Political Anticipation and Dead Time: Salma Shamel in conversation with Vartan Avakian, Fadi Bardawil, and Sarah Rifky


Thursday, January23, 7pm

132 West 21st Street, 10th floor, New York, NY


Shortly after the uprisings erupted across Lebanon last October, protestors declared that the “real end” of the Lebanese civil war is happening now, rather than 29 years ago. In the spirit of this temporal correction, where “now" supersedes the past 29 years, we come together as artists, curators, academics, activists, and inactivists to reconsider our imagination of revolutionary beginnings and indefinite endings. Without access to the future in Lebanon, scholar Salma Shamel invites writer and curator Sarah Rifky, artist Vartan Avakian, and anthropologist Fadi Bardawil to take a moment together to revisit the Egyptian uprising and discuss political anticipation, repressed needs, and the dead time in between.




Vartan Avakian is an artist based in Beirut. He works with video, photography, installation and natural material. Avakian studied Architecture and Urban Culture at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, and Communication Arts at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. He is a founding member of the art collective Atfal Ahdath and a member of the Arab Image Foundation.

Fadi Bardawil is Assistant Professor of Global Studies in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is an anthropologist (Ph.D Columbia University, 2010) who researches the traditions of intellectual inquiry, practices of public criticism, and modalities of political engagement of contemporary Arab intellectuals, both at home and in the diaspora.

Sarah Rifky is a writer and curator. She is the co-founder of Beirut (2012–15), an artists’ institution in Cairo; co-curator of the 2013 Jogjakarta Biennial; curator at Townhouse (2009–11); and agent for Documenta 13 (2012). She also co-managed MASS Alexandria with Wael Shawky (2010–12). She is co-editor of Positionen: Zeitgenössische Künstler aus der Arabischen Welt (2013) and author of The Going Insurrection (2012). Currently, Rifky is pursuing a Ph.D in History, Theory, and Criticism at MIT.

Salma Shamel works with video, print, and text. She did her BA in Video Art at the German University in Cairo and received her MA at The School of Art and Design History and Theory at The New School. Her work has been shown as part of Crossroads at SFMOMA, Cairo Video Festival at Townhouse Gallery, among others. She is currently a doctoral student at the department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University.