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Theme of the 12th Festival du Monde Arabe

This new edition of the Arab World Festival of Montreal calls for genuine interaction between views, imaginations and multiple realities, with the infinite desire for authentic dialogue as its main theme. In a disjointed world, composed of conflicting and impervious spheres, of chaotic interference and ephemeral relations, Charabia (babble) aims to highlight the lack of communication and dearth of dialogue between individuals and cultures, in this “era of ongoing communication.”

In the East, the Arab world wakes up one day to the rhythm of spontaneous and brave uprisings, only to be plunged in an aftermath of violence and civil war. A real “telephone game” where one claims to fathom reason while the other expresses certainties, if not Truths, but where both are only fuelling a dialogue of the deaf, a communication that invariably ends up conveying identity-related vanity and individual interest.

In the West, dialogue and communication are gradually sinking in ritual practices, whose mediating priests are the shamans of talk shows and conferences; learned professionals who preach, through clever verbiage, the virtues of diversity and miscegenation. Ideals which, once stripped of their “mise-en-scene”, are quickly overtaken by a tumultuous reality which bereaves dialogue of its uniting quality, and casts it into an abyss of solitudes and implacable adversities.

Charabia addresses the malaise of both realms, each bearing the cost of its own cacophony. Two anguished worlds, pervaded by impoverished ideals and realities, unable to cross the barriers of misunderstanding, ignorance, and sometimes hate. And if the borders are no longer as distinct as they were before, their apparent permeability is much more one of mimicry and trade, than of true cross-cultural blending and genuine dialogue.

In the “age of communication”, solitudes abound, and any attempt at dialogue leads back to the Genesis Tower of Babel. However, some rare, unusual, or “irrational” complicities subvert this modern-day dictum, and thwart its laws! Creators, both local and international, form daring and uncommon alliances which, in turn, will transform the uproar and cacophony into polyphonic harmony and exquisite consonance. Encounters between traditional music and dance, both classical and contemporary, and a fusion of hip hop, flamenco, gnawa, pop, rock, metal, and electronic trends … such unusual hybridization of styles and practices, so many moments of generosity that challenge isolation and solitude!