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Art and the Foreigner’s Gaze: A Report on Contemporary Arab Representations

While, according to a recent poll, 80% of the British believe that ‘political correctness’ inhibits them from discussing Islam, news programmes in the UK are pregnant with ‘Muslim issues’…

Who hijacked my religion? No, seriously! Who hijacked my religion? I turn on

the TV and see this guy explaining Islam. But he’s talking nonsense. What

religion is this guy talking about?

– Baba Ali 01

Does a land that has great poets have the right to control a land that has no

poets? And is the lack of poetry amongst a people enough reason to justify its

defeat? Is poetry a sign or is it an instrument of power?

Can’t a people be strong without having its own poetry?


A people with no poetry is a defeated people.

– Mahmoud Darwish 02

While, according to a recent poll, 80% of the British believe that ‘political correctness’ inhibits them from discussing Islam, 03 news programmes in the UK (like the rest of the European media and, perhaps to a lesser extent, that of the US) are pregnant with ‘Muslim issues’, from reports on the war in Iraq or the Israel-Palestine conflict to polemics around the wearing of the veil by students or staff in comprehensive schools. Behind the reports and the discussions stands one common assumption: there are a certain set of values and practices, characteristically Muslim, which are incompatible with the typically Western, progressive mode of social organisation. The discussion that followed the publication of cartoons of Prophet Mohammed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005 perfectly lays down the arguments at play. Flemming Rose, its culture editor, defended the commission and publication of the cartoons as simple freedom of expression, ‘in response to several incidents of self-censorship in Europe caused by widening fears and feelings of intimidation in dealing with issues related to Islam.’04This he claims he did not as a ‘fundamentalist’ – as he would not publish dead bodies or pornographic images – but as someone determined to act against a force challenging liberal democracy. Thanks to the publication, he concluded, ‘perhaps we do not need to fight the battle for the Enlightenment all over again in Europe’.

Like liberal democracy, contemporary art is a typically Western product. 05 Both emerged at the turn of the 18th century, when a new model of political organisation – as imagined by the French Revolution – and a new notion of aesthetic experience – as initiated by Kant – offered the possibility of a new world. But while some sectors within liberal democracy have identified Islam – or, indifferently, the Muslims and/or the Arab world – as a threat, the contemporary art context hasn’t paid too much attention to it and, until now, hasn’t been able to incorporate much of its production, with the exception, perhaps, of work made by a few Lebanese artists, as well as others like Shirin Neshat or Ghada Amer whose language and ideas seem tailored for a Western viewer.

Contemporary Arab Representations, a project directed by Catherine David, is one of the first major attempts at presenting contemporary art and other types of cultural production from Arab countries within both a Western and Arab context. The project started as an exhibition, two publications and a series of seminars and conferences that, under the general name of ‘Contemporary Arab Representations. Beirut/Lebanon’, focused on contemporary art and cultural production from Lebanon, specifically, the city of Beirut. 06 The exhibition opened in 2002 at Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona and later travelled to Witte de With in Rotterdam and the BildMuseet in Umeå. It featured photography, film and research-based work by, amongst others, Tony Chakar, Walid Raad, Walid Sadek, Jalal Toufic and Paola Yacoub and Michel Lasserre, offering a set of critical and experimental approaches to cultural production from the city of Beirut and, by extension, Lebanon, twelve years after the official end of the civil war and two years after the Israeli withdrawal in 2000. The exhibition was preceded by a seminar held at UNIA in Seville in October 2001, gathering some of the participants in the show to discuss cohabitation, representation and the relationship between disaster and tradition. 07The publication Tamáss 1. Contemporary Arab Representations. Beirut/Lebanon (2002) later included contributions by some of those authors as well as others, in the form of texts and artist’s projects, with a focus on urbanism, reconstruction and urban renewal. Beirut is a Magnificent City. Synoptic Pictures, a book by Paola Yacoub and Michel Lasserre, followed shortly after.08 The seminars, publications and exhibition reflected a country that if in the past had been seen as a bridge between the East and West – or, as Maxime Rodinson puts it, a shop window09 – it had considerably changed after fifteen years of civil war and the lengthy Israeli and Syrian occupations. However, Lebanon’s Western heritage, its complex national identity and its active cultural scene after the war made it the perfect choice for a project dealing with contemporary artistic and cultural production.

