Documents 17. Souffles (1966-1971)

An Art, Culture and Politics Magazine from Morocco

Thursday, 8 April 2021 - 6pm / Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200 and online platform

The Documents programme explores the relationship between art and publishing activity, and other subjects that include the effects of archive on narratives of art history, the artist’s book and publishing as an artistic practice. This new edition analyses the Moroccan cultural journal Souffles — directed by poet Abdellatif Laâbi, it brought together the most relevant voices in poetry, art and thought from post-colonial Maghreb from 1966 until it was banned at the beginning of 1972.

Originally, Souffles, which can be translated as “winds”, sought to become a springboard for political and literary renewal in Morocco, encouraging experimentation and collective work. In just a few editions, it became the main form of aesthetic and political expression from the most advanced cultural scene, accommodating voices from cinema, such as Ahmed Bouanani, theatre, like Abdallah Stouky, and the visual arts, for instance Farid Belkahia, Mohamed Chabâa and Mohamed Melehi. Moreover, it published vehement manifestos on the future of a decolonialised national culture and the union between third-world countries and Maghreb people under a modern, independent and emancipated project; thus, it would be a key element to understanding Morocco’s artistic avant-garde and politics in the 1960s and 1970s. Today it is the subject of myriad research projects and essays and sits centrally in the exhibition Moroccan Trilogy 1950–2020.  

This activity gets under way with an open letter by Abdellatif Laâbi from Paris, before continuing with lectures by Laura Casielles (in-person), a poet and journalist who is a  specialist in Morocco and colonial memory, and Kenza Sefrioui (virtual), an editor and journalist, along with a reading of different manifestos and poetry published in Souffles, and translated into Spanish for the first time for this event. It will conclude with a dialogue between both speakers.

Participants

Laura Casielles is a poet and journalist specialised in the memory of Spanish colonisation in Morocco and the Western Sahara. In this field she has published the research project Los cantos inolvidables. Souffles: una revista marroquí de poesía y política entre el colonialismo y los años de plomo (Alción Editora [Argentina], 2018) and directed the web documentary Provincia 53. Memorias cruzadas del Sáhara Occidental. As a translator of French, she has published the anthology of Moroccan poet Abdellatif Laâbi Desde la otra orilla (Valparaíso [Mexico], 2017). She currently contributes to different media and projects, particularly the magazine La Marea, for which she is a regular contributor and co-coordinates the culture section.

Abdellatif Laâbi is a poet, novelist, playwright, essayist, and Arabic-French translator, and was the director and co-founder of the magazine Souffles. In 1972 he was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment in Morocco for his writings and political ideas. He was freed in 1980 following an international campaign and has lived in Paris since 1985. He has been honoured with the International Poetry Prize from the National Foundation of the Arts (Holland, 1979), the Pen Club Freedom Award (France, 1980), the Fonlon-Nichols Award from the African Literature Association (USA, 1999) and the Goncourt Prize for Poetry (France, 2009). His Spanish-language publications include El camino de las ordalías (Ediciones del Oriente y del Mediterráneo, 1995), Fez es un espejo: el fondo de la tinaja (Ediciones del Oriente y del Mediterráneo, 2004), La poesía marroquí: de la independencia a nuestros días (antología) (Idea, 2006) and Un continente humano (Idea, 2010).

Kenza Sefrioui is an editor, cultural journalist, literary critic and co-founder of the publishing house En toutes lettres. She is a specialist in the Souffles magazine, the subject of her PhD thesis and the published monograph La revue Souffles, 1966-1973 Espoirs de révolution culturelle au Maroc (Éditions du Sirocco, 2012). She previously directed the literary section of the French-language Moroccan weekly publication Le Journal Hebdomadaire, and today is a contributor with the Moroccan magazines Diptyk: l'art vu du Maroc and Tel Quel. She has published Le livre à l’épreuve, les failles de la chaîne au Maroc (En toutes lettres, 2017) and edited the books Casablanca œuvre ouverte (Le Fennec, 2012), Casablanca poème urbain (Le Fennec, 2013) and Casablanca, nid d'artistes (with Leïla Slimani, Malika, 2018). 

  • Capacity:

    70 people

    Language:

    Spanish and French with simultaneous interpretation.

    In order to guarantee everybody’s hygiene and safety, the Museo will provide disposable earphones, although attendees are encouraged to bring their own headphones.

    Organised by:

    Museo Reina Sofía, Casa Árabe and Medialab Prado

    With the collaboration of:

    illycaffè

    Programme:

    Documents

    Force line:

    Avant-gardes

    Inside the framework of:

    In the Meantime

    Reading list:

    Abdellatif Laâbi (Preface), in Souffles, No. 1, first quarter, 1966, pp. 3–6.

    Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine, "Tract", in Souffles, No. 1, first quarter, 1966, p. 19.

    E. M. Nissaboury, "Manabboula", in Souffles, No. 5, first quarter, 1967, pp. 22–24.

    Abdellatif Laâbi, "Les singes électroniques", in Souffles, No. 16–17, final quarter, 1969 – January/February 1970, pp. 40–43.

    Texts