Second-Hand Body is a writing project in which DOTE commissions five writers from the MENA region and The Netherlands to write a text collectively. An invitation and a journey traversing different bodies, temporalities, locations and references of the writers and the worlds they inhabit and imagine.
The proposal is based on the concept of second-hand, the re-using of what has already been used and has a history. In our proposal, the ‘re-used’ is a body or a characteristic of a body that will be ‘acquired/ given’ by the writer to the protagonist of the text. The protagonist will ‘wear’ the Second-Hand Body and they will attempt to inhabit each other and the context they are in or will arrive at.
The text and the character will migrate literally and metaphorically between different lives lived and imagined, between borders, cities, socio-political realities and (hi)stories. It aims to surpass singular identities and narratives and to be focused on imagining a collective future where the past is re-written and not re-produced. It is a beginning to imagine a future that does not give a ‘second life’ to the violence and injustice of the past, or its hegemonic narratives, but disrupts and undoes them instead.
The first writer is Fadi El Tofeili. He started writing on the 8th of July, departing from our proposal and will pass the text on after two weeks to the next writer, and so on. Till it returns to DOTE and is shared with the public of DOTE during the festival in November 2019.
This is the first time DOTE commissions a writing project, and we see this project as a pretext for the festival. It is a pre-text because we conceive this festival’s edition as a journey where we will travel on different routes with the artists, our partners, and the spectators. Like the body/character in the text who will travel a route in relation to other past and future bodies. It offers a possibility to reflect on our bodies as spectators. What do I carry with me, to whom does it really belong? What has impacted this body, what did it inherit, what does it reproduce? How to imagine our bodies differently through encounters and through being impacted by other bodies?
Concept and curation: Lina Issa
Lina Issa is an artist and writer. This year she is a co-curator of DOTE festival and of this project specifically. Her work revolves around themes of embodied memory, displacement and the performativity of (cultural) identity.