Several of the works included in the exhibition and publications dealt with urban regeneration in Beirut, addressing the confluence of private interests in the urban renewal process undertaken in the city centre. There also was an overriding interest in truth and fabrication, from Elias Khoury and Rabih Mroué’s study of the rehearsal of martyrdom manifestos (Three Posters, 2000) to Walid Raad’s investigation of recent political history through his fictional Atlas Group archive. At Witte de With, a green mural displaying the title in English and Arabic (not Dutch) welcomed the visitors, with the names of artists and other authors underneath it. Inside the galleries, there was little object-based work; a profusion of benches, screens and headphones dominated the space. The installation was clearly designed to look functional and accessible – something stressed by the visual documentation of the exhibition, as almost all of the photographs show people looking at works, reading texts, watching films or browsing through documentation.

The exhibition format was decidedly discursive. Writing was present not only on the walls or screens, but also as soundtracks to the many films and videos included. Reading sections and computer screens shared the space with video projections in a situation of equality. Contemporary Arab Representation’s presence in Francesco Bonami’s ‘Dreams and Conflicts: The Dictatorship of the Viewer’ at the 2003 Venice Biennale replicated this format. In two consecutive rooms within the Arsenale, David set up a reading space, followed by a series of large-scale projection screens – installed in two rows facing the viewer – showing film and video work from ‘CAR. Beirut/Lebanon’. The installation not only communicated to the viewer an imperative to research (read, listen, talk) in order to be able to access what was to come; it also suggested that, even with the help of printed matter, the works might still remain inaccessible, leaving the viewer no choice other than circumventing them. This laying bare of the viewing conditions of the Arsenale and the culture of spectatorship characteristic of such an environment may have been a self-defeating exercise (it is hard to imagine anyone actually looking at the work in full in that context), but its stubbornness felt refreshing within the general lack of engagement that characterised the curatorial premise of ‘Dreams and Conflicts’.

The Biennale show underlined the relative importance of the exhibition form in the framework of Contemporary Arab Representations. Within it, the exhibition is used as an instance of crystallisation of the project, but just one, and probably not more important than the others. It is necessary to the extent that several of the institutions involved need it to complete a programme, and it serves as a way to create a nodal point which is the occasion for other elements to happen – the production of works for it, the organisation of seminars around it, the publication of books or articles after it, the publicising of the project through it or the establishing of collaborative relations for, during and after it. As a consequence the project offers a new ‘exhibition’ model that is relatively independent from the institutions involved, and whose audience is no longer composed mainly of people who visit contemporary art institutions, but a series of more-or-less-involved participants in seminars, spectators of performances, and viewers and readers of first- or second-hand material. Tamáss, which is published in English, Spanish and Arabic, is key in this respect. Despite being ‘attached’ to the exhibition project, its independent vocation makes it a platform on its own, one that can reach audiences the average art institutions can only imagine.

The emphasis on discourse doesn’t imply a functional inclusion of artworks or other visual or cultural manifestations. Paintings, poems, films and photographs, whether in the publications or the exhibition, were allowed their own space, equal in value to the one given to textual practice. The discursive element was a direct consequence of the objectives Catherine David set for the overall project. In the opening text of Tamáss 1, she described it as:

a long-term project which includes seminars, presentations of works by

different authors – visual artists, architects, writers and poets –

performances and publications, with the aim of encouraging production,

circulation and exchange between the different cultural centres of the Arab

world and the rest of the world. The project thus aims to tackle heterogeneous

situations and contexts which may sometimes be antagonistic or conflictive,

to acquire more specific knowledge of what is going on in certain parts of

the Arab world at present, to look at the complex dimensions of aesthetics in

relation to social and political situations, and to help to think more deeply

about the role played today by cultural practices in our own countries. 10

The remit was, then, double: the production and presentation of art and cultural production of Arab origin within an Arab context as well as outside of it, and an exercise in self-reflection on the wider role of cultural practices. This was to be done through a diversity of means, paying attention to detail, recognising the existence of ‘conflict’, and with the objective of producing a ‘knowledge’ of the context. The unusual frankness of this programmatic statement is echoed by the descriptive title: no ‘Africa Remix’ or ‘Uncertain States of America’ – to name a few recent high-profile international shows with a geographical remit – but ‘Contemporary Arab Representations’.

