“The thing is, the library is not a collection of the coolest or best art books coming out of the Middle East—although we may possess many of them—it is in fact a material critique of cultural production and the discourses that presuppose such books…They are no longer just the transparent envelopes for discourse, they are objects—and as objects are subject to the pressures and incentives of material production and a wide range of material objectives; economic, historical and political.” —Babak Radboy (Bidoun Library)
Film curation and exhibition necessarily become essayistic practices, critical programs in poetic dialogue with social reality. While history offers innumerable instances in which the imperialist impulse of commercial film distribution and exhibition has used the developing world as grist for its mill… —Aliza Ma
A striking aspect of the Egyptian revolution is the frenzy of creative response and accelerated cultural production that has gripped Cairo and other parts of the country. The creativity and sense of urgency expressed in the streets continue on as competing groups give voice to their visions for the country’s future. —Joseph Banh
By embodying social antagonism within urban space, riots such as the Battle of the Camel often fall prey to the accusation of destructiveness, a claim that overlooks the far more destructive role played by capital within social relations on an ongoing basis. Riots shift the power to disrupt urban space from capital and the state to the riot’s collective body. —Olive McKeon
“I think institutions perform their independence in order to survive and be able to receive the little financial support that is available. I think that as an institution there is a certain performativity of independence that calls for constant posing as the alternative to the official discourse. But with ACAF, on a working level, we’ve tried to avoid that as much as we can.” —Bassam el Baroni (Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum)
Contributors: Nahed Mansour and Bassam El Baroni (ACAF); Denise Ryner and Babak Radboy (Bidoun Library); Damon Kowarsky; Olive McKeon; Joseph Banh, Moataz Nasreldin (Darb 1718), Mia Jankowicz (CIC) and William Wells (Townhouse); Themba Lewis; Aliza Ma, Rasha Salti and Gabe Klinger; Anna Feigenbaum; Francisco-Fernando Granados; Leila Timmins.
To describe our state as postcolonial is not to say that colonialism is over, a thing of the past, but instead to insist on a certain historical continuity. It is a gesture against willful forgetting, a taking account of particular lineages of subjugation in order to underscore the importance of resistance, sovereignty and solidarity in the present. It acknowledges an extended age of empire…