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

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


Cover of Dissonant Archives, 2015Edited by Anthony Downey, IB Tauris.
August 20, 2015

Panel discussion and book launch

Saturday 5 September 2015, 16h 

SALT Galata
Bankalar Caddesi 11
Karakö 34420

Thursday 10 September 2015, 18.30h

Rivington Place
London EC2A 3BA


Ibraaz and the Kamel Lazaar Foundation are pleased to announce the launch of Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East, the second volume in their co-produced “Contemporary Visual Culture in the Middle East” series.

Edited by Anthony Downey and published by IB Tauris, Dissonant Archives is the first book to consider the various ways in which contemporary artists from North Africa and the Middle East utilize and disrupt the function of the archive and, in so doing, highlight a systemic and perhaps irrevocable crisis in institutional and state-ordained archiving across the region.

Often viewed as ordered collections of historical documents that record information about people, places and events, this perception of the archive nevertheless obscures a crucial element: although subject to the vagaries of time and history, the archive is primarily concerned with determining the future. This feature of the archive has gained urgency in modern day North Africa and the Middle East, where it has come to the fore as a precarious and performative site of social, historical, theoretical and political contestation.

In addressing these issues, this volume enquires into a number of imminent questions. How, for one, do we understand the speculative forms of archival 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 contemporary politics of global cultural production?

Dissonant Archives features writing, interviews and original artwork by internationally renowned academics, curators, activists, filmmakers and artists including Emily Jacir, Walid Raad, Jananne Al-Ani, Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Mariam Ghani, Zineb Sedira, and Akram Zaatari. 

A full list of contributors incudes Lawrence Abu Hamdan, John Akomfrah, 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, 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 will be launched in Istanbul on Saturday 5 September 2015 at SALT Galata alongside a panel discussion with contributions from Vahap Avşar, Burak Arikan, Meriç Algün Ringborg and Basak Senova. This event will be the second iteration of the Robinson Crusoe 389 and SALT collaboration “Becoming a Book.” 

The book will also have a London-based launch on Thursday 10 September 2015 at Rivington Place and will be preceded by a panel discussion with a number of the book’s contributors, including John Akomfrah, Nick Denes, Laura Cugusi, Guy Mannes-Abbott and Zineb Sedira. 

For more information on the launches, visit Ibraaz.

For more information on the Visual Culture in the Middle East series, visit the Kamel Lazaar Foundation

Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East is available to purchase from Amazon

RSVP for Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and…
August 20, 2015

Thank you for your RSVP.

Ibraaz will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.