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Spirit of German art meets Ramadan traditions as Bauhaus centennial celebrated

By Yasmeen Kanaan - May 22,2019 - Last updated at May 22,2019

Attendess of Iftar banquet held as part of the celebration for the 100th anniversary of ‘Bauhaus’, the German art school (Photo by Yasmeen Kanaan)

AMMAN — As a form of celebration for the 100th anniversary of “Bauhaus”, the German art school, the Goethe Institute has organised a Ramadan programme to present an array of lectures, screenings and social gatherings.

The programme is implemented in collaboration with the School of Architecture and Built Environment of the German-Jordanian University.

Art, architecture and design meet iftar traditions during the interdisciplinary events, which call on highlighting the impact of Bauhaus, a 20th century pioneer of classical modern applied and liberal arts.

The Iftar-Series consists of three separate events that will collectively delve into the diversity of the Bauhaus School.

The programme, first inaugurated with a lecture “Bauhaus: From Weimar to Amman”, covered the influence of this school on Jordanian buildings. The influence could be seen on buildings such as Cinema Al Khayyam and Cinema Al Hussein. Meanwhile, the second event focused on presenting the backgrounds and outcomes of the experimental approach on films of the Bauhaus.

“Bauhaus is mostly famous with architects and designers around the world, having influenced the practice of modern architecture and design worldwide. But Bauhaus was and is much more than this. It created a school of ideas initiating experimenting in arts, design and architectures as well as in education and creation. It highlighted the importance of connecting modern manufacturing and technology with art and society,” said Laura Hartz, director of Goethe Institute, as quoted in a press release.

With a different field to cover each evening, the programme has been unified by the social act of breaking the fast with a Bauhaus-inspired iftar table.

Ahmad Salameh, the cook of the Bauhaus-inspired table, who also happens to come from an art background, took the initiative to design the menu. The menu contextualises the ideas of Bauhaus; bridging food with “simplicity”, a characteristic of the school.

“The menu pinpoints the intersection between the food I have presented and ideas of the Bauhaus. For me, Bauhaus is a concept, you can take whatever you want from it. The concept I have taken is the use of already available objects and resources. Going for the simplicity and not the luxury of what I am to offer,” Salameh said in an interview with The Jordan Times.

Based on simplicity, Salameh chose to base his menu on grains, addressing the three types: lentil, corn and wheat for each event.

“I have chosen grains for many reasons; they are available everywhere, they are not limited to a certain segment of the society, and they are easy to transport and store... To me, it is the simplest form of food”, Salameh said.

The menu, inspired by Bauhaus illustrations, encourages its readers to rethink about the experience of eating everyday food. Salameh aims at getting the audience to mindfully pay attention to the taste, temperature and texture of the food eaten rather than just indulging upon it at the time of the call to sunset prayer.

“We could have just made food that looks like the classical Bauhaus food designs, but I wanted to focus on the experience rather than visual impact,” Salameh said.

Hartz said that the timing of this programme was not a coincidence. Instead, the Muslim fasting month was chosen for its social aspects of social unity and collectiveness.

“During Ramadan, food is most important as you spare it all day. At night, it is the most important social event that brings everyone together. Since Bauhaus is also about the communal and social act of living together equally, it made sense to schedule it with the month of Ramadan.”

In the upcoming closing event, the audience will be presented with a live Bauhaus-inspired dance performance. The dance will be performed by the German choreographer and dancer Marie-Lena Kaiser. The piece will be developed in collaboration with three Jordanian dancers.

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