In my view, the Tangier Conference promises to remain a successful event for many years to come owing to two further important reasons. First, Tangier itself is a good guarantor of this success thanks to its rich and exceptional history as well as its strategic geographic location at the crossroads of diverse cultures and nationalities…The second guarantor is none other than Khalid Amine, together with a team of active co-ordinators and experienced academics like A. Hussey, H. Benziane, B. Tharaud, G. Roberson and S. Mokhlis. Indeed, without the honest and hard-working Professor Amine the conference might not be able to survive more than a couple of years…
My participation in the first conference, ‘Writing Tangier’, came as a result of my interest in the works of P. Bowles and the story of his long expatriation in his ‘magic city’. Dr Khalid kindly invited me to that conference, and since then I’ve found enough motivation to discover the different literary ‘voices of Tangier’: M. Choukri, M. Mrabet, A Beroho, A. Akbib, Z. Ben Bouchta, A. Majid and many others.”
How do we assess or even articulate the im/moral choices of revered Beat writers? Can the (subaltern) translator of literary works speak? And where will Tangier be in the future, amongst its many borders of myth, art, performance, narrative, legend, and International Zone?
Energetic conversations spilled out past the table laden with coffee and pastries in the garden, into the restaurant, and all the way to Dean’s Bar. At breakfast the next day debates continued over points made by Kurt Hemmer, Pociao, Antje von Gravenitz and Dwight Reynolds on art, history and aesthetics. And there were unexpected bonus moments of pure live culture, as Deborah Kapchan prompted jazz memories from musical great Randy Weston, as Regina Weinrich presented her Paul Bowles documentary, as Rebekka Kill donned electric tangerine overalls and slipped into character for a mad-cap, unpredictable drama on the streets of Tangier. There may have been precious little time to shop in the Kasbah on our guided tour with Rachid Tafersiti, President of the Al-Boughaz Association, and Abdel-Aziz Idrissi, Curator of the Kasbah Museum, but there was a cornucopia of intellectual souvenirs to bring home from “Performing Tangier.”
The journal [Bowles, Beats, Tangier - new ICPS book] looks terrific, and I am only sorry that I could not be in it - although I had long wanted to be a part of the Tangier-Beats conference, in the end I had to go to San Francisco at that time. Well, my turn will come again soon, I hope, as it has been a long while since I was last in Tangier (the early 1990s).
PHOTO by CHERIE NUTTING
• Overview of the conference •
The conference demonstrated the growing interest in the historical and contemporary interactions between the cultures of Morocco, Europe, and the United States. It was also evident that there is an openness and willingness to examine and discuss both the differences and shared interests of the different cultures using literature, film, and music as points of departure. Numerous panels dealing with Tangier as “locale” or setting and focusing on the works of Paul Bowles, Jane Bowles, various Beat writers, and Moroccan writers helped give the conference a vitally diverse yet unified theme.
The renowned American jazz musician, Randy Weston, who has lived in Tangier off and on since the 1960s, performed with a group of Moroccan Gnaoua musicians, including the Gnaoua master, Abdellah. Randy Weston’s creative use of piano arrangements blended with the hypnotic Moroccan rhythms resulted in a unique style of fusion music. Other highlights included a multimedia art performance piece and the screening of two documentary films on Paul Bowles.
“It is a forum that aims at bridging the gap of difference and connecting cultures, as well as reaching across the divide to the Other. The setting of Tangier makes a perfect home for new intercultural encounters that celebrate and honor our essential humanity. It offers a glimmer of hope during a dark time marked by the gemony of the post 9/11 discourses of horrorism.” --Dr Khalid Amine, Conference Convener.
From the President of PSi: Performance Studies International
This month I went to Tanger on behalf of PSi to attend Khalid Amine's ICPS: International Center for Performance Studies conference, Performing Tangier 2008. This is an amazing city as you may know and a great place for a conference. Khalid's conference brings together scholars in Literary studies, Ethno-musicology, Middle eastern studies and African studies. Papers were given in Arabic, English, French and Spanish. This is a truly international event and a very welcoming one. I would like to thank them for all their kindness and hospitality. Let me encourage members to think about this conference which is held in May every year as a possible venue for your own work.
March 26, 2008