Friday, November 21, 2014

Piano Concert on Saturday November 22

French Pianist Eric Artz plays tomorrow night at 8 PM at the French Institute at Dar Batha. His repertoire will include Chopin, Rachmaninov, Liszt and Debussy

Eric Artz has played as a soloist since he was a teenager, and was awarded First Prize at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris in 2012. He is also a prizewinner of more than 20 other international competitions.

Born in 1983 in France, he began studying spiano at the age of 7. He gained entrance to the Paris Conservatoire National Superieur at 14. After receiving his Master's degree, he won First Prize awarded unanimously as well as the CNSMDP Diploma of Artist (Doctorate).

He is the prizewinner of 20 National and International competitions, including the Geneva
competition, Maria Canals (Spain), and the Epinal competition (France). He is also laureate of the Cziffra Foundation and the Natexis Banque Populaire Foundation.

Artz has played as a solist with orchestras since his early years, with French orchestras
(Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Orchestre de la Garde Républicaine for Radio
France) and with the Prague Chamber Orchestra.

He has performed abroad in Austria ( Salzburg), Italy ( Rome ), Sardinia (Cagliari), and in Switzerland, Germany, England (London), Israel ( Tel Aviv Opera house, Jerusalem), Ireland (Dublin) and also in Japan.

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International Photographic Exhibition in Fez

The work of 14 international artists will be on show in Fez during the eighth edition of the Rencontres Internationales de la Photo de Fès. On the theme of "Invisible Cities", the exhibition opens on Saturday November 22 and runs until December 15
One of Swiss artist Regula Bochsler's still images from Rendering Eye

As part of an international festival of photography, the work will be displayed across several venues in Fez, and has been curated by Selva Barni and Francesca Girelli from Italy. "The theme is inspired by Italo Calvino's classic book from 1972, Invisible Cities", says Selva Barni. "It is about more than physical portraits of places - it's about the underlying layers; the city as memories."

Calvino's Invisible Cities consists of a sequence of imaginary dialogues between the Venetian traveler Marco Polo and the Tartar emperor Kublai Khan. In the course of these discussions, the young Polo describes a series of cities, and discusses Cities and Memory, Cities and Desire, Cities and Signs, Thin Cities, Trading Cities, Cities and Eyes, Cities and Names, Cities and the Dead, Cities and the Sky, Continuous Cities, and Hidden Cities.

Exhibition curators Selva Barni and Francesca Girelli from Italy
The majority of the world's population now live in cities, and the way residents experience the urban landscape varies tremendously. The diverse work of the14 artists who have contributed to the exhibition reflect this. "They are artists who use the photograph as media, rather than being principally photographers," explains Selva.

Swiss artist Regula Bochsler
One of the artists is Swiss based Regula Bochsler who has used the Apple 3D mapping program to create a series of impressionistic portraits of cities, titled Rendering Eye. "Apple started a mapping service in 2012," she says. Created by flying over major cities, the images consist of exposures from multiple points of view, which are then combined using software.

"They offer a bird's eye point of view, but as they are taken over a period of time, anything which is moving is not visible," she says. "So it's like seeing those cities after the blast...we have never seen a representation of the world we live in in this form."

Another artist, Heba Amin from Egypt, uses video and soundscapes for Speak2Tweet. While the viewer is visually transported through empty buildings, the soundtrack gives Twitter texts in Arabic (with subtitles), from the time that Mobarak shut down the internet for a week, to try and silence dissent, in a display of despotic power. Resourceful Egyptians set up a system where phone messages were converted into Tweets, and they are a vivid record of attempts at resistance.

One of Heba Amin's images from Speak2Tweet
Contributing photographic artists also include Peter Steinhauer/US; Raed Yassin/Libya; Andre Principe/Portugal; Felicity Hammond/England and Li Mu/China.

Li Mu, Sol Lewitt’s Untitled (Wall Structure), 2011

Rencontres Internationales de la Photo de Fès includes other activities, such as photography workshops led by local photographer Omar Chennafi.  "In search of hidden treasure Fez" aims to help young people discover the art of photography.

