Mohammad Shawky Hassan: Watch Before Detention

Watch Before Deletion is a research-based interactive online platform that takes El-Kotchina, an alleged sex film starring an Arab music icon in the 1980s, as its point of departure. Having never seen the light of day, the film was entirely constructed in the collective imagination of the Egyptian public through aural networks of rumor, gossip and hearsay. By examining how such networks have created the myth of El-Kotchina, the project aims at highlighting the intangible, untraceable and often subversive power of idle gossip, while simultaneously initiating a public conversation around the complex political, social and cultural fabric that has shaped an entire generation’s notions of sexuality, masculinity and pleasure.

Mohammad Shawky Hassan is a filmmaker and video artist living and working in Cairo, Egypt. He studied philosophy, film directing and cinema studies at the American University in Cairo, the Academy of Cinematic Arts and Sciences and Columbia University. His videos include It Was Related to Me (2011), On a Day like Today (2012), Compos Mentis (2016) and And on a Different Note (2015), which premiered at the Berlinale’s Forum Expanded, and was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York as part of its permanent collection. He is a recipient of the Fulbright Fine and Applied Arts Grant (2010) and the Open Society Foundation’s Civil Society Leadership Award (2014). His work has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), the Young Arab Theater Fund (YATF), Fonds Sud Cinema, Goethe Institut, the MacDowell Colony and Al Mawred Al Thaqafy (Cultural Resource) among others. In addition to his film and video work, he was the film and video programs director at ArteEast, the director of the Network of Arab Alternative Screens (NAAS), the Residential Fellow for Art and Philosophy at the Cairo Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CILAS), an instructor at the German University in Cairo and a HUSSLab Fellow at the American University in Cairo. He is currently a resident at Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, Berlin.


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