain type of communication that was deep and strong and powerful in its own way a type of communication that is outside the generic set communication that you’re supposed to subscribe to but then I remember this as an incident with Wessam a friend of mine and he also died sitting with him and this happened twice once him commenting and telling me about the way I spoke and liking it and speaking to me about the way I spoke and I think that was in my bedroom and we had just smoked a joint and jammed for a bit and we were talking he used to have a laugh when he laughed I remember him so clearly but anyway and then he showed me a paper of his and I looked at it and I was talking about it and he told me you know and he was a fucking arrogant bastard anyway but we were friends so I never experienced his arrogance first hand but I could see him being arrogant to everybody else but anyway telling me complimenting me about my language in a way about the way it was shaped and blablabla and it was also extreme and that had something to do with a constant fucking consumption of substances but anyway in my room it was afternoon and him laughing and then telling me this after showing me his paper and then I became conscious of it I was conscious of it but I became more conscious of it and more with Wessam that had something to do with the time maybe with the age maybe with the necessity of everybody connecting together but at the same time being interested in creating there was an invisible hierarchy somewhere somehow and everybody was trying to find their own position and that had something to do with getting together a group of young people who were all testing who they are and trying to push that to an end and kind trying to push it to an extreme because he made that point and he made that point clearly I realized I could not anymore speak freely something was constructed but then there was something metaconstructed about it because of that awareness and because I could see how someone would look at me and that is another parallel between the content of what I’m talking about and this structure because this structure is always playing upon how we look at each other I keep discovering those parallels I don’t know how many I’ve found till now or maybe I don’t discover them but I create them whichever it does not and I could see the way it became more and more constructed how he realized that too and that was sad because the more that happened the drier it became and yesterday I spoke about how a certain type of ability to lose oneself in smashing or feedbacking a guitar and collapsing and screaming and whatever to lose oneself in that was lost the moment I started changing in my th year in which I think great things did happen but as my self changed so did my abilities and my weaknesses and my strengths and I think that at that point I definitely went a certain way took a certain step but at the same time I lost certain strengths that were associated with certain weaknesses to be blind was also a great strength and I feel that is again another parallel between the content of this project and that structure and I discussed that a few days ago uh in a talk with students which is interesting for them a project like that and I discussed that with them and it was about the power of blindness and the power of ignorance and what potential human relationships this can create and that has something to do with that time in which as much as one was unaware of the look one was also completely aware of the look-at I did not care to the point that it became as if they are not aware almost to that point so I think I wonder today this project ends I wonder how it ends and I was thinking about


that on my way here today walking and thinking about that and thinking to myself if it was possible to just go on continuously and what that would mean I think though the fact of giving it a specific limit shapes it throughout and yeah strange that I feel like really a lot I see pictures like glimpses like faces like moments where as if it’s in a house or a dark place and specific friends and specific moments go through so and I feel like what has happened is that now this flow in a way with time has become so fast and has affected my dreams and my sleep and that really a stream a continuous stream but it is very difficult to stop it and to look at what that picture is and I almost feel I’m sure some of these pictures are completely not real are completely my hallucination in a way of something yeah I was wondering again about how amazed I am at how seamless it becomes how that flow becomes seamless because I see the differences so sharply and once Firas yes he once in in the beginning there was that period in which I got to know lots of people and no one was really my friend as such I was slowly and this had to do with finding a position for oneself within a certain social space so I was bouncing between all these different people seeing those and then seeing those and then meeting those and going out with those and playing a bit of music with those maybe in my second semester this reached a point till I slowly settled in certain patterns and certain rhythms and there were actual personal connections created whatever but I remember Firas he came to my house once we had a jam that was not bad although massive differences really in many things he was the metal guy big time the metal guy and Arab politics and I did write an article about Masque that band they had made Firas and Taji interesting connection and an article that was formally experimental in its form and was definitely rejected I was maybe going to work for the weekly to write things for them but never took this further and ensured that this would not work by presenting them with something that was definitely not publishable in a place like that but anyway Firas came to my house and we jammed we played and I remember it was good because we also read a text from George Bataille “Death and Eroticism” and and with Sherif we made a tape once an evening jam an afternoon evening jam with many joints in my bedroom with the window open and the afternoon streaming in and we recorded it and it was good and we called the tape the art of masturbation and then showing it to my father like yes this is the art of masturbation he was not convinced with with these sounds at all but that does not matter at all yes and Basel El Qasabi was friends with really dark woman I was not interested in her at all but I just remember the deep impression it left upon me I was maybe  I don’t think I had even turned  by then and the deep impression it left upon to see that woman with all that darkness and all that massive depression carrying that depression around with her she was his friend she was much older and I was very flippant about things I did not care at all in a way but it did leave a certain impression it made me wonder why and how I actually saw her again maybe two or three weeks ago in AUC in the cafeteria but she did not recognize me and I did not speak to her because I did not want to speak to her at all that reminds me of Mike in that party introducing old school to new school and how images also dwindle as time goes on and how pictures lose a lot of their strength as time goes on this I experienced through the way one spoke because first there were certain sentences and certain ways of stringing words but when they became repeated and I discovered there were formulas that I unconsciously was using and although the whole drive behind it was to break out of a certain specific idea of who you are and that was possible and provided as a side effect of that institution and I see that my experience and some other people’s experience as students in that institution we were like the rash or the side effect or the allergy what was not supposed to happen but also created out of the same conditions that other people responded to in a different way and


