Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East

Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East

by Anthony Downey

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The 'archive' is often viewed as a collection of historical documents that records and orders information about people, places and events. This view nevertheless obscures a crucial point: the archive, whilst subject to the vagaries of time and history, can also determine the future. This point has gained urgency in modern-day North Africa and the Middle East where the archive has come to the fore as a site of social, historical, theoretical, and political contestation.

Dissonant Archives is the first book to consider the ways in which contemporary artists from the Middle East and North Africa – including Emily Jacir, Walid Raad, Jananne Al Ani, Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Mariam Ghani, Zineb Sedira, and Akram Zaatari – are utilizing and disrupting the function of the archive and, in so doing, highlighting a systemic, perhaps irrevocable, crisis in institutional and state-ordained archiving across the region. In exploring and producing archives, be they alternative, interrogative or fictional, these artists are not simply questioning the authenticity, authority or authorship of the archive; rather, they are unlocking its regenerative, radical potential. The result provides essential insights into the nexus between art and politics in the contemporary Middle East.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780857739735
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 07/16/2015
Series: Ibraaz Series
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 472
File size: 82 MB
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About the Author

Anthony Downey is an academic, editor, and writer. Recent and upcoming publications include Art and Politics Now (2014); Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East (I.B.Tauris, 2014); and Mirrors for Princes: Both Sides of the Tongue (2015). He is currently researching Zones of Indistinction: Performative Ethics and Late Modernity (forthcoming, 2016).

Table of Contents

Preface: A Note on the Visual Culture in the Middle East Series Kamel Lazaar 9

Notes on Texts and Artists' Inserts 11

Introduction: Contingency, Dissonance and Performativity Critical Archives and Knowledge Production in Contemporary Art Anthony Downey 13

'What We Left Unfinished' The Artist and the Archive Mariam Ghani 43

Measures of Stillness and Movement The Poster in Cinema of the Palestinian Revolution Nick Denes 64

Rethinking National Archives in Colonial Countries and Zones of Conflict The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Israel's National Photography Archives as a Case Study Rona Sela 79

Coming to Terms: Contemporary Art, Civil Society and Knowledge Politics in the 'Middle East' Tom Holert 92

This is Tomorrow: On Emily Jacir's Art of Assembling Radically Generative Archives Guy Mannes-Abbott 109

Artists' Inserts

Lucien Samaha 129

Ruanne Abou-Rahme and Basel Abbas 139

Héla Ammar 163

Lawrence Abu Hamdan 171

Burak Arikan 177

John Akomfrah 183

Maryam Jafri 189

Archive Ariella Azoulay 194

The Museum Past the Surpassing Disaster Walid Raad's Projective Futures Chad Elias 215

I Have The Picture: The Making of Photographic Heritage in Contemporary Egypt Lucie Ryzova 232

The Global in the Local: Implicating Iran in Art and History Sussan Babaie 251

Arab Digital Expression Foundation Laura Cugusi 261

Artists' Inserts Media Farzin Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck 273

Adelita Husni-Bey 291

Gulf Labor 299

Ania Dabrowska 309

Naeem Mohaiemen 319

Meriç Algün Ringborg 325

Amina Menia 331

Jananne Al-Ani 341

Vahap Avsar 347

10 Theses on the Archive: Pad.ma 352

From Archive to Analytics: Building Counter Collections of Arabic Social Media Laila Shereen Sakr (VJ Um Amel) 364

Excerpts from a Grammar of Redaction Joshua Craze 385

The Black Market Archive: The Velocity, Intensity and Spread of Pakistani Film Piracy Timothy P.A. Cooper 401

Locating the Archive: The Search for 'Nurafkan' Mariam Motamedi Fraser 419

The Spectre (of Knowledge): The Recordings of the Cosmopolitan Shaheen Merali 432

Appendix: Lucien Samaha interview with Walid Raad 445

Contributors 449

Acknowledgements 460

Image Credits 461

Index 464

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