Platform for discussion004
With the benefit of hindsight, what role does new media play in artistic practices, activism, and as an agent for social change in the Middle East and North Africa today?
Artists have for some time been using new media to investigate and question their mainstream socio-political environments. In Arab countries, the revolutions that took place are a direct expression of this process's shift from the art community to the mass, from the artist to the public. It was a mutation from the creative field to the cultural field. This shift marks a pivotal point for art dealing with new media. In this new configuration, artists faced a new challenge, one that involved avoiding falling into propaganda-stimulated art practices. They had to choose between being a questioning creative or an answering activist. It became much more delicate when artists became involved in the revolution; art that is based on aesthetical judgment values became applied to ethical problems, and this was problematic. In violent contexts, applying such values to people's suffering could be viewed as fascism. To overcome this paradox, many new media artists refrained from making art at all; others became activists and laid on the definition of activism as art strategy, while others oriented art into Utopian models where symbolic and imaginary refuges are reflected.
What is a platform?
A platform is a space for speaking in public. It is an opportunity to express ideas and thoughts. It also suggests the formal declaration of a stance or position on any given subject.
Unique to Ibraaz is a 'platform', a question put to writers, thinkers and artists about an issue relevant to the MENA region. This platform is sent to respondents both within and beyond the MENA region and contributions will be archived every 12 months.