UARU
The Aftermath of Egypt's 2011 Revolution: Lara Baladi Speaks
25 January, 2019
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For a period of 18 days in the winter of 2011, thousands of Egyptians took to Tahrir square in the center of Cairo demanding an end to corruption, unemployment and the resignation of the autocratic president Hosni Mubarak.

For many Ukrainians, this is an all too familiar scenario. The main square in Kyiv has played host to two major revolutions in less than 20 years, the most recent one being the 2014 Euromaidan.

Both countries have recently commemorated the anniversaries of their respective revolutions. January 25 marks eight years since the Egyptian revolution and this winter also marks five years since the Euromaidan revolution.

In honor of the Ukrainian revolution, Kyiv’s Mystetskiy Arsenal art center has invited international artists to showcase artwork from revolutions from around the world. Hromadske recently sat down with Egyptian artist Lara Baladi, one of the participating artists, to discuss how revolution has changed her country and informed her work on the matter.

Baladi says that the Egyptian revolution, like the Ukrainian revolutions, is still an on ongoing story.

“There are anchor moments in history that mark a society and I think Maidan and Tahrir are those kinds of moments, but I don't think there's a beginning and and an end,” Baladi states.

Nonetheless, Baladi believes that the 2011 protests helped the Egyptian realize their rights and sense of dignity, which is something that resonates with Ukrainian society. The 2014 revolution is also known as the Revolution of Dignity.

“People had no idea that they were entitled to a certain kind of dignity, to a certain kind of freedom, to a certain kind of expression, rights of expression, even between two people. It's not just between the government and the society, it's between us, how we behave with each other, how we understand our role in relation to each other,” Baladi comments on the situation in Egypt before the revolution.

However, after experiencing moments of intense hope and solidarity, it’s hard not to be disappointed, when not much has changed years later, according to Baladi. She says that Egyptian people today are more concerned about the difficult economic situation, rather than the political situation.

“I think disappointment is not just one thing, it's something that comes and goes, and there's both sides of the coin in situation that is so important, so dramatic and so life-changing for so many people,” Baladi adds.

If Egypt is to move forward and build on the changes that were initiated by revolution, tolerance is the key.

“The ideal scenario would be that we can actually live with our differences... that there would be some kind of understanding that, ultimately, we are all different and we need to be tolerant, and that, without tolerance, there is no hope for the future,” Baladi says.

Here's the full transcript of the interview:

My first question, for somebody who is documenting the revolution, a very recent revolution, is it already history although it's only been seven years? Or is it too early? Because, for us, there is this dubious feeling, we have a special moment, it's exactly five years since the Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine and it feels like it is already history. Should we treat it as history and remember it that way, or is still our today?

It's a big question. It depends on how you define history, I guess. But it's an ongoing story, so there are moments, there are anchor moments in history that mark a society and I think Maidan and Tahrir are those kinds of moments, but I don't think there's a beginning and and an end. There is a moment of extreme, intense relevance of that moment, but that moment arrives because of other things that happen before, and then it continues and becomes something else. so it's still evolving, and what it has become is a whole story, but I think it's a very important turning point, if you want, in history.

Egyptian-Lebanese artist Lara Baladi speaks to Hromadske on November 22, 2018. Photo: Oleksandr Nazarov / HROMADSKE

How did you change your own artistic attitude to the things you work on? You were filming the protest, you were collecting data, photos. It was seven years ago during the revolution on Tahrir square, and now, after some time, how do you treat these artefacts? What still has to be documented that wasn't documented back then? Is it still an option to record things that you didn't have time to before because it was so hectic? That would be an experience for us too. What are we not recording today?

Just to give a little bit of background, I didn't record that much during that period because...

I meant documenting...

I mean, because my practice as an artist when Tahrir started wasn't so much to take photos and videos, but I was doing installations and reflecting on the power structure of society, and the socioeconomic, political context, much more looking at social politics than at politics purely, and so, I actually collected a lot of material. For me, documenting was not so much documenting as we understand it, but much more about articulating, or mapping, who was documenting what, and really creating an archive of this documentation. The beginning was because I needed something to hang on to, I needed to understand what was happening. It was going very fast, so, for me, the idea of recording and documenting was much more about keeping trace, so that I could really come back and reflect and understand better because there was so much information. And then, as time went by, it became like a language, something that came out of the revolution that became a visual language that was never there before, and that suddenly took a very different meaning during the first few years, and I used that language to make a lot of artwork, and video installations, and to reflect on what was happening as it was happening. And then today, much later, seven years, as you said – it's almost eight years now, in two months it will be the eighth anniversary – I believe this archive has become much more global. It's not so much about Tahrir as much as it's about different protests in the world, and also in different geographies and different moments in time, so from the 1960s, the 1990s, 2009 – I mean different events that are parallel to Tahrir, that are not only Tahrir.

