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Cairo. Open City
August 7, 2012
by Alex Majoli
Cairo. Open City examines the roles that images are playing in the ongoing Egyptian revolution, from the outbreak of the Arab Spring through the present. The exhibition will include a variety of approaches to the time-based media of photography and video, from the works of photo journalists, to recordings by activists and "citizen journalists", to documents collected by different artists.
In many ways the medium of photography has impressed upon us a quality of testimony. In the digital age and in the specific context of the Egyptian revolution new challenges and opportunities for the testimonial aspect of images are emerging: the omnipresent eye of the digital device, new distribution possibilities and alternative reporting. The exhibition will not only provide a glimpse into the freedom movements of the Arab world, it will also write a new chapter in the history of images. If "testimony" is a central form of expression of the social transformation taking place in Egypt, then it was not primarily social networks, but the pent up desperation and courage of the people on the streets that brought about this transformation. Special attention will be paid to the genesis and intentions behind the images: Who and what is speaking from these pictures?
Cairo. Open City is an experimental exhibition in the sense that it does not represent a finished process, but rather utilizes the openness of the current political developments as a formal principle.
The comprehensive exhibition has been divided into individual chapters and stations, each of which will be curated by prominent actors in the Cairo art scene, including the artists Lara Baladi and Heba Farid, the photographers Thomas Hartwell and Tarek Hefny, the activists, journalists and curators Jasmina Metwaly, Philip Rizk and Alexandra Stock, the journalist Rowan El Shimi, the bloggers Ahmad Gharbeia and Alex Nunns..
The different chapters will generate a dialogue between the images - a juxtaposition and co-existence of the greatest possible diversity of image forms and approaches. Cover images from newspapers will stand alongside photo galleries from blogs, iconic pictures alongside unknown images of people on the streets, images of martyrs alongside long-term documentary projects. As in 2011 many artists were still waiting to react to the new situation and saw their role more as street activists, a number of works are now being created that also elicit this idea of testimony, albeit with formal media that is different from the journalistic images of the events as they were happening.
On display will be works by Peter van Agtmael, Lara Baladi, Taha Belal, Denis Dailleux, Osama Dawod, Kaya Behkalam, Johanna Domke & Marouan Omara, Hala Elkoussy, Mohamed Ezz, Nermine Hammam, Ahmed Kamel, Nadine Khan, Alex Majoli, Jasmina Metwaly, Chris Michalski & Sebastian Stumpf, Philip Rizk, by photo journalists with the newspaper El Shorouk and photographers of Magnum Photos, by countless activists and "citizen journalists" who were present at Tahrir Square and by young Egyptian, German and French artists.
Tue-Fri 13-18 h, Sat-Sun 11-18 h
Museum für Photographie Braunschweig
267 | Quartiere für zeitgenössische Kunst und Fotografie Hamburger Straße 267