Center for Art,
Research and Alliances
November 3, 2023

Meriem Bennani: Life on the CAPS Book Launch

Publication Cover

Please join us on Friday, November 3 for the launch of Meriem Bennani: Life on the CAPS, published by Bidoun and The Renaissance Society. The evening will include a conversation between Meriem Bennani and writer, translator, and curator Omar Berrada, and a reading from Elvia Wilk.

Meriem Bennani's Life on the CAPS is the final chapter in her film trilogy of the same name. Set in a supernatural, dystopian future surrounding a fictional island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, it is rooted in Bennani’s research and reflections on the histories of island societies, biotechnology, and vernacular music. Layering live-action footage and computer-generated animation, Bennani intuitively adapts editing techniques that evoke documentary film, science fiction, phone footage, music videos, and reality TV. Her one-person exhibition at the Renaissance Society marked the debut of this personal, electric yet melancholic consideration of what it is to live in a state of limbo, and this accompanying book captures the film through a combination of still images and selections from a transcript of the film.

Enacting a variety of cunning shifts, Life on the CAPS moves fluidly from the imaginary to the geopolitical and ranges from the microscopic scale of DNA to the global eye of surveillance. At the same time, it engages with the power of individual experience as well as the power of collectivity while building on an emotive, formal experimentation that refutes boundaries
The Renaissance Society.

This volume includes essays by Emily LaBarge and Elvia Wilk and transcripts of conversations between Meriem Bennani and: Omar Berrada; Fatima Al Qadiri, Negar Azimi, and Tiffany Malakooti; Amal Benzekri; and Aziz Bouyabrine. Edited by Negar Azimi and Tiffany Malakooti.

More about the speakers

Meriem Bennani (b. 1988 in Rabat, Morocco) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She has been developing a shape-shifting practice of films, sculptures and immersive installations, composed with a subtle agility to question contemporary society, its fractured systems, individual identity, and ubiquitous dominance of digital technologies. Bennani’s work has been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA PS1, The Guggenheim Museum, Art Dubai, The Fondation Louis Vuitton, Public Art Fund, The Kitchen, and CLEARING, among other venues.

Omar Berrada is a writer and translator, and the director of Dar al-Ma’mûn, a library and residency center for artists, scholars and translators located in Marrakech. Previously, he curated public programs at the Centre Pompidou, hosted shows on French national radio and ran Tangier’s international book salon. He is editor, with Erik Bullot, of Expanded Translation – A Treason Treatise, a book of verbal and visual betrayals; and, with Yto Barrada, of Album – Cinémathèque de Tanger, a multilingual book about film in Tangier and Tangier on film. In 2016 he edited The Africans, a book about racial dynamics in Morocco, and curated exhibitions in Marrakech and Rotterdam around the work and archive of writer and filmmaker Ahmed Bouanani, who was an early contributor to Souffles.

Elvia Wilk is a writer and editor living in New York. She is the author of the novel Oval (2019) and the essay collection Death by Landscape (2022).Elvia's essays, criticism, and fiction have appeared in publications such as Frieze, Artforum, Bookforum, n+1, Granta, The Paris Review online, BOMB, 4Columns, The White Review, Mousse, The Nation, The Atlantic, WIRED and The New York Review of Books. Elvia has an MA in Liberal Studies from the New School for Social Research and has taught or guest-taught at places like the New School, the City College of New York, Columbia, Vassar, the Royal Academy Copenhagen, and the University of the Arts Berlin. Currently, she teaches in the writing MFA at Sarah Lawrence, is a contributing editor at e-flux journal.

Book Launch
Friday, November 3, 2023
7:00pm, doors at 6:30pm

Free and open to the public.
RSVP here.

We ask that visitors stay home if feeling sick, or have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days. Testing before joining us at CARA if feeling symptomatic is strongly recommended. Masks will be available for free.

The closest wheelchair accessible subway is 14th St/8th Avenue station. The entry to CARA is ADA-compliant and our bookstore and galleries are barrier free throughout, with all gender, wheelchair accessible restrooms. CARA has wheelchairs available for guest use. Please request in advance via Service animals are welcome.