Do you think there are some instances where people haven't yet told their stories? Either because some people wouldn't have dared to, maybe it was too early to discuss some issues. With regards to the revolution in Egypt, have most people already told their story, or are there still issues which society doesn't know about?

I can't answer for everybody else, but I'm sure there are stories which people have not necessarily made public. Maybe they discussed it with their families, maybe they experienced it together, but if they made it public – I don't know. And also, one of the things that has changed in the revolution is the capacity of actually talking about oneself in a society where you couldn't speak about your sexuality, where you couldn't speak about your role as a woman, where you couldn't speak about politics. There was a lot of different things that the revolution allowed for people to express, so that it is not acquired freedom to be able to express oneself, but people have begun to understand that they have the rights and they are entitled to a certain kind of dignity, and of a certain way of living. Do they have that? I don't think so, but they have begun to understand that this is actually present, and it's only a matter of time until it can, maybe, come back. So I think it's not so much about things that have not been said yet, it's more about the possibility to say things and how this comes and goes. So now we are little bit in a kind of return to a moment of silence, where people are preferring to not say what they really think, or not to express their political opinions because they are, first of all, very oppressed economically and they need to survive, and also because they know, right now, that the way things are, it wouldn't make a difference. It would probably work more against them than really helping in any kind of way to be critical of the situation.

Egyptian-Lebanese artist Lara Baladi speaks to Hromadske on November 22, 2018. Photo: Oleksandr Nazarov / HROMADSKE

I guess you've probably had many interviews with various media over these past years, and, I won't get into this, but the notion of the Arab Spring wasn't used in Egypt itself, or in other places, but I remember later there was this article about the Arab Winter. And any time I, for example, am approached by foreign journalists on a daily basis and they are asking about victories and losses of the revolution, are you disappointed, optimistic, and we are placed in this discourse of either being disappointed or not disappointed, how do you feel about that? Are you yourself disappointed? Or should we frame it differently? If so, then how should we discuss it? Generally, if you have an emotional appeal to the event?

Of course I do. Of course I have an emotional appeal to the event. My parents had to escape Egypt in the early 60s because of the 1952 revolution and the effect it had on their family, so I was born with the narrative of another period and how that completely changed my parents life. So when Tahrir started, I felt very much that there was a resonance with my parents' story and suddenly I was facing the same thing, even though I thought I had maybe escaped that somehow. So, of course, I'm very emotionally connected to what happened.

But after some years, do you have this feeling of disappointment or maybe something else?

I heard your question. When I went to the square, I felt that there was a lot of naivety from the square, from the people in the square, that they were asking for things that were already failing in other parts of the world, like democracy as we know it, and I felt this is not what we should ask for because these systems we know don't work. Actually, democracy is what got us here. So I wasn't so enthusiastic at the very beginning, I felt that the poor people will pay the price of this moment, and that the others will find their way to survive it. So it wasn't so much about I was euphoric and then I was disappointed, but, of course, when the entire country is full of hope and the whole world is looking at you, the whole world remembers hope, you can't help but embrace that wave. And so, of course, you're going to be hopeful and you're going to wish for something really good to come out of it. So I think disappointment is not just one thing, it's something that comes and goes, and there's both sides of the coin in situation that is so important, so dramatic and so life-changing for so many people. So there was a moment of hope, there was a moment of disappointment. Today, of course, I'm disappointed, but the whole world is disappointed. We're all disappointed after [occupation,] after the whole way politics has become much more back to the time of a form of fascism that we are experiencing in the twenty first century. That's insane. So disappointment is actually a very small word for how we actually feel. But, I believe, this was always the case in our human history and that either you're kind of programmed to always follow your heart and see something that is beyond the moment, and that is hope, and that's the nature of life, or you decide to go with something that's constantly looking at the losses, and so you focus on that. So it depends on who you are and your personality, but I like to stay hopeful, but I'm also realistic, and I know that I've lost a lot and that I have also gained a lot, but I still have a lot to experience.

