Abounaddara. The Right to the Image (Day 2 of 3)

Friday 23 October, 2015
11am - 6pm, $0

New School, Lang Community Center
55 West 13 Street, Floor Two

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Around the world new critical practices of image production, scholarship, artmaking, activism, and legal action are evolving to combat political and humanitarian crises. To dissect these practices, this conference is grounded in the work of the anonymous filmmaking collective Abounaddara who has released one film each week since the start of the Syrian revolution, presenting all sides of the conflict to global audiences in an "emergency cinema" that includes over 300 films to date. Collectively Abounaddara's films seek to establish the right to the image as a recognized human right. Each panel addresses one aspect of Abounaddara's practice through diverse contexts to see how it is enacted in other global socio-political situations and to build an analysis of methods of worldwide. 

The three panels on October 23 reflect Abounaddara's filmmaking tactics and also mirror the three thematic shifts in the concurrent exhibition of their work at the Aronson Galleries, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons School for Design. Every week, the exhibition will focus on a different strategy and feature a different selection of approximately 30 films. These central tactics are: portraiture and participation, subverting images, and open-endedness as tactic. The two panels on October 24 shift to the deeper implications underlying Abounaddara's work first through a discussion of organizing in the contemporary world and concluding with an evaluation of their core campaign of the right to the image for all, proposed as an amendment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Each panel opens with a brief section of related Abounaddara's films, selected by the filmmakers.

Abounaddara. The Right to the Image conference launches The New School's public recognition of Abounddara as the recipients of the second Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics in conjunction with an exhibition, a film series, integration into classes across the university, and an upcoming publication.

DAY 2 – Friday, October 23
Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor

Panel I: Portraiture and Participation
11am – 1pm
This inaugural panel offers an introduction to Abounaddara and their work. Film is a natural medium to depict a portrait - whether of a place, a person, a historic moment. Many of Abounddara's films present intimate portraits of individual Syrian's from all sides of the conflict telling their stories on film. Deeply rooted in histories of art and filmmaking alike, this method of portraiture complicates our fragmented understanding of what is happening in Syria.

Abounaddara Films 
In the name of the father
The Unknown Soldier (part 3)

Charif Kiwan, member and spokesperson, Abounaddara
Lisa Wedeen, Mary R. Morton Professor of Political Science and the College and the Co-Director of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory at the University of Chicago
Peter Lucas, Assistant Professor, Graduate Program of International Affairs, The New School, moderator

Panel II: Subverting Images
2 – 4 pm
Appropriating and recontextualizing images is a key tactic in Abounaddara's work. Subverting film and video to layer deeper meaning within a complex political reality is a method with ties to creators across the world. 

Abounaddara Films 
Kill Them

Peggy Ahwesh, filmmaker, Professor of Film and Electronic Arts, Bard College
Kader Attia, artist
David Levi Strauss, writer/critic, Chair, Graduate Program in Art Writing, School of Visual Arts, New York
Christiane Paul, Associate Professor of Media Studies, The New School, moderator
Panel III: Open-endedness as Tactic
4 – 6 pm
Representations of narratives and histories without closure leave space for audience interpretation and engagement. Abounaddara enacts open-endedness as a tactic in their filmmaking, engaging not only global audiences but also methods of sustaining local networks from far to support people living in challenging political environments to remain in their homeland. In this way open ended art has political potential for processes of reconciliation. 
Abounaddara Films 
The Syrian Street
All the Syria's Futures
Moustafa Bayoumi, Professor of English, Brooklyn College, City University of New York
Ruba Katrib, Curator, SculptureCenter, New York
Aleksandra Wagner, Assistant Professor of Sociology, The New School, moderator
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