 therefore it was really distressing for me when I realized that I was using my own formulas because the whole point was to break the idea of a repeated routine or a repeated formula and that happened unconsciously and that was greatly helped by by smoking and cough syrup and acid and drinking and by living and throwing yourself and smashing yourself which was good which was necessary for me and might still be necessary in a different way because somehow the smash always made me feel more alive and made me feel the edges of myself that was also about resistance too and so as side effects and allergies the institution in an invisible fashion because it could not do this visibly because that would go against it’s basic idea in an invisible fashion was aggressive towards us and the more it was the more we pushed back and now why was I so interested in it was not about just doing drugs because I could’ve walked out of campus smoked and came back in I did that a lot but why were we always interested in finding spaces on campus that we can take over and use for what we knew was not allowed on campus the light criminal thing I spoke about before but also it was a challenge it was like OK are they gonna catch us or not they don’t want us to do this here we will the darkroom on the third or th floor of the SS was ours for a while smoking under the red lights in the darkroom was always fucking trippy and the roofs the JC and SS were ours and different toilets were ours and even sometimes walking straight through campus I think about it that was really stupid walking straight through campus and just smoking smuggling stuff in our socks in our underwear because they used to to search the bags and they got into this in the beginning not for security reasons but for drugs now it’s much more security but now I suspect also that this thing has gone down I might be wrong but I suspect the vibe I get when I’m on campus is like this thing has decreased but it was really at one point it was such a playground yeah an amazing playground and the connections were always exhilarating the way you found where it was everybody had an antenna tuned to the next score and very accurate by one look this was amazing it was telepathic too by one look you would know this guy had a joint by one look you would know this guy is is going for a smoke the way he walked you knew this guy was going for a smoke so there was some telepathic connection going around what was not allowed criss-crossing the whole campus these webs of looks also of course the hall was always a refuge the hall Sari’s house and it was always like OK if you need it we can always just go and pass out there and that was good and thank god his house was downtown at least we were not trapped in we were trapped in our own shit absolutely and everything but we were not trapped for example the polished crowd was trapped in their Zamalek enclave and refused to to deal they refused to deal with the city in any other way and of course one of the biggest AUC two biggest AUC fashions have something to do with complaining because I already complained about being in AUC that was of course like everybody did that while everybody stayed there and everybody lived that either you complained about being there and how shit it was in a way but the second complaint people constantly complaining about the city about Cairo for example like this complaint about it and how they can’t deal with it and that was why Sinai was the fantasy also but for me it was different and I was plugged in my own way and not just me alone I feel like I’ve analyzed that before like how there was a double exotic thing going on anyway even if there was still some relationship and that is why thank god that the hall was downtown at least it was downtown and we could walk out into a street that was really a street what was cool was how we played this was positive with the world how we played with the world we were starved for that on campus because it was so recycled and because you saw the same people over and over again and did the same things over and over again there was not much chance of really playing everything was in a way too serious and too dry not everything that’s


