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REHEARSING REALITY showcases a selection of films that blend fact and fiction, blurring the line between the staged and the improvised. Featuring works by Azin Feizabadi /Kaya Behkalam, and Arvand Dashtaray.


This program is co-presented by ArteEast and Rooftop Films. This series is part of the legacy program Unpacking the ArteArchive, which preserves and presents over 17 years of film and video programming by ArteEast. In addition to the online screening on artearchive.org from August 24-28, The Absent Director will be screened in-person at Fort Greene Park (August 23) along with short film The Smell of Sex by Danielle Arbid. For more information, visit rooftopfilms.com

The Negotiation (2010)


The Negotiation examines scenarios of political conflict through a staged negotiation in a UN Security Council-like set. The script presents a group of actors with a three-act drama on an unspecified revolutionary situation. They proceed to rehearse and embody both their real and scripted characters — the boundaries between fictional and factual histories, individual and collective desires, projections and biographical backgrounds become more and more blurred in the process. Prompted by the authority of a narrator, the actors discuss, improvise and negotiate the necessity for action. But to what extent can action be thought and performed beyond the inherited dramaturgical patterns?


About the Filmmakers


Kaya Behkalam is a visual artist, film maker, and writer, living and working in Berlin. Currently he is an expert in residence at SPUR.lab. He holds a PhD in Media Art from the Bauhaus University Weimar/Germany, an MFA (Meisterschüler) in Experimental Media Design and a BFA (Diplom) in Visual Communications from the University of Arts Berlin. From 2012-2015 he served as an Assistant Professor of Time-based Media at the Art Department of the American University in Cairo and was director of the Sharjah Art Gallery at AUC. From 2019 to 2020 he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Bauhaus University Weimar.

His video-, installation- and text-based works explore the entanglements of historiography, image and media politics, as in his current long term research project SEEING HISTORY – The Augmented Archive, which explores archival practices and changing medialities of the historical in the context of post-revolutionary Cairo.

For his work he has been awarded various stipends and awards, such as the Dialogue Award of the European Media Art Festival 2012. Among other places his art works have been shown at the HKW and Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin, Berlinische Galerie, Queens Museum, Eye Beam, and Sheila C. Johnson Design Center New York, Centre Pompidou Paris, Reina Sofia Museum Madrid, Azad Gallery Tehran, Kunstverein Heidelberg, the 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, IDFA Amsterdam and the Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen. He is the co-editor of a series of books on contemporary Egyptian artists (2015, Revolver Publishing, together with Anneka Lenssen), as well as the publication “Damascus: Tourists, Artists, Secret Agents” (2010). He is the co-founder of the artist group RELOADING IMAGES, an initiative that works on collective projects of artistic research. Since June 2018 he is the director of the non-profit art association Künstlerhof Frohnau, a studio space for artistic production in the North of Berlin.


Azin Feizabadi is as a filmmaker, visual artist, film curator & educator in Germany and elsewhere. He is a member of the Berlinale Shorts selection committee and the programming team for the Kassel Video & Documentary Film Festival (short film section). His fiction feature debut Uchronia premiered in 2019, the same year his book After Cinema – Fictions from a Collective Memory – a collection of short stories, prose, and short screenplays, published by Archive Books. He has screened, staged, published and exhibited his works at The Guggenheim Museum New York, Berlinale Forum Expanded, MMK Frankfurt, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, House of World Cultures Berlin, Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin, RWE Kino Museum Ostwall Dortmund, Sharjah Biennial UAE, Queens Museum New York, Savvy Contemporary Berlin, et al.

  • Year
    2010
  • Runtime
    38 minutes
  • Language
    English
  • Country
    Germany
  • Director
    Kaya Behkalam, Azin Feizabadi
  • Screenwriter
    Kaya Behkalam, Azin Feizabadi
  • Producer
    Kaya Behkalam, Azin Feizabadi
  • Co-Producer
    Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW)
  • Cast
    Jeff Burell, Laila Gray, Stephen Patrick Hannah, Hening Kober, Julia Kratz, Erol Shaker Narrator: Niel Wach
  • Cinematographer
    Osama Rashid
  • Music
    Mohammad Reza Mortazavi