Past Disquiet, an archival and documentary exhibition followed by a publication, is the outcome of a research project conducted by Kristine Khouri and Rasha Salti. It started with the exploration of the International Art Exhibition for Palestine: an event that was organized by the PLO and took place in Beirut in 1978. This exhibition gathered and displayed artworks donated by international artists and was supposed to lay the groundwork for a future museum in solidarity with Palestine.
Today this collection is neither materially available, nor is its story written in official historiographical records. Following traces and trails form the exhibition catalog, consulting private archives and meeting people formerly involved with the exhibition, the investigation of the histories contained within its making unearthed transnational artistic networks of anti-imperialist and anti-colonial liberation struggles. These networks collaborated to organize similar collections constituted in solidarity with other political causes: against the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, in support of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua.
Rather than an attempted reconstruction of the original exhibition, Past Disquiet became a display for Salti and Khouri’s research and a response to various collections or museums in exile, presenting related archival material, video montages of interviews with participants and other testimonies. Throughout the differing editions of Past Disquiet organized between 2015 and 2018 in four different cities, the exhibition space and its screens have functioned as a temporal showcase for the presence and absence, visibility and invisibility of certain images, militant artistic networks, and narratives of the past.
This webinar considers the afterlives of this long-term research endeavor. In three sessions with international scholars and artists, Khouri and Salti will discuss their plans to establish a permanent digital archive to accommodate their findings, explore strategies to make the material available beyond the exhibition format and grant insight into their initiatives to encourage further research in Palestine.
Guests: Reem Shilleh (independent curator and author), Jared McCormick (Acting Director of the Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, New York University), Hannah Feldman (Associate Professor in Art History, Northwestern University), Rasha Salti (independent curator, researcher and author), Kristine Khouri (independent researcher and board member of the Arab Image Foundation).
Organizers: Daniel Berndt, Iris Fraueneder, Bruno Heller