Kareem Estefan, Carin Kuoni, Laura Raicovich (eds.): Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production (2017)

27 September 2020, dusan

“Boycott and divestment are essential tools for activists around the globe. Today’s organizers target museums, universities, corporations, and governments to curtail unethical sources of profit, discriminatory practices, or human rights violations. They leverage cultural production – and challenge its institutional supports – helping transform situations in the name of social justice.

The refusal to participate in an oppressive system has long been one of the most powerful weapons in the organizer’s arsenal. Since the days of the 19th century Irish land wars, when Irish tenant farmers defied the actions of Captain Charles Boycott and English landlords, “boycott” has been a method that’s shown its effectiveness time and again. In the 20th century, it notably played central roles in the liberation of India and South Africa and the struggle for civil rights in the U.S.: the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott is generally seen as a turning point in the movement against segregation.

Assuming Boycott is the essential reader for today’s creative leaders and cultural practitioners, including original contributions by artists, scholars, activists, critics, curators and writers who examine the historical precedent of South Africa; the current cultural boycott of Israel; freedom of speech and self-censorship; and long-distance activism. Far from withdrawal or cynicism, boycott emerges as a productive tool of creative and productive engagement.

Including essays by Nasser Abourahme, Ariella Azoulay, Tania Bruguera, Noura Erakat, Kareem Estefan, Mariam Ghani with Haig Aivazian, Nathan Gray and Ahmet Öğüt, Chelsea Haines, Sean Jacobs, Yazan Khalili, Carin Kuoni and Laura Raicovich, Svetlana Mintcheva, Naeem Mohaiemen, Hlonipha Mokoena, John Peffer, Joshua Simon, Ann Laura Stoler, Radhika Subramaniam, Eyal Weizman and Kareem Estefan, and Frank B. Wilderson III.”

Publisher OR Books, New York, 2017
ISBN 9781944869434, 1944869433
276 pages

Reviews: Rebecca Wolff (H-AMCA, 2018), Kim Jensen (Mondoweiss, 2017), Marguerite Dabaie (Electronic Intifada, 2017), Robert Bryan (Tribes, 2017).

Series of seminars (Vera List Center, 2015, with videos)
Book launch (New School, 2017, with video)

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Ariella Aïsha Azoulay: Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism (2019)

22 November 2019, dusan

“A passionately urgent call for all of us to unlearn imperialism and repair the violent world we share

In this theoretical tour-de-force, renowned scholar Ariella Aïsha Azoulay calls on us to recognize the imperial foundations of knowledge and to refuse its strictures and its many violences.

Azoulay argues that the institutions that make our world, from archives and museums to ideas of sovereignty and human rights to history itself, are all dependent on imperial modes of thinking. Imperialism has segmented populations into differentially governed groups, continually emphasized the possibility of progress while it tries to destroy what came before, and voraciously seeks out the new by sealing the past away in dusty archival boxes and the glass vitrines of museums.

By practicing what she calls potential history, Azoulay argues that we can still refuse the original imperial violence that shattered communities, lives, and worlds, from native peoples in the Americas at the moment of conquest to the Congo ruled by Belgium’s brutal King Léopold II, from dispossessed Palestinians in 1948 to displaced refugees in our own day. In Potential History, Azoulay travels alongside historical companions—an old Palestinian man who refused to leave his village in 1948, an anonymous woman in war-ravaged Berlin, looted objects and documents torn from their worlds and now housed in archives and museums—to chart the ways imperialism has sought to order time, space, and politics.

Rather than looking for a new future, Azoulay calls upon us to rewind history and unlearn our imperial rights, to continue to refuse imperial violence by making present what was invented as ‘past’ and making the repair of torn worlds the substance of politics.”

Publisher Verso Books, London, 2019
ISBN 9781788735711, 1788735714
656 pages

Interviews with author: Jadaliyya (2019), Brad Evans (LA Review of Books, 2020), Sabrina Alli (Guernica, 2020).

Reviews: Ian Wallace (Artforum, 2020), Guy Mannes-Abbott (Third Text, 2020), Louis Rogers (review31, 2020), Stephen Sheehi (Hyperallergic, 2020), Luke Urbain (InVisible Culture, 2020), Lunettes Rouges (Le Monde blog, 2020, FR, part 2).

Roundtable: Gil Hochberg, Zoé Samudzi, Joshua Simon, Robert Yerachmiel Sniderman (Protocols, 2020).

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Eyal Weizman: Forensic Architecture: Violence at the Threshold of Detectability (2017)

6 December 2018, dusan

“In recent years, a little-known research group named Forensic Architecture began using novel research methods to undertake a series of investigations into human rights abuses. Today, the group provides crucial evidence for international courts and works with a wide range of activist groups, NGOs, Amnesty International, and the UN.

Beyond shedding new light on human rights violations and state crimes across the globe, Forensic Architecture has also created a new form of investigative practice that bears its name. The group uses architecture as an optical device to investigate armed conflicts and environmental destruction, as well as to cross-reference a variety of evidence sources, such as new media, remote sensing, material analysis, witness testimony, and crowd-sourcing.

In Forensic Architecture, Eyal Weizman, the group’s founder, provides, for the first time, an in-depth introduction to the history, practice, assumptions, potentials, and double binds of this practice. The book includes an extensive array of images, maps, and detailed documentation that records the intricate work the group has performed.

Included in this volume are case studies that traverse multiple scales and durations, ranging from the analysis of the shrapnel fragments in a room struck by drones in Pakistan, the reconstruction of a contested shooting in the West Bank, the architectural recreation of a secret Syrian detention center from the memory of its survivors, a blow-by-blow account of a day-long battle in Gaza, and an investigation of environmental violence and climate change in the Guatemalan highlands and elsewhere.

Weizman’s Forensic Architecture, stunning and shocking in its critical narrative, powerful images, and daring investigations, presents a new form of public truth, technologically, architecturally, and aesthetically produced. Their practice calls for a transformative politics in which architecture as a field of knowledge and a mode of interpretation exposes and confronts ever-new forms of state violence and secrecy.”

Publisher Zone Books, New York, 2017
ISBN 9781935408864, 1935408860
355 pages

Reviews: Regine Debatty (We Make Money Not Art, 2017), Adam Rothstein (New Scientist, 2017), Sława Harasymowicz (Journal of Visual Culture, 2017), David Huber (Artforum, 2017), Joseph Confavreux (Mediapart, 2017, FR), Felix Bazalgette (New York Review of Books, 2018), Martina Tazzioli (Radical Philosophy, 2018), Noah Chasin (Springerin, 2018), Bernard Hay (Review 31, 2018), Anna Altman (n+1, 2018), Viktoriya Yeretska (BauNetz, 2017, DE), Erick Villagomez (Spacing, 2017), Andreas Petrossiants (Brooklyn Rail, 2018).

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