Akademie Schloss Solitude Fellowship

I will be in residence at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in summer 2019 & 2020, selected under the subgroup of Social Sciences & History. This award was based on current/proposed digital projects: A View from The View (soon to release), Declassified Levant, and It's all in the Blues.

Announcement of award here:

Fellowships for 64 artists, scientists, and digital experts from 27 countries
Akademie Schloss Solitude is happy to announce the names of the 64 fellows who have been selected for 2017–2019 by the international jury around the jury chairman Kaiwan Mehta.

6,600 artists and scientists from 158 countries have downloaded the application form for the selection of the sixteenth generation of Solitude fellows and among them 1,900 candidates from 106 countries finally applied. All in all 64 fellows (34 female and 30 male) from 27 countries were selected by the jury. 

13 of the 64 selected fellows live in Germany, ten in the USA, three each in the Netherlands, in Austria, India and in Croatia, the rest is spread over 21 more countries. For the first time, the Akademie will host artists from Myanmar, Iraq and Peru. As common among artists and scientists, who are generally very flexible and mobile, many of the selected fellows don’t live in the country they have been born and raised; very often they are residents of various countries.

After a first pilot phase in the past year, the new discipline web-based media has been integrated into the general fellowship program. 20 months were granted to journalists, developer/coders, designers, and artists who will work on the development of new digital content and formats during their stay.

Selected fellows:

Architecture (selected by Rahul Mehrotra):
Mariana Jochamowitz (Peru), Nicolas Rivera Bianchi (Peru), Céline Baumann (Germany), Manuel Silva Montenegro (Portugal), Victor Munoz Sanz (Netherlands), Thomidou Alkistis (Germany), Ana Filipovic (Germany).

Visual Arts (selected by Catherine David):
Aykan Safoglu (Germany), Christoph Szalay (Austria), Goutam Gosh (India), Padraig Robinson (Germany), Patrizia Bach (Germany), Imran Channa (Pakistan), Chiara Bugatti (Italiy), Manuel Mathieu (Canada), Dima Hamadeh (Lebanon), Ilana Ortar (Germany), Douglas Rogerson (USA).

Performing Arts (selected by Nicole Gingras):
Ntsikelelo Cekwana (South Africa), Luca  Hillen (Netherlands), Maayan Danoch (Germany), Fanti Baum (Germany), Elena Morena Weber (Switzerland), Ana Wild (Belgium), Savyon Fishlovitch (Israel).

Design (selected by Iris Dressler/Hans D. Christ):
Hadja Saran Condé (France), Htoo Naung Kyaw (Myanmar), Zon Phyu (Myanmar), Sophia Guggenberger (Germany), Edith Lázar (Rumania), David Mathews (Austria).

Gernan Literature (selected by Terézia Mora):
Luise Boege (Germany), David Frühauf (Germany /Poland), Regina  Dürig (Switzerland), Luke Wilkins (Germany).

International Literature (selected by Ahdaf Soueif):
Simar Preet Kaur (India), Wiam El-Tamami (Egypt), Bojan Kristofic (Croatia), Omar Ali Fadhil (Iraq), Vinicius Jatobá (Brasil), Anelise Chen (USA), Aditi Rao (India).

Music/Sound (selected by Marcus Schmickler):
Jacqueline Gordon (USA), Clara Latham (USA), Janneke van der Putten (Netherlands), James Rushford (Australia), Robert Blatt (USA), Anthony Pateras (Australia), Michael Winter (USA), Luke Wilkins (Germany).

Web-based Media (selected by Nishant Shah):
Dina  Karadzic (Croatia), Vedran Gligo (Croatia), Zeljko Blace (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Time-based Media (selected by Shilpa Gupta):
Susana Flock (Austria), Tom Rosenberg (USA), Soetkin Verstegen (Belgium). 

art, science & business / Humanities (selected by Sunil Khilnani):
Hannah Rogers (USA), Gurur Ertem (Turkey), Lea Morin (Morocco), Douglas Rogerson (USA).

art, science & business / Social Sciences & History (selected by Kaiwan Mehta):
Jared McCormick (USA), Haneen Naamneh (Great Britain), Martin Lamotte (France).

art, science & business / Economy/Economis (selected by Ackbar Abbas):
Naomi Waltham-Smith (USA), Leone Contini Bonacossi (Italy), Manuel Schwab.

AnthroWrites Interface

In 2016-2017, I was appointed the Bok Writing Fellow in the Harvard Anthropology Department working to develop a Digital Pilot Program, AnthroWrites. With a select group of undergrad concentrators, we created and designed an interface that addressed how freshman enter a discipline (Social Anthropology & Archeology) and learn to “write” and “read” in the norms of that field. We produced a student driven interface that addresses research design and methodology to issues of ethics, and the idea of writing-as-thinking through one's work. 

