ACT Lecturer Lara Baladi‘s essay “Nothing Is Well in Egypt” Below and Above: The Bird’s-Eye View of Tahrir Square was published in the special September 2018 issue of Camera Austria.
From Lara’s essay:
In January 2011, during the eighteen days that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, a bird’s-eye view of the uprisings that took place in Tahrir Square was constantly displayed, if not full screen, in the corner of every TV channel covering the events in Egypt. In a very similar way as “the same infinite-loop video of the planes’ impact flickered over the television screens and the photographic coverage [of 9/11] was restricted to only a few types of images,”1 the bird’seye view of Tahrir overwrote all other documentation of the uprisings, immediately becoming a transnational icon and symbol for regained hope, freedom, and solidarity. Whether televised or still, this image of a packed Tahrir seen from the sky, the vibrancy, the energy, the ongoing movement of the crowd below, cut across media in a contagious fever rallying many more people worldwide in protests against capitalism, oppression, and dictatorship. The million or more circulating in a continuous movement in, around, and out of Tahrir, looked like an army of ants working together toward the same goal.
About the publication:
Ever since the first Symposium on Photography in 1979, the publication of which served as a departure point for the magazine Camera Austria International, Camera Austria’s work has been characterized by an intensive investigation into the relationship between text and image, theory and visual practice. Diverging or opposing positions were placed in relation to one another to widen the purview of the debate over photography on an ongoing basis—in the cultural sciences, visual studies, urbanism research, architecture, literature and film studies, philosophy, media theory, semiotics, the politics of representation, political activism, feminist theory, postcolonial studies, etc. First and foremost, however, the symposia were also a locus of exchange between theory and artistic practice. From a contemporary point of view, it appears that during the symposia on photography it wasn’t so much existing agreements that came to expression, but a polyphony of disagreement, discrepancy, and dissent corresponding to the simultaneous, albeit opposing perspectives on the photographic image.
Accompanying the texts in this issue is an expanded image section developed in close cooperation with the authors who have long accompanied and left their mark on Camera Austria, and who were invited to propose artists whose work they’d like to share with the readers of Camera Austria International.
Read more about Camera Austria.