World Picks, February-March ‘21

21 February, 2021

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Got an event, book, film, con­fer­ence or any­thing else you’d like to rec­om­mend? Drop us a line.
All list­ings are online, unless oth­er­wise noted.

22 February (MON) 12:00 EST / 17:00 GMT — After After Jews and Arabs: Ammiel Alcalay in conversation with Gil Anidjar

Ammiel Alcalay’s ground­break­ing work, After Jews and Arabs, pub­lished in 1993, redrew the geo­graph­ic, polit­i­cal, cul­tur­al and emo­tion­al map of rela­tions between Jews and Arabs in the Levantine/Mediterranean world over a thou­sand-year peri­od. Based on more than a decade of research and field­work in many disciplines—history and his­to­ri­og­ra­phy; anthro­pol­o­gy, ethnog­ra­phy, and eth­no­mu­si­col­o­gy; polit­i­cal econ­o­my and geog­ra­phy; lin­guis­tics; phi­los­o­phy; and the his­to­ry of sci­ence and technology—the book pre­sent­ed a rad­i­cal­ly dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive than that rep­re­sent­ed by received opinion.

Giv­en the rad­i­cal and icon­o­clas­tic nature of Alcalay’s per­spec­tive, After Jews and Arabs met great resis­tance in attempts to pub­lish it. Though com­plet­ed and already cir­cu­lat­ing in 1989, it did­n’t appear until 1993. In addi­tion, when the book was pub­lished, there was­n’t enough space to include its orig­i­nal bib­li­og­ra­phy, a foun­da­tion­al part of the project. Learn more.

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Show­cas­ing an eclec­tic selec­tion of music arranged in sequences of unfore­seen son­ic analo­gies, this col­lec­tive mix was put togeth­er by Radio Alhara founders Elias Anas­tas, Yousef Anas­tas, Saeed Abu Jaber, Yazan Khalili and Moth­anna Hussein. 


A com­mu­nal radio sta­tion that broad­casts from Beth­le­hem, Ramal­lah and Amman to the world, Radio Alhara uses its plat­form to explore the rich ter­rain of sound, host­ing live and record­ed music sets by a con­tin­u­al­ly expand­ing ros­ter of ama­teur and pro­fes­sion­al DJs, com­posers and sound artists. They broad­cast sound­tracks, audio doc­u­men­taries and essays, con­ver­sa­tions and talks, pod­casts, poet­ry, speech­es, but also any and all sounds that pique their curios­i­ty and fur­ther their appre­ci­a­tion for listening.

25 FEB (THU) 19:00 GMT THE MOSAIC ROOMS Book Launch (W)archives. Archival Imaginaries, War, and Contemporary Art 


How are dig­i­tal and data tech­nolo­gies trans­form­ing the archives of con­tem­po­rary war­fare, and how are artists respond­ing to these changes? Join Heba Y. Amin, Antho­ny Downey, Sophie Dyer and Oraib Toukan for the book launch of (W)archives. Archival Imag­i­nar­ies, War, and Con­tem­po­rary Art (Stern­berg Press, 2021).

(W)archives brings togeth­er artists’ and schol­ars’ per­spec­tives to inves­ti­gate dig­i­tal archiv­ing as inte­gral to the tech­nol­o­gy of war­fare, and the response of art and visu­al cul­ture to this mate­r­i­al. (W)archive is used as a term to look at how dig­i­tal archiv­ing inter­sects with images, bod­ies, sens­es, infra­struc­tures, envi­ron­ments, mem­o­ries, and emo­tions. The book exam­ines how this new dig­i­tal archival mate­r­i­al of war is addressed and recon­fig­ures artists’ archival prac­tices over the last decades. It sug­gests how archives can be mobilised to artic­u­late polit­i­cal demands, shape new forms of evi­dence, and make pal­pa­ble the expe­ri­ence of liv­ing with war.

The dis­cus­sion is chaired by the book’s co-edi­tors Daniela Agostin­ho and Solveig Gade.

