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Detail from Héla Ammar, Sidi Bouzid, 2011. Courtesy of artist.

Detail from Héla Ammar, Sidi Bouzid, 2011. Courtesy of artist.

Events - Talks

The Study Sessions: After Orientalism

The Future of Image Production in the Middle East by Anthony Downey

13 Feb 2018

The Study Sessions* are a series of informal reading and discussion groups. The point of departure for this season's series is Edward Said’s canonical book OrientalismMore>>
*Please note that places for these sessions are very limited, to avoid disappointment please reserve a place emailing Mercè at
The Future of Image Production in the Middle East. Critical Practices and Digital Networks by Anthony Downey.  
In this workshop, Anthony Downey will address how images circulate within the context of the Middle East today. He will examine how computer generated images are not just  replacing the “real” of events in the region, but determining the means by which history is been represented and archived. A key element here is the extent to which new and social media are being presented as transparent means for political ends in contemporary art practices and how cultural production is made to stand in for political action and social commentary. These processes have given rise to politicized archives and interpretive anxieties about virtual evidence and image-based historiographies, nowhere more so than when social media and digital platforms are being used as evidentiary tools to explain conflict across the Middle East.
Reading Material:
"Future Imperfect: An Interview with Anthony Downey". Find here.
Introduction (p.13-42): "Contingency, Dissonance and Performativity: Critical Archives and Knowledge Production in Contemporary Art in the Middle East". Find here.
Introduction (p.13-29): "Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East". Find here.
Free, The Studio
Anthony Downey is Professor of Visual Culture in the Middle East and North Africa within the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at Birmingham City University. He is the editor-in-chief of Ibraaz (2010-present); editor of the book series Visual Culture in the Middle East, (Sternberg Press); and sits on Editorial Board of Third Text. Recent and upcoming publications include Don’t Shrink Me to the Size of a Bullet: The Works of Hiwa K (Walther König Books, 2017); Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East (Sternberg Press, 2016); Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East (I.B. Tauris, 2015); Art and Politics Now  (Thames and Hudson, 2014); and Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practice in North Africa and the Middle East (I.B. Tauris, 2014). He is currently researching Zones of Indistinction: Contemporary Visual Culture and the Cultural Logic of Late-Modernity (forthcoming, Sternberg Press, 2018).


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