March 24, 2013 - Museum Folkwang - Cairo. Open City.
March 24, 2013

Cairo. Open City.

Mosa’ab Elshami, Protestors during a speech, Tahrir Square, April 8, 2011. © Mosa’ab Elshamy.

Cairo. Open City. New testimonies from an ongoing revolution
March 2–May 5, 2013

Museum Folkwang
Museumsplatz 1
45128 Essen, Germany
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm 
Friday 10am–10:30pm

Cairo. Open city. New testimonies from an ongoing revolution is an experimental, continually regenerative exhibition project. Not only does it afford an insight into the freedom movement currently underway in the Arabian world but also seeks to write a new chapter in the history of images.

There are two different ways in which one can interpret the exhibition Cairo. Open city. The first looks to the political and social awakening of a generation that came to light with the onset of mass demonstrations on January 25, 2011 in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. This story is predominantly told by Egyptian artists and photographers, activists and curators. The second is linked to the role of images and new digital networks, which in part served to initiate the uprising, documented events and broadcast them to the entire world.

The exhibition explores a wide range of practices within the time-based media of photography and video, based on photographs taken by photojournalists, recordings made by activists and “civilian journalists” and documents compiled by artists. Photography and its diverse functions also come under the spotlight as a medium that is currently undergoing an important transformation: making opinions heard, influencing the course of events, creating images as recollections, commemorating victims and bearing testimony to events.

Based on the term’s meaning within the military, the title Open City references the exploitation of images in the battle for sovereignty over the public interpretation of events. At the same time, this meaning should not cause us to lose sight of the fact that it was not social networks or the Internet in general that brought about this revolution but rather the pent-up desperation and courage demonstrated by the people that took to the streets.

This extensive exhibition has been divided up into chapters and stations, curated by a team of renowned personalities from Cairo’s art scene, including artists Lara Baladi and Heba Farid, photographers Thomas Hartwell and Tarek Hefny, artist Jasmina Metwaly, filmmaker Philip Rizk and journalists Rowan El Shimi and Alex Nunns.

This is a collaborative project together with the Museum für Photographie Braunschweig. Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. The exhibition was realized in collaboration with the Goethe Institute.

Museum Folkwang
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