You mentioned dignity, and we call our revolution the Revolution of Dignity. Today, for instance, a lot of people write how they feel on Facebook, and they thought that an opportunity opened up for us to feel what dignity is in ourselves. And that's something you can do once, but it's hard to bring back. You can lose dignity but you can't lose the understanding that you can achieve it.

Yes. You have the right to dignity. Absolutely. I mean, I'm sure dignity is defined differently in this context than it was in Egypt, but in Egypt it was the very beginning of the 18 days, there was not meant to be a revolution, it was meant to be a moment where there was certain demands, and that certain demands were placed beforehand to the government for a few changes in society, and one of them was to stop police brutality and corruption. So dignity was very much connected to how the system had become corrupt to such an extent that people became humiliated constantly by the system, and how that was really one of the main demands in terms of: Please change this and give us the minimum treatment that a human being deserves, right, so it was very connected to this very tough police brutality implementation, and Khaled Saeed is obviously an emblem of that brutality.

This is probably exactly how we would describe dignity in our case. It's really not that different. Coming back to your work, you've made this circle of history, which looks like a clock, and there are a lot of critics of the revolutions that always say that history itself, people make the same mistakes. Ukraine went through another revolution 14 years ago and people were concerned about it happening again. I remember, two days after the victory of the recent Maidan revolution, there was a huge sign: It's not 2005, meaning we won't go this way again. However, in creating this piece, do you really think that history is repetitive or do you think that it is something that people live through and it's not a fully repetitive experience?

That's the nature of the project I'm doing, it's actually on the long-run to understand and to visualize the patterns in history. I believe there is a cycle, there are cycles, and revolutions are also part of that cycle, and then you can break down the period to smaller cycles. But, within the cycle of uprising, you have the moment of uprising, and then you have the loss of momentum, and then you have a, kind of, complete loss of momentum until the new regime is put in place, or the same one comes back. And then, of course, there's much bigger cycles in history, where an entire civilization is replaced by another, and so on. But, in my case, I believe the circle is also a reference, like I was saying earlier, it's also a reference to the iconography of the revolution, the kind of imagery that stemmed from the square, and the circle is not just a circle of time, it's also a monopoly game. It's this idea of how politics and how the game of revolution is part of a much bigger political game, and how this game was represented by many different ways: by graffiti artists, by political satirists, by journalists and so on.

You've drawn attention to the role of women in your work. What's new? What do we need to know about the role of women in modern revolution, and also in Egyptian society?

I placed women in the whole iconography of the game because that was a very important aspect of the uprising and Tahrir. And also, a big shock to the world was not just that Egyptians went to the square and rebelled, but what was very shocking, I don't know if you remember, at the very beginning, the media really focused on how surprising  it was to see so many women at the front line. In fact, many women were, maybe, sometimes more courageous than men, and they voiced their demands, if not more than more, then as strongly as men did. A lot of the media focus was on the extraordinary new generation of these people, these young people, who were maybe much more balanced than our generation, and previous generations, in terms of giving the space to women in a way that they never saw before. Especially in an Arab society that is very conservative and where, until Tahrir, the idea of a free women is not nuanced. You're either a whore or a mother and you have kids. There's almost nothing in between. And so, I think the revolution changed that image, very much.

Egyptian-Lebanese artist Lara Baladi speaks to Hromadske on November 22, 2018. Photo: Oleksandr Nazarov / HROMADSKE

Coming back to the idea of, not just empowerment, but some of the taboo topics, such as sex, get discussed. You have the portrait of Aliia, the blogger, who posed naked. She was criticized and had to leave. It was a very strong symbol. But I spoke to one Egyptian artist who said that if you want to say something to society, you also have to consider that you are trying to find a manner that society will understand. That's something we often hear here. For example, if you want to talk about a sensitive topic, you have to find a way to reach out to people. We had this later not just because of the revolution but later because of the war. When people are dying, you treat the issues with more sensitivity. What would you say about that? When you think you need to be a bit more radical, but you also think that this message won't be heard because of the way tell it. For example, you can’t send this message to Islamists, they just won't listen from the very beginning.

