Books

2022/04/30: Shona Illingworth: Topologies of Air
(Ed. Anthony Downey, Sternberg Press, 2022)

Topologies of Air and Lesions in the Landscape are two major bodies of work by Shona Illingworth. Informed by the artist’s long-term investigations into individual and societal amnesia, these projects critically examine the devastating psychological and environmental impacts of military, industrial, and corporate transformations of airspace and outer space. Employing interdisciplinary research and collaborative processes, Illingworth’s practice uses creative methodologies to visualize and interrogate this proliferating exploitation of air space. Through the development of a proposed new human right, Topologies of Air and Lesions in the Landscape connect diverse cosmologies, knowledges, and lived experiences to counter the colonization of the sky and protect individuals, communities, and ecologies from ever-increasing threats from above. With contributions by CATERINA ALBANO, AMIN ALSADEN, JILL BENNETT, GIULIANA BRUNO, MARTIN A. CONWAY, ANTHONY DOWNEY, CONOR GEARTY, DEREK GREGORY, NICK GRIEF, ANDREW HOSKINS, CATHERINE LOVEDAY, ISSIE MACPHAIL, WILLIAM MERRIN, RENATASALECL, GABRIELE SCHWAB, GAËTANE VERNA For link to book, see here
For link to Introduction, see here
For PDF of Anthony Downey, “The Algorithmic Apparatus of Neocolonialism: Counter-Operational Practices And The Future Of Aerial Surveillance”, see here

2020/07/10: Book Publication: Heba Y. Amin: The General’s Stork  (Sternberg Press, 2020)

 

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HEBA Y. AMIN

The General’s Stork

Edited by ANTHONY DOWNEY

 

In 2013, Egyptian authorities detained a migratory stork for espionage. This incident is the focus of Heba Y. Amin’s The General’s Stork, an ongoing project that investigates the politics of aerial surveillance—against the backdrop of biblical prophecies, drone warfare, and colonial narratives—from a bird’s-eye view. The research that informs The General’s Stork looks at how conquest from the sky—through land surveying, mapping, bombing, and drone technologies—has effectively transformed Western power into a spectacle of high-tech weaponry. Through the lens of the paranoia that led to a bird being accused of spying,  and with contributions by Adam Harvey, Adel Iskandar, Haitham Mossad, and Laura Poitras, this volume also reveals the extent to which military techniques of visualization both define and, ultimately, delimit the topography of the Middle East.

For further details of the book, see here.

Heba Y. Amin: The General’s Stork is volume 02 in the Research/Practice series, edited by Anthony Downey and published by Sternberg Press (2019-ongoing). Each volume focuses on artistic research and how it contributes to the formation of experimental knowledge systems. Drawing on preliminary material such as diaries, notebooks, audiovisual content, digital and social media, informal communications, and abandoned drafts, the series examines the interdisciplinary research methods that artists employ in their practices. Each volume endeavors to ask: In their often speculative and yet purposeful approach to generating research, what forms of knowledge do artists produce?

For further information on the Research/Practice series, see here.

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2019/10/30: Book Publication: Research/Practice 01: Michael Rakowitz: I’m good at love, I’m good at hate, it’s in between I freeze (Sternberg Press: Berlin and New York, 2019)

HI RES MR Cover

Research/Practice 01: Michael Rakowitz: I’m good at love, I’m good at hate, it’s in between I freeze (Sternberg Press: Berlin and New York, 2019)

Editor: Anthony Downey

Michael Rakowitz’s project I’m good at love, I’m good at hate, it’s in between I freeze (2009–ongoing) charts the historical context and aftermath of a concert that never happened. In 2009 Leonard Cohen was scheduled to perform in Israel. Because of increasing pressure from pro-Palestinian voices to dissuade Cohen from performing in Israel, a twin event in Palestine was organized. Amid protests and claims that the latter concert was a token show of solidarity and a hollow attempt to appease demonstrators, a cultural boycott of Israel was put in place and the concert was canceled. But the story, as Rakowitz’s work demonstrates, did not end there. Conjoining the cultural histories of Palestine and Israel with the ethical dilemmas faced by performers under the conditions of a boycott, this volume, the first in the Research/Practice series, brings to light the research that went into this multifaceted work and plots the future arc of its trajectory.

Edited by Anthony Downey, Research/Practice focuses on artistic research and how it contributes to the formation of experimental knowledge systems. Drawing on preliminary material such as diaries, notebooks, audiovisual content, digital and social media, informal communications, and abandoned drafts of projects, the series examines the interdisciplinary methods that artists employ in their practices. Each volume endeavors to ask: In their often speculative and yet purposeful approach to research, what forms of innovative knowledge do artists produce?