definitely an exaggeration but there was Sam this was not intentional but Sam was the first one who told me about ashes in beer and the power of ashes in beer anyway anyway so we played we played with the city and this I did for example with Sari we played I got into this shit now I remember that I spoke about this before the imaginary stories we made up about who we were was playing with the city as time went on and I became more and more aggressive my playing also became more aggressive I smashed things smashed headlamps jumped on cars and that was a deep if I think about it now it’s like hitting something at the same time saying that thing is yours and that this is your place if you can hit it then it’s yours and I was constantly doing that making things mine by attacking them that’s also why we hitchhiked a lot actually with different friends alone sometimes with Amr in Fayoum with Sari in Sinai in Cairo even in Cairo once oh yeah at a party like me Abe and everyone we were like six people or something and hitched a ride on a truck in the back of course we did elicit lots of aggressive reactions to us and who we were but there was also some reactions were more amusement people who were amused and therefore that’s fine that’s friendly amusement could be friendly if it’s not malicious it’s friendly so there was a bit of that friendly amusement and what did we expect of course we were amusing to a lot of people that just makes sense the night before Sari went on this trip to the we had a little private party and just close friends completely tripping out and he made it to the airport but then when he came back it was really a daze I woke up in the morning in my house vaguely remembering being at his house and then him going to the airport and he somehow making it to my house but then he told me when he came back which was really funny and that was really typical cough syrup impact he packed and it works with your mind very immediate like I want to sleep so he packed in his bags all those pillows he stuffed four pillows into his bags and took them to the States which did not make any sense but was funny we used to sit in Obrus now I remember that was a khamara (local bar) in front of his house and once we saw an Algerian guy there he got the shit beaten out of him because of a football match between Egypt and Algeria and everybody realized that he was Algerian and the whole fucking bar beat the shit out of him but anyway we used to sit there sometimes and that was interesting because what we would do is if we were hanging out with women and like going out to the typical AUC fancy shit places then at the end of the night in a very sly game say why don’t we come to Obrus which not by coincidence happened to be right in front of Sari’s house therefore just one step up and by going to Obrus it was also us demonstrating our difference too and always in those cases when the audience is women the points you really want to make are sharper you really strive for making the points you really want to make somehow with a woman audience especially then when everything was pushed to its limits in a way one always tried to define oneself a bit harder and tried to give oneself a clear selfdefinition and a clear that is who I am and if that is a theme about that whole project that is one of it is the limits of that self the limits the edges the borders the frontiers one way of looking at it is to see where do you end? how could you be alienated from yourself ? maybe that makes sense because of course there was and that was what this project was about in the beginning I spoke about it a lot was this alienation paranoia thing happening but I only spoke about it in terms of how I analyzed situations or places or other people I did not speak about my own personal self alienation maybe that is important because that is an answer to my question about where do I stop and where do I begin where do I end and maybe that area where I experienced self-alienation that was the most horrible that is why quit smoking for example and quit drugs I did not quit I stopped it stopped because of that in the end it was becoming more and more and more and so that self-alienation I see it as also a side effect of this idea of being an individual everybody is but


 of course everybody understands himself in a certain way the difference is not just that but then deciding to frame yourself as an individual as someone not just someone who has certain likes and dislikes and whatever but to also be that but to also think about that and frame it that way it is then about communication it is then about the message also not just about who you are and wanting this and not wanting that but something more it is then about double self-consciousness I don’t know how to explain it but anyway one of the effects of that way of looking at yourself is self-alienation because you look at another parallel between the content and the form is that this structure is playing with that big time I feel technically playing with it in a way so that selfalienation a good incident is walking down the street in Heliopolis going back home having just smoked a joint I think in the street somewhere or something and then as I’m walking I start thinking to myself about