I don't think she was addressing herself only to Islamists. She was addressing herself to everybody. You don't have to be fundamentalists to be conservative. Actually, the majority of people in Egypt are conservative Egyptians. And I think more than fundamentalists, it was the conservatives that were a little bit triggered, and a little bit uncomfortable with her posting a photo of herself like that. I don't think things are black and white. I mean, this girl was maybe 20 years old when she posted this photography, and, when you're 20, you're nothing but radical. Also, I think this is where history is interesting, in that time will tell how important this gesture was. And we can already say it was important: the very fact that we're still talking about it; the very fact she had to be exiled; the very fact that more than a million people saw that blog; the very fact that her image was reproduced on so many walls, and that there was so much controversy around her gesture. That enough, she did what she had to do. Now whether we like it or not – I don't care. I mean, it's not for me to decide whether this was something good or not. I think it's part of the narrative, and it's part of the changes, and it's part of the language that the young people used in that moment. And one of them was Aliia's voice. And the fact she blogged her nude body in a society where the body is incredibly censored. So, of course, she probably did it too early, like a lot of radical gestures – when Copernicus announced that the Earth was round, everybody thought he was crazy and they put him in jail. It's only later that these sorts of things will go into the soil and grow in different ways. I think this is where time is very important. And what happened in Tahrir is not over. It cannot be over. And what happened here is not over. It happened and people will remember it in different way, people will interpret it in a different way, but, eventually, the memory of it, and the knowing that there are possibilities, there is hope, there is a right to dignity, to go back to what we were saying earlier. All these things are now like planting seeds, and they are growing, but they are not growing in a way that we imagine, in a more obvious way, that is: this president is going to be replaced by this one and everything is going to change. That's not what happens. What happens is that now society is changing, so, actually, society is the focus. What has changed in society is much more important than what has changed in politics.

What can we still describe? Sometimes people prefer to have more visible, clear marks that there is change, there is progress or there isn't. What has changed within Egyptian society?

First of all, like I said, the relationship between men and women has... I wouldn't say that it as drastically changed, but something has shifted. Also, the relationship between people and power – whether it's political power or economical power. For example, social class, the relationship between different classes has changed. Today, if you take a taxi, it's not the same as ten years ago. If you took a taxi, the taxi driver wouldn't necessarily express himself the same way he would today, or acknowledge the kind of rights he knows or believes he has, which he didn't believe he had ten years ago. People had no idea that they were entitled to a certain kind of dignity, to a certain kind of freedom, to a certain kind of expression, rights of expression, even between two people. It's not just between the government and the society, it's between us, how we behave with each other, how we understand our role in relation to each other, how we believe we should do certain things, or how we feel entitled or not entitled. All these things are the things that have changed, and, definitely, Egypt is a society that is changing very fast. There are 2-3 million children every year in Egypt, and it's a very young country. So under 65% of the population is below 35 years old. And probably half of that is below 10 years old. So it's going very, very fast, how people are integrating technology since the revolution, the way that people use the internet, the way they use Uber, the way they even flirt online, or creating communities for people who use bicycles. No one used bicycles. The only person who used to bike in Cairo was the man who used to carry a big tray of bread, with a mountain of bed, and amazingly, navigate through the cars. Today, on Fridays, on Thursdays, on days during the weekend, and also during the whole week, you see a lot of young people on bicycles, using that as a way of fitness, or understanding the importance of being healthy. And you see, sometimes, rallies of bikers. Last time I was in Cairo in the summer, I saw 200 people on bicycles meeting at Mohammed Mahmoud, which is one of the arteries that goes from Tahrir. And then you have these new movements of, like, for example, 200 women who have motorcycles, who will meet in Alexandria and do a whole rally for a whole day. These kind of things were not the sort of things that happened before the revolution. They are not directly connected to Tahrir in certain way, but, in a way they are. They are just a continuity of this generation that went to the square.

Like an opening of society?

Yes. Revolutions don't happen because you go to a square, revolution happens because you integrate certain small changes in your daily life – you stop smoking, you start noticing the man who takes care of your building, or you start noticing that the man who picks up the garbage has a story, or even has a name. This is a lot of what people in Egypt understood in the square, in that they could have conversations with people that came from very different parts of Egypt that they would never have had a conversation with otherwise. I think these are the seeds that the square left, more than the change in politics because that's a much bigger story.

You say that people in society started to talk to each other. At the same time, whenever we discuss revolutions in the region and also here, everybody today says that societies are extremely polarized. Also, the moment of the revolution was the moment if uniquely extreme solidarity, when strangers were really helping each other. The conservatives were with the liberals, the Islamists were with people who are not the same kind of believers, and everyone appreciated the moment. However, today, for instance, we came up with the idea of a Manifesto of Freedom, 5 years after Maidan, and some people claim that we need to be very clear that there are still some demands or principles, for human dignity, for human rights, for the diversity of thought, like it doesn't matter whether you're conservative or not but you can't tolerate any kind of violent groups or things like that. The other side of it is: You came up with this manifesto but it's divisive because we know that there are people who are radical in society, we know people who have a different idea. Therefore, there are a lot of people who are very cautious because we still need to come together Islamists, liberals, nationalists. Sometimes it's not a question of it not being tolerable, you don't put LGBT activists and people who might attack them together. How do you feel about the fact we need solidarity and unity but there are still red lines? People who were together on the square but probably wouldn't agree with each other today. Where is this line for you, as well? Do you think it should be like this? Is this line harmful or vice versa? It brings things to where they are.