Rencontres Internationales de la Photo de Fès runs from November 22 to December 15, 2014. 
It takes place at the French Institute Gallery; Gallery Kacimi; Cultural Complex Sidi Mohammed Ben Youssef; Dar Tazi at Batha - the base of the Association of Fez Saiss. 

Opening: Saturday, November 22, 6 PM, Galerie Kacimi, 26 Avenue Moulay Youssef, Ville Nouvelle

Guided tours of exhibitions: Sunday, November 23, 3 PM

Meeting and discussion with the artists and the two curators: Sunday, November 23, 5.30 PM at the French Institute, Dar Batha. 

More info: CLICK HERE

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Press Freedom in Morocco ~ An Important Step Forward

Morocco is currently debating a new press code meant to reinforce press freedom throughout the Kingdom. The draft code, presented last month by Minister of Communications Mustapha El Khalfi, lays out a bold reform plan that, when passed, should mark a big advancement for press freedom in Morocco
Communications Minister Mustapha El Khalifi

Caitlin Dearing Scott, writing for All, reports that the draft code centres on strengthening the guarantees of freedom and the independence of journalists and press institutions; protecting the rights and freedom of individuals and society; making the judiciary the exclusive authority in all press cases and strengthening its role in the protection of freedom of the press; and defining the rights and freedoms of journalists.

Notably, the code proposes:

Guaranteeing the right to access information;

Guaranteeing strict legal safeguards to protect journalists from attacks;

Establishing a mechanism to mediate disputes in the press through the National Council for the Press, which will include representatives of civil society'

Adopting judicial protection of confidentiality of sources;

Removing prison sentences for journalists and replacing them with moderate fines; and

Eliminating the suspension or prohibition of publications without the approval of the court.

The code also includes a section on promoting rights and freedoms for online media, a sign of its intent to respond to changing realities in the Moroccan media.

The project to update the press code is the result of broad consultations that began in 2012 among the government, professional journalist organizations, unions, media representatives, and the National Council for Human Rights.

It reflects Morocco's domestic and international commitments with regard to human rights and freedom of the press, as well as: the 2011 constitution; high royal directives; the government's program; the National Action Plan on democracy and human rights; the recommendations of the Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER); and the recommendations of the White Paper on the national debate "Media and Society."

The code was drafted by a Committee in consultation with union and media representatives, notably the National Union of the Moroccan Press (NMFS), and the Federation of Moroccan Newspaper Editors (FMEJ), and is now being considered through a national dialogue conducted by the General Secretariat of the Government.

Following the conclusion of the national dialogue later this month, the draft will be submitted to the Council of Government, then to the two chambers of Parliament. It remains to be seen what changes will result from this collaborative effort, but the draft code looks like an important step for Morocco's ongoing liberalization and democracy-building efforts.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Hamadcha of Fez on CNN

The Fez Hamadcha are currently rehearsing for their upcoming tour in Australia (see story here). The tour has been organised by The View from Fez with the assistance of the Woodford Festival, the Festival of Sydney and the Moroccan Embassy in Australia. Recently CNN filmed the Hamadcha in Fez...

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The View from Fez - Our 9th Birthday!

This week, back in November 2005, The View from Fez posted its first story and, at the time, we were amazed that we actually had anyone viewing our posts. Now, nine years on, we celebrate having posted 4,500 stories, 4,577, 279 page views and more than a million and a half (1,541,095) regular readers in 40 countries across the world.

The majority of writing and photography on The View From Fez is by Sandy McCutcheon and Suzanna Clarke. Over the last few years we have been fortunate enough to have a large number of contributors, guest writers, photographers, visiting journalists, musicologists and interns. This has allowed us to provide the most complete coverage of events such as the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, the Fez Festival of Sufi Culture and the Amazigh Festival. Our thanks to you all.

Gratitude is also due to the generous support of our sponsors and readers who have made it possible for The View from Fez to assist a number of young Moroccans with serious medical or emotional problems, as well as to provide support for education and training.

