How to Love Many in Many Ways is an open-edition collection of games, exercises, and playful texts that depart from expanded notions of “love.” Love is so big a concept that it can be grasped and interpreted in innumerable ways; it frames our relationships and the way we connect with ourselves and everyone and everything in our surroundings. Stemming from a ground belief that this can only be addressed collectively, Engy Mohsen and Gabriel Hensche invited contributors to develop exercises or games responding to the titular question: How to Love Many in Many Ways?
Contributors from diverse disciplines and backgrounds responded with proposals that range from the artistic to the scientific, and from the somatic to the satirical.
Engy Mohsen and Gabriel Hensche, artists (Cairo/Berlin), kicked off with the namesake How to Love Many in Many Ways, a set of exercises that invite you to enact many rituals with many options for potential players: Yourself, Other/s, Other Other/s.
Eliana Otta, artist (Lima/Athens), responded with Rehearsing Horizontalities, a set of exercises that create scenarios in which players re-examine their relationship with others by playing with their spatial, choreographic, and acoustic awareness, all while maintaining what she calls a “horizontality pact” to re-examine our relationships with others.
Eleonora Toniolo, interdisciplinary designer (Berlin), responded with NOI, a card game that attempts to challenge usual modes of communication by playing with individual and collective silence.
Ingo Niermann (The Army of Love), writer and artist (Basel/Berlin), responded with Falling in Love with the World, an exercise that directs a group to overcome aversions and extend notions of love and care to others or objects.
Mohamed Al Bakeri, artist (Cairo/Sierre), responded with The Things We Do for Love, a boardgame that invites players to think of love as a material need and a commodity, drawing from the world of online dating.
Petra Mrša, artist and photographer (Berlin/Zagreb), responded with Shivering Throats, Breaking the Walls, playing with alternative notions of intimacy and encounter, presence and absence, and unconventional modes of communication and exchange.
Philip Ullrich, artist (Bern/Zürich), responded with Take That Loving Grace, a game in which aspects of love such as the similarities and differences between parties as well as the power struggles that are at play can be explored in pointed ways.
Rania Atef, artist (Cairo), responded with Bad Mother, a card game that critically and sarcastically scrutinizes the societal gaze on maternal love, mothers’ domestic performance, and the criteria for a “good mother.”
Raúl Hott, artist and architect (Santiago), created Total Body (RADIANCE), an invitation to understand radiance – an experience of new ways of relating to affect and affection by interacting with all living beings and reconnecting with our planet.
Shahd Omar, somatic practitioner (Cairo), responded with Embodied Encounters, a playful attempt to redefine consent as the process of establishing agreements, and how to communicate it beyond verbal exchanges.
❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ❥
, Concept and curation: Engy Mohsen and Gabriel Hensche
Editor: Ismail Fayed
Contributors: Engy Mohsen and Gabriel Hensche, Eleonora Toniolo, Eliana Otta, Ingo Niermann (The Army of Love), Mohamed Al-Bakeri, Petra Mrša, Philip Ullrich, Rania Atef, Raúl Hott, and Shahd Omar.
Copy editor: Jenifer Evans
Visual identity: Engy Aly
Design and website: Engy Mohsen
Project advisors: Maha Maamoun and Tara Lasrado
Typefaces: GT Maru + Mega, Designed by Thierry Blancpain with production work by Huw Williams, Grilli Type, 2021.
This project is self-published. All authors own the respective rights to their work.
Published under a Creative Commons License.
Attribution CC BY-NC-SA
This license lets others remix, adapt, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.
Published online, open-edition, 2022.
How to Love Many in Many Ways was hosted by many venues including Rote Fabrik, Blackbox, Shedhalle and Zentralwäscherei (Zürich), Studio 88 - 49 and Tahrir Cultural Center, Ewart Memorial Hall (Cairo), Iron Velvet Gallery (New York), Floating University (Berlin), among others. Engy Mohsen took part in Art Omi: Artists Residency (2022), while Gabriel Hensche took part in a residency hosted by Gleis 70 (2021)—both residencies have provided them with time and space to work on this project.
How to Love Many in Many Ways is funded by the Homebound Residency by 421 (formerly Warehouse421), UAE (2020), the Artists in Residence Program at Rote Fabrik and Pro Helvetia Cairo - The Swiss Arts Council, EG/CH (2021), Research Ecologies & Archival Development (READ) lab at the School of Commons, CH (2022).
How to Love Many in Many Ways grew out of an ongoing, joyful and partly experimental online conversation between two artistic practices. For over a year, Engy called from Cairo while Gabriel called from Berlin, before they both met in Zürich for the fist time in 2021.
We are grateful for Ismail Fayed, whose bird's-eye view allowed him to very deftly weave words and ways of thinking into the interconnected tapestry that is this project.
We would like to extend our gratitude to Engy Aly, who was open to new modes of working and thinking together, and who raised the bar on how playfulness can look and feel like.
We want to deeply thank one person who made this project eminently more readable than it otherwise might have been, Jenifer Evans.
Along the way we were lucky to have the companionship of Maha Maamoun and Tara Lasrado, two amazing women who insisted on embodying their assigned roles of mentor/coach only through friendly encounters, which we have cherished very much. Thank you for your conversations and your guidance.
To Georgia Kotretsos, who put us face to face with many questions we needed to dig deeply into at the beginning of this project. To Clara Neugebauer and Nicola Unfer, for the lovely conversations and for questioning our perception of what a game is.
To Mays Albaik, who believed in this project before it took shape, and to the first cohort of the Homebound Residency.
To Peter Fares, for your patience and support during the time in Zürich, which marked an important milestone in the project’s public life.
To Didi Liebold for the reflections on intimacy and for broadening our somatic experience, for his bodywork lectures and workshops.
To the School of Commons peers who playfully tested and mindfully reflected on the games with us.
Thank you to all the participants for the moments of play and extended discussions, and to all the players who had the courage to step into the different articulations of this project.
But mostly to the constellation of authors who bravely embarked on this journey without necessarily knowing where we were headed—Eleonora Toniolo, Eliana Otta, Ingo Niermann (The Army of Love), Mohamed Al-Bakeri, Petra Mrša, Philip Ullrich, Rania Atef, Raúl Hott, and Shahd Omar.
—Engy Mohsen & Gabriel Hensche 2022.