Roua Horanieh in Conversation - Part 2

by DigitaleBuehne_Admin

The Digital Stage in testing: The Glokale Festival

The Digital Stage in testing

Roua Horanieh / Foto: Mathias Rümmler

The gLOKALE Festival

Roua Horanieh in Conversation - Part 2

For the live events in the Glokale Festival, Roua Horanieh has been interviewing people from an international refugee background. „We are connected with a cultural organization based in London called Counterpoints Art, they facilitate work by migrants and displaced people, and they run refugee weeks every year. They're a lovely team of people, very supportive, and they suggested that we could interview the organizers of refugee weeks in London, in Cambodia, in Malta and in Greece.“ All four organizers were asked how they imagine themselves and their lifes in 15 to 20 years, and how they imagine the world in 15 to 20 years. Today we are having hard times to imagine a positive future because of all the apocalyptic news that is out there. But we are also overwhelmed with problems of everyday life like paying the rent and consuming too much media. „I think this crisis of imagination is an important thing to work on, because if we cannot imagine a future that we want, we will not be able to achieve it. At the moment, we are very used to only imagine something if it has an immediate application, or if it's realistic, many of us have lost a strong ability to imagine independently of efficiency and productivity.“

Roua Horanieh in Rathenow / Foto: teatreBLAU

The four organizers interviewed in any case look at displacement and migration not from a defeated perspective, but from an angle of activity and positive energy flows where they are able to move things forward. The other interviewees from Roua's London community also demonstrate an active attitude, being committed, for example, to climate protection in the sphere of art and politics. „I think from this collection of interviews, one idea would be to just have a collection of strong sentences that everybody had said, or it could also be a reflective text that is written after having gone through all these details.“ When answering herself the two questions that she asked her interview partners, Roua first reflects on her everyday living ambiance. The London city space is an intense place that offers a lot, but it also is expensive and energy consuming as there is little time left to just sit down and relax. „We have chosen to live and work and socialize in a very small area, we are in a location in East London where we can reach everything in a short walk, and where I have time to think and read and write and be, which is a priviledged situation.“

Against this backdrop, Roua imagines a world where our everyday life with its exigencies to earn money and to take care of logistics would no longer be stressful and exhausting, so we would have more time for ourselves. „That would make us more peaceful people, and that would make us maybe much more able to communicate together in a mature and kind and respectful way. Yes, humans can be very stupid and very selfish, but we also are wired to do the right thing together, and digital media can be a support in this.“ The internet is certainly overwhelming, as it creates a lot of noise and distraction. But it also connects people, gives access to all kinds of culture and information, and allows us to compare different opinions. „I think this is an opportunity for us to create change. Books like Art Works by Ken Grossinger, Citizens by Jon Alexander, or Nomad Century by Gaia Vince highlight that an established order of things can be replaced just as quickly by another system. We just need to stop thinking that we are hopeless, and our initiatives are pointless. We need to reclaim our agency, become active and connect with others to create change. Yes, there would be very difficult things we would have to address, but I would love to have faith in humanity coming together and overcoming problems.“

And the role of the digital sphere in this is not limited to the realm of information, but also involves new ways of community building. In the realm of arts and culture, we are now seeing more often that young musicians get to know each other via the internet, employ a tool like the Digital Stage to play joint sessions from distributed locations, and then perhaps meet face to face to rehearse and play together in the same physical location. Likewise, there are theatre groups who do parts of their rehearsal work in the digital space or involve players from other places or other countries in hybrid formats. And the streaming of the events and discussions in the Glokale Festival will in turn enable Roua's community in London, as well as many audiences elsewhere, to participate in the performative reflections on the theme Looking into the future. „There is this richness of new possibilities, it offers resources and areas to learn or to connect or to network that otherwise wouldn't be there. There is a lot of power in these small interventions. It gives hope, it opens a window through which a lot can happen.“

Part 1 of the conversation appeared in the October 2023 newsletter.

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