This method of collaborating in something akin to a “course” meant that our weekly class meetings were about the process of “making:” identifying the problems, conceptualizing larger goals, and creating a product that was realized through various digital iterations across the weeks. This project represents a prime example of my current interests in larger digital landscapes - and how they intersect with my mentoring and classroom engagment.

Digital Methodologies

digital methodologies (dm), is a 3-part initiative around how/when/why we engage the “digital” in our academic/artistic research processes. it consists of a 3-day workshop in beirut (july 2017), sponsoring at least three projects for a funded residency at marra.tein through an open-call (nov- april), and a final output that will brainstorm how to move forward for collaborating between individuals outside of in/outside of institutions (may 2018).
(this project is made possible with the support of mophradat)


- digital methodologies residency -
3-6 week funded residency in beirut

we will sponsor at least (3) individuals/collectives/projects in the fall 2017 - spring 2018 at marra.tein under the auspices of the digital methodologies initiative.  
we hope to cover travel and/or provide a small production grant (max 1000$) per awarded residency.  each project will have use of marra.tein to maximize their research and projects. we also envision some public engagement or workshop around the resident's research interests.

- questions that drive the dm initiative -

this project engages questions at the heart of many artists/academics’ research - especially those who work in “new media” and the digital humanities: how can we use the digital not simply as an output, but as a process in our research? how can reframings through dm give us new analytic purchase on key questions in our research -- and how can we carry these arguments into non-textual outputs? most of us are now drowning in our own data and material that we horde, how can we use digital means to change the scales of how we order,  sort, and conceptualize the directions this might take? many digital humanities projects are limp - but in what ways can we activate, enliven, and juxtapose the processes of digital born research and collections in our workflows? how can we collaborate as individuals beyond the confines of the institutions (academic/artistic/otherwise)?  how do we compile, sample, and frame various parts of our work? in what ways does producing "digital" aspects of our research fold back into our research agendas (ex. working with archives, producing written & digital scholarship in tandem, making interfaces and building databases as part of research)? what tools allow us new scales and wider lenses for our projects? how can computational practices allow us to juxtapose, shift, and reframe materials central to our research?  

this initiative hopes to create a conversation around specific individuals' practices in the context of the region, rather than simply copy-pasting current digitial humanites concerns (from instance, from institutes of higher learning in the usa). we want to explore the boundaries and possibilities of people’s work that is moving through dm. how are these processes changing and how might be better collaborate in order to realize such projects?   we hope to build a network, and public conversation, among those struggling to work on/between these slippery terrains, which intersect many disciplines.  finally, we hope to encourage projects that pertain to the larger middle east - especially given the increased attention/urgency/fetishization of preservation, cultural heritage, and digitization that runs on the coattails between accelerated loss and warfare. 


- the residency -

this open call for applications for 3-6 week residencies at marra.tein (beirut, lebanon) hopes to attract individuals/collectives/groups that are trying to explore and realize projects that are based in research, but grappling with some set of concerns in the digital landscape.  rather than delimiting what exactly this might mean, we are casting a wide net, hoping to encourage those who are working across media and discipline to apply.  there are no set outcomes expected other than aggressively trying to research and realize your project. this might include primary research, coding, exploring options for some stage of a larger project, aspects of collaboration, etc.

those selected for the residency will have access to marra.tein (for their own accommodations) as well as the space to hold meetings, screenings, and convene on whatever issues that pertain to their work.  residents are encouraged to think what local individuals, partners, and institutions  with whom they want to collaborate (or be in conversation with) during their time.  we hope there would be some some public outreach during the residency (an afternoon workshop, a presentation, a working group, etc).

there is a preference for applications from those currently within the region. this hopes to address issues relevant to what is happening in practices of dm in local communities currently. individuals and groups from within lebanon are encouraged to apply (but also asked to justify the use of the space for the duration of the residency).

- open call for dm -

please send the below materials to marra.tein by oct 11

  1. a motivation statement (up to one page) that describes your background/work/process
  2. a description that details how you propose to use this time/space/opportunity in beirut to further engage dm as part of your practice and what you hope to complete?  what have you already achieved and what are the longer term goals of this project? (feel free to indicate local partners/individuals to whom you'll reach out to / collaborate with?) 
  3. samples of work (images, websites, videos, and other relevant documentation)
  4. please indicate - and rank -  three 3-6 week periods which you would like to be considered for residency during the time period nov 1 - april 30 2018. we will work with those selected individuals to make the timing working as much as possible.  also please include a short justification for the specified time frame. we are able to consider 3-6 weeks for the duration.
  5. anything else you feel might help contextualize your interests in dm

- residency logistics -

materials due to marra.tein by oct 11.
the timeframe of residencies will be from nov 2017-april 2018
there is no fee to apply - those selected will be notified by oct 17 via email
there is a max 1000$ award per residency (to cover travel, materials, or stipend)
applications will be reviewed by an external committee

feel free to write with any questions!