Art vs. Representation

The apparent simplicity of the title is, however, just that: apparent. The fact that the word ‘art’ appears nowhere in the title or the subtitles, even though a majority of the participating institutions and authors specialise in contemporary art practice, is a strategic choice. It is a way of avoiding the semantic network the term ‘art’ implies, including notions such as avant-garde, modern, market, museum and, ultimately, progress conceived within a linear historicity and the consequent hierarchy between different cultural contexts. In a word, the avoidance of the term ‘art’ is an attempt to escape the particularities of a Western perspective, a shot at discussing contemporary (artistic) production within a different set of discursive tropes. Interestingly, David’s strategy here formally echoes the claim by certain Islamic movements to an alternative universality in the face of the European or dominant Western figure, which is, necessarily, exclusive. Denouncing the particularity of Western universalism does not imply that there is no universality – as a comment of the type ‘Human Rights are a Western invention’ would seem to imply. It suggests that the way the West addresses Islam often involves, as Étienne Balibar says, ‘an appropriation of the universal, a monopoly of the interpretation that western powers assume for themselves’. 11

If that is the case, ideological conflict within a world context does not adopt the form of a conflict between one universalism and several particularisms, but ‘the scene of conflicts between ficticious universalities, antagonistic claims to universality, and conflicts within universality itself’. When ‘art’ is substituted by ‘representation’, this dynamics of universality doesn’t imply that the ‘representations’ expose ‘art’ as a mere product of a class and context (as a sociological analysis like Pierre Bourdieu’s points out); on the contrary, instead of reducing different modes of artistic production to their conditions of emergence, it opens up the door for them to stake their claims in their own, different ways.

However, if the elimination of the word ‘art’ clears the field of a set of problems, the word that David chose instead – ‘representations’ – as well the one that accompanies it – ‘Arab’ – introduces new ones.

The term ‘representation’ is obviously not circumscribed to a cultural realm. It traditionally relates to epistemological considerations of truth as adequation – or, at least, it implies questions about the fairness of the representation. Furthermore, when the objects of that representation are human beings, a political dimension comes into play. When ‘representation’ appears together with ‘Arab’, misrepresentation is an inevitable consideration. The West’s relation to the Arab world, currently and historically, combines ignorance with a ‘will to knowledge’ (in a Foucauldian sense, as a desire to acquire an immediate knowledge of social relations with a regulatory goal). This, according to Balibar, are the two main mechanisms of racism.12Following the lines of Samuel P. Huntington’s ‘clash of civilisations’, this is not a racism based on biological factors but a ‘differential racism’, one grounded on the irreducibility of cultural differences; it is ‘a racism that, at first sight, doesn’t postulate the superiority of certain groups or people in relation to others, but “just” the harmful consequences of erasing borders, the incompatibility of types of life and traditions.’ 13 While anti-Semitism is the classic example of differential racism, the notion can be applied to the current view of Islam as a religion and culture incompatible with European and Western values.

Contemporary Arab Representations, as David’s reference to ‘knowledge’ reveals, intends to act upon this context by addressing that ignorance and contributing to the production of something closer to a fair representation. But in a political context that representation cannot be done from the outside: the local cultural agents are to be responsible for their own image. The stress on self-representation is an essential part of May ’68, from Jean-Paul Sartre (‘We want the actors of an event to be those whom we consult, we want them to be the ones to speak’) to Michel Foucault (with his ‘chronicle of workers’ memory’ or the ‘life of infamous men’) and Libération(‘Information comes from the people and returns to the people’). 14 It is also the impulse around which, more than a century earlier, workers’ movements originated, as Jacques Rancière argues in The Nights of Labour (1981). The representation imposed by the dominant gaze, coming from the outside, ‘doesn’t only justify the power of the dominant class, it constitutes the dominated class as such.’ 15The working class is produced by a decision of the masters, and kept in its place by a perspective that, ‘in the materiality of its work, the vulgarity of its pleasures, the emptiness of its thought and its condemned flesh, sees the marks of its belonging to an inferior race’. In order to change their situation, a modification of the material conditions is not enough; it is also necessary to create conflicting representations. To some extent, the latter comes first.

