I Yawn Because You Yawn

I Yawn Because You Yawn: A Glossary of Dehumanization

Sunday, January 7
Part 1: 12:00–2:00 pm — Register here

Part 2: 8:00–10:00 pm — Register here

A free event hosted by La La Lil Jidar

First-hand spoken words witness by Ulla (b. 1939 Königsaue, Germany), interviewed by her granddaughter Pauline Warneboldt and the artist mother Shuhra Shaban (b. 1945 Nablus, Palestine); 20 minutes almost silent video of archives from 1948 Germany, titled, The Magic Hands, and; off-key piano w/ Or Zubalsky, titled, Teach me to Play 1948.

This experience was designed for the Global Social Witnessing Conference lab, Germany 2021. It consisted of a collective experience of seeing, listening, writing and drawing for around 90 minutes, creating tactile and temporal evidence of senses. Gaining skills to hone in our collective consciousness, the act of individual recognition as presence, being here and now may help us to acknowledge our intercorporeality. ‘I yawn/scream because you yawn/scream’.

I began to approach this project as a 1948 therapy session with an audience in Germany after I was asked by an organizer: “How can you also hold the perspective of Israel in your work? Especially in Germany, it is important to also bring in the perspective of Israel.” I include this loaded question within the video collection created for a global witnessing.

Through acts of recognition of other presences and existences, explaining archives, memories and a-tonal music from a specific year (1948), we explore the journey to remember and hold on to those histories. Through a global and social-distanced contagious yawn, my question is how might we project that year from a Palestinian perspective onto the German landscape?

Qais Assali Bio
Qais Assali is an interdisciplinary artist/designer born in Palestine in 1987 and raised in the UAE before returning to Palestine in 2000. Assali taught in Visual Communication at Al-Ummah University College, Jerusalem, Michigan State University, MI, and Vanderbilt University, TN. Recently, Assali joined the School of the Museum of Fine Arts’ faculty at Tufts University, Boston, MA. Assali was a 2019-21 Core Fellow at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX.

Assali’s work has been exhibited at Hauser & Wirth, NY (2021); Middle East Institute, DC (2021); Station Museum of Contemporary Art, TX (2021); Stamps Gallery, University of Michigan, MI (2021); Toronto Queer Film Festival, Canada (2021); SculptureCenter, NY (2020); Chicago Cultural Center, IL (2020), Glassell School of Arts, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, TX (2020); Temporary Art Center (TAC), Netherlands (2019); and Qalandiya International, Palestine (2018). Assali is the recipient of 2021 Art Matters Foundation grant; 2020 Chicago Artists Coalition Spark Grant; 2020 Houston Arts Alliance Digital Grant; 2020 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts – Idea Fund; 2016 SAIC New Artists’ Society Award; and 2016 Palest’In & Out Festival – Plastic Art Prize.

Assali holds four degrees in visual arts from Palestine and the U.S, a BFA in Graphic Design from An-Najah National University 2009, and a BA in Contemporary Visual Art from the International Academy of Art Palestine 2017. He simultaneously completed an MFA from Bard College, NY 2019, and an MA in Art Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL 2018.

Artist statement is viewable here.