Respon­dents invit­ed to the dis­cus­sion:
Nan­na Thyl­strup (Depart­ment of Man­age­ment, Soci­ety and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Copen­hagen Busi­ness School) and Kristin Veel (Depart­ment of Arts and Cul­tur­al Stud­ies, Uni­ver­si­ty of Copenhagen)

You can order your copy of the book here.

4 MARCH (THU) 16:30 GMT | 17:30 UK | 18:30 CET | 19:30 Istanbul-Beirut-Damascus
AT HOME IN THE WORLD: SYRIAN CONTEMPORARY ART with Syrian artists Sulafa Hijazi and Issam Kourbaj, author Charlotte Bank & writer Malu Halasa

It took a bru­tal war to bring Syr­i­an art to the world’s atten­tion. Forged in the heat of the con­flict, it var­i­ous­ly shocked or sat­i­rized, with mod­ern imagery or objects fash­ioned from rough mate­ri­als. With the war came waves of change and migra­tion. Some artists in exile stopped work­ing alto­geth­er, while oth­ers moved to Berlin, Paris and Beirut and con­tin­ued mak­ing art.

One of these artists, Sulafa Hijazi, sees no before or after, only a con­tin­u­um of work on the human expe­ri­ence and dig­i­tal cul­ture – ideas she devel­oped at home, which res­onate in the wider world.

By con­trast, the crag­gy lit­tle boats cre­at­ed from bicy­cle mud­guards and filled with burnt match­sticks by Issam Kour­baj, encap­su­late anoth­er uni­ver­sal qual­i­ty – human frailty. This art­work was recent­ly installed as Object 101 in the BBC series A His­to­ry of the World in 100 Objects(Opens in new win­dow).

Togeth­er with writer Malu Halasa, Kour­baj and Hijazi dis­cuss their work in the new British Muse­um exhi­bi­tion, Reflec­tions: con­tem­po­rary art of the Mid­dle East and North Africa (11 Feb­ru­ary – 15 August 2021). They are joined by art his­to­ri­an and inde­pen­dent cura­tor Dr Char­lotte Bank who’ll dis­cuss her recent book, The Con­tem­po­rary Art Scene in Syr­ia: Social Cri­tique and an Artis­tic Move­ment.

19 MARCH (FRI) 12:00 PST | 19:00 EST | ARAB FILM SERIES presents 7 x 7 // 7 Artists, 7 Years of the War in Yemen

AANM, Arab Film and Media Insti­tute, ArteEast, The Ben­ton Muse­um of Art at Pomona Col­lege, The Depart­ment of Art His­to­ry at Pomona Col­lege and Youth of the World Togeth­er, in total part­ner­ship, are pleased to present the pub­lic pre­miere of two short films by Yemeni film­mak­er Alia Ali:

Still from Alia Ali's film  Mahjar .

Con­flict is More Prof­itable Than Peace / 17 min­utes / Sci-Fi
مهجر // Mah­jar 
/ 14 min­utes / Sci-Fi

Imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the pre­miere will be a dia­logue with Alia Ali host­ed by AANM Film Cura­tor, Dave Serio, address­ing dis­cours­es on Yemeni Futur­ism in regards to nos­tal­gic pasts, dystopi­an presents, and carv­ing out spaces of rad­i­cal­ly imag­ined futures.

Mark­ing the sev­enth year of the war in Yemen, this event will launch 7 x 7 // 7 Artists, 7 Years: A film pre­sen­ta­tion of short films by sev­en Yemeni film­mak­ers, that col­lec­tive­ly push back against bina­ry por­tray­als of Yeme­nis as vic­tims and/or vil­lians, and instead pro­vide an expan­sive view on how Yeme­nis present them­selves, on their terms.

Fea­tur­ing the fol­low­ing addi­tion­al films/filmmakers:

Car­roum dir. Nesh­wan Sad­eq / 9 min­utes / Doc­u­men­tary
Oza­izah dir. Alaa Hafed / 6 min­utes / Doc­u­men­tary
Made of Gold dir. Saber Wasel / 6 min­utes / Doc­u­men­tary /
The Last Resort dir. Noor Adeen Mor­gan / 10 min­utes / Doc­u­men­tary
Scene 2 dir. Abdul­rah­man Alward / 21 min­utes / Fic­tion
The Hel­met dir. Osama Khaled / 9 min­utes / Sci-Fi

Fol­low­ing the live pre­miereall films will be avail­able to stream for 48 hours.  Please note that some of these films may address dif­fi­cult and sen­si­tive top­ics, such as war, trau­ma and sex­u­al harass­ment and may be trig­ger­ing for some.


