Marah Haj Hussein Language: no broblem
Balancing on a tightrope between (im)possible translations.
Based on self-made recordings in Palestine, this work attempts to spatialize different voices in the form of conversations in Palestinian Arabic colloquialisms, which are about language itself. In doing so, Marah Haj Hussein balances on a tightrope between (im)possible translations from one reality to another. How does one's relationship to one's mother tongue change when one begins to master other languages? What power dynamics arise when speaking more than one language? The research departs from having to define a mother tongue in both local and immigration settings. It looks at the intersectional stratification, relativity and constantly evolving reality of a language through its wit, power, tension and imagination. Giving voice to spoken Palestinian Arabic, Hebrew, Dutch and English, Language: no broblem aims to explore the role of language in our understanding of borders and displacement through personal narratives.
This work has been created together with the support and artistic advice of Krystel Khoury and Thomas Bellinck during the period of January — May 2023.
in Palestinian Arabic, Hebrew, Dutch and English with English and Arabic surtitles
Marah Haj (born 1998) is a Palestinian dancer and maker from Kofor Yassif in occupied Palestine. She lives in Antwerp where she graduated from the Bachelor of Dance at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp in 2021. In June 2023, she completed her master's degree in Drama at KASK in Ghent. In her own work, she is concerned with the concept of the mother tongue and investigates the power dynamics between languages, which resulted in: Kilma Hilwa & Zayt Zaitoun (2021), In Exile (2022) and Language: no broblem (2023). In addition to her own work, she can be seen in Another Sacre, co-produced by Alain Platel & Bérengère Bodin and TH LNG GDBY by Tuur Marinus.
This performance is part of the project Halaqat. Marah Haj participated in the Halaqat performing arts residency which took place in 2022 in Brussels at Théâtre Marni and La Bellone and was organised by the Goethe-Institut and Bozar in collaboration with Ad’Hoc Platform, Théâtre Marni, La Bellone and Studio 8. Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi was the curator and dramaturge of this residency programme and was supported by Ben Fury for the mentorship.
Concept and performance - Marah Haj Hussein
Text - Marah Haj Hussein
Translation - Marah Haj Hussein
Dramaturgy - Krystel Khoury
Sound design - Anton Lambert
Assistance subtitles - Hussein Baoumi
Image - Giada Cicchetti
Many thanks to - Krystel Khoury, Thomas Bellinck, Koen Haagdorens and hetpaleis, Shamisa Debroey and DE SINGEL, Cees Vossen and Moussem Nomadic Arts Centre, deFENIKS - WALPURGIS, arts centre BUDA, Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi and Halaqat, and workspacebrussels.
In collaboration with - Halaqat, Ad’Hoc Platform, Goethe-Institut Brussels, Bozar, La Bellone, Théâtre Marni, Studio 8.