Daniel Kötter

Desert View

discursive project (2016) and film (2018)


Daniel Kötter / Constanze Fischbeck

Desert View (2018, 83')

with: Amal, Asmaa, Faris und Mahmoud Barakat

camera: Daniel Kötter, Constanze Fischbeck, Amal, Asmaa und Mahmoud Barakat
editing: Daniel Kötter, Constanze Fischbeck
sound recording: Mohab Ezz, Ziad Ezzat
sound design and mix: Jochen Jezussek
production: Inas Elwakil, Dalia Fakhr, Hussein Elshafei
translations: Kamila Metwaly, Mona von Hefni, Inas Elwakil, Dalia Fakhr

with the friendly support of: Goethe Institut Kairo

Desert View initiated by the theatre and filmmakers Constanze Fischbeck and Daniel Kötter explores residential formats in Madinaty, a new town in the desert, 30km outside of Cairo.  The film is the result of a four week long „residency“ experiment, where both the filmmakers and the three-generation family Barakat from Cairo’s informal settlement Bashtil, became temporary residents of Madinaty. Equipped with their own cameras, professional ones and low-fi mobile phones, both „teams“ analyzed from their own perspectives architecture, space, time and every day life style, representing Egypt’s middle and upper class Desert Dreams. A collaborative film on the use of space.

The title "Desert View" alludes to Hollywood-inspired names of compound architecture around Cairo and the much-vaunted view from the mansion window, which in the gated communities always points to the artificial landscapes inside the compound and never to the actual desert landscape of Egypt.

Madinaty is a fully privately owned city that, unlike a gated community, claims to be an open but self-contained and secure city. All public services are not provided by the state, but by the Arab real estate company Talaat Mustafa.

Also part of the project were discursive evenings, to which filmmakers and the Barakat family invited new and old neighbors, architects, artists and urbanists from Cairo to the living room of the villa. Here the different perspectives on the topic "How do we want to live?" were discussed and documented.