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.

  • Lara Baladi

    Lara Baladi

    Tahrir Archives

    Anthony Downey

    An examination of Lara Baladi's Tahrir Archives: digital images, blogs, videos, and other associated media concerning the 2011 protests in Tahrir Square.

    The 2011 revolutionary protests in Tahrir Square--one of the foundational events of the Arab Spring--continue to signify a key chapter not only in world history but in the development of digital media and its dissemination globally. Tahrir Archives, conceived by Lara Baladi, is an index of material related to that time period and its continued regional and international impact. Organized as a means to capture the invariably ephemeral quality of digital images that we now associate with social networking and microblogging platforms, and video-sharing platforms, Tahrir Archives has since grown to include videos, photographs, press articles, blogs, social media sites, and other associated media.

    The challenges of documenting the unprecedented historical events of 2011 were compounded by the physical and virtual collapse of space and time within Tahrir Square. Lara Baladi explores the various strategies we can deploy to negotiate this collapse and the ever-advancing systems of digital archiving that record the aftermath of political revolution and social unrest. To what degree do online platforms edit and purge images over time and leave us with a partial view of history and, more insidiously, an algorithmically curated series of utilitarian images? In detailing the research material and methods that informed the archive's development over time, this volume directs readers to both the original circumstances in 2011's Tahrir Square and, crucially, the precarious future of digital archiving in a post-digital age.

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  • Heba Y. Amin

    Heba Y. Amin

    The General's Stork

    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.

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  • Michael Rakowitz

    Michael Rakowitz

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

    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 project I'm good at love, I'm good at hate, it's in between I freeze (2009–ongoing) charts the historical context and aftermath of a concert that never happened. In 2009 Leonard Cohen was scheduled to perform in Israel. Because of increasing pressure from pro-Palestinian voices to dissuade Cohen from performing in Israel, a twin event in Palestine was organized. Amid protests and claims that the latter concert was a token show of solidarity and a hollow attempt to appease demonstrators, the concert was boycotted and eventually canceled. But the story, as Rakowitz's work demonstrates, did not end there. Conjoining the cultural histories of Palestine and Israel with the ethical dilemmas faced by performers under the conditions of a boycott, this volume, the first in the Research/Practice series, brings to light the research that went into this multifaceted work and plots the future arc of its trajectory.

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  • Larissa Sansour

    Larissa Sansour


    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.

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  • 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).

    Investigating the economic value of one of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's most lucrative exports (namely, poverty), Renzo Martens' provocative film Episode III: Enjoy Poverty (2008) remains a landmark intervention into debates about contemporary art's relationship to exploitative economies. Throughout Critique in Practice, contributors explore the work's legacy and how it relates to the politics of representation, uses of the documentary form, art criticism, the deployment of humanitarian aid, the impact of extractive forms of globalized capital, and the neoliberal politics of decolonization. The unconventional representation of acute immiseration throughout Enjoy Poverty generated far-from-resolved disputes about how deprivation is portrayed within Western mainstream media and throughout global cultural institutions. Using a range of approaches, this volume reconsiders that portrayal and how the film's reception led Martens to found a long-term program, Human Activities.


    Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, Eva Barois De Caevel, Pieter Van Bogaert, Jelle Bouwhuis, JJ Charlesworth, T.J. Demos, Angela Dimitrakaki, Anthony Downey, Charles Esche, 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, Ruben De Roo, ka˛rî'ka˛chä seid'ou, Gregory Sholette, Sanne Sinnige, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Emilia Terracciano, Nato Thompson, Niels Van Tomme, Frank Vande Veire, Eyal Weizman, Vivian Ziherl, and Artur Z˙mijewski.

    • Paperback $30.00
  • 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


  • Institution as Praxis

    Institution as Praxis

    New Curatorial Directions for Collaborative Research

    Carolina Rito and Bill Balaskas

    How creative practices are modifying the ways we think about knowledge production and research in the cultural sector and in academia.

    Institution as Praxis: New Curatorial Directions for Collaborative Research explores new curatorial and artistic practices that contribute to the expansion of institutional, practice-based, and collaborative research methods. Offering an overview of how creative practices are modifying the ways we think about both knowledge production and research in the cultural sector and in academia, this publication outlines new research methodologies and strategies for de-universalizing and de-neutralizing the rigid epistemic schemata of inherited disciplines. Designed as a platform of aesthetic and intellectual exchange, the speculative interface of cultural practices has radically changed the way we consider how research qualities in curatorial and artistic practices have developed. Institution as Praxis aims to identify and advocate for a multiplicity of practices taking place across the cultural sector that not only engage with the quest to deliver cultural activities (e.g. exhibitions, events), but generate new modes of knowledge production and research in the field of visual culture, art, and the curatorial.


    Bill Balaskas, Michael Birchall, Mélanie Bouteloup, Carolina Cerón, Anthony Downey, Pujita Guha and Abhijan Toto for the Forest Curriculum, Joasia Krysa, Vali Mahlouji, Je Yun Moon, Andrea Phillips, Emily Pringle, Carolina Rito, ruangrupa (farid rakun and Leonhard Bartolomeus), Nora Sternfeld, Sian Vaughan

    • Paperback $24.95