––, : pm because you’re doing something that you did not realize that you’re doing and then you’re aware of that and you’re aware of what you’re doing as something that you did not realize so it becomes extreme and there is a horrible fear and horrible gap I spoke about before but in a different sense but that was a different gap and that gap was something new I had never experienced that gap as a child for example and that gap was born in that place that gap was born in that institution too and it became bigger and bigger and that was dangerous it was really scary and that created the point where transformations occurred I feel at that point with that gap the possibilities of moving into the land of nervous breakdowns and of complete neurosis were open but somehow my reaction to it was that self that I’ve been speaking about had been formed and was now tripping on itself was falling over itself so at that point it recoils back and everything changed without me making decisions everything changed had to change that was only one reason there were many other external reasons too but yeah it had to change I believe that this type of selfalienation not the only type but this type I experienced in this manner and could not have experienced otherwise because of my specific history and my specific experience in that place again I cannot divorce them from each other no what’s interesting is that the side effects of the gap which were lost when I automatically overcame them one of them was definitely the ability to work with things like sound or speak in certain manners with complete loss there is a different loss that one can get into but not the explosion the explosion died with the gap maybe the explosion was a way of dealing with that gap as much as this gap was the point where you could look at yourself and at the same time be detached and be amazed by your actions and analyze them and therefore keep going in this weird vicious circle which I first experienced on my first acid trip with that same basic question of am I the trip? or is the trip me? I spoke about that on the th day I think of this project but that was one side the other side was OK you feedback you hammer that thing that makes sound and the sound fucks your head so much that you can even physically fall and whatever and something is happening between you and the other people you’re playing with and they’re all in that wavelength and in those moments it was the opposite of the gap it was the deep deep connection we were producing a culture that only stayed within our houses one thing I’m disappointed about is that this culture it really had a lot of strength and power and it was very powerful if it had come out and been in conflict with the world and with the city maybe something interesting would have happened even just personally but something else that was also interesting and that did not happen we were too fragile with all that posing but in the end a bit too fragile and carrying Abe’s body with his family into the grave and it was so heavy his body was so heavy it was so strange I dreamt about it so many times after and going once to this guy’s house his name was Ahmed Robocop I went to his house once he had lived in New York before and that was at the time of checking different people and slowly finding what I was into and what I was not but I remember sitting at his house and blablabla and then realizing I am not interested in this guy and realizing OK he was newer than me and also realizing now I have a clear position in that place and I don’t need to look for it anymore it comes to me but maybe it was so rapid maybe that’s the thing that’s what I think is specific about my experience with it maybe and maybe I’m wrong but for me it was so fast and so rapid and that had something to do with being so young and entering this place and so the transformation and the bouncing and finding the position all happened so rapidly without any possibility of even realizing it was happening maybe at the end when I was leaving and graduating before I graduated but near the end I started to realize in one way or another what was happening or what had happened to me I


 took my first music class very seriously I remember going to classical music concerts which I was not into and writing reviews about them and being very serious about it and then being quite disappointed a lot of my educational experiences with this institution have been disappointing because I was always looking for what I was interested in and happened to be really although my life was so romanticized in a way I was not into that I was much more into what I appreciated I was much more into the dry harsh thing and that was definitely not promoted in that place educationally that has something to do with the social system for sure of that place because of that elite connection club that I spoke before about that secret code in which everybody plugged into the institution could not really take itself so seriously because its members were not actually so urgent or serious because there was a system in which everybody was just making some social point and therefore these things were disappointing it was always their policy to always please rather than challenge to soothe rather than raise questions to always make it easy rather than have a real conflict etc.. not everyone not every class not every professor of course but as a general thing even people who are not like that professors who are not like that are forced to act like that because that is the general level of the institution itself and the general policy of the institution itself so there is no way around it in a way and that was for me quite disappointing I’m not going to give this as an excuse for myself for my complete disinterest in the educational side of that institution although I did search for things on my own and read John Cage’s Silence in the library on my own or whatever that I was into and that was my real personal education if I want to look at it academically but as a generalized mass I feel that maybe my arrogance at the time was justified because there were so many people who were just bullshitting anyway and therefore I could bullshit in style in I could make up things that did not exist and get an A so I might as well do that that was a deep way of telling this institution and even more satisfying because they did not realize telling it to fuck off basically I wish I could remember the name of the club in Sinai we used to go to in Dahab and I did have a dream of Dahab as inferno last night or the night before maybe yeah today before I began this and I know it is the final day in that project somehow in my mind although I had completely worked against ever planning or having a set thing to deal with everyday and really ignored it and it really worked and always came here and fell into whatever happened but somehow today I was into this idea of OK last day blablabla I should go over everything and that is not possible go over everything that I went through in those  nights go over everything that is not possible although rationally I would like to do because I feel like I also need to grasp what I went through and what things were elicited and raised but I don’t think it’s really possible in that way it’s strange I noticed this today like I noticed it yesterday how what was once said here is very difficult to repeat even all the theories that were constructed in the first half of this project and they were many I think they were very lucid and well thought out I see value in them I almost can’t repeat them I’ve almost forgotten what they really are I have to wait till I transcribe my tapes and read that text I feel it is now such an absolute necessity for me to transcribe and read to read it not to see it but to read it as a text as a book that would be the final phase of that project every time I flick a cigarette like that not every time but a lot of the times I flick a cigarette with the tip of my finger and throw it away I remember Islam telling me that he really liked the way I flicked cigarettes and that has been a trait that has stayed with me since then and I remember him saying it and it was nice of him to say and just something that stays not like a memory but like an extension from a certain time and there are many I did not even get into this discovering what extends and what was disrupted and what has become you and going to the th floor in the JC building and using the


