This programme, compiled by Lebanese video artist and curator Akram Zaatari, presents works produced in response to situations of physical and/or ideological closure resulting mainly from war and territorial conflicts. Its focus is on the Middle East as a site of successive wars, division, stereotyping, but also as the site of a very rich, subversive and critically stimulating visual culture, the state of which is examined here from the viewpoint of a history often shaped by violence.
The exhibition looks at the films' paradoxical ability, on the one hand, to penetrate these situations in order to describe them, and, on the other hand, to be used as instruments of propaganda and indoctrination, or simply as documents that emerge out of such situations.
This compilation brings together works of many genres and from many sources' independent films and videos, artists' films and videos, documentaries, or film essays. Military culture, life at home, education and indoctrination, the poetics of war representations, traumatic experiences and personal narratives all contribute towards drawing a bigger picture of film- and videomaking in a state of closure.
The programme presents works by established artists such as Omar Amiralay, Yael Bartana, Harun Farocki, Jean-Luc Godard, Mona Hatoum, Walid Raad, Samir, or Elia Suleiman, but also by younger ones such as Ziad Antar, Deniz Buga, Matei Glass und Hatice Güleryüz. Also featured are news videos, along with photographs taken by Iranian photographer Bahman Jalali and Rana Javadi during the Iranian revolution of 1978-79, presented in the Podium by Stephen Wright.
Akram Zaatari is a video artist and curator who lives and works in Beirut. In addition to his television and teaching experiences, he is the author of more than 30 videos and video installations exploring political issues pertinent to the Lebanese post-war condition, particularly the logic of religious and national resistance and the mediation of political conflicts through television such as in All Is Well on the Border (1997). His work addressed the subject of male sexuality in a very crude manner in crazy of you (1997) or How I Love You (2001). Co-founder of the Arab Image Foundation (Beirut), Zaatari based his work on collecting, studying and archiving the photographic history of the Middle East.
Contact: Kristina Henschel