What does a society in fear do? Does it stop functioning? Does it repress everything and just carry on? Are we alone with our fear, or do we share it? How can we talk about such feelings? Lebanese artist Rima Najdi explored these questions and others in her 2014 performance “Madame Bomba: The TNT project”. With a fake bomb strapped around her body she walked around Beirut, thus personifying what everyone was thinking: the next terrorist attack could be waiting for me around every corner. Together with composer and musician Kathy Alberici, Rima Najdi assimilated her thoughts and experiences in the role of “Madame Bomba” in a powerful radio play that confronts listeners with their own fears. Together with the video artist Ana Nieves Moya they perform live on air and on site at the ORF Landesstudio Steiermark from the ORF musikprotokoll in the framework of the Ö1 Kunstsonntag.
“Happy New Fear” was awarded one of the two production prizes by CTM Radio Lab 2017.
In 2014, Rima Najdi performed the intervention known as “Madame Bomba: The TNT project” in her hometown of Beirut. Feeling the need to act and open a conversation about anxiety and fear caused by suicide car bombings and pervasive violence everywhere she wore a fake cartoon TNT bomb around her chest while roaming the streets.
Taking off from this action, “Happy New Fear” blends elements of experimental music, sound art, visual projections and live radio drama as it follows Madame Bomba and her search for her lover in the city, a stranger who exists in the collective consciousness and of whom everyone is afraid of. Using audiovisual material sourced directly from Beirut, Najdi maps out Bomba’s walks, her negotiation of her own fear of walking as a breathing bomb. The work aims to explore the feeling of being alone, inadequate, and to confront the illusion of having control over one’s fear. The story reflects how violence is not only direct, explosive and spectacular, but structural, gradual and anonymous, targeting everyone.
Together with musician Kathy Alberici (of Drum Eyes fame) and visual artist Ana Nieves Moya, Najdi aims to explore the environment of emotions, their multiplicity, their uncertainty, and the contradictory nature of their temporality.
CTM Radio Lab 2017
Happy New Fear bei Deutschlandfunk Kultur