business computer labs to print papers which we were not supposed to do but Amr was a business major so I always used that slow printing this is the  night that feels good I wonder if I will revert back because since this project has begun I’ve only dreamt of the way I look now in the present and all dreams of the way I looked like in the past have ceased although they used to be very common and I wonder if I will revert back to that or that will be something that will never or very rarely happen again these are things that are beyond my personal control completely beyond that ego’s control so they are things that I will discover that is what I like about this project too there have many things that have come across me that were beyond my personal control not actions but just ideas and ways of thinking or certain understandings that have arisen of myself or of viewing myself that now I could start to become euphoric about because they are different than what was before and they have risen in a way beyond my personal control and that is what part of that time was about this thing that rises beyond your personal control there were many moments and going to a bar in Midan Safir in Heliopolis with Jimmy many times he did this but wearing his shades at night and asking him Jimmy why are you wearing these sunshades? it is dark why are you wearing shades at night? and his answer was pure codafeine for confidence and so that no one might see my eyes and maybe he was afraid of something very deep and that was how he dealt with it maybe to to be an image but if Jimmy did this then I did other things that were very similar not wearing shades at night but other things informed my attitude and my look out of this reaction unavoidable in such a situation once for Attar in his theatre workshop me and Sherif we provided music for some of their exercises I was working with him all the time but once I got Sherif with me and we did a jam together and it was not in the music room because the music room was being used for something a class it was in one of the rooms on the SS top floor corridor open to the sky and we hooked our amps and played and people moved around and it was fucking good I remember then that I felt very strongly about those exercises and those workshops other than the fact that they were a demonstration an illustration of the traumas of young AUCians in a way which I talked about before but also because for me they were a concrete image of the sound that I was creating turning into human movement and that was something I had not experienced before and it gave me a lot of joy and it gave me a lot of confidence it’s funny that ‘till now ‘till this very day I find amongst my stuff in my family house in Heliopolis I find amongst my stuff rolling paper from  years ago still there I’m always amazed when I’m looking through books or through shit and then I come across a pack of rolling paper or something papers thrown away how my room must have been completely inundated with packs and packs of rolling paper for them to survive till now there was always the fear of not being able to smoke that joint because there was no rolling paper and I do remember times when actually one did smoke joints made out of newspaper or made out of normal paper because there was no rolling paper and one had to do something about it and there were bongs with vodka instead of water of course which is different and backfires but I always liked it for its slight erotic touch and once being in a car with Ali and getting these powerful backfires the night the day that I spoke about when he had his acid stoned breakdown and we were dropped home by our friend and then she gave us backfires and it was very erotic in the car before we went up to the house and then it was completely fucked up just remember lying on a bed and he was lying on another bed and we were just completely screwed talking but I remember clearly the image of these two beds and us flat on the bed laughing hysterically and speaking and out of control at that time it was cool it was the time I had left my house with many decisions in my mind but it was also cool because we used to walk around in the area he was living in and discover new streets new places whatever just in


 the area and that I enjoyed immensely because of the feeling of not being part of a family that in itself was such a great liberation and it came with that move with all its naivete I spoke about before but still it gave me that emotion very strongly remember the first time I saw Jenny and Stephanie they were YABs but they were freaked out and I was my god who are those acid freaks they were complete acid freaks they were friends of Islam and it was really cool they were it was cool to see but then one had a relationship with Islam this is very different now I noticed also that the YABs who come and Mike also commented on that the YABs who come are very different than the YABs who came then without evaluating it without saying one was better than the other but definitely then we used to get much more radical Americana radical whatever radical feminist lesbian hardcore shit I knew a girl called Shamiran she was completely into this with a beret and everything does not matter now it seems at least from a distance to be much more conservative I don’t know why but I feel that and once have no idea where I was but I was completely out of it with Amr and he took me home with him I could not go home I was just fucked and he took me home I spent the night at his place but he was living with his parents then and his father a real Islamist person very nice guy but of course very involved in that and definitely that was not part of his picture and his father opening the door for us and Amr carrying me and I’m almost collapsing complete his father was cool we went into the room I slept on the couch he had a couch in the room I slept on the couch and it was fine but I remembered this I can see it I can see his father although I saw him through half-closed eyes I could see his father but nice he did not live a disapproving trip he just accepted the situation and on my first trip to Sinai that I remember clearly and distinctly and it’s different to all other trips because it was the first standing waiting for the bus in the bus station with a few friends who were older who were like who had done that before and then meeting older guys maybe these people were for me impressive because I was so young and they had experience of the world but then they met people who for them impressive because they were older and had more experience of the world and the excitement that happened about there were two guys that were going to Sinai also maybe on the same bus or a different bus I do not remember but an excitement occurred and I just watched it I was distant to it in a way but I was also super-excited about the whole thing but just seeing this hierarchy of impressed people that in a way has gone away one somehow ends up becoming much more cautious and cynical about such things I guess


