Cultural Initiatives in North Africa and the Middle East
New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East
Edited : Anthony Downey
IB Tauris, 2014
Publishing and I.B. Tauris are pleased to announce the book launch of Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East, edited by Anthony Downey.In this groundbreaking book, a range of internationally renowned and emerging academics, writers, artists, curators, activists and filmmakers critically reflect on the ways in which visual culture has appropriated and developed new media across North Africa and the Middle East. Examining the opportunities presented by the real-time generation of new, relatively unregulated content online, Uncommon Grounds evaluates the prominent role that new media has come to play in artistic practices – and social movements – in the Arab world today. Analysing alternative forms of creating, broadcasting, publishing, distributing and consuming digital images, this book also enquires into a broader global concern: does new media offer a 'democratization' of – and a productive engagement with – visual culture, or merely capitalize upon the effect of immediacy at the expense of depth?
Featuring full-colour artists' inserts, this is the first book to extensively explore the degree to which the grassroots popularity of Twitter and Facebook has been co-opted into mainstream media, institutional and curatorial characterisations of 'revolution' – and whether artists should be wary of perpetuating the rhetoric and spectacle surrounding political events. In the process, Uncommon Grounds reveals how contemporary art practices actively negotiate present-day notions of community-based activism, artistic agency and political engagement.
Contributors to the volume include: Sarah Abu Abdallah, Roy Samaha, Sophia Al-Maria, Fayçal Baghriche, Franco 'Bifo' Berardi, Wafaa Bilal, Sheyma Buali, Maymanah Farhat, Ganzeer, Hans Haacke, Laura U.Marks, Dina Matar, Aleya Hamza, Edit Molnár, Timo Kaabi-Linke, Jens Maier-Rothe, Dina Kafafi, Azin Feizabadi, Amal Khalaf, Omar Kholeif, Tarek Khoury, Gulf Labor, Mosireen, Rabih Mroué, NatMuller, Philip Rizk, Nermin Saybaşılı, Annabelle Sreberny, Tarzan and Arab,Derya Yücel, and Maxa Zoller.
The book launched on 5th September with an event at the Delfina Foundation, London. Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East is Volume 01 in Ibraaz's Visual Culture in North Africa and the Middle East Series. Volume 02, Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East, will be published in May 2015.
To purchase a copy of Uncommon Grounds please follow this link.
To preview the contents of Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East, follow this link.
Download a PDF of the introduction to Uncommon Grounds and the essay 'For the Common Good? Artistic Practices and Civil Society in Tunisia' by editor Anthony Downey by following this link.
Some of the most powerful images of the last few years have been coming out of North Africa and West Asia. Images of decapitation, war, revolution, protest, and upheavel from MENA nations have been seen on countless screens the world over.
Uncommon Grounds is a stimulating exploration into art practices in North Africa and the Middle East, and also a thought-provoking look at the fluid relationship between art and society more generally, writes Arek Dakessian. Chapters cover media activism, social media and contemporary art, and critical analyses of aesthetics and politics in the digital age.
Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East is the first volume of a planned series of publications on contemporary art practices from the MENA region put together by Ibraaz, a self-identified online “critical forum on visual culture in North Africa and the Middle East.” The volume includes contributions previously published on Ibraaz’s online platform, as well as newly commissioned essays and reproductions of artists’ works.