Ronnie Close, More Out of Curiosity, 2014, HD digital film, 26 minutes and 7 seconds.
More Out of Curiosity follows the experiences of Egypt’s Ultras Alhawy football fans over the course of two years, from 2012 to 2014. The film starts with television broadcasts of Port Said Stadium massacre (2012), in which 74 people lost their lives and thousands were injured. The stadium’s gates had been closed, locking in Ultras fans as supporters of a rival team attacked them. Some witnesses have claimed that the police refused to intervene as retaliation for the Ultras’ involvement in the 2011 Revolution. In More Out of Curiosity, the presenters cover their faces in horror as the events unfold live on TV. Ronnie Close studies the subsequent aftermath and impact on the group: from the thronging crowds gathered at Cairo station for the arrival of the wounded and deceased, to the martyrdom videos uploaded onto YouTube. A strong sense of visual culture and collective identity grew in the wake of such trauma: graffiti spread through the city and mass demonstrations broke out as the Ultras chanted, waved and danced in sync. The protests fizz with a huge energy, as hundreds of voices ring out together: memorialising those killed and shouting anti-government slogans. These displays are often accompanied by spectacular aesthetics: flying flags, red flares and coloured smoke. After the Ultras’ lengthy campaign, More Out of Curiosity concludes with the judicial ruling in 2013 that some of those responsible for the tragedy will be executed. The news is greated with celebration from the friends and families of the victims of the massacre.