––, : pm and jumping into the swimming pool in a party in Matariya I mentioned it before where first Amr met Marliese and I first met Mirjiam in a party and there was a swimming pool so we just changed our clothes and jumped into the pool and swum and swum it was so good we were completely out of it again so many times under the stars completely out of it though that swimming and that jumping was also a message to that woman I was trying to pick up and that Mirjiam became my lover for a couple of years that were very important and it all began first with a question of who are you? very confrontational question and a failed tactic then I was living it as a tactic not willing to interact on other levels but always posing the confrontation as a form of communication that was the mode anyway it did not work in the beginning but it worked at the end that was part of it later she told me when we met again after she hated me for a while then we met again and then I told her would you like to go to the Coptic museum and look at some churches and she said yes and we went then our relationship started she told me if I had told her would you like to come to the Islamic museum and some mosques she would have not agreed because that was what was expected she only agreed because it was something she did not expect an important relationship for both of us that was balanced on one sentence but it was the right sentence so it worked that relationship was what marked my breaking the obsessive personal but still connected to a certain group AUC lifestyle that was broken in my last year the moment I went out of it with a real emotional experience yeah and I’ve spoken about this relationship a couple of times before in this room but I can speak about it again in different ways and I realize that it did break a certain connection healthily it was also coming at a time when that was happening anyway so that was magnified and worked and maybe even this relationship would not have worked two years before but it worked then because it was coming at a time when that was happening and it needed that for it to happen and I think for her also she needed to see me do that and so that happened and it was deep we used to call joints that were only weed joints that were not mixed with tobacco purity joints I remember that do you want a purity they were strong they were thin but they were strong purity funny and once I went to this place I went to it later different time of my life but then only once I went to this place called four corners it was popular with people who were older than I was or not just age wise but who were in AUC earlier it was popular in the late ‘s but I went to a gig there was a band playing there I don’t remember which band but disappointing I feel like it really is the finalization maybe not complete maybe when I read the transcription which I really have to do that will be the final finalization of that but it’s a specific overcoming of a certain technique of who I was and of looking back at that in a final way and killing it somehow I feel that if there is anything that this project has created substantially for me it is that killing of a period not that it does not exist anymore but more like it ceases to be an issue in a way because it has been an issue and was an issue and was at points even the defining element of who I was but that is gone and with it I feel a bit of sadness of course like anything that goes away but still there is great positive value in that killing in that cutting off somehow another favorite word is like yeah it’s like nothing is so set and nothing is so determined and nothing is so fixed just to play this game with myself has been I can’t I’m not gonna say it is not a lesson as such but it is an experience that says something for me a message a self-constructed message that was necessary to formulate in a public fashion for it to really be what it is for it to function as a message it had to be public and that is another parallel between the content and the form in this project and I had murderous thoughts I had the anarchist cookbook I used to own I lost it a photocopy of the anarchist cookbook which was fucking great


