Final Vocabulary Mai Abu Eldahab (Ed.)

Published by Sternberg Press, Berlin & Mophradat, Brussels, 2015, 112 pages, 12.5 × 21 cm, English/Arabic

Price: €8

With texts by Federica Bueti, Malak Helmy, Francis Mckee, Haytham El Wardany, Brian Kuan Wood

Five essays that take an intimate look at what language’s role is in moments of dramatic change, and how to find meaning for artistic practices in these transformative conditions. Taking its cue from the aftermath of the events of the Egyptian Revolution in 2011, Final Vocabulary doesn’t provide answers as much as it captures the spirit of the moment of searching in which the writers find themselves. The book was developed out of a live conversation at an event called “The Informal Meeting” that took place in Leuven in January 2015, where participants were asked: Our histories and references are often in a different language (abstract or actual) than we use ourselves, what tools do you think are or might be useful to help you trust your own memories and narratives? What, if anything, do you think we might borrow from art to experiment with language in different situations? In English and Arabic.

#2015 #briankuanwood #federicabueti #francismckee #haythamelwardany #maiabueldahab #malakhelmy #mophradat #sternbergpress
How to disappear Haytham El-Wardany

Co-published by Sternberg Press, Berlin and Kayfa ta, 2018, 64 pages (b/w ill.), 9.6 × 14.8 cm, English

Price: €6

If this book had been titled something like “How to listen” or “How to be all ears,” the title would have been appropriate to the content and directly explained the book’s focus. Why, then, does the title prefer to obscure its subject rather than reveal it, running counter to a title’s traditional function? The reason is that this book is grounded in the experience of the unseen listener. Speakers are seen when they speak, whereas listeners recede into the background of the scene dominated by speakers. Listeners spend a long time listening to that around them, and hope to maintain their wall-flower position when they speak—their speech having no need to take front row or appear in the spotlight. The title of this book conceals its subject in a desire to protect the listener from returning to the spotlight once he or she has left it.

Haytham El-Wardany is an Egyptian writer currently residing in Berlin. He recently published Kitab Al-Nawm (The Book of Sleep).

This is the first book in the Kayfa ta series, a publishing initiative of Maha Maamoun and Ala Younis. Each book in the series is a monographic essay commissioned in the style of how-to manuals that situation themselves in the space between the technical and the reflective, the everyday and the speculative, the instructional and the intuitive, and the factual and the fictional. Design by Julie Peeters

#2018 #haythamelwardany #kayfata #sternbergpress