I. Main topics I would like to tackle within the framework of the seminar
Photography, archaeology, archive, memory, orientalism, European colonialism/imperialism in the Middle-East and the “Middle-East” as region defined by Europe, the use of photography by contemporary Arab artists as interventions against the on-going regime of coloniality and war in the region.
From Blank to Blurred. Orientalist Landscapes, Imperial Erasures, and the Politics of Disappearance in Emily Jacir’s, Fazal Sheikh’s, and Jananne Al-Ani’s Photography.
I would like to focus on the works of Emily Jacir (with Susan Buck-Morss), Fazal Sheikh (with Eyal Weizman), and Jananne Al-Ani, who use photography, film, archaeology and architecture to undo the Orientalist/colonial configurations of the Middle East and in particular Palestinian Occupied Territories, the desert of the Negev, and Iraq. Their photography interrogates the politics embedded in the orientalist/colonial aesthetics of erasure and by doing so highlight the violence of Western and Israeli colonial projects in our not-yet-postcolonial times. Resisting colonial obfuscations and occlusions, their photographs and films produce “counter-histories” (Brunet) and define spaces of re-appearance, resurfacing, and return.
I would like to contribute to the Camera Memoria research community by presenting on these photographers and by unpacking the complex relationship between photography, memory, and power in the context of the contemporary Middle-East. Camera Memoria could represent a point of interaction where I would be able to exchange with scholars in the field interested with these questions.
Additionally, by posting on the research log, I hope to create a space of interaction prior and after my presentation, by for instance adding ideas, developing concepts, or by adding to the reading list of secondary (and perhaps primary) sources. I would also like to use the Camera Memoria research log to develop a participative quote-book where quotes relevant to the topic could be added by anyone to open new venues of reflections
IV. Primary Sources
· Jacir, Emily et al. Belongings : Arbeiten/works 1998-2003. Wien: Folio, 2004.
[In particular: ‘Change/Exchange’ (1998), ‘Memorial to 418 Palestinian Villages Destroyed, Depopulated, and Occupied by Israel in 1948’ (2001), ‘Today, there are four million of us’ (2002), ‘In this Building’ (2002), ‘Where We Come From’ (2001-2003), and ‘Return’ (2003)]
· Emily Jacir and Susan Buck-Morss, The Gift of the Past/ Das Gift der Vergangenheit, 100
Notes – 100 Thoughts/ 100 Notizen – 100 Gedanken, n°004, dOCUMENTA (13) (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 9/6/2012 – 16/9/2012).
[In particular sections called ‘Transitoriness,’ ‘Collective Memory,’ ‘Ephemeral Archives,’ ]
· Fazal Sheikh, ‘Desert Bloom,’ Second Project in The Erasure Trilogy. Göttingen, Steidl,
· Fazal Sheikh and Eyal Weizman, The Conflict Shoreline. Colonization as Climate Change
in the Negev Desert. Göttingen, Steidl, 2015.
· Jananne al-Ani, Shadow Sites I and II. 2010-2011.
V. Secondary Sources
Barthes, Roland.  Camera Lucida. Reflections on Photography. Trans. Richard Howard. London, Vintage Books, 2000.
Beaulieu, Jill, and Mary Roberts. Orientalism’s Interlocutors: Painting, Architecture, Photography. Durham, [NC]: Duke University Press, 2002.
Belden-Adams, Kris. Photography and Failure. London, Bloomsbury, 2017.
Benjamin, Walter. Selected Writings, 4 vols. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard UP, 1996-2003.
Benjamin, Walter. The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard UP, 2008.
Walter Benjamin’s Archive: Images, Texts, Signs. Edited by Ursula Marx, Gudrun Schwarz, Michael Schwarz, Erdmut Wizisla, London, Verso, 2007?
Benvenisti, Meron. Sacred Landscape: Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948, Berkeley, LA, U of California P, 2002.
Brunet, François. La photographie: Histoire et contre-histoire, Paris, PUF, 2017. [la contre-histoire par l’image]
Cohen, Saul Ephraim. The Politics of Planting. Berkeley, LA, U of California P, 1993.
Downey, Anthony, ed. Dissonant Archives. Contemporary Visiual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East. London: I.B.Tauris, 2015.
Fisher, Kate. The Boundaries of Representation : Emily Jacir and the Palestinian Situation.
Hauser, Kitty. Shadow Sites: Photography, Archaeology, and the British Landscape 1927-1951. Oxford: OUP, 2007.
Kennedy, Liam, and Caitlin Patrick. The Violence of the Image : Photography and International Conflict. London: I.B. Tauris, 2014.
Klein, Naomi. ‘Let Them All Drown. The Violence of Othering in a Warming World,’ London Review of Books 38.11 (June 2016): 11-14.
Lambert, Léopold. La politique du bulldozer, Paris, editions B2, 2016.
Leshem, Noam. Life After Ruin : the Struggles Over Israel’s Depopulated Arab Spaces. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017.
Mitchell, Timothy. Colonising Egypt. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.
Mitchell, Timothy. “Orientalism and the Exhibitionary Order.” In The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology, edited by Donald Preziosi, Oxford. OUP: 1998, n.d.
Rancière, Jacques. Le destin des images, Paris, La Fabrique éditions, 2003. [altérité ; ressemblance ; régime d’imagéité ; image nue, image ostensive ; montage ; représentation ; l’image non comme copie ou présence brute mais comme opération singulière ; l’irreprésentable]
Said, Edward. After the Last Sky: Palestinian Lives, with Photographs by Jean Mohr. New York, Pantheon, 1986.
Said, Edward. The Question of Palestine. New York, Vintage, 1979. See in particular the chapter entitled ‘Palestinian Depopulation’ (83-114).
Sontag, Susan. Regarding the Pain of Others. New York, Picador, 2003.
Thompson, Jerry L. Why Photography Matters. Cambridge, Mass, The MIT Press, 2013.
Weizman, Eyal. Hollow Land. Israeli’s Architecture of Occupation. London, Verso Books, 2007.
VI. The Quote-Book
‘History breaks down into images, not into stories’
– Waltern Benjamin, Arcades Project, 1927-1940.
VII. Your Comments