The articulation of self-expression, within Contemporary Arab Representations, is done in three levels: individual (the invited authors), regional/national (through the focus on a geographical area) and cultural (through the generic title ‘Arab’). In an Arab context, the relationship between the last two presents specific problems. The essence of a nation, as Ernest Renan said, ‘is that all the individuals have lots of things in common, and also that all of them have forgotten many things’.16 But, more deeply, the Arab Awakening, the term used by Arab intellectuals to describe the process of ‘modernisation’ at the end of the 19th century, was not the result of a spontaneous awareness, but of the challenge that the West represented in social, political, economic and psychological terms.

This implies that nations are, as reads the title of Benedict Anderson’s 1983 book, ‘imagined communities’ in which individual existence is ingrained in a collective narrative, under a common name and with the background of traditions lived as the trace of an immemorial past. In the case of the Arab countries, the history of these narratives, as well as the institutions that effect them and the physical territories where they are established, has too often been conditioned by the West. To begin with, ‘every political boundary in the Arab world has been directly or indirectly drawn by western interests’.17 But, more deeply, the Arab awakening, the termed by Arab intellectuals to describe the process of  ‘modernisation’ at the end of the 19th century, was not the result of a spontaneous awareness, but of the challenge that West represented in social, political, economic and psychological terms.18

Arab nationalism owes its inception not to the revivalism that Islamic reformist movements proposed in the late-19th century, but to the Christian, non-religious definition of Arab society and its cultural traditions. 19 The secularisation effort of Christian intellectuals, in its attempt to rationalise Islamic history and define Christian Arabs’ relation to it, resulted in the earliest concrete distinction between Arab and Muslim. As a consequence, a notion of love of the fatherland appeared beside the religious bond. Arab nationalism’s rationalising effort wasn’t anti-Muslim or pro-European: it was born as a response to the domination of both the Ottoman empire and the European powers, while the principal contradiction for most Arab nationalists was with Europe. 20 From then on, Arabism became the common name under which an imaginary community was created in the region. As Frantz Fanon points out, cultural experience is from then on not circumscribed to a country, but becomes Arab. The perceived problem is not how to build a national culture or take control over the destiny of the nation, but how ‘to assume an Arab or African culture in the face of the global condemnation effected by the dominant power’. 21

Secularisation was only partial, however, and Islam remains a strong factor of social cohesion. To some extent, this is an effect of Arabism’s ‘diffuse ethnic consciousness’ and the consideration of Islam as a value of national or cultural identification – something not dissimilar from the recent attempts to introduce a mention of the shared Christian heritage in the European Constitution. 22 The idea of Islamism implied a ‘step backward’, but as a nostalgia for an ideal that could be established in Muslim terms, a political appeal, a positive call for action against the external – Western – aggressive forces. The choice of ‘Arab’ as a generic title for a project of cultural representations is, therefore, obliged to deal with this history, the term’s ethnic acception (though a diffuse one), its status as a form of political and ideological resistance, its Christian origins, its intimate connection to Islam and its complex relation to nationalism (considerably affected by the Arab-Israeli war of 1967). Despite this, it seems a better choice than ‘Islamism’, a term that Susan Buck-Morss proposes in her recent book Thinking Past Terror: Islamism and Critical Theory on the Left (2006) as a discursive position from which to enact a critique of (Western) modernity. Because of its religious genealogy, ‘Islamism’ conditions the types of phenomena that can originate within it, while the generic ‘Arab’ provides a loose framework from which to construct individual or collective positions (be they ethnic, geographical, cultural or political). While the first ultimately defines what is possible within it, the second refuses to decide beforehand.