For full details of the volume see here: MIT Press: I’m good at love, I’m good at hate, it’s in between I freeze

 

2019/10/30: Book Publication: Research/Practice 03: Larissa Sansour Heirloom (Sternberg Press: Berlin and New York, 2019)

Larissa Sonsour Heirloom Cover
Research/Practice 03: Larissa Sansour Heirloom (Sternberg Press: Berlin and New York, 2019)
Editor: Anthony Downey
This volume includes an essay by Nat Muller and an in-depth interview between Sansour and Lindsey Moore.

 

Heirloom documents the development of the artistic research for Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour’s project for the Danish Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale. It explores how recurrent notions in Sansour’s oeuvre, such as memory, trauma, identity, epigenetics, and belonging, intertwine with the discourses of science fiction and environmental disaster narratives. The volume also examines what it means to produce work from within contested geographies, specifically considering how, through research and the process of production, the artist grapples with complex issues of national representation. In keeping with the focus in this series on the research that informs the elaboration of an artist’s work over time, the material for this publication has been collated in parallel with its development over the past year.

Edited by Anthony Downey, Research/Practice focuses on artistic research and how it contributes to the formation of experimental knowledge systems. Drawing on preliminary material such as diaries, notebooks, audiovisual content, digital and social media, informal communications, and abandoned drafts of projects, the series examines the interdisciplinary methods that artists employ in their practices. Each volume endeavors to ask: In their often speculative and yet purposeful approach to research, what forms of innovative knowledge do artists produce?

For full details of the volume see here: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/heirloom

For full details of the book launch see here: https://copenhagencontemporary.org/en/event/cc-opening-larissa-sansour/

 

2019/10/23: Book Publication: Critique in Practice: Renzo Martens’ Episode III: Enjoy Poverty (Sternberg Press, 2020)

Enjoy Poverty Cover

 
 
 
 
Critique in Practice: Renzo Martens’ Episode III: Enjoy Poverty (Sternberg Press, 2020)
Editor: Anthony Downey
Associate Editor: Els Roelandt
 
Investigating the economic value of one of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s most lucrative exports (namely, poverty), Renzo Martens’ provocative film Episode III: Enjoy Poverty (2008) remains a landmark intervention into debates about contemporary art’s relationship to exploitative economies. Throughout Critique in Practice, contributors explore the work’s legacy and how it relates to the politics of representation, uses of the documentary form, art criticism, the deployment of humanitarian aid, the impact of extractive forms of globalized capital, and the neoliberal politics of decolonization. The unconventional representation of acute immiseration throughout Enjoy Poverty generated far-from-resolved disputes about how deprivation is portrayed within Western mainstream media and through global cultural institutions. Using a range of approaches, this volume reconsiders that portrayal and how the film’s reception led Martens to found a long term program, Human Activities.
 
Contributors: Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, Eva Barois De Caevel, Pieter Van Bogaert, Jelle Bouwhuis, JJ Charlesworth, T.J. Demos, Angela Dimitrakaki, Anthony Downey, Charles Esche, Dan Fox, Matthias De Groof, Xander Karskens, J.A. Koster, Kyveli Lignou-Tsamantani, Suhail Malik, Renzo Martens, Nina Möntmann, René Ngongo, Paul O’Kane, Laurens Otto, Nikolaus Perneczky, Kolja Reichert, Els Roelandt, Ruben De Roo, ka˛rî’ka˛chä seid’ou, Gregory Sholette, Sanne Sinnige, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Emilia Terracciano, Nato Thompson, Niels Van Tomme, Frank Vande Veire, Eyal Weizman, Vivian Ziherl, and Artur Zmijewski, among others.
 
This volume is co-published by Human Activities, KASK / School of Arts (Ghent), Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven), and Sternberg Press (Berlin). It is supported by Galerie Fons Welters, KASK / School of Arts, Mondriaan Fund, and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.
 
For full details of the volume see here

To read Anthony Downey’s introduction to this volume, see here

To read Anthony Downey’s essay, “Is There a Right Way to Do Wrong: Enjoy Poverty and the Case Against Ethics”, see here

 
 

Book Publication: Don’t Shrink Me to the Size of a Bullet: The Works of Hiwa K (Walter Koenig Books, August 2017), Documenta 14, Kassel

May 2017

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Don’t Shrink Me to the Size of a Bullet: The Works of Hiwa K
Edited by Anthony Downey.
Contributors: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Natasha Ginwala, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Aneta Szyłak, and Bakir Ali.
Publisher: Walther König Verlag.
Publication Date: May 31, 2017.
244 pp.
Colour illustrations.

