Agnès Guipont was born in France and has been living in Berlin since 2002. She dedicated herself to music at an early age but initially became an actress – she is a graduate of the Jacques Lecoq International School of Theatre in Paris. After a few years active in the Paris theatre scene, she moved to Berlin where she gained further stage experience (including, inter alia, in performance, as an assistant director, in children’s theatre, object and mask theatre, and musical theatre). Today, she is an interdisciplinary performer and focuses mainly on music projects. In 2012, under the project name “La Vie en Bô”, she started writing her own songs and setting poems by poets such as Charles Baudelaire and Mahmoud Darwish to music. The result is a body of work featuring vocals and sounds ranging from prepared piano to kitchen utensils.
For Agnès Guipont, content cannot be separated from form, and thus sound, voice, atmosphere, and rhythms are closely linked. She is currently working on a project titled “Frauenleben – Vie(s) de femme”, an experimental recital based on Robert Schumann’s song cycle “Frauenliebe und -leben” (The Love and Life of a Woman).
Melanie Dorfer’s paintings express, in crossed strokes, both what is proper to painting and its extension. A poetry of evenly distributed colour culminates in an ambiguous spatiality, between cracks in the material and a stream of pigment dust. Melanie Dorfer paints the canvas itself, while the canvas itself paints.
In her expansive, large-scale paintings as well as in her “portable” ones, a flat support is folded depthwise, serving to interweave inside and outside. The complexion of these paintings approximates a skin, with the aim of discouraging the viewer from touching just as he/she is on the verge of doing so.
Melanie Dorfer studied painting with Tatjana Doll at the State Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe and currently lives and works in Vienna and Karlsruhe.
Shahnaz Bashir was born and brought up in conflict-torn Kashmir. His critically lauded and widely reviewed debut novel The Half Mother won the Muse India Young Writer Award 2015. His second book Scattered Souls (HarperCollins, 2016), a collection of interlinked stories, was longlisted for Tata Lit Live Best Book Fiction 2017 and won The Citizen's Talent of the Year Award 2016-2017. Literary critics have compared his short fiction with great writers like Anton Chekhov and Sadat Hassan Manto. His short stories, memoir essays, poetry and reportage have been anthologised or published widely. He was honoured with university gold medal in journalism and was also awarded the Shamim Ahmad Shamim Memorial Kashmir Times Award 2007 for excelling in media studies. Kashmir Life, the most popular English weekly in Kashmir, in its Jan 2016 year-ender special issue, declared Shahnaz as "one of the nine impact-makers from the entire population of Jammu & Kashmir". He is currently working on his third book. He is invited at the Villa Sträuli by Pro Helvetia.