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symposium

dimanche 29 septembre 2013

unfixed itineraries

UNFIXED ITINERARIES : Film and Visual Culture from Arab worlds A two-day symposium at the University of California, Santa Cruz

This event, to take place October 25-26, 2013 is comprised of a scholarly symposium that also includes creative art and artists and that intervenes in several dialogues around Arab film and visual culture. Participants will focus on the production and circulation of Arab visual cultures across multiple temporal and spatial boundaries, while rethinking both the form and content of critical visual production. The event includes spaces for experiencing art and for engaging in scholarly, critical debates with cultural producers (rather than just "about" them). Artists and scholars will visit from Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt, France, and the US and the work presented will cover an even wider area of Arab cultural production. Rather than reify the category of “Arab,” however, our goal is to present work from the Arabic-speaking world across a terrain that is at once multifaceted and plural, as our title suggests. Under the sign of "unfixed itineraries," we aim to continually break the sureties that often attach to questions of identity, region, politics, history, religion, or language.

Our participants will avoid the common gesture of immediately fixing Arab visual culture within the realm of the political and historical, as if it were simply symptomatic of larger, super-structural forces. In refusing such reductiveness, our interlocutors will draw out the much more complex itineraries by which Arab visual culture is produced and the multiple trajectories (aesthetic, formal, transnational, multilingual, and political) within which it is made, experienced, pondered, and discussed.

The event will have a core of committed UC faculty from UCSC, UCD, UCLA, as well as a faculty member from San Francisco State. Panels over the three-day period will combine artists, scholars, curators, and archivists in such a way that critical dialogues take shape across and between their modes of work. Planned panels, screenings, and presentations will address some of the following themes and questions :

• Itineraries of influence in film and visual culture from within and across the Middle East, from more predictable colonial encounters (e.g. with France, Britain, Spain) to less-known zones of influence (Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, the Soviet Union) • Theory and history of Arab visual culture in a time of uprisings : the "Arab spring," revolutions, creative and cultural dissent and their long histories. • Questioning "region-ism" (the "Arab or Muslim World", the "MENA (Middle East and North Africa)", the Mediterranean basin, Arab diasporas, etc.) • Itineraries of practice : diasporic artists and intellectuals and the relationship between place of origin, place of work, place of publication and exhibition. • Critical and theoretical itineraries : how we have responded to visual culture from the Arab world, ways in which critical paradigms might be proposed, argued against, rethought etc. • Narrative and non-narrative itineraries : experimentation with form, chronology, history, diegesis. Movement across media (literature, film, video, digital media) • Linguistic itineraries : how creative work, influence, criticism, and scholarship, moves or stalls or is made possible because of linguistic difference, sameness, or mutual opposition (e.g. between formal Arabic, spoken Arabic, francophonie, anglophone contexts, etc.) • Past, present, future itineraries : histories of film and visual culture, future prospects

Contact : Peter Limbrick, Associate Professor, Film and Digital Media limbrick ucsc.edu

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