Again, it's a complex question because I think it's all of those things that you are talking about. It depends at which moment and who is taking advantage of the divisions or of the solidarity that you are talking about. Of course, Tahrir was a moment of solidarity, and the 18 days were very, very particular, and what happened during the 18 days was something that didn't happen after the 18 days, even when we took the square again in July and in other moments. But also, what Tahrir did, or what that moment in history did is that it revealed who people were. Because before that, nobody really knew... I mean, I knew if you were Christian or if you were Muslim, but, you didn't walk through  a shop or into a place and know who was what or who believed in what. But Tahrir made everybody come out and it showed a very divided society, or a much more complex society than it appeared to be. But it also gave much more visibility to the government, to understand who was really against the government, who was operating, who was an activist, who was a Muslim Brotherhood, who was a conservative and maybe not really dangerous for the government and so on. So it, sort of, helped to map the society. So I think it depends on which point in time you're looking at this notion of solidarity or division. Obviously, I feel, at least, the most, maybe, ideal scenario would be that we can actually live with our differences ; that we wouldn't have to all become liberals so that we can all get along, or all become one thing or another so that we can all get along, but that there would be some kind of understanding that, ultimately, we are all different and we need to be tolerant, and that, without tolerance, there is no hope for the future.

I would still like to focus on these red lines.In particular, I mean during the time the Muslim Brotherhood were in power in Egypt, and later after Rabaa massacre, where they were pushed away. I remember the moment when the activists just wouldn't peak to each other, not just because it was a matter of not sharing each other's views. But those people, when they were in power, were doing really bad things and brutal things. For instance, there were people from the Muslim Brotherhood arresting some of the activists.

But I mean, people who have a little bit of understanding of how society works will tell you, even during the 18 days on the square, everybody was very aware that, if we lose this battle, then we are all going to be marked and identified, and those who have really been involved will be in danger in Egypt. And also, we were all very much aware that there was a lot of organization that came from the Muslim Brotherhood in the square. It wasn't only the young people who were suddenly coming out to Tahrir. So there was an understanding that, yes, there's a lot of power playing that was taking place, and that's still taking place because ultimately that's the game, right? That's everybody's game is to access this power so that they can impose their view on everybody else. But this is politics. This is the nature of politics.

Now you are also residing in the U.S. I've go to all kinds of revolutions: our revolution, the occupying movement. There was a time when we always thought it was about police brutality. It's about dignity, but it's also about corruption. It's not about my particular views, whether I'm conservative, liberal, nationalist or not. It's more about these things, and especially the economy because everybody said that the huge issue for the revolution is always the economy because if you make the social situation better then the revolution won't happen. However, what we are looking at in today's world, for instance with the Trump elections and some of the things happening in Europe, you see that people say that there is corruption, that they don't trust their governments, but sometimes they are not that poor, and sometimes, poor people also say that: no, for me, it's more important to focus on abortion, rather than my salary. They would come up against the right, or for some particular rights, so identity politics matters. Do you think that we sometimes, especially as liberals, underestimated the identity politics for a lot of people by saying that it's more about the poor social conditions?

Of course. I mean, yes, absolutely. One of the huge problems that came out of very quickly after the 18 days was that, suddenly, once Mubarak was toppled, once president Hosni Mubarak after the 18 days, and the square the disseminated, everybody went back home, then the question of who's going to take power, who's taking over, was the next question. And this is when the real problem started because suddenly there's no solidarity anymore. Everybody wants a piece of the cake. The Muslim Brother wanted power, the army wanted power, the revolutionaries wanted power, the conservatives wanted things to get back to normal. Everybody wanted something in a very different way and completely forgot to include everybody else. And that was a big, big mistake, and that was one of the big failures of the revolutionary, because I'm also not going to talk for the revolutionaries, but I remember very well that there was a moment where the revolutionaries were quit radical about their position in relationship to the conservative majority of Egyptians, but, without the conservative majority of Egyptians, you don't have the majority, and you don't have any kind of authority or influence on the majority of society. And so that was a big, big mistake to, first, ignore those different groups, and ignore their position, their understanding of the political situation and what they had to lose. But also, one of the even bigger mistakes was to think about Tahrir as the center of Cairo and representing all of Egypt, when, in fact, the majority of Egyptians live in the countryside, are illiterate and are living in villages, earn almost no money and don't have access to the internet. And what they have access to is usually their leaders that are religious, or only the leader of the village. So it's a completely different dynamic and understanding of the role of politics. And these are the people that we completely forgot to think about, that we did not include in the conversation, and that actually made the big difference in terms of what happened next and how things evolved.

