Since the beginning of the popular uprisings in the Arab world in late 2010, the Internet has seen an increasing amount of activist videos commenting on events, documenting state violence and protests and calling for freedom of speech and opinion. In countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria with tightly controlled public spheres and an omnipresent censorship, the Internet has offered young people a space to exchange ideas, voice their opinions and break free of the isolation that many felt up till then.
The project “Mapping Creative Internet Activism in the Arab World”, takes a look at selected projects and works by professional artists and citizen activists alike. It highlights collective as well as individual projects and presents a series of significant moments, of individual statements and initiatives that began to blossom soon after the beginning of the Arab revolutions. Rather than attempting to offer a complete picture of the vast amount of activist videos, images and projects found on the Internet, it offers an introduction to a world in constant movement and an invitation to continue to discover it.
This program is curated by Charlotte Bank. She is an independent researcher, curator and writer and lives in Berlin and Damascus. In 2010 she organised the Visual Arts Festival in Damascus, which now has a nomadic character. Bank collected and preserved videoworks of Syrian artists who are often forced to life in exile.
Super Tunisian – Moufida Fedhila (Tunisia, 2011, video, 07:00 min.)
The performance artist Moufida Fedhila staged a number of performances in the public space in Tunisia in 2011, incarnating the personage “Super Tunisian”, a female superhero whose mission is to awaken the social, political and artistic consciousness of her fellow Tunisians.
A Small Closed Shop – Nos Tofaha (Syria 2012, 5:55)
A musical call to participate in the general strike for freedom, set to an animated video.
Words of Women from the Egyptian Revolution: Nada Zatouna – Leil-Zahra Mortada (Egypt, 2012, video, 13:51 min.)
The project “Words of Women from the Egyptian Revolution” is an oral herstory project with the aim to collect stories of women of all communities in Egypt who participated in various stages of the Egyptian revolution and/or for whom the revolution meant an important change in their lives.
The young film maker Nada Zatouna talks about the importance of the revolution for the people of Nubia in Southern Egypt, of her own arrest and her worries for the future. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuiefMITEtI&feature=relmfu
Free Arab: short documentaries
The collective project “Free Arab” was created to document the ongoing revolutions in the Arab world and tell the stories of how people’s lives have been changed. It offers young Arab film makers the opportunity to create short documentaries and take part in an online platform.
Majed – childhood memories – Marwen Trabelsi (Tunisia, 2012, video, 02:13 min.)
The film maker has followed a young man, Majed, who was severely injured during the Tunisian revolution. As a consequence his life has profoundly changed. Majed visits his childhood home which his family had to abandon due to a lack of job opportunities in their village.
Majed – recalling January 14th 2011- Marwen Trabelsi (Tunisia, 2012, video, 02:02)
Majed talks about his participation in the Tunisian Revolution and how the injury he received from the hands of the police had destroyed his life.
Beejo with illegal workers – Mohammed Siam (Tunisia, 2012, video, 02:05 min.)
Beejo sells falafel at night for the workers of an illegal construction site.
Beejo – about thugs – Mohammed Siam (Egypt, 2012, video, 02:01 min.)
The protagonist “Beejo” (Abdel Aziz Fahmy) used to be a carpenter, but had to leave his work after an accident. He now keeps a falafel stand with his family. The film maker shows different aspect of their daily life and worries.
Kharabeesh: Collection of satirical cartoons
Kharabeesh is a collective network founded in 2008 by a small group of bloggers in Jordan. The idea behind the initiative was to create a channel for Arabic content in social Internet media. The focus was from the beginning on political content and the Internet to address critical issues that were impossible to publish in traditional media. The collective became widely known with their satirical cartoons mocking Arab dictators in the beginning of the Arab revolutions in early 2011.
Mubarak is high – Kharabeesh (Jordan, 2011, video, 01:15 min.)
A cartoon mocking Hosni Mubarak’s speeches and reluctance to resign
Ghaddafi in Arabs got Talent – Kharabeesh (Jordan, 2011, video, 01:42 min.)
Muammar Ghaddafi as standup comedian in a talent contest.
Ghaddafi speech in Libya – Kharabeesh (Jordan, 2011, video, 01:55 min.)
A cartoon mocking Ghaddafi’s speeches and the characteristic insults directed at the Libyans.
Ali Abdallah Saleh – Kharabeesh (Jordan, 2011, video, 01:00 min.)
The Yemeni president’s dedicates a song by Lebanese singer Elissa in a musical request program to his people. The lyrics, “We’ll live or die together” gets an entirely new meaning.
Voice of Freedom – Kharabeesh (Jordan, 2011, video, 03:22 min.)
In a style that differs from the satirical cartoons, this video presents a celebration of the activists who worked for the fall of Mubarak during the initial 18 days of the Egyptian revolution. Set to a song by Amir Eid and Hany Adel that became the “hymn” of the revolution.
Videos of Necessity - Khaled Muzher (presentation, 30 min)
Based on examples of internet videos that have become “iconic” throughout the Syrian uprising, film maker and artist Khaled Muzher presents a reflection of the unique importance of video in the Syrian revolution.