Notes on The Magic of the State

Mahmoud Tawfik and Sille Storihle

Beirut publishes! We have the pleasure to invite you to the Cairo launch of our first bilingual book with a reading, a screening, and a conversation – cheered by the arrival of our brand new website.

The recently published ‘Notes on The Magic of the State’ (Cornerhouse Publications, hardback, English and Arabic) comprises a collection of essays, interviews and other fictional stories to accompany the two exhibitions held last year at Beirut in Cairo and Lisson Gallery in London. The book features contributions by the late Hany Darwish, Jonathan Allen, Bassam El Baroni, Will Bradley, Michael Taussig, Evan Calder Williams, and Peter Lamborn Wilson, among many others.

In homage to book contributor Hany Darwish, who sadly passed away in 2013, writer Mahmoud Tawfik will read from Darwish's essay which puts its pulse on the condition of corruption and the strong visual ideology of stories that permeate 'The Road to Ain Sukhna. On Imagination Being Fucked in a Desert of Shit'.

The publication launch will be chaperoned by 'The Goodness Regime' (21 mins, 2013), a film by Jumana Manna and Sille Storihle investigating the foundations of the ideology and self-image of modern Norway—from the Crusades, via the adventures of Fridtjof Nansen and the trauma of wartime occupation, to the diplomatic theatre of the Oslo Peace Accords. The screening will be followed by a conversation between Sille Storihle and Beirut.

In such select company, Beirut is finally poised to announce the activation of her new digital self, a brand new website in English and Arabic, designed by Lithuanian artist Goda Budvytyte and programmed by Asger Behncke Jacobsen. Any descriptions would preempt the experience, go take a look for yourself:

While at Beirut, you will also get a chance to encounter 'A Guest without a Host is a Ghost' a collection in residence with artworks by Francis Alys, Aurélien Froment, Charlotte Moth, Ciprian Muresan, The Propeller Group & Superflex, Walid Raad, and Carey Young. Danh Vo is still on his way.


Hany Darwish (1974 – 2013) was a journalist, cultural critic and documentary filmmaker based in Cairo. He contributed to Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics with an article titled ‘Rayya and Sekina: Eighty-Five Years of Jaded Adaptation’ (2008) and writes regularly for numerous publications including Al-Hayat, Kalamon,Bidoun, the Lebanese cultural supplement Nawafiz, as well as the Arabic version of Le Monde Diplomatique.

Sille Storihle is an artist and researcher. She holds a BA in Fine Art from Trondheim Academy of Fine Art and an MA in Aesthetics and Politics from California Institute of the Arts. Her central areas of interest include gender politics, nationalism and history. With Liv Bugge, she runs the Oslo based platform FRANK, aiming at building community, show contemporary art and generate discussions addressing hegemonic structures in society relating to gender, sexuality and desire. Storihle is currently in post-production with a new short film looking at the relationship between power, eros and politics in California in the early 70s.