On Activism, Design and Politics in the Arab World

the Case of Visual Culture in Beirut

24 Aug 2007
  • 12:00 -13:00

Politics, in the form of contemporary cultural resistance projects and in the history of Arab political posters, will be the subject of the presentation.

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I will start by briefly showing some contemporary projects I have been involved with. While each holds its own particular approach to art, design and politics, the projects serve as platforms for dialogue and exchange that attempt to build bridges between disparate localities, within and outside the Arab world. They offer a space for critical reflections on current socio-political issues of concern in the Arab region, as well as presenting alternative representations of the region that counter the hostile images of ‘terror’ that have dominated mainstream media.

The presentation will move to focus on a research project I am currently working on that addresses the political posters of Lebanon’s civil war (1975-1990). The project examines the deployment of political discourse through visual form, significant in the critical times of armed conflict. Lebanon’s civil war presents a complex case where regional and local conflicts of confessional, cultural and economic nature have characterized the different ideological frameworks and distinguished the numerous warring factions. That in turn, has resulted in the production of a complex and rich visual vocabulary, in terms of its diverse iconography, multiple signification and distinct aesthetic practices.