Organized by Middle Eastern Studies, Bard College, with the Human Rights Project and Center for Curatorial Studies.
Artist Ibrahim Zayer shot himself in 1972, following the opening of a three-artist exhibition in Beirut. The reporting on this historical account overlooks the relationship between the timing of the exhibition and the artist’s act; it has always centered on the artist’s political and emotional life. His friend later wrote that the ‘shock factor’ resulted from Zayer’s choice of timing—apparently, he had talked about taking his own life since 1969. He moved from Baghdad to Beirut to join the PFLP in 1969. He wrote and illustrated for its magazine Al Hadaf (The Target). The cover of the sixth issue of Al Hadaf, published in 1969, depicts two militants jumping into the void. The duo appears as a two-headed, four-legged, multi-angled figure. The form of the two synched bodies signify their collaboration in combat. Photographs of sportsmen attempting to jump over the Berlin Wall in 1974 suggest a similar performance. In these isolated yet related incidents, particular bodies are forced in or out of a collective. These bodies are physical, minimal, choreographed—and driven by politics. This presentation is on the forms the body takes when supporting other bodies in a political project, in relation to the Arab world’s history of insurgency and collective struggle.
Ala Younis Biography
Ala Younis is an artist with research, curatorial, film, and publishing projects. Younis’s projects are expanded experiences of relating to materials from distant times and places; working against archives play on predilections and how its lacunas and mishaps manipulate imagination. She is a member of the Advisory Board of Berlinale’s Forum Expanded the Akademie der Künste der Welt in Cologne. She co-founded Kayfa ta, a non-profit publishing initiative that publishes in book and exhibition formats. Younis’s projects include Nefertiti, Tin Soldiers, An Index of Tensional and Unintentional Love of Land, Plan for Greater Baghdad, and Drachmas. Younis curated the first Kuwaiti Pavilion at the Venice Biennale; and the Museum of Manufactured Response to Absence interventions in Algeria, Kuwait and Ramallah. She holds a B.Sc. in Architecture from University of Jordan, and a Masters of Research from Goldsmiths College.
Zoom link for event: https://bard.zoom.us/j/82783757059