Declassified Levant - A Different kind of Edited Volume

I am compiling an edited volume that will explore declassified documents from the State Department in Lebanon from 1930-1962, which will be realized as an edited volume or interactive website in Spring 2019.  I will work with 30 (+/-) documents, of particular importance and oddity, which will be reproduced in their entirety (3/4 pages) and paired with commissioned contributions from academics and artists whose work aligns with aspect of this document, historical moment, or series of issues. This marriage of document + “open-ended contextualization" by scholars/artists is a chance to start conversations, view what was once hidden through classified material (then buried in archives), and think through the craft of various eras of state-making. I am keenly interested in forming a larger conversation with colleagues beyond the confines of peer-review, in a more playful and open-ended manner. I am currently assembling the documents and will soon reach out to proposed contributors.

Below are sample documents that would each be paired with an essay/intervention (4/5 pages). These documents serve as provocations to the contributor in which she might choose to contextualize, historicize, or draw connections to contemporary issues in the Levant. 

Concerns of Hash (1945)

Jewish (American) Entry into Lebanon (1946)

مرتين - marra.tein

two instances | two times
double | in succession
twice | marra.tein

This initiative was founded by George Awde and I to create a space for interdisciplinary thought and exchange in Beirut. Our mission is to provide a space - part residency/part homebase - to encourage independent projects, formal research, partnerships with local institutions, and open interpretations to engagement and practice in Lebanon. Residents are hosted at a dedicated space in central Beirut. More info here

previous residents  / supported projectscontact

A View from the View

A View from the View is a collection of postcards (3000+) motivated by larger research questions into visual cultures, representations of tourism, and issues of mobility in Lebanon. The database makes portions of this genre of photography public. The project also explores circulations of place (Eddies), the act of disrupting images’ composition (Reframing), and the process of creating metadata.  The online interface was realized for a secondary degree in Critical Media Practicesand sponsored by two production grants from the Harvard Design Studio and the Mellon Fund. An early iteration will be public by June 2020 for the material in Lebanon. The second iteration, of material from Iraq, Libya, Syria and parts of the GCC, will be released in 2021.


Creating a Season: Tourism, Sexuality, and Imaginations of Beirut

This dissertation is an ethnographic and historical investigation into questions of sexuality, sensuality, mobility, and tourism in the context of Beirut, Lebanon.  The work explores affective atmospheres and the conditions that developed through tourism and pleasure-seeking across many eras. Throughout the historic sections I argue for the importance of the seasons, senses, and ensuing sensibilities that created imaginations of Lebanon as a site of bodily pleasure, excess, and liberal social relationships.  The ethnographic work, which spans 2004-2014, centers on male non-heterosexual subjectivities and examines for whom Beirut is permissive, liberal, or gay friendly - in which spaces, and at what times – and how imaginations of place circulate through decades of media connected by tourism. The work speaks strongly to contemporary issues of nationality and class by placing male physical movement onto larger discussions of political economy and interpretations of history in Lebanon. It does so by developing an Anthropological Meteorology to think about location across time and space -  as well as the role of the body through sensation, pleasure, and hope.


Speculative Futures through Tourism

Speculative Futures through Tourism: Infrastructures of Movement, Hope, and Nation-building in the GCC

This project emerges from my interest in tourism & mobility in the Middle East and focuses on the massive buildup of "tourism" industries across the GCC (specifically Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the Emirates). This research explores how "culture,” "heritage," and history become imagined through tourism - and then realized as state-making, myth-making, and through acts of envisioning the future in infrastructures. This project is deeply interested in the hotel/hospitality industry across the Gulf, as well as visual culture from media/national agencies (1960-1980's) onto which notions of economic expansion and pleasure become packed. The project is ongoing but largely informed by teaching in Doha, Qatar during Spring semesters 2014 & 2015.

Another part of this project is assembling, sampling, and framing visual materials related to collections of ephemera of mobility & tourism in the Middle East. The first version of this is being realized in A View From the View (akin to the Digital Humanities - but perhaps more appropriately called a series of Digital Methodologies). This project, Speculative Futures through Tourism, hopes to extensively expand that database from postcards, to infrastructures of hospitality (hotels), and wider visual materials of "tourism" from many decades. These collections focus on Syria, Iraq, Libya, and the nations of the GCC. I am conceptualizing how these collections inform/push/reformulate larger research questions through the act of making. This project plays with the creation of meta-data and explores new boundaries weaving written research, database design, and public engagement. I also hope to have these methodologies spill over into the classroom/teaching.

Cairo Cats

In May 2015, I organized a fundraiser in conjunction with the launch of the K-Project Space at Kafein in downtown Cairo.  The show was a fundraiser for the Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals.  I screenprinted and lasercut 42 original (old) Egyptian postcards with cats from the blog, reproduced a selection of 9 of these into a "new" postcard set, and designed a cat tote bag.  All the work was directly inspired by the cats on my cat-blog while in Cairo for three years(instagram: Cairo.Cats // wordpress: CairoCats).

More info about show and fundraiser here.