Translating Destruction: Contemporary Art and War in the Middle East

Translating Destruction: Contemporary Art and War in the Middle East

April 27-28, 2018, Room 6-120
Conference organized by the Aga Khan Program in Islamic Architecture

War ravages countries, cities, communities, and individuals.  Its destructive effects linger in the collective consciousness for generations.  Artists have been at the vanguard of societal responses to war and violence, recording and reflecting on its causes, impacts, meanings, and traumatic consequences and exploring means to deal with them. This symposium will probe the different ways in which contemporary artists are engaging the wars and upheavals afflicting the Middle East today and explore the formal, conceptual, and theoretical dimensions that underpin their work.

Details and program on the AKPIA website, akpia.mit.edu.

Friday, April 27, 2018
Panel 1: 2:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Horace Vernet and the Pitfalls of Painting Empire
Katie Hornstein
Dartmouth College

The Afterlife of Destruction:
A Case of Resilience in Art Making
Ginane Makki Bacho
Artist, Beirut, Lebanon

Drawing on Erasure
Issam Kourbaj
Artist, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Activating the Past & Acting on the Present:Art in the Age of Perpetual Warfare
Pamela Karimi
University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth


Saturday, April 28, 2018
Panel 2: 9:30 AM - 12:15 PM

Wild Relatives
Jumana Manna
Artist, Berlin, Germany

Border Crossings: Artistic Responses to the War on Immigrants
Shiva Balaghi
Berggruen Institute, Los Angeles

The Making of Disruptive Images
Abed Al-Kadiri
Artist, Beirut, Lebanon

Sharing Wounds:
Reconfiguring Trauma through Dissent
Jessica Winegar
Northwestern University


Saturday, April 28, 2018
Panel 2: 2:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Antiquities with Agency: Gods and Kings in Recent Arab Cartoons
Jonathan Guyer
Harvard University

Contemporary Art, Cultural Destruction and the Perils of ‘Cyber Archaeology’
Chad Elias
Dartmouth College

This Botany of Death is What We Call Culture
Hannah Feldman
Northwestern University

Dynamic Preservation: Music, Art, and the Maintenance of Living Meaning
Wendy Shaw
Free University of Berlin, Germany


Translating Destruction: Contemporary Art and War in the Middle East