social media is older than the internet

social media is older than the internet

From November 2012 to September 2013

Social media technology that has been and is constantly being developed since the late 1990s help individuals, organizations, and communities exchange and connect through online dialogue. But social media are older than the internet.

In order to produce art communally and present it in public space in a participatory manner, young Damietta artists from various social circles were invited to meet each other, use the governorate’s urban spaces, and have residents of Damietta as their audience. Face to Face: Social Media are Older than the Internet revolved around the idea of being offline in order to be conscious of the immediate surroundings and situation, being visible to others within this environment, and being alert to the other in order to get inspired. The project evolved at the seaside of Ras El Barr and in the narrow streets of Damietta. Artists held workshops for 38 participants in the following fields: documentary photography, theater, and visual art. The workshops resulted in happenings, installations, flash mobs, and theater performances in diverse public spaces in the Damietta governorate. In addition, a capacity building series of lectures was organized for the emerging visual artists. In parallel, the photographers participated in an online exchange with citizens of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Check out the colourful publication here:

Theatre Lab, by Mohamed el-Shindy:

The workshop lasted for three intensive months (and relied on a methodology called the “theatre laboratory,” based on interactive and improvisational theatre. It gave participants the freedom and environment to express themselves in many different ways, using their voices and bodies, objects, images and light. It also included the art of storytelling, movement and dance. In addition to flash-mobs and street interventions, the workshop ended with a theatrical performance entitled “Change the name of the medicine”.

Documentary Photography Workshop with Rana el-Nemr:

This workshop was designed to enable amateur photographers with little experience to develop their skills in documenting cultural events and public activities, such as moulids, souqs, street performances, cafes and carnivals, as well as private events and celebrations.

Visual Arts Workshop with Hana el-Degham and Dahlia M. Refaat:

The main aim of this workshop was to produce art works that could be displayed in public space about the city and its inhabitants. Field trips to explore the various spaces were conducted at the beginning of the project, and the rest of the concept was then developed by the participants collectively in response to the space, city, inhabitants, participant’s experiences on visits and their expectations.

Materials used included: Bamboo wood, rope, glue and flour, as well as experimentation with mural paintings, stencils, and textiles.

The workshop was followed by two series of capacity building lectures related to visual arts and cinema, organized in September and curated by Dahlia Refaat. Lecturers like Haitham Nawar and Elham Khatab were invited to speak in the visual arts series, and Essam Zakareya, Mohamed el-Haj, Islam Kamal, Laila Sami and Emad Maher in the cinema series.


  • Dahlia M. Refaat
  • Hana el-Degham
  • Mohamed El-Shindy
  • Rana El Nemr

Project Partners

Community Art Lab — affiliated with the Dutch organization Vrede van Utrecht and Netherlands Embassy in Cairo

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