Anthony Downey

Anthony Downey is Professor of Visual Culture in the Middle East and North Africa within the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at Birmingham City University.

  • Critique in Practice

    Critique in Practice

    Renzo Martens' Episode III (Enjoy Poverty)

    Anthony Downey

    Essays on the provocative 2008 film by Renzo Martens, Episode III (Enjoy Poverty).

    This volume collects critical reactions to Renzo Martens's provocative film Episode III (Enjoy Poverty) following its premiere in 2008, along with newly commissioned essays on the film's impact and enduring legacy. Investigating the emotional and economic value of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's lucrative exports (namely, filmed poverty), Martens's film was and remains a landmark intervention into debates concerning the role of art in contemporary cultural practices, engaged critique, documentary ethics, the global impact of humanitarian aid, documentary form, and the neoliberal politics of decolonization. The contributors reflect on the critical value of exposing contemporary art's relationship to exploitative economies and how the film influenced their own thinking on these subjects and, in effect, laid the conceptual groundwork for Martens' latest project, The Institute for Human Activities (IHA), a “reverse gentrification” program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


    Ariella Azoulay, Eva Barois de Caevel, Jelle Bouwhuis, JJ Charlesworth, T. J. Demos, Ruben De Roo, Angela Dimitrakaki, Anthony Downey, Dan Fox, Matthias De Groof, Xander Karskens, J. A. Koster, Kyveli Lignou-Tsamantani, Suhail Malik, Renzo Martens, Nina Möntmann, René Ngongo, Paul O'Kane, Laurens Otto, Nikolaus Perneczky, Kolja Reichert, Els Roelandt, karî'kachä seid'ou, Gregory Sholette, Sanne Sinnige, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Emilia Terracciano, Nato Thompson, Pieter Van Bogaert, Frank Vande Veire, Eyal Weizman, Vivian Ziherl, Artur Żmijewski

    • Paperback $30.00
  • The General's Stork

    The General's Stork

    Heba Y. Amin and Anthony Downey

    Documenting the development of a multidimensional and ongoing work.

    Heba Y. Amin's The General's Stork explores historical accounts of biblical prophecies, colonial narratives, and the politics of technological warfare from a bird's eye view. Focusing on how military technologies were developed in the specific context of Middle Eastern geographies, Amin explores the extensive research that went into the development of a multidimensional and ongoing work. She also gives further background as to how, in 2013, the Egyptian authorities sought to detain a migratory stork that it accused of being an international spy.

    • Paperback $20.00
  • I'm good at love, I'm good at hate, it's in between I freeze

    I'm good at love, I'm good at hate, it's in between I freeze

    Michael Rakowitz and Anthony Downey

    An artist charts the historical context and aftermath of a concert—by Leonard Cohen at the Ramallah Cultural Palace in Palestine—that never happened.

    Michael Rakowitz's I'm good at love, I'm good at hate, it's in between I freeze charts the historical context and aftermath of a concert that never happened. In 2009, the inimitable Leonard Cohen was scheduled to perform at the Ramallah Cultural Palace in Palestine. (The title of the book is a line from Cohen's “A Thousand Kisses Deep.”) As a result of the cultural boycott of Israel, the concert was canceled, but the story, as Rakowitz's work demonstrates, did not end there. Conjoining the cultural histories of Palestine and Israel and the ethical dilemmas faced by performers and artists in the face of political intransigence, this volume brings to light the research that went into this multifaceted work and plots the future arc of its yet-to-be completed trajectory.

    • Paperback $20.00
  • Heirloom


    Larissa Sansour and Anthony Downey

    The development of the artistic research for Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour's project for the Danish Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale

    Heirloom documents the development of the artistic research for Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour's project for the Danish Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale. It explores how recurrent notions in Sansour's oeuvre, such as memory, trauma, identity, and belonging, intertwine with the discourses of science fiction and environmental disaster narratives. It also explores what it means to produce work from within contested geographies, specifically considering how, through research and the process of production, the artist grapples with complex issues of national representation.

    • Paperback $20.00
  • Future Imperfect

    Future Imperfect

    Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East

    Anthony Downey

    Future Imperfect critically examines the role played by cultural institutions in producing present-day and future contexts for the production, dissemination, and reception of contemporary art in the Middle East and North Africa. It offers historical contexts for discussions that have become increasingly urgent in recent years—the role of culture in a time of conflict and globalization—and an in-depth critique of the state of cultural institutions in an age of political upheaval, social unrest, exuberant cultural activity, ascendant neoliberal forms of privatization, social activism, and regional uncertainty. Based on collective input from numerous contributors and interlocutors, this volume brings together internationally renowned academics, critics, activists, filmmakers, artists, and other independent cultural practitioners to consider how new infrastructures and institutions can effectively emerge within such fraught and dynamic contexts. What is needed in terms of infrastructure for cultural production today, and how, crucially, can we speculatively propose new infrastructures and institutions in the context of present realities?

    Visual Culture in the Middle East Vol. 3Supported by the Kamel Lazaar Foundation

    Contributors Leila Al-Shami*, Monira Al Qadiri, Hoor Al-Qasimi, Anahi Alviso-Marino, AMBS Architects, Stephanie Bailey, Eray Çaylı, Rachel Dedman, Elizabeth Derderian, Anthony Downey, Karen Exell, Reema Salha Fadda, Wafa Gabsi, Hadia Gana, Adalet R. Garmiany, Baha Jubeh, Suhair Jubeh, Amal Khalaf, Kamel Lazaar, Jens Maier-Rothe, Guy Mannes-Abbott, Doreen Mende, Lea Morin, Jack Persekian, Wided Rihana Khadraoui*, Rijin Sahakian, Gregory Sholette, Tom Snow, Lois Stonock*, Nile Sunset Annex*, Ania Szremski, Christine Tohme, Toleen Touq, Williams Wells, Ala Younis, Yasmine Zidane (*online projects)

    • Paperback $32.00