Narrative Machines:
Episode 2

Solo Show
Étè 78 ︎ - Bruxelles

“When Ghita Skali told me that she was reading Illness as Metaphor from Susan Sontag, it reminded me of this interview of writer by Jonathan Cott in which she stated: ︎The greatest effort is to be really where you are, contemporary with yourself, in your life, giving full attention to the world. That’s what a writer does.︎ And, as an artist, this is what Ghita Skali does.

Ghita and I never met but, had been working together for more than one year when I first invited her in October 2017, to be part of Vos désirs sont les nôtres , an exhibition that took place in Triangle France-Astérides in Marseille. This was the starting point of a virtual collaboration requiring mutual confidence and trust.

The Narrative Machines - Episode 2 exhibition at Été 78 in Brussels, is addressing a reflection conducted by several persons through various stages, over the last years. The Narratives Machines are capturing anecdotes, rumours or fleeting announcements on medical and scientific inventions. The artist raises questions on Power relations and cautiously observes with irony the way creative misinformation of fake hopes spreads. For her solo show, Ghita Skali discloses a caustic metaphor of a plot that has been highlighted on many dark websites or through computer algorithms that the artist keeps scrutinizing while others just read and forget. Ghita is telling a story which makes her laugh “in the corner“, as she says, and also mentally pulls her away from specific meanings and common senses, giving us a striking text.

A hundred of baladi breads with kofta have been cooked, dried, baked, glazed for the occasion. Natural products used in these sandwiches are almost neutralised, yet they still keep on rotting slowly and spreading a stinky smell. Salad is green and artificial. We are miles away from the idea of a recipe but the gesture remains efficient. The artist is obsessed with these sandwiches. Her obsession is supported by writings and speakings. The text deals with the sandwich in a trenchant manner. Visitors will leave neither with the text nor with a sandwich, but with the odd feeling that he or she has seen a contaminated object, somewhere, somehow.
A cold aluminum table on a grey floor - scattered black and colourful plastic crates on which each sandwich stands, echoes Zoé Léonard’s work. In her piece Strange fruit (for David) (1992-1997), Zoé Léonard works with oranges, bananas, grapefruits, lemons and avocados peels which she sews shut with strings, zippers, buttons, tendons, sewing needles, plastic or iron wire, asking us to witness the degrading stability of things vs loss. Ghita Skali has also chosen to speak about drama. Her voice broadcasted in the space reads out a script printed on posters displayed on the ground and a beep sound is heard to conceal the names of those affected. As such, this speech, which is stained with sarcasm, creates the distance required for the artist.

On February 28th, 2014, the Guardian headline read: "Egypt's military leaders unveil devices they claim can detect and cure Aids ». The doctor and Armed Forces General Abdullati claimed in a press conference this invention is using electromagnetism to detect and cure Aids as other viruses: hepatitis C, cancer, diabetes... These devices are called C-Fast, I-Fast and Complete Cure Device. In this same article General Abdullati also testifies: "I take Aids from the patient and nourish the patient on the Aids by giving him a skewer of Aids kofta".

Such a statement fascinates the artist and is the starting point of this second episode of Narratives Machines shown at Été 78. This work juxtaposes an unbelievable story and memories. It raises questions about the right to say or not, discloses at times what is true and false and finally, focuses on the vulnerability of a human being and his/her roots. To get closer to her own doubts yet caught up by the desire to not give a fuck, Ghita Skali takes us to a deep paradox: we are in between the desire to believe her and a growing skepticism facing with a need for truth. A baffling ambivalence the artist faces and stands up to.”

Marie de Gaulejac

︎ 2022: Aidsburgers, medical horoscopes and holes in the floor - by Suzanne Wallinga - Metropolis M
Photography: Isabelle Arthuis
Translation: Léa Roch
Sound Editing: Adrià Martí Comas
Proofreading: Leo Arnold and Inas Halabi
Graphic Design: Roxanne Maillet and Mélanie Berger