Last time I saw my mom before my farewell, I said, “Mom, I am leaving for good.  I don’t know… maybe I will not make it like the other 28 people who got shot last week” . She said “Son, if death comes, don`t panic. It is just death”. 

Hiwa K, “Don’t Panic”, 2016

Covering over decade of projects, Don’t Shrink Me to the Size of a Bullet: The Works of Hiwa K provides the first comprehensive account of the artist’s practice to date. Edited by Anthony Downey, with a foreword by Heike Catherina Mertens and Krist Gruijthuijsen, the volume includes essays by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Natasha Ginwala, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Aneta Szyłak, and a conversation between the artist and Bakir Ali. A series of texts have been prepared and revised by the artist, and he has also included a collection of anecdotes that recount gossip, stories, jokes, personal insights, conundrums, and aphorisms garnered from multiple sources. These have all been translated into Kurdish for the first time. The volume is fully illustrated and will contain extended notes on the works.

To read Anthony Downey’s essay, “Unbearable States: Hiwa K and the Performance of Everyday Life”, see here

 Don’t Shrink Me to the Size of a Bullet: The Works of Hiwa K was launched at KW (Berlin), 31 May, and Documenta 14 (Kassel), 11 June, 2017.

Buy the book here.

ISBN 978-3-96098-160-2

 

 

 

Book Publication: Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East (Sternberg Press, 9 December, 2016)

Sternberg Press, 2016 | Editor

To read Anthony’s introductory essay “Future Imperfect: Critical Propositions and Institutional Realities in the Middle East”, click here

future-imperfect Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East critically examines the role played by cultural institutions in producing present-day and future contexts for the production, dissemination and reception of contemporary art in the Middle East and North Africa. It offers critical contexts for a discussion that has become increasingly urgent in recent years – the role of culture in a time of conflict and globalization – and an in-depth critique of the historical state of cultural institutions in an age of political upheaval, social unrest, exuberant cultural activity, ascendant neoliberal forms of privatization, social activism, and regional uncertainty.

Organised around three key areas, Future Imperfect draws attention to the ongoing demands and antagonisms that have affected cultural production across the region, both in historical and more recent post-revolutionary contexts. In doing so, it offers an in-depth discussion of how cultural producers have developed alternative institutional models to negotiate the constraints placed upon their practices. How cultural institutions operate within the conditions of a global cultural economy, and alongside the often conflicting demands they place on cultural production in the region, is likewise an over-arching point of reference throughout this volume.

While the politics of contemporary cultural production and institutional practices in the Middle East can tell us a great deal about local and regional concerns, one of the cornerstone ambitions of this volume is to enquire into what they can also impart about the politics of global cultural production. This involves exploring the multiple ways in which contemporary art practices are being reduced, willingly or otherwise, to the logic of global capital. What, in sum, is needed in terms of infrastructure for cultural production today, and how, crucially, can we speculatively propose new infrastructures and institutions in the context of present-day realities?

Future Imperfect contains essays, interviews, and projects from contributors including Monira Al Qadiri, Hoor Al-Qasimi, Anahi Alviso-Marino, AMBS Architects, Stephanie Bailey, Eray Çaylı, Rachel Dedman, Elizabeth Derderian, Anthony Downey, Karen Exell, Reema Salha Fadda, Wafa Gabsi, Hadia Gana, Adalet R. Garmiany, Baha Jubeh, Suhair Jubeh, Amal Khalaf, Kamel Lazaar, Jens Maier-Rothe, Guy Mannes-Abbott, Doreen Mende, Lea Morin, Jack Persekian, Rijin Sahakian, Gregory Sholette, Tom Snow, Ania Szremski, Christine Tohme, Toleen Touq, Williams Wells, Ala Younis and Yasmine Zidane.

The publication is accompanied by a collection of special projects on the Ibraaz website from Leila Al-Shami, Wided Rihana Khadraoui, Lois Stonock, Nile Sunset Annex, Alia Rayyan and Husam Al-Sarray.

Other titles in the Visual Culture in the Middle East series, edited by Anthony Downey, include Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East (2015); and Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East (2014).

The production of this book was accomplished through the generous support of the Kamel Lazaar Foundation.

