Home A M Qattan Foundation Media News The “Unprepared” workshop hosts Shumon Basar and Khaled Abdallah in two sessions

The “Unprepared” workshop hosts Shumon Basar and Khaled Abdallah in two sessions

The “Unprepared” workshop welcomed as its fifth and sixth speakers writer, thinker and cultural critic Shumon Basar and actor, director and producer Khaled Abdallah.

Basar discussed the concept of ‘The Extreme Reversal’ in the last decade, reflecting the reversed relationship between people and their smart phones in which people are an extension of the phone, instead of the other way around. Basar also talked about the role of capitalism and modernity in this reversal and shared his thoughts on the concept of ‘The Extreme Self’, or the orientation towards extreme individualism and its role in disintegrating and endangering societies.

Basar is commissioner at the Global Art Forum in Dubai; editor-at-large at TANK magazine; contributing editor at Bidoun; adjunct curator at Art Jameel; and member of Fondazione Prada’s Thought Council.

Abdallah, however, discussed encounters, improvisation and unpreparedness, using his personal experience with writing his book Swimming Backwards in 2016. The book discusses the the Arab world’s—especially the Egyptian community’s—state of disorientation, shock and inability to plan for the future. Abdallah compared that state the COVID-19 pandemic and his reversed reaction to it, filled with self-orientation and feeling ‘close to shore’. Abdallah insisted on the importance of improvisation in a world that seems prepared with steady and preconceived values—unlike us.

Abdallah is known for such films as The Kite Runner (2007), United 93 (2006), The Square (2013) and In the Last Days of the City (2016). He is a founding member of the Mosireen Collective in Cairo, dedicated in 2011 to supporting citizen media across Egypt.


Curator Ala’ Younis moderates the “Unprepared” workshop sessions, organised by the A.M. Qattan Foundation through the second round of the “Visual Arts: A Flourishing Field” grant project, funded by the government of Sweden.


Conversation with Shumon Basar




Conversation with Khaled Abdallah: