New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East
May 11, 2014 § Leave a comment
Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East, edited by Anthony Downey.
Ibraaz Publishing and I.B. Tauris announced the forthcoming publication of Volume 01 in the Visual Culture in North Africa and the Middle East Series. This volume explores the role of new media in contemporary art practices today and how artists articulate new cultural, social, and political potentialities.
Contemporary artists across North Africa and the Middle East are not only developing the critical field of new media, but also suggesting horizons for future cultural development and forms of political activism. These developments come with a series of critical questions, including an enquiry into the extent to which art has been co-opted into political agendas and the compulsive demands of global media. The focus of this book is therefore not so much on the role of artists as activists, a role that can be readily co-opted into the often divisive, issue-led world of political activism; rather, it is on how artistic practices expand the very notion of activism, protest and political participation.
Concentrating on both historical and more recent developments in the region, Uncommon Grounds is particularly concerned with how artists engage with communities and public space. Again and again, we see how these practices intersect with civic, political and public imaginations and, in doing so, recalibrate the forms that culture can assume over time. It is with this in mind that these collected essays and artists’ projects engage with and challenge cultural forms, and, through their engagement with public spheres and civic society, they negotiate their relevance as tools for social change in North Africa and the Middle East today.