Do you think you tried, or you managed to also send the message to this rural Egyptians. You communicate with your work what's happened, but my question is also how do we send the message of what this revolution was about to the larger population? Of course, our tools are limited, but it's also about whether you tried.

I'm nobody to send a message. I'm somebody who experienced this moment, this is my country – I absolutely love it, and I was very involved, and I'm an artist and this is how I express myself, and I feel like I have tщ continue, or I have to do something small to contribute to keeping some trace of this history that, for me, was very definitely important and I know was for so many people. So it's a just a little tiny thing I can do as a person who cares about what that moment meant. Now, sending a message – that is not my role. Of course, I'm going to send messages because I am expressing myself, so of course something is going to come out of my work, but I am not communicating directly to villages in Egypt. But what I believe is happening now, and what I believe needs to happen now is that what we understood in Tahrir is that, unless the grassroots work is done, then there is no such thing as a successful revolution because you cannot have actually change if half or more of the society doesn't have a clue of what the possibilities are and how the election process actually works. What really became very difficult for people after the hope and euphoria of Tahrir was the realization of the amount of work that needs to be done. And the work that needs to be done is the revolution. That's the revolution. That's the work that you do with communities, the work you do with the children, the work you do with education, the work you do to help reach out to places that don't have internet and teach people to read, or, the work you do on a daily basis with your neighbor, to have a conversation with your neighbor or with the man who sells you bread. That's the work, that's the actual work for the next 30 years.

What's next for you? What is interesting for you, as an artist today? Because there's a limit of time you can ruminate about your old revolution, you will come back to the issue, but there is some moments where you think: let's stop, we can't do that, let's talk about technology, let's talk about Facebook, let's stop because otherwise we're moving back.So what's new for you? What are you interested in?

I think it's not about looking back and ruminating. Like you said earlier, it's about understanding something that has a different meaning as time passes. What Tahrir meant in 2011 doesn't mean the same thing today, it actually has a whole other level of meaning and possibilities. I think it's more about keeping a reading of history as a very dynamic story, not as something that is about the pass. And that's also how we perceive archives. It's not about the dust and collecting things and putting them in a drawer, it's really about making them alive and keeping them alive. History doesn't stop. It keeps going. And what's happening today is directly connected to what happened five years ago, six years ago, three years ago, a hundred years ago. It's really about reading and understanding this moment but in the present, and keeping the present very much in dynamic conversation with this very specific moment in the past. I think that's a really important aspect of the work is that it's actually not so much about the past, it's really about today, and how today is very similar to yesterday and what happened yesterday will happen again. So the question is: how will it happen? What form will it take? How will the new technologies – we have one of them here, for example, virtual reality – or artificial intelligence, how will this whole study of algorithms and how they control the kind of information that we each have access to? How will the future of social networks and media networks affect the future revolutions? How will the next revolution look? Where will it come from? What form will it take? These are the questions that we need to be aware of because these technologies are changing very fast and they are becoming much more accessible very fast, but, like most technologies, they are essentially applied to power structures – to surveying us, controlling us, and to have more and more narrower way of manoeuvring as citizens in this very big moment of very big shift. I think I'm interesting in how things would evolve, but I'm also a human being and I have my life as a person and I'm interested in very micro, but also macro, narratives within the big narrative. So I'm kind of manoeuvring between the relationship to history, but also the relationship to personal history, and how this affects on a daily basis. So my interest in Tahrir today is very much my interest in exile, and how, actually, what happens after revolutions, so where are we today? How many people have left the country? How many people have lost their roots? How many people have been assassinated? How does this work? How do you get to this moment? And how is this actually also part of the cycle? I'm interested in today. I'm interested in the aftermath of the revolution. I'm interested how this has shaped to where we are today and how we can, or we cannot, manoeuvre from this point on.