21 MARCH (SUN) 12:00 PST | 15:00 EST | 19:00 UK | 20:00 CET | 21:00 Beirut
NOVELIST LAYLA ALAMMAR interviewed by TMR’s Farah Abdessamad

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Writer Farah Abdessamad will inter­view Lay­la AlAm­mar on her fic­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly Silence is a Sense which she described in a review as “a poly­phon­ic, psy­cho­log­i­cal, char­ac­ter-dri­ven nov­el about the banal­i­ty of vio­lence and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of chart­ing a heal­ing process…Silence is more than noth­ing­ness, it is a lan­guage, an act. Sisy­phus’ boul­der inex­orably rolls back down­hill. Yet he per­sists in his task and con­fronts absur­di­ty with humanity.”

AlAm­mar is a nov­el­ist and aca­d­e­m­ic from Kuwait, now based in the UK. She has a mas­ter’s degree in cre­ative writ­ing from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Edin­burgh. Her short sto­ries have appeared in the Evening Stan­dard, Quail Bell Mag­a­zine, the Red Let­ters St. Andrews Prose Jour­nal, and Aes­thet­i­ca Mag­a­zine. Her debut nov­el, The Pact We Made, was pub­lished in 2019. She has writ­ten for The Guardian, ArabLit Quar­ter­ly and The Markaz Review among oth­ers. She is cur­rent­ly pur­su­ing a PhD on the inter­sec­tion of Arab wom­en’s fic­tion and lit­er­ary trau­ma the­o­ry. Of her new nov­el, Silence is A Sense, Pub­lish­er’s Week­ly not­ed, “Evoca­tive … The con­flicts over immi­gra­tion and racism are bril­liant­ly dis­tilled, and they dove­tail seam­less­ly with the nar­ra­tor’s lyri­cal, increas­ing­ly defi­ant nar­ra­tion. Patient read­ers will find much to pon­der.” Farah Abdessamad recent­ly reviewed the nov­el in TMR Week­ly.

29 MARCH (MON) 12:00 PST | 12:00 EST | 16:00 UK | 17:00 CET | 18:00 Beirut
A CONVERSATION WITH IRAQI-BORN WRITER HASSAN BLASSIM on Literature, Displacement, and Resistance

Host­ed by Dr. Rita Sakr and Reema Has­san (Maynooth Uni­ver­si­ty, Eng­lish Department).

Has­san Blasim is an Iraqi writer cur­rent­ly based in Fin­land. Born in Bagh­dad in 1973, he stud­ied at the city’s Acad­e­my of Cin­e­mat­ic Arts, where two of his films Gar­de­nia and White Clay won the Acad­e­my’s Fes­ti­val Award for Best Work. In 1998, after sev­er­al arrests trig­gered by the overt­ly polit­i­cal nature of his films, he fled Bagh­dad ini­tial­ly to Sulay­maniya (Iraqi Kur­dis­tan), where he made the fea­ture-length dra­ma Wound­ed Cam­era, under a Kur­dish pseu­do­nym, and ulti­mate­ly in 2004, after years of trav­el­ling ille­gal­ly through Europe, he set­tled as a refugee in Fin­land where he is now a citizen.

Has­san has been described as “per­haps the great­est writer of Ara­bic fic­tion alive” and his sto­ries as “bril­liant and dis­turb­ing… bit­ter, furi­ous and unforgettable.”

Has­san’s debut nov­el, God 99 (Novem­ber 2020) was described by The Irish Times as “sprawl­ing and breath­tak­ing, stuffed with cul­tur­al and lit­er­ary ref­er­ences, this is a daz­zling work of imag­i­na­tion and ur-reality.”

Atten­dees will receive the Zoom link one day and again one hour before the event.