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?
I treated a young homeless kid to some tea at the local coffee shop one morning and asked him how he usually spent his day. He told me he would hang out on the street, ask people for money so that later in the evening he would go to the cybercafe to 'surf Facebook'.
This totally changed the way I looked at Facebook. All of a sudden, Facebook became a place where this homeless kid – on the run from a home in which his remarried mother, and an uncle with a knack for boxing, lived – could interact boundlessly with other people. His interaction on Facebook is in no way influenced by his class, age, neighbourhood, or family background.
In turn, if I want to make something that will directly address this kid, it has to either be on the street or on Facebook, definitely not a gallery space. And what I create would not be tailored to him alone, but to many other classes, age groups, and quite possibly cultures even.
Ultimately, there are a lot of attributes relating to the structure of the virtual world of Facebook that we must learn from and bring to our more tactile world.
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.