The second chapter of Contemporary Arab Representations, ‘CAR. Cairo’ took place in 2003, with another exhibition,23 two more publications – Tamáss 2. Contemporary Arab Representations. Cairo and Randa Shaath’s Under the Same Sky: Cairo 24 – and a seminar. 25 In contrast to ‘CAR. Beirut/Lebanon’, ‘CAR. Cairo’ had a much more orthodox exhibition format: photographs and drawings were lined up on the gallery walls; more drawings were displayed on table/vitrines; and several short films were shown on a (considerably smaller) number of monitors. This was determined by the more conventional form of the works themselves, possibly a consequence of what David identified in the accompanying literature as a lack of structures within the country’s artistic scene (of training, information, distribution and debate). As artists based in Egypt hadn’t been exposed to international contemporary-art production to the same extent as Lebanese artists, the techniques they used were mostly ‘traditional’ (i.e. photography, painting and drawing). However, this characterisation doesn’t involve a value judgement or a hierarchy – what matters is not the contemporaneity of the work in relation to an international or technical standard, but the relation between a language, a content and a context. As in the Lebanese exhibition, discussions of urban structures and their effect on populations featured prominently, but this time, instead of issues of truth and fabrication, representation came to the fore – perhaps because, in contrast to Lebanon, political and geographical identity is not an issue in contemporary Egypt. The focus of the work was on the depiction of Egyptian realities, as in Golo’s graphic stories, Anna Boghiguian’s drawings of populated urban scenes and Randa Shaath’s black-and-white photographs of urban landscapes, cultural figures or life on the banks of the Nile.

The important role of photography as a cultural form within Arab countries was also punctuated by the inclusion of a large number of pictures from the Arab Image Foundation within the third and, for the moment, last chapter of Contemporary Arab Representations, ‘CAR. The Iraqi Equation’ – which opened as an exhibition in 2006 26 preceded by two seminars in Seville,27and will be followed by a third issue of Tamáss in 2007. A non-profit organisation set up in Lebanon in 1996, the foundation’s role is to promote photography within the Middle East and North Africa by locating, collecting and preserving photographs made in the region or taken by local amateur or professional photographers. Here again, the selection is not based on artistic criteria, but on a mixture of aesthetic, historical and cultural considerations. In ‘The Iraqi Equation’ images of Iraq from the 1930s to the 1970s were projected onto several suspended screens, showing portraits, images of leisure scenes and archaeological and urban landscapes.

However, that was the only apparent continuity between both exhibitions, because with ‘The Iraqi Equation’ both the focus of the show and the type of work exhibited changed dramatically. David’s inability to undertake actual research in a war zone resulted in an exhibition with barely any art (only four artists: Samir, Nedim Kufi, Faisel Laibi and Talal Refit) and a large number of television monitors and projections, books and computer screens. At Fundació Tàpies, a number of small rooms were built within the exhibition space to show films such as The Baghdad Blogger (2004), Voting Amidst Violence (2005) and Three Years On (2006) by blogger Salam Pax, 16 Hours in Baghdad On Democracy in Iraq (2003) by Hana al-Bayaty. More monitors scattered around the exhibition space showed films on Iraqi cultural figures, and several computers granted access to a selection of websites and blogs, as well as recordings of discussions on Iraqi literature and culture.28 The amount of information available was enough to take up days, but, somehow, the impression was never one of overload – just of lack of time.

