Abounaddara. The Right to the Image

Abounaddara. The Right to the Image

Vera List Center for Art and Politics

Abounaddara, The Lady of Syria (still), 2012. Film. Courtesy Abounaddara.

October 14, 2015
Abounaddara. The Right to the Image

October 22–November 11, 2015

Opening: October 22, 5–6:30pm
Conference: October 22–24


Image production is dependent on a fragile balance of celebrating freedom of expression and freedom of information while protecting the right to the image for everyone involved. The media’s methods for disseminating reoccurring images depicting bodies brutalized by war often work in direct opposition to this central goal. This exhibition and accompanying conference celebrate the work of Syrian filmmaker collective Abounaddara and its crucial contribution to transforming the dominant international media discourse on warfare, violence and migration.

Since the onset of the Syrian revolution, the anonymous collective Abounaddara has engaged in this international debate using filmmaking tactics, releasing one short “bullet film” into the global discourse via social media every Friday. Abounaddara’s films actively work to restore a dignified image and voice to the Syrian people and aim to build new platforms for civil society to meet, regardless of national borders. Key to their artistic project is the specific political demand for an expansion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—to amend it with the right to a dignified image.

Abounaddara are the second recipients of The New School’s biennial Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics. They were selected by an international jury, chaired by Helen Molesworth, with Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Carin Kuoni, Tony Kushner, Lydia Matthews, and Doris Salcedo.

October 22–November 11
The exhibition consists of three carefully calibrated film installations with large projections, changing each week, which together feature 60 films. Each installation culls a particular selection from Abounaddara’s substantial body of over 200 works, highlighting the collective’s deliberate choice of cinematographic languages for specific topics or concerns.

Stop the Spectacle!
October 22–28
On Remixing Found Footage, Still Images and Sound in Times of Complex Realities

Look at Our Faces: Portraits of a Becoming Revolution
October 29–November 4
On Portraiture and How People’s Own Voices and Images Complicate Fragmented Understandings of Syria

See and Wait
November 5–11
On the Suspension of Narratives to Create Spaces for Engagement and Interpretation

Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
Parsons School of Design
66 Fifth Avenue
New York City
Hours: Friday–Wednesday noon–6pm, Thursday noon–8pm
Free admission

Exhibition curated by Carin Kuoni, Anne Marquez and Dork Zabunyan, in collaboration with Abounaddara.


October 22–24
Each conference panel is anchored by one aspect of Abounaddara’s practice and examines its relevance through diverse contexts to see how it is enacted in other global socio-political situations and to build an analysis of methods to be implemented worldwide.

Among the participants are Peggy Ahwesh, Kader Attia, Moustafa Bayoumi, Emanuele Castano, TL Cowan, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Ruba Katrib, Peter Lucas, Christiane Paul, Jasmine Rault, Lea Shaver, David Levi Strauss, Aleksandra Wagner, Mac Kenzie Wark, and Lisa Weeden.

October 22
Prize Presentation and Conversation: 6:30–7:30pm
Charif Kiwan, member and spokesperson of Abounaddara with Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch

The New School
66 West 12th Street

October 23
Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor

Portraiture and Participation: 11am–1pm
Subverting Images: 2–4pm
Open-endedness as Tactic:

October 24
Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor

Ways of Organizing in Post Democracy: noon–2pm
Revolution and Music (New School students):
The Right to the Image:

Closing reception: 5–6pm

Full conference schedule and detailed program

Curated by Carin Kuoni and Johanna Taylor.


The Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School is a public platform and idea incubator on the intersection of art and politics. The center organizes public programs that respond to the pressing social and political issues of our time as they are articulated by the academic community and by visual and performing artists.

Abounaddara. The Right to the Image is generously supported by the Founding Supporters of the Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics. Abounaddara’s participation is also supported by CEC ArtsLink.

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Vera List Center for Art and Politics
October 14, 2015

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