Medinea On Air
Choreographer, dancer, video artist and curator, Sofiane Ouissi has always collaborated with his sister and artistic partner Selma Ouissi. Graduated from the Tunis Conservatory of Music and Dance, the National Dance Center in Tunis, and holder of the State Dance Diploma in France, they are now major figures of contemporary dance on the Arab artistic scene.
Sofiane joined Michèle Anne de Mey Company in Brussels in 2001. As a performer, he participated in the creation of the pieces Utopie (Théâtre de La Ville in Paris, Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, Tanzquartier Wien in Vienna, Danse à Aix, etc.), Conférence Dansée on original music by Jonathan Harvey, and Raining Dogs (Théâtre de la Balsamine in Brussels, SommerSzene in Salzburg, at the “StadSchouwburg” in Amsterdam, etc.).
Among Sofiane and Selma’s personal creations, we can mention STOP…BOOM (2004) and Waçl (2007), which have been widely presented in the Arab world and in Europe. In 2007, the Ouissis created the festival of Arts in the City, Dream City, in the medina of Tunis. This festival of contextual creations is anchored, inspired and connected to the local reality, but also opened to the world. To this space of research, reflection, creation and production are invited artists from the MENA region, the African continent and Europe. In 2015, they invited Jan Goossens, artistic director of the Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS) and the Marseille Festival to take part in the artistic conversation around the programming. This structuring exchange has continued to this day.
In 2011, Sofiane and Selma founded the Tunisian association L’Art Rue (The street is Art), dedicated to the production and dissemination of contemporary art in public spaces in Tunisia. Within this structure, all artistic disciplines, thought and academic reflections meet. L’Art Rue develops artistic, citizen and innovative projects, in connection with the territory, in order to make art accessible to all. In this spirit, they created at the same period the artistic factory of popular space in the rural area of Laaroussa, as well as the review Z.A.T. (Temporary Artistic Zone). Together with the digital arts creator Yacine Sebti, they realized their choreographic piece Here(s) remotely and in real time through the Skype tool. The show has been touring since 2011. That very same year, they made a choreographic film inspired by the work of the potters of Sejnane which has been programmed around the world (Tokyo, London, New York, Moscow etc.). In 2020, at the invitation of the Guggenheim in Abu-Dhabi, the Ouissi create the experimental film Wajdan. For this project Sofiane and Selma invited five women artists from Beirut, Tunis, Sao Paulo, Brussels and Cairo, whom they directed remotely and who all filmed themselves in their private space and their city using their cell phones.
Sofiane and Selma’s creations are both poetic and political. They capture the non-verbal language and create new modes of cohabitation based on cooperation, attention and exchange with others. They defend the idea that the power of transformation no longer lies in the big, but in the small, everyday gestures often considered negligible. They constantly explore the idea of the body as a memory/archive of our experiences, archives of our life.