Not in the Age of the Pharaohs
Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 7pm
Featuring Bruce W. Ferguson, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences of the American University in Cairo.
The lecture takes as its starting point the assumption that works of art can be symptomatic of larger cultural and political issues without necessarily using these as their content. Bruce W. Ferguson will discuss in detail the present day situation in Egypt through an investigation of works by four artists produced in the two years prior to the now-famous 18 days of Revolution begun in January of 2011. He shows how these artists – Lara Baladi, Ahmed Basiouny, Bahia Shebib, and Amal Kenaway – were already a compact measure of the upcoming discontents and how these art works engaged with values that coincided with those of an earlier Modernist literature in Egypt, as well as those of years of protests that preceded the Revolution. Ferguson does not overvalue the works of art as predictive or as the cause of the uprisings but seeks to show how works of art can seen to be investigative and analytical in advance, like a symbolic social diagnosis of a political disease. The lecture explores works produced both before and after the revolution, seeing how they act as a hinge to the more recent works now produced in the streets of Egyptian towns and cities in the form of graffiti.
Debates Room, Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle