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  • 1.
    Westmoreland, Mark R.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies, JMK.
    Akram Zaatari: Against Photography: Conversation with Mark Westmoreland2013In: Aperture (Millerton, N.Y.), ISSN 0003-6420, Vol. 210, p. 60-65Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [en]

    Akram Zaatari, a founder of the Arab Image Foundation in Beirut in 1997, has emerged as one of the most prominent commentators on photography of the Middle East. Overseeing AIF’s mission to preserve and study the photographic culture of the region, Zaatari has, as both an artist and a cultural critic, pushed for more experimental approaches to understanding this collection. Through books, installations, and videos, Zaatari’s visual studies provide new ways of seeing and thinking about images. This work parallels his long-term engagement with “the state of image making in situations of war,” highlighted in his book Earth of Endless Secrets (2009). More recently, Akram Zaatari: The Uneasy Subject (2011) explores the way photography and other imaging practices capture vernacular expressions of masculinity and sexuality. The following interview with anthropologist Mark Westmoreland took place last October via email correspondence.

  • 2.
    Westmoreland, Mark R
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
    Making Sense: Affective Research in Postwar Lebanese Art2013In: Critical Arts. A Journal for Cultural Studies, ISSN 0256-0046, E-ISSN 1992-6049, Vol. 27, no 6, p. 717-736Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Based on long-term research with contemporary artists in Lebanon, who utilise documentary practices to advance experimental forms of evidence, this article explores the generative possibilities enabled by crossing disciplinary borders between anthropological and artistic modes of social inquiry. In the wake of an unresolved civil war in the country (1975–1990), a vibrant art movement emerged with a set of critical aesthetics aimed at identifying and working through a postwar crisis of representation. Although typically consigned to artistic engagements with the archive, the work of Jayce Salloum, Walid Raad and Akram Zaatari elucidates a motif of research curiously under-examined. Because they each have systematically grappled with the epistemological and methodological aspects of researching the war, their oeuvres provide a germane triptych for assessing alternative forms of evidence. By closely examining the way their work rethinks the taken-for-granted modes of knowledge production, this article argues that their experimental visual practices poignantly critique the politics of representation, redefine the codes of documentary evidence, and ‘make sense’ of the war on an affective level. Although these artists express antagonism toward traditional anthropology, the article contends that their minority perspectives, research methodologies and practice-based accounts work as alternative ethnographies of Lebanon. Drawing upon recent anthropology, film and art theory, this article demonstrates how disciplinary differences serve as ‘productive irritants’ (Schneider and Wright 2006b) and provides glimpses of different forms of knowledge.

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