The View From Fez team covering the 2013 Fes Festival - Sandy McCutcheon, 
Natasha Christov, Suzanna Clarke, Stephanie Clifford-Smith and Vanessa Bonnin

What our readers and contributors have to say: 
"The View From Fez is THE reference in terms of cultural information in Fez and the region, and it would be hard to live without it! It's the only serious and reliable source for interesting information for this region of Morocco."  Philippe Laleu, director of the French Institute in Fez
"Happy Birthday to The View From Fez! The View From Fez was the first English language blog devoted to Morocco and is still the best way to keep up with what is happening in Fez. It started out as The View From Fés, and I remember the heated debate trying to convince Sandy to change it to Fez." David Amster, director of the American Language Center, Fez
"THE VIEW FROM FEZ captures the many interwoven layers of Morocco's most magical city in the rarest and most extraordinary of ways. Highly recommended for explorers and armchair travellers alike." Tahir Shah, author and filmmaker -
"By far the most interesting blog about Morocco run by people passionate about this country in all its aspects."  Frédéric Sola - Riad Laaroussa, Fez Medina
"Happy Birthday to The View from Fez! One of my favourite Blogs as it lifts me out of my world and places me in a another world that is so different, so vibrant, so fascinating. Keep transporting me. Here’s to another 9 years of The View from Fez." Lisa Clifford, writer, Florence, Italy -
"As an expat in Fez I find the blog a fantastic source of what's going on, in the arts, travel ideas, news roundups... I also use the search engine a lot when I want to find out about a particular subject. It helps me make sense of the world around me and inspires me to get to concerts, talks and openings." Sue Bail, Riad Manager Fez Medina
"Discovering The View from Fez was like finding a shortcut right into the heart of the city's cultural scene." Christina Ammon, Travel Writer, Colorado, USA
"The View from Fez was the first site I visited when I learned I would be traveling to Morocco. I scrolled through posts on zellig tile, recipes with argan oil, and photos of twirling Sufis in ecstatic dance. I was enthralled. The View from Fez is an enticing invitation and a knowledgeable guide to a dynamic city. Anna Elkins, Poet and Traveller, USA
"To share, to view, images from Fez on the blog helps one to be a traveler and an artist. The novelty of living in Morocco is kept fresh by sharing the experiences, the moments of light, with a larger readership. And The View from Fez allows me to share my view of Fez. A photo comes to life the more it is seen. Thanks TVFF."
Jake Warga, photographic contributor, Ifrane, Morocco
"The vibrant colors and intricacy of the zelij, the putrid and pleasant scent of the tanneries and tajines, the persistent warm welcomes and calls to prayer, the intertwining of French and Darija - the alchemy of it all bewitched me from the second I stepped through the keyhole gate into Fez. I didn't have to learn to love it. I just fell. Instantly. The day I left I already longed to return. I find myself drawn often to The View From Fez, where I browse photos and news of the faces and places that so charmed me. The spell is cast anew. Happy Birthday TVFF! Here's to many more. A bientôt!" Kimberley Lovato traveler, writer, champagne drinker. San Francisco, USA
"A very happy ninth Birthday to the View from Fez, from Larry Marshall in Melbourne Australia. It was a privilege to work with the View from Fez on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music. As a former colleague of Sandy’s from the ABC Radio National in Australia, I was really very proud to be contributing to the most acclaimed English language website on Moroccan issues, and on Fez in particular. The photos that came out of our work on the festival were truly beautiful and captured the breadth of talent on show in Fez. The team that worked to bring these stories to life were on a tight deadline and each morning saw a fresh series of reports on all that had happened the day and night before – this was exciting journalism which reached hundreds of thousands of people around the world." Larry Marshall, Australia
The View from Fez is one of the most important journalistic developments for Morocco in the last decade providing an intimate local view of the culture of Morocco. Happy 9th birthday and many happy returns.~ Frank Rynne, producer Master Musicians of Joujouka

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