 because it gave you recipes of drugs and it gave you recipes of bombs so whatever came out of the hippie movement that was one thing that was really valuable I believe and although I never did it I always had the desire and the fantasy of creating a bomb in which I put into AUC and blow it to bits that was a fantasy too but not just a fantasy nothing beyond a fantasy really but that says something I guess and if I did not blow it to bits fine but at least in a way I slaughter it now for myself as a memory and I can deal with this institution and I will deal with this institution on completely different terms anyway going to a party once in Maadi Sari was bartending and there was a house I saw Allison there who used to be the girlfriend of a friend of mine two years ago that was not the point but in that party there was a fight between me and Sari and Abe against this huge line and my glasses were off because we had already had physical contact my glasses fell and Abe retrieved them they were not on and I could not see them clearly but I saw this fuzzy line of conservative platform butts coming towards me and I was completely enraged and willing to gouge out people’s eyes and stab people I was just full of adrenaline and full of violence and so full of power of hate and it did not happen it was stopped there was a conflict and then we were separated and then it was stopped and it was muddy the whole scene was muddy because of the all alcohol spilt all over the place I’m not sure anybody really knew what the fuck we were fighting about but it did not matter it was typical we were just like bla and they just were very offended by our bla because our bla was erotic too and they were threatened by that I think in a way I remember it clearly and I think Abe broke it up he just just ran into them with his weight and that broke up the whole thing and Sari was was a vicious bastard too because I think in this fight in the pre-fight when we had like that brief moment of physical contact he punched a guy with his ring in his eyes and really fucked him up the guy was bleeding from his eyes and that’s pretty harsh but that was good in a way too and someone took a picture of me in Omar’s house Omar Bug in his house typing something on the computer and maybe I still have that picture and that was the picture that Amin the fucking bastard wrote behind I don’t know how or when and I discovered he wrote when he attacked me viciously and that was the moment I discovered what betrayal was he wrote fucking junkie which was not true and it does not matter if it was true or not but was not true technically it was not true and that was his own fear coming out the thing is with a situation where a small group of people are forced into one social system what happens is a lot of strong connections exist but also a lot of fears and lots of hatreds come up and they are all everything becomes super-important and that is also a lie because what was happening was all these super-important things which is also true as much as it is a lie that were happening were in the end little storms in little small coffee cups compared to what was going on outside that and that was part of it part of maintaining the fact that you are isolated from the outside was to self-indulge and to indulge and to feel that this is who I am and blablabla and so to make a big fuss out of every little piece of shit so unfolding the time all gone in a way all gone completely and once again in Sinai smoking opium I think was postgraduation time and I think this happened after I left AUC completely but interesting because so different to all my previous experiences with drugs because sitting on a roof again a roof always associated with that letting go into the void but sitting on a roof and smoking that joint with a couple of people and not a joint an opium pipe I don’t remember if it was a pipe and we smoked it or maybe what we did we laced a cigarette with it and then smoked it and then smoked the pipe and then very relaxed falling back in slow motion and looking at the stars and going into the deepest sleep possible but also having my eyes wide open at the same time and that was a moment of deepest deepest relaxation really amazing really absolutely amazing and I compared it to my


other opium experiences when younger and harsher and fucking more round with what was around me it was never never like that a space to sit in a space to spit in a space to fuck in a space to deal with a situation somehow trying always trying to balance and understand but not possible within certain stances sometimes what I always liked and made absolute sense in a very technical way was how all the rooms we smoked in the windows were always flung open they were flung open because the smell had to go out but at the same time deeply associated with my stoned time was this looking at something that was open always whichever rooms open windows for technical reasons but also giving me a meaning that went beyond the technical yeah slipping in and slipping out yeah slipping in and slipping out yeah micro-tonalities man all the fucking way if I am to go back into theories of what this institution meant in my project I would go back into I did categorize in the beginning six emotional fields loss joy ecstasy alienation paranoia and something else a couple of more stuff I can do not remember even but I feel like I cannot go over those fields again they were done and they are done and also it’s not like I’m going to discover new fields anymore no ecstasy loss joy alienation all together made something I can still drink a beer with pleasure although I’ve been inundated over the  past days but still it gives me pleasure so that says something about the power of beer I guess my guitar was black the one guitar I had throughout my AUC years was black and it was marked by what I tried to do with my cousins earlier very early on when I still believed in the possibility of integrating what came before with what came now but it did not work then for a brief period of time I was the major fucker in their lives and going to the second floor of an abandoned shop with my cousins and playing music there again and drinking Egyptian brandy ‘till we got completely fucking drunk and going back home to my cousin’s house and my younger cousin vomiting my aunt and her husband did not expect that and were I am sure not happy about it but it was part of my life coming into that and so that guitar lasted from then all the way till the end till I bought a new guitar in Holland where I had no money with all the money I had and my girlfriend was so pissed off that I spent everything we had on buying a guitar but that’s what happened


