- Fellowship Dates 2015-2015
- Research Topic Analog Constellations, Digital Assemblages: Egyptian Video Art and the Experience of Modernity
- Fellow or Grant Type Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
- Affiliation Pre-doctoral candidate University of Florida
This study examines ten internationally active Egyptian artists who use video to register the historical, cultural and political shifts of modern Egypt. It argues that many artists who came of age during Mubarak’s presidency took up video to explore the forces that shaped modern Egypt and that video became a privileged medium as artists of this generation mobilized to engage urgent themes, such as Cairo’s rampant urban sprawl, Egypt’s Pharaonic and Islamic history and the impact of colonialism and globalization. The research examines the inherent relationships between contemporary Egyptian artists, their art, and art infrastructures in Egypt and elsewhere in the world. It approaches the work of art as a complex constellation of artistic disposition, institutional history, national identity, technological innovation and modes of reception. It parallels the history of Egyptian video art to similar developments throughout the African continent as contemporary African artists search for ways to extend their careers beyond their countries of origin. Wael Shawky, an artist who spent his early career in numerous international residency programs, exemplifies the widespread use of video by Egyptian artists. He exploits video’s easy accessibility and malleable exhibition formats to analyze his experience as an Egyptian living in a global diasporic community. Thirty Days Running in Place features video artist Ahmed Basiony, who garnered international attention and posthumous political significance at the 2011 Venice Biennial, monitoring his body with bio-feedback technology while jogging in a translucent, plastic cube. The video came to represent the popular frustration and new media activism of the Egyptian Arab Spring. Through an analysis of these and other works produced after 2000, this research explores the social and economic changes wrought by Cairo’s rapid expansion and situates these factors within the broad period of dramatic political and artistic transformation unfolding in Egypt at a time when the aesthetic and professional aims of a group of video artists coincides with the goals of a number of Egyptian art organizations.