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Can Artistic Practices Negotiate the Demands of Cultural Institutions, Public Space, and Civil Society?

Sandra Teitge, Assistant Curator, 7th Berlin Biennale
2 May 2012

News from the Arab World reaches western audiences on a daily basis. The various analogue and online formats of media – TV, radio, newspapers, and blogs – are extensively reporting on the events in this region. In Berlin, and certainly elsewhere in Europe, cultural institutions and festivals reacted very quickly to, and reported on developments by inviting artists from the MENA region to present their performances, films, and theatre pieces. Western cultural producers thus became allies of the revolutionaries.


The panel discussion 'Cairo: The City, the images, the archives' with Khalid Abdalla, Hala Galal, Maha Maamoun and Sarah Rifky, in the framework of the 62nd Berlinale Film Festival, provides just one example of the many festivals and events exploring such a topic. It revealed a diversity of reactions by cultural producers in Egypt and effectively contextualised the situation there. Khalid Abdalla, one of the co-founders of the alternative media collective Mosireen, presented the motivation and the main intention of the group and showed the most important work of the group so far, namely, The Diary of the Revolution, an impressive documentary of the events in Egypt filmed by its citizens.


Mosireen, a group of filmmakers, citizen journalists, and activists, demands and simultaneously represents the ideals of civil society. As a non-profit media centre in downtown Cairo, Mosireen invites everyone to contribute their visual material in order to help create a civic version of history and at the same time enables a large civic network of individuals, various initiatives and projects. On Mosireen's YouTube channel, new films are being uploaded on a daily basis, which capture the events and present an alternative history, from citizens and for citizens.

Sandra Teitge

organises exhibitions in independent project spaces, on boats, and in public spaces. She received her MA in Art History from the Humboldt-University of Berlin and her BA in Media Studies and French from the University of Sussex, Brighton, and the Nouvelle Sorbonne, Paris. Currently, she works in the artistic office of the 7th Berlin Biennale as assistant curator. She writes for von hundert and contributed to the publication Metropolitan Views II. Art Scenes in Berlin 1989-2009. She is one of the initiators of the mobile exhibition series MASA BERLIN and the charitable supper club Dinner Exchange Berlin. Other exhibitions organised by her include From Anna Blume at the Autocenter Berlin and On a boat #1 at the historic harbour of Berlin.

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