Long considered a bastion of creativity in the region, Iran is currently experiencing a remarkable artistic revival in the middle of the most challenging of circumstances. Different Sames catalogues this new movement, capturing its brilliance and creative energy. Packed with wonderful images, it is an important and lively compendium of thought provoking essays, historical context and profiles of the country’s leading contemporary artists. Art changes the way we look at the world, and Different Sames is an attempt to explain todays Iranian art movement in this spirit.
The Future of a Promise is the catalogue for the largest pan-Arab exhibition of contemporary art at the 54th Venice Biennale, published by Ibraaz. From Tunisia all the way to Saudi Arabia, this landmark exhibition curated by Lina Lazaar brought together more than 25 recent works and commissions by some of the foremost artists from the Arab world, including, Ziad Antar (Lebanon), Fayçal Baghriche (Algeria), Yto Barrada (France), Taysir Batniji (Palestine), Ayman Yossri Daydban (Palestine), Mounir Fatmi (Morocco), Mona Hatoum (Lebanon) as well as three Abraaj Capital Art Prize Winners, Jananne Al-Ani (Iraq), Kader Attia (France), and Nadia Kaabi-Linke (Tunisia).
The Future of a Promise examines how a promise opens up a horizon of future possibilities, be they aesthetic, political, historical, social or critical. With the events currently unfolding in the Middle East, the question of the future and the promise inherent within culture has assumed an even more acute degree of pertinence. The exhibition enquires into the promise of visual culture in an age that has become increasingly disaffected with politics as a means of social engagement. The artists included in The Future of a Promise seek to engage with a singular issue in the Middle East today: who gets to represent the present-day realities and the horizons to which they aspire?
The catalogue is edited by Ibraaz’s Editor Dr. Anthony Downey and Associate Editor Lina Lazaar and includes essays by the editors, Samir Kassir and Rachida Triki, and an interview with Muslim scholar Mohamed Talbi.
Changing attitudes to Islam profoundly influence political cultures and national identities, as well as policies regarding immigration, security and multiculturalism. Given that the majority of relevant scholarly works have either adopted monocultural perspectives, or approached Islam in its general, non nation-specific dimension, the need for in-depth, multi-nation studies is urgent. Islam itself, and responses to its rise, are becoming increasingly internationalised. It is therefore important that analyses of Islam-related phenomena are sensitive to the particular cultures in which they are encountered. This volume does precisely that. Contributions, some explicitly comparative, others implicitly so, cover perspectives from across Europe, the USA and the Middle East, along with new treatments of the rich diversity to be found in Islamic art, and discussions of inter-faith exchanges. They also represent a range of disciplinary approaches. Among the many issues addressed are: the challenges posed by the rise of Muslim radicalism to multicultural societies; various media treatments of the War on Terror ; the national specificities of Islamophobic xenophobia; contemporary visual arts in Islamic societies; differing attitudes to the translation of religious texts. The authors include authoritative, international experts, balanced by promising, younger scholars.
Chapter authored:The Burden of Representation: Contemporary Visual Arts in the Middle East.
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‘Conspiracy Dwellings: Surveillance in Contemporary Art’ brings together nine illustrated essays of theorists and art practitioners about artworks made in the midst of conflict or from the position of commentary and critique in topics that span from the 70s to the present day. The contributors Anthony Downey, Christine Eyene, Liam Kelly, Verena Kyselka, Robert Knifton, Outi Remes, Maciej Ozog, Paula Roush, Matthew Shaul and Pam Skelton consider the practical and theoretical status of surveillance from a variety of positions that include surveillance and its impact on urban space, architecture, citizenship and civil liberties. These essays also provide the opportunity to consider artworks that address conflict and resistance as a lived experience alongside strategies of counter-surveillance that propose new spectatorial positions, individual empowerment and entertainment. Today, in post 9/11 times of economic difficulties, political uncertainty and suspicion, the subject of patriotism, freedom and democratic rights are once again high on the agenda, raising questions such as where do we draw the line – how far does surveillance have to go before it worries us – and at what point is the citizen regarded as a threat to the state?
