new-york

View of “Meriem Bennani,” 2017.

Meriem Bennani

The Kitchen

View of “Meriem Bennani,” 2017.

Hafida, presumably a baby boomer, wears a hijab and is leathery and principled. Siham, unquestionably a millennial, totes a Yves Saint Laurent bag and has perfected her selfie angle. Both are chikhas—female singers of the Moroccan aita musical tradition—and each sits on one side of a generational rift as wide as neoliberalism’s reach. For her thirty-minute video Siham & Hafida, 2017, Meriem Bennani arranged for the performers to meet at a café in Morocco. The resulting document weds a Bravo-bitchy feud with an empathetic account of the intergenerational complexities of a country processing its colonial past in a globalized world. For her recent exhibition at the Kitchen, Bennani projected the video in a cockeyed, Stan VanDerBeek–like exercise in expanded cinema.

Leading up to the meeting, Bennani spent two days with each performer. In her collected footage, Hafida complains

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