(2004) by Tariq Hashim, and

Art , Intervention and Knowledge Production

‘CAR. The Iraqi Equation’ was the exhibition that perhaps best reflected David’s aim to produce and disseminate knowledge of a concrete cultural and political situation: most of the material collected in the show offered a direct representation of Iraqi history or present that was in conflict with dominant views. With its focus on knowledge production it followed the lines of the seminar ‘CAR. Critical Discourses and Political Thinking’ at Arteleku, San Sebastián in June 2004, which, under the direction of Gema Martín Muñoz, discussed the political history of the Arab region and the role of Islam within it, as well as its relation to the West after September 11. This impulse must be understood within the interventionist character of the project as a whole: rather than offering a general overview of the cultural scene from the featured regions, or an opportunity for local artists to present their work elsewhere, Contemporary Arab Representations aims to assist in the consolidation of a cultural situation by addressing misrepresentations, establishing collaborations and setting up new contexts. This goal is directly opposed to the presentation of an artistic or cultural reality through discreet examples – as exhibitions such as ‘Africa Remix’, ‘Uncertain States of America’ and many of their kind do, practising a sort of hijacking of the cultural scene on which they focus. Consequently, measuring the success of the project can only be done in the medium or long term. But here is also where the other goal of Contemporary Arab Representations – the reflection on the role of cultural or aesthetic production within a political context – comes to the fore. As Mahmoud Darwish says, ‘a people with no poetry is a defeated people’. The development of artistic, cultural forms in a concrete situation is essential to the articulation of how people (the artist, the viewer) relate to that situation, and can perhaps create the conditions for a possibility of change. It is not that the role of those cultural forms is to effect the change, but that their ability to imagine is intimately connected to the possibility of change itself. In the case of Iraq, however, the situation was perhaps too extreme to allow for much more than socio-political analysis and a reflection on how different things were in the past.

Some aspects of ‘CAR. The Iraqi Equation’ resemble Chris Gilbert’s ‘Now-Time Venezuela’, a recent series of exhibitions expressing solidarity with Hugo Chávez’s Bolivarian revolution.29Gilbert intended to express support for a political process through the direct display of some of its mechanisms and effects at the Berkeley Art Museum, a cultural institution in a faraway land. But by opting for a direct representation of a political process, he failed to take advantage of the conditions that the institution and the more-general discourses of art and culture provide. David’s Contemporary Arab Representations differs not only in her reluctance to establish alliances with singular political positions, but also in her focus: when the situation allowed it, she didn’t explore the mechanisms of a political process or how change is enacted by cultural forms, but how art can propose a reorganisation of the way we look at the world. What art, when freed from a narrative of progress, can do is open the doors to situations that reveal a different system of organisation, a different way of dealing with things. This doesn’t need to be abstract, as is shown by works as diverse as the ones included in the project, or others from a similar context – such as Michel Khleifi and Eyal Sivan’s Route 181: Fragments of a Journey in Palestine-Israel (2004) – or a completely different one – such as Pedro Costa’s Vanda’s Room (2000). A project like Contemporary Arab Representations offers a platform in which this can happen, by proposing a set of images that take their viewer (Arab or not) to places where he/she no longer knows where he/ she is. But if that is the case, what self-representation means in this context must be readdressed. There is a gap between what an artist from Cairo is expected to produce and what an artist from Cairo actually produces. This doesn’t suggest that art production is completely independent from its context (such defence of absolute artistic autonomy would be a curious conclusion for a text that dedicates a large section to an exposition of context); it proposes that art is not a direct expression of a place and moment or a culture – as Vico thought of Homer in relation to Ancient Greece – or a direct consequence of a social (i.e. class) structure. No sociological, political, biographical, historical or even cultural account is able to exhaust a work of art, as, if what is possible is already decided from the beginning, little could things change. In that sense, the self-representation that the artist offers is similar to that of a foreigner: not really a knowledge, in the strong sense of the word, but something closer to a fiction that is in conflict with the dominant representation. This reveals a tension between the goals that David set for her project and her insistence on the production of knowledge. Presenting the work of an artist or author as knowledge strips it from its ability to effect the displacement that is typical of the art form. With ‘The Iraqi Equation’, the necessary focus on knowledge resulted in a more coherent presentation than the previous chapters, but at the same time, by muting part of the work’s strangeness with a large amount of information, it did away with the precarious (and productive) articulation of culture and socio-political reality that could be found in ‘Beirut/Lebanon’ and ‘Cairo’. It offered a remarkable amount of knowledge about Iraq, and, perhaps, a parallel reflection on how artistic and cultural production actually relates to it – but there wasn’t much art to be seen attempting to do so. Somehow, in the urgency of the situation, it forgot that ‘it is the foreigner’s gaze that puts us in touch with the truth of a world’ – not a tourist’s gaze, but a gaze that is able to imagine what is, and also what is not. 30

