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Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East

Edited by Anthony Downey (Sternberg Press, 2016)

010_07 / 9 December 2016
Click on this image to read Anthony Downey's introduction to Future Imperfect.
Click on this image to read Anthony Downey's introduction to Future Imperfect.

Book launch and drinks reception

 

Wednesday 22 February 2017, 6.30-8.30pm.

Delfina Foundation, 29-31 Catherine Place, London SW1E 6DY.

 

We are pleased to celebrate the launch of Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East, volume 03 in our Contemporary Visual Culture in the Middle East series.

 

Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle Eastcritically examines the role played by cultural institutions in producing present-day and future contexts for the production, dissemination and reception of contemporary art in the Middle East and North Africa. It offers critical contexts for a discussion that has become increasingly urgent in recent years  the role of culture in a time of conflict and globalization  and an in-depth critique of the historical state of cultural institutions in an age of political upheaval, social unrest, exuberant cultural activity, ascendant neoliberal forms of privatization, social activism, and regional uncertainty.

 

Organised around three key areas, Future Imperfect draws attention to the specific antagonisms that have affected cultural production across the region, both in historical and more recent post-revolutionary contexts, and offers an in-depth discussion of how cultural producers have developed alternative institutional models through their practices. How cultural institutions operate within the conditions of a global cultural economy, and alongside the often conflicting demands they place on cultural production in the region, is likewise an over-arching concern throughout this volume.

 

While the politics of contemporary cultural production and institutional practices in the Middle East can tell us a great deal about local and regional concerns, one of the cornerstone ambitions of this volume is to enquire into what they can also impart about the politics of global cultural production, including the multiple ways in which contemporary art practices are being reduced, willingly or otherwise, to the logic of global capital. What, in sum, is needed in terms of infrastructure for cultural production today, and how, crucially, can we speculatively propose new infrastructures and institutions in the context of present-day regional realities?

 

Future Imperfect contains essays, interviews, and projects from contributors including Monira Al Qadiri, Hoor Al-Qasimi, Anahi Alviso-Marino, AMBS Architects, Stephanie Bailey, Eray Çaylı, Rachel Dedman, Elizabeth Derderian, Anthony Downey, Karen Exell, Reema Salha Fadda, Wafa Gabsi, Hadia Gana, Adalet R. Garmiany, Baha Jubeh, Suhair Jubeh, Amal Khalaf, Kamel Lazaar, Jens Maier-Rothe, Guy Mannes-Abbott, Doreen Mende, Lea Morin, Jack Persekian, Rijin Sahakian, Gregory Sholette, Tom Snow, Ania Szremski, Christine Tohme, Toleen Touq, Williams Wells, Ala Younis and Yasmine Zidane.

 

Read the introduction to Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East, by Anthony Downey, by clicking on the front cover above or by clicking here.

 

The publication is accompanied by a collection of special projects from Leila Al-Shami, Wided Rihana Khadraoui, Lois Stonock, Nile Sunset Annex, Alia Rayyan and Hussam al-Saray. Click here to view the online projects commissioned for Future Imperfect.

 

Future Imperfect is available via the Sternberg Press website and on Amazon.de.

 

Selected as one of the Top 7 must-have art books of 2016 by Art Radar.

 

Read an interview with Ibraaz Editor-in-Chief Anthony Downey, featured in the December 2016 of di'van, by following this link.

 

Other titles in the Visual Culture in the Middle East series, edited by Anthony Downey, include Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East (2015); and Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East (2014).

 

The production of this book was accomplished through the generous support of the Kamel Lazaar Foundation.

 

 

Online Projects

 

Emerging from the 'Kingdom of Silence': Beyond Institutions in Revolutionary Syria

Leila Al-Shami

 

 

Mapping the Possible: Syrian Organizations, Movements and Platforms

Lois Stonock

 

 

Plotting in Cairo: Art People and Institutional Networks

Nile Sunset Annex

 

 

The Saudi New Wave: Digital Landscapes and Future Institutions

Monira Al Qadiri

 

 

Digitalizing Social Change through Cultural Institutions in Saudi Arabia 

Wided Rihana Khadraoui

 

 

A Cultural Encyclopaedia of Iraq

Hussam al-Saray in conversation with Ala Younis

 

 

Recounting the Past, Present and Future

Alia Rayyan