Tandem Project

Faith travels by Streetcar

How are faith, norms and freedom related to each other? Does faith necessarily imply a limitation of freedom? How do members of religious and non-religious communities give visibility to their beliefs and how are they perceived from outside?  

Religious and other normative practices structuring and regulating public and private life often involve objects of daily use. The exhibition “Faith travels by Streetcar” focuses on the rules, convictions and conventions of the monotheistic religions – Judaism, Islam and Christianity – as well as on secular beliefs through objects of daily use. The objects relate to norms and rules of food consumption (halal, kosher, vegan as well as to different traditions of fasting and feasting), clothing (men’s and women’s, from different religious and non-religious contexts, such as abaya, thawb, kippa, wig, suits and t-shirts), and children’s education and play, which introduce certain rules and norms to children in a playful way.

The juxtaposition of everyday objects from different religious and non-religious contexts creates a space for associations, inviting the audience to reflect on their own assumptions of the connection between faith and freedom. While showing that rules and norms limiting the freedom of the individual exist in all societies, the items displayed in the exhibition will highlight that these norms and rules are always and everywhere subject to negotiation, dispute and change. The permeability and fluidity between the different spaces will be mirrored in an art installation by Tim Greaves, which allows a sensory, not primarily text-based approach to the subject of the exhibition. Consisting of several intersecting wooden elements, his artwork plays with inside-outside perspectives and changing viewpoints, thus enabling a corporeal experience of the exhibition theme.

The project is realized in two steps: The exhibition catalogue is currently in preparation and will be launched at the exhibition opening in spring 2021. The precise dates and further information on the exhibition will be announced here in due course.

Picture Caption

  • Picture 1: Souvenir handbag from Mecca
  • Picture 2: Kippa with Pokémon pattern for Jewish children, handmade in New York
  • Picture 3: Tools, weapons and trophies: Toys reproducing gender roles and gendered fashion conventions in secular contexts
  • Picture 4: Casual polo shirt for Catholic priests, by Coco Cler®


Members in Charge

Amro Ali

Philosophy, Sociology
American University in Cairo

visit profile>

Stefan Maneval

Arabic & Islamic Studies
Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies

visit profile>

DATE and Venue of the project

May 2021
Berlin, Germany

Funding Scheme

Tandem Project

Countries Involved

Egypt, Germany

Disciplines Involved

Religious Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, Art and Art History


Pictures by Tassilo Letzel/Falschrum Books, AGYA

Sponsored by