Contested Representations: Making Images from Elsewhere

Contested Representations: Making Images from Elsewhere

Memories for Forgetfulness Elsewhere:

Memories for Forgetfulness Elsewhere | Discussion I
Contested Representations: Making Images from Elsewhere
With Irmgard Emmelhainz, Olivier Hadouchi, Khaled Saghieh, Stefan Tarnowski

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February 2, 2022, 1–3pm

One of the traits of modernity is the experience of conflict elsewhere through visual interfaces. This is the result of the belief in the moral imperative to document, give testimony to, and disseminate images in order to stop atrocities happening far away, all while genocide, dispossession, and mass displacement are justified as collateral damage in the imperial wars seeking to expand neoliberal capitalism. To disentangle the complicated matrix of violence operating in the Middle East, the image has functioned as a pharmakon. Indeed, the birth of photography coincided with the expansion of early European imperialism in the Arab world, and some of the medium’s earliest outputs are Orientalist images taken by Europeans in places like Cairo and Jerusalem. Images have long shaped the external imagination of the region. One of the challenges cultural producers in the area face is to counter the image as an intervention in the field of vision that perpetuates imperial narratives, including that of the myth of journalistic objectivity. How to give form to the experience of loss when it has resulted in the loss and distortion of form itself (Yassin al-Hajj Saleh)? What is an image of resistance? But also: How to go beyond the colonial, Orientalist image of “the Arab” and the many faces it has taken over the years? When personal memories are unreliable, a struggle for meaning and collective memory has been necessary to counter imperial constructions of the “terrorist enemy” and the “victim of human rights violations.” The role of the moving image in remembrance and against imperial visual culture and State-directed memorialization calls for decolonization in the field of vision toward political agency.

Contested Representations: Making Images from Elsewhere is one of two discussions accompanying Memories for Forgetfulness Elsewhere, an online film program curated by Irmgard Emmelhainz on e-flux Video & Film. The program streams from November 24, 2021 till February 16, 2022 in five thematic group screenings each two weeks long.

For more information, contact

Image, War & Conflict, Colonialism & Imperialism, Film
Violence, Neoliberalism, Modernity, Memory, Orientalism
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Memories for Forgetfulness Elsewhere: Discussions

Irmgard Emmelhainz is an independent translator, writer, researcher, and lecturer based in Mexico City. Her book Jean-Luc Godard’s Political Filmmaking was published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2019. The translated expanded version of The Tyranny of Common Sense: Mexico’s Neoliberal Conversion is coming out this fall with SUNY Press, and so is Toxic Loves, Impossible Futures: Feminist Lives as Resistance (Vanderbilt). She is a member of the SNCA in Mexico (National System for Arts Creators).

Olivier Hadouchi is a film curator and independent researcher working in Paris. Hadouchi holds a PhD in cinema studies and has lectured, published texts for magazines (in Third Text on the militant image, in CinémAction or in collective books on Heiny Srour, Jocelyne Saab, non-alignement, solidarity, and representations of the Algerian war of independence), and curated film programs about internationalism, third cinema, tricontinental film, images from the South, voices, protests, film, and poetry for Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, Museum Reina Sofía (Madrid), Kunsthalle (Münster), Jeu de Paume (Paris), Mosaic Rooms (London), and CorsicaDoc festival; and gave lectures in cities such as Algiers, Beirut, Ljubljana, Belgrade, Zagreb, Tangiers, Santiago de Chile, Madrid, London, Lisbon, Prague, and Porto.

Khaled Saghieh is a Lebanese writer and journalist. He began his career at the Lebanese daily As-Safir. He was the deputy Editor-in-Chief of the daily Al-Akhbar until 2011. Between 2012 and 2015, Saghieh worked as Editor-in-Chief of the news department at the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI). He is now the Managing Editor of the Megaphone news platform.

Stefan Tarnowski is an anthropologist whose research brings together political and media anthropology, with a particular focus on Lebanon and Syria and the aftermaths of their recent uprisings. He completed his dissertation at Columbia University in 2022, and is currently an early-career research fellow at Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge, and a postdoctoral researcher on the “Views of Violence” project at the University of Copenhagen. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Visual Anthropology, Film Quarterly, Review of Middle East Studies, and the London Review of Books.

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