Yan Duyvendak and Omar Ghayatt: Still in Paradise

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Still in Paradise by Yan Duyvendak and Omar Ghayatt—the prologue to Made in Paradise (2008)—was conceived in the swelling tide since 9/11 in which the Arab world as a whole has become suspect and, for many Westerners, neoliberal values are the only guarantee of a functioning society.

Ghayatt, who is from Egypt and resides in Bern, envisioned his works with Duyvendak, who is from the Netherlands, to stage their encounters, their doubts, and their differences through a series of scenes that audiences vote for each night. Shared space, time, and dialogue gradually undo preconceived cultural and ideological notions that feed fear and negation.

Still in Paradise is a show of the history of their project itself that reflects, in its own small way, history at large. Since the end of the Arab Spring, nations have degenerated into either stifling dictatorship or war and disintegration. Europe seems to answer only with fear and the erecting of both inner and outer barriers. Unlike its fragments, Still in Paradise’s finale cannot be voted for; it is imposed.


Image: Yan Duyvendak and Omar Ghayatt, Still in Paradise, Avignon, 2017. Photo: Agnes Mellon