 ––, : pm the hits big time so yeah and now on the final day I see so many things I will not do in a way and so many things I will not deal with that I could potentially but choose not to with absolute pleasure somehow with absolute pleasure and hanging out next to the SS (Social Science) entrance from the street area where it goes into a very small balcony and two stairs and hanging out there sometimes with some friends and some non-friends and chatting with women there sitting on those steps and talking and remember very clearly associated with a specific period of time and associated with a specific group of people too again a group who were not necessarily so close to my heart but were there and playing with them and that was  nights of hardcore shit definitely yeah so there was a time when we played it all and then I had a crucial question in this whole thing my relationship to that institution and that is not not problematic that is very problematic and the central irony being in the end is that this institution funded this project in its blindness too but it funded it so there is something good and there is something in a way I see it in i this convoluted manner in the sense of the institution’s fight against whatever stood against it this is also a victory for them because they managed to push me into an isolated box where I sat and self-destroyed for hours for days and hours I self-destroyed for the sake of that institution and that is a power but it is a power that I think now and I proclaim right now dying because with that project I really do kill my own association with this institution big fucking time I kill it in my wastedness I kill it yeah if we can I don’t think we can even say we at that point but I trust a certain reservoir of resistance somewhere that questions and works because it questions and maybe I should remember those days when walking through that campus meant something when living the social discourse meant something I remember that very clearly with people and friends and times and explosions anger to the max and I wish Mike was here because although he was not my friend then he lived through it he became my friend afterwards and I know he would understand exactly what the fuck I’m talking about so the times yeah the times sleeping once on a south Sinai beach with an AUCian woman next to me never had anything physical with her but just sleeping next to her and talking and she was into the stars and all that bullshit and I was like what the fuck are you talking about somehow she got really pissed off by the way I broke her bubble but I was into breaking bubbles because I thought it was necessary to break bubbles because I lived my own fucking bubble so it was necessary and there was a Canadian guy I met over and over and over again and I met him maybe three months ago again he was an opportunistic bastard but it’s always funny when I meet him because I always remember I met him when I was  and I met him when I was  and I met him when I was  and I met him when I was  and I met him when I was  so it’s always funny but he was opportunistic all the way and not so interesting but just a face that comes up again and again I was always fascinated by the lights in clubs how they turned anything and everything into magnificence and something beyond I used to be fascinated by the black light but now I know a bit better maybe this is final it is a game and we play it absolutely to the end I tried to work with my own personal fantasies and memories but it is a game and we play it and I fucking play it with myself all the way and that is what this is in the end for me a certain game I play with myself and fuck around with myself to touch the edges of who I am again that seems to be so important in my private times I do see it can we move beyond that game? that is my question to myself can I move beyond that game? it is possible because one treats oneself on a responsible plane and therefore it is possible searching for some answer to a question that does not exist I trample upon my memories this is my last night in this room and that must mean something all the way even if I thought I


was an ear but I was a tongue and I thought I was a tongue but I was an ear now ponder upon that if you can it is really true somehow I am both a tongue and an ear and the spoken and the listened to it’s not about memories anymore it’s not about remembering as such it’s much more about trying to figure out what that meant it’s much more about trying to find a balance in a way a balance for the present as much as a balance for the past it’s much more about trying to discern who I was from who I am so if we are to take it as such then we’ll find many fucking gaps gap after gap after gap after gap hole after hole although I did with Omar Bug go around the rocks and find a cave in the depth of Sinai we found a cave and that was fucking good but also a struggle with those memories is a bitch to struggle with them and to fight with them and to really try to understand what they mean it means going over every single point of your fucking life and saying yeah this meant that and that meant that and that is the paranoia and that is the alienation again let me try one more time to see and understand where that all came from let me try one more time to see and understand why that happened one more time in the isolated bubble that was my education and my upbringing all the way without falling into the traps of complaint but they are they are the marks of every AUCian has gone through that


17 and in AUC- the performative action was produced by the Performing and Visual Arts Department (PVA) of

the American University in Cairo (AUC) as part of the Falaki Gallery  Season. It is important to note that without the full support of then Falaki Gallery Director and Head of the Visual arts Unit, Art Professor Scott Bailey, the project would not have been possible. Construction of the soundproofed glass room: Architect M A Video documentation and maintaining security of the space: N K Text transcriptions: S E S, W E M and Y N

Les Cahiers ASSN are a publication of Galerie C C 40, rue Quincampoix 75004 Paris T. + ()     F. +33 ()     e-mail : galerie@crousel.com http://www.crousel.com 17 and in AUC- the performative action is co-published by

M/Luc Derycke & Co Geldmunt, 36 B-9000 Gent T +  (0)    F +  (0)    Avec le concours du Ministère de la culture et de la communication, Centre national des arts plastiques (Aide à la première exposition) et le soutien de la Fondation Evens.

Maquette et réalisation / Design and realization : L D Impression / Printing : Drukkerij Lannoo, Tielt (B)  © Hassan Khan, Galerie Chantal Crousel et Merz Tous droits réservés pour les auteurs des textes et les photographies. La reproduction de pages isolées n’est permise qu’avec l’autorisation de l’éditeur, des auteurs et du photographe. All rights reserved for the authors and the artist. The reproduction of quotations is permitted only with authorisation of the publisher, the authors and the artist.

Isbn : ---

Back cover: Performance shot -  and in AUC - Hassan Khan 



Hassan Khan - The Transcriptions