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Downey, Anthony. “The Lives of Others: Artur Zmijewski’s Repetition, The Stanford Prison Experiment, and the Ethics of Surveillance.” Conspiracy Dwellings: Surveillance in Contemporary Art. Ed. Outi Remes and Pam Skelton. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2010. 67-82.
Art and Authenticity explores a range of questions around the ideas of authenticity, originality and replication in art. The authors move far beyond the fundamental question of ‘Is it genuine?’ to themes and definitions surrounding authenticity as a concept operating across different periods and contexts. The chapters consider empirical aspects of art analysis but also more conceptual and theoretical understandings of authenticity. For example, is there such a thing as authentic presentation and display of artworks? Can the idea of authenticity be applied to subject-matter and style? How do the art market and the art world respond to the perceived authenticity of artworks? This book addresses a wide range of topics within the arts and will appeal to a broad readership, from students and art specialists to art-world enthusiasts. Historically, the idea of scientific verification has arisen as a reaction against the perceived excesses of the connoisseurial tradition, a tradition which has fallen from favour over the last 50 years. The idea of individual ‘expert knowledge’ rests uneasily in the current climate. However, recent attempts by experts to develop definitive scientific methods for authenticating artworks are also proving to be problematic. Connoisseurship, it will be argued, still has its role to play within these debates. Therefore, through the broad range of artworks and perspectives developed within this volume, the book suggests that although the concept of authenticity is not without validity or usefulness, it nonetheless poses a continually moving target within the frameworks of varied cultural and historical constructs. The authors challenge a narrow interpretation of ‘authenticity’ as a concept applied to the art world, for the issues surrounding authenticity are rarely black and white.
This four volume collection brings together papers from a range of different journals from different fields, sub-disciplines and disciplines that address the central problem of the relation between culture and society. In doing so, it frames understandings of experience, text, meaning, power, stratification, identity, representation, practice, discourse, materiality, image, technology, and the many other concepts and categories in the context of this fundamental interrelationship.
Although the themes of culture and society provide the broad parameters of these four volumes, Cultural Theorymakes visible some of the different objects of theoretical discourse that different schools of thought and theoretical paradigms have thrown before us. The four volumes traverse the disciplines of, amongst others, sociology, cultural studies, anthropology, literary theory, media and communication studies, and science and technology studies, to provide a sense of the development and extension of cultural theory from initial and longstanding questions about power and agency, ordinary and popular cultural practice, and representation to ones about the body, sensory experience and identity to the changing natural and built environment and questions about global humanity and justice to developments in the global cultural economy concerning information, technology and value.
Throughout this collection, the editor offers a coherent, complex, and multiply inflected narrative which is both grounded in the substantive histories of the field and oriented to some of its most exciting and forward looking ideas and prospects.
Chapter authored: Zones of Indistinction: Giorgio Agamben’s ‘Bare Life’ and the Politics of Aesthetics.
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Shonibare employs a wide range of media – sculpture, painting, photography, video and installation pieces – to explore matters of race, class, cultural identity, and history. The artist is best-known for his use of a colourful batik fabric, which, though labeled as ‘African’, actually originates in Indonesia and was introduced to Africa by British manufacturers via Dutch colonisers in the nineteenth century. Incorporating the fabric into Victorian dresses, covering sculptures of alien figures with it or stretching it onto canvases, Shonibare uses the fabric as a metaphor to address issues of origin and authenticity.Published as a companion to Shonibare’s first retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, this survey explores all aspects of Shonibare’s work, offering a fully comprehensive portrait of his projects. Whether he is lampooning Victorian propriety or commenting on the latent ambiguities of the term ‘alien’, Shonibare makes art that challenges straightforward interpretations. Essays by Rachel Kent and Robert Hobbs, together with a generous selection of colour illustrations explore this talented young artist’s work.