 

Buy the book here

ISBN 978-3-95679-246-5


Click on the links below for selected reviews:

Tohu Magazine

Journal of Arabian Studies

 

 

 

 

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

I.B.Tauris, 2015 | EDITOR

Featuring writing, interviews and original art work – reproduced in full-colour – by internationally renowned academics, curators, activists, filmmakers and artists, Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East asks a crucial series of questions: How do we define the ongoing relationship between contemporary art and the archive? How do we understand the suppositional forms of knowledge that are being produced in contemporary art practices in North Africa and the Middle East? Do these practices foster a nostalgic fetishization for the archive or suggest an ongoing crisis in institutional and state-ordained archiving? And what, moreover, do artistic practices that engage with archives reveal about the politics of global cultural production?

Emerging throughout this volume as a troubled, dissonant and performative space, the archive is central to a process whereby contemporary artists produce their own critical and highly speculative visions of the future. 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.

Contributors:

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, John Akomfrah, Jananne Al-Ani, Meriç Algün Ringborg, Héla Ammar, Burak Arıkan, Ariella Azoulay, Vahap Avşar, Sussan Babaie, Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck, Timothy P.A Cooper, Joshua Craze, Laura Cugusi, Ania Dabrowska, Nick Denes, Chad Elias, Media Farzin, Mariam Ghani, Gulf Labor, Tom Holert, Adelita Husni-Bey, Maryam Jafri, Guy Mannes-Abbott, Amina Menia, Shaheen Merali, Naeem Mohaiemen, Mariam Motamedi Fraser, Pad.ma, Lucie Ryzova, Lucien Samaha, Rona Sela and Laila Shereen Sakr (VJ Um Amel).

Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East launches on 30 May 2015 at JAOU Tunis 2015 at the National Museum of Bardo, Tunis.

Read the Introduction

To purchase a copy of Dissonant Archives please follow this link.

ISBN 978-1-784-53-4110


Click on links below for selected reviews:

AAP Review

The Brooklyn Rail

Camera Austria

The American Archivist

Hyperallergic

Critique D’Art

BlouinARTINFO

Mirrors for Princes: Slavs and Tatars

NYU Press, 2015 | EDITOR

A form of political writing often called advice literature shared by Christian and Muslim lands, during the Middle Ages, mirrors for princes attempted to elevate statecraft (dawla) to the same level as faith/religion (din). These guides for future rulers- Machiavelli’s The Prince being a widely known example- addressed the delicate balance between seclusion and society, spirit and state, echoes of which we continue to find in the US, Europe and the Middle East several centuries later.

Today, we suffer from the very opposite: there’s no shortage of political commentary but a notable lack of intelligent, eloquent discourse on the role of faith and the immaterial as a valuable agent in society or public life.

Mirrors for Princes brings together the writing of pre-eminent scholars and commentators using the genre of medieval advice literature as a starting point to discuss contemporary politics in Turkey, Indian television dramas, fate, fortune and governance, and advice for female nobility.

The illustrated essays are accompanied by an interview with Slavs and Tatars.

Mirrors for Princes is edited by Anthony Downey, Editor-in-Chief of Ibraaz, and is published on the occasion of Slavs and Tatars’ exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi.

ISBN 978-3-03764-407-2


Click on links below for selected reviews:

AAP Review

Art and Politics Now

Thames and Hudson Ltd, 2014 | AUTHOR

From photographers and filmmakers to the creators of immersive installations, today’s artists are engaging with some of the most pressing issues of our time – opening up new areas of discussion and debate and expanding our understanding of contemporary art as well as the role of those who create it.

Art and Politics Now is a richly illustrated and compelling survey of more than 200 contemporary artists whose works address the political. Themed chapters explore how, since the turn of the twenty-first century, artists have addressed real-world issues such as globalization, terrorism, conflict, the environment and knowledge, often using radical approaches and techniques to communicate their ideas.

Anthony Downey’s clear and insightful discussion of the major issues and themes is closely interwoven with detailed analysis of the artworks, which include projects by Ai Weiwei, Chantal Akerman, Harun Farocki, Omer Fast, Thomas Hirschhorn, Carsten Höller, Steve McQueen, Teresa Margolles, Adrian Paci, Walid Raad, Doris Salcedo and Santiago Sierra.

Read the Introduction

To purchase a copy of Art and Politics Now please follow this link.

ISBN 978-0-500-29147-4

 


Click links below for selected reviews:

E-International Relations Review

Art Review Review