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1974, Guiza. Lives in Amsterdam and Cairo.

Hala Elkoussy’s video and photographic project Peripheral, explores the complex and metamorphic relationship between the centre and the margin defined geographically, economically, socially and/or morally.
The video essay, Peripheral Stories, is comprised of textual and sound material drawn from testimonials, media reports and popular cultural products used to puncture the dream-like quality of the visual imagery, anchoring it to the reality of daily existences. Through this construction, the viewer undertakes a journey on a Cairene microbus, the physical embodiment of perpetual movement between inside and out, between the individual and the whole: an illustration of the simultaneous proximity and distance in which the two coexist.
The sparseness of the photographic element, in contrast to the density of the video, provides the viewer a space for contemplation. Peripheral Landscapes captures the boundary where the urban abruptly collides with the rural, where concrete growths spring out of the desert and surrounding green fields. Captured under beautiful luminous light, in these hybrid landscapes, reminiscent of master landscape paintings, time is suspended and the fractured setting engulfs human presence.
What is ultimately experienced is a permanent flux where boundaries are blurred, constantly shifting and realigning. It is at once a topography of the landscape and a questioning of the photographable and a visual translation of the complexity of the individual’s relationship to societal values, belonging or alienation, all set against the dynamics of a city that is as all engulfing as Cairo.

Mai Abu ElDahab


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