On Photography People and Modern Times

Akram Zaatari

2010 | 00:38:00 | Lebanon | Arabic | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Photography

On Photography People and Modern Times is the outcome of three years of research on photography conducted by the artist in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt during the founding years of the Arab Image Foundation (AIF).

"The AIF’s clinical environment and the silent, diligent work of the archivist shown on the film’s left side appears to be set in direct contrast to the domestic settings and the crowded, pre-digital studios of the people being interviewed on the right...While online image archives have come to reflect a more pervasive desire to accumulate imagery rather than a judicious collection of visual artifacts for posterity, Zaatari’s focus on everyday memories reframes powerful accounts of exile and war within the same reality, fragmenting the assumed narrative of a culture overcome by conflict."

—Shama Khanna, Art Agenda (2014)

"The viewer is left to treat these documents as mysterious archaeological artifacts, around which we are free to weave our own historical narrative. When coupled with the knowledge of the turbulent, traumatic chapter of Lebanese history that unfolded concurrent to this studio business’s period of operation, the idea that an image can form the basis of unreliable, or indeed fictive, memory, is a politically poignant one."

—Oliver Basciano, Art Review (2014)

This is a single channel version of a two-channel work. 

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