— Pablo Lafuente


  • Ali speaking in his own Who Hijacked Islam??!, 2006, (last accessed 20 February 2007).
  • Darwish speaking in Jean-Luc Godard, Notre musique, 2004.
  • See Mukul Devichan, ‘Telling Muslim Tales’, (last accessed 20 February 2007)
  • (last accessed 20 February 2007).
  • This statement and the elaboration that follows echo the historical genealogy that Jacques Rancière has presented in several of his books, including Le Partage du sensible, Paris: La Fabrique, 2000.
  • Organised by Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, in association with Witte de With, Rotterdam (where David was director at the time), the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía (UNIA), Seville, Arteleku, San Sebastián and Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart.
  • See (last accessed 17 February 2007).
  • Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 2003.
  • ‘…a double shop window. The Arabs who cannot go further come to admire in Beirut the marvels of capitalist economy. The westerners discover with rapture a special, seducing, reassuring, quiet Arabism.’ Maxime Rodinson, ‘Le Liban et l’arabisme’, Marxisme et monde musulman, Paris: Seuil, 1972, p.666.
  • Catherine David, ‘Presentation’, Tamáss 1. Contemporary Arab Representations. Beirut/Lebanon, Barcelona, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 2002, p.10. Also available at (last accessed 17 February 2007). ‘Our own countries’ was substituted by ‘in our own locations, under our own circumstances’ for ‘CAR. Cairo’.The change addresses the apparent initial suggestion that CAR is to be considered from an exclusively nationalistic and, perhaps western perspective. See php3?id_ rubrique=513.
  • Étienne Balibar, ‘Algérie, France: une ou deux nations?’ (1995), Droit de cité, Paris: Quadrige/PUF, 2002, p.85. All French references in this text are translated by the author.
  • See É. Balibar, ‘Y a-t-il un “néo-racisme”?’ (1988), in É. Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein, Race, nation, classe. Les identities ambiguës, Paris: La Découverte, 1997, p.30.
  • Ibid., p.33. Balibar borrows this term from Pierre-André Taguieff.
  • All quoted in Kristin Ross, May ’68 and Its Afterlives, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2002, p.115.
  • Jacques Rancière, La Nuit des prolétaires. Archives du rêve ouvrier, Paris: Librairie Anthème Fayard/Hachette Littératures, 1981, p.270.
  • Ernest Renan, ‘Qu’est-ce qu’une nation?’, quoted in Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London and New York: Verso, 2006, p.6.
  • Hisham Sharabi, Arab Intellectuals and the West: The Formative Years, 1875-1914, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1970, p.134.
  • See Ibid., p.ix.
  • See Ibid., pp.63-64.
  • See Maxime Rodinson, ‘Nature et fonction des mythes dans les mouvements socio-politiques d’après deux exemples comparés: communisme marxiste et nationalisme arabe’, Marxisme et monde musulman, op. cit., p.257.
  • Frantz Fanon, Les Damnés de la terre, Paris: La Découverte, 2002, p.204.
  • M. Rodison, ‘Développement et structure de l’arabisme’, Marxisme et monde musulman, op. cit., p.587.
  • This time without Akademie Schloss Solitude as partner and with Centro José Guerrero in Granada as an additional venue.
  • Both Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 2004 and 2003 respectively.
  • ‘CAR. Cairo’, UNIA, April 2004.
  • Witte de With, of which David is no longer director, wasn’t a partner this time. Kunst-Werke, Berlin, occupied its place.
  • ‘Contemporary Arab Representations. The Iraqi Equation’, UNIA, November 2005 and June 2006.
  • A list of links is available at (last accessed 17 February 2007).
  • See Chris Gilbert, ‘Statement on Resigning, 21 May 2006’, (last accessed 17 February 2007).
  • J. Rancière, Short Voyages to the Land of the People, Stanford: Stanford University Press, p.125.