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Inicio arrow Representaciones Árabes contemporáneas arrow Seminar The Iraqi Equation (I)

Seminar The Iraqi Equation (I)

Venue: International University of Andalusia (UNIA). Monasterio de Santa María de las Cuevas, Av. Américo Vespucio 2. Isla de la Cartuja (Sevilla)
Date: 14th >> 17th November 2005
Direction: Catherine David
Participants: Ali Bader, Kaïs Jewad Alazawi, Michel Khleifi, Pierre-Jean Luizard, Gema Martín Muñoz, Samir, Eyal Sivan




Image from the film "Forget Baghdad" (2003), SamirContemporary Arab Representations. The Iraqi Equation is a long-term project which includes seminars, presentations of works by different authors - visual artists, architects, writers and poets -, performances and publications, with the aim of encouraging production, circulation and exchange between the different cultural centres of the Arab world and the rest of the world. The project thus aims to tackle heterogeneous situations and contexts which may sometimes be antagonistic or conflictive, to acquire more specific knowledge of what is going on in certain parts of the Arab world at present, to look at the complex dimensions of aesthetics in relation to social and political situations, and to help to think more deeply about the role played today by cultural practices in our own countries.

From the Gulf War to the invasion and occupation of the country, the images and information which we receive from Iraq have simplified to a great extent, the representation and details of an extremely complex situation - both from the political, as well as the cultural and social, point of view. Taking all this into account, the dramatic situations now taking place in Iraq should not represent an obstacle to our desire to focus on the productions, ideas and conflicts which have left their mark on Iraqi culture in the last half a century; years marked by the revolution, political violence and consolidation of the dictatorship.

Since the end of the fifties, one of the constants in Iraqi culture has been the diverse (and more or less definitive) waves of exiles, the constitution of a diaspora and the evolution of creation within the country itself. In the present day, we feel it appropriate to evaluate the extent of the tensions and antagonisms which this situation has brought about, facing a variety of different discourses and positions developed in Iraq and abroad. In this respect, we have deemed it important to give those directly involved in Iraq the chance to speak, both those in the country itself and abroad: writers and poets, film-makers, photographers and artists, architects involved in the rebuilding of its cities as well as certain foreign experts whose analyses will contribute to our greater understanding of those problems which have led to the current situation.

Contemporary Arab Representations is a long term project directed by Catherine David, organized and produced by the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, Arteleku-Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa and Universidad Internacional de Andalucía-UNIA arteypensamiento, in coproduction for the Iraqi Equation with KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin. Contemporary Arab Representations. The Iraqi Equation is made possible through the support of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes and the Ministerio de Cultura de España.



Monday, 14th November 2005
· 16:30 h. Presentation of seminar by Catherine David and Nuria Enguita Mayo
· 17:00 h. Kaïs Jewad Alazawi: Culture and the Iraqi Press Since 2003
· 19:00 h. Pierre-Jean Luizard: Iraq, the Impossible Political Reconstruction

Tuesday, 15th November 2005
· 17:00 h. Ali Bader: The Condition of Iraqi Intellectuals under the Dictatorship
· 19:00 h. Samir: Presentation by the director and projection of Samir's film:
Forget Baghdad, 2003, 111 min.
Arabic, English and Hebrew with English subtitles.
Produced by Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion. Written and directed by Samir.

Winner of the Jury's Prize at Locarno in 2002, Forget Baghdad tells the story of Jews in Baghdad, members of the Iraq communist party who were forced to move to Israel. Jews in Baghdad and Arabs in Israel, the split identities and confused lives of these people speak of a profound global disorder, both political and cultural. Web:

Wednesday, 16th November 2005
· 19:00 h. Gema Martín Muñoz: Irak in the Regional Context of the Middle East


Thursday, 17th November 2005
· 17:00 h. Michel Khleifi
Presentation and projection of the film:
Route 181. Fragments d'un voyage en Palestine-Israël, 2003, 270 min.
Written, produced and directed by Eyal Sivan and Michel Khleifi.
Co-produced by MOMENTO (France), SOURAT FILMS (Belgium), WDR (Germany).

The film proposes an original view of the inhabitants of Palestine-Israel, that shared by an Israeli and a Palestinian. For two months the Israeli Eyal Sivan and the Palestinian Michel Khleifi travelled together through their country of birth, marking their route on a road map and calling the result Route 181. This virtual line follows the frontier as laid down by Resolution 181, which called for the division of Palestine into two States and was adopted by the United Nations in 1947. Eyal Sivan and Michel Khleifi's film, which they consider a cinematographic act of faith, invite us to join them on a disconcerting journey through this small territory in which so much is at stake.

* All presentations and projections will have simultaneous interpretation and will be open to the public.



Ali Bader (Baghdad, Irak, 1964) is a novelist and essayist. He has a degree from Baghdad University in Western Philosophy and French Literature. He has worked as contributing editor of the Baghdad magazine Literary Avant Garde. His publications include the novels Papa Sartre (Beirut, 2001), awarded the State Prize for Literature in Baghdad and the Abulkassim al-Shabbi prize for the novel in Tunis; Winter of the Family (Baghdad, 2002), winner of the prize for literary creativity in the U.A.E.; Naked Feast (Germany, 2005); The way to Tel-moutran (Beirut, 2005): and the essays Midnight's maps, Travels to Istanbul, Iran, Algeria (Beirut, 2004) winner of the Ibn-Batuta prize in Abu-Dhabi; Massignon in Baghdad (Germany, 2005) and Sleeping prince and delayed expedition (Beirut, 2005). His writings represent the clash of occident by changes of fashion, the alternation of classes, the effect of political events on the social life and the ethnical differences in Iraqui society.

 Catherine DavidCatherine David (Paris, France, 1954) is graduate in Spanish and Portuguese Literature and Linguistics and History of Art. From 1981 to 1990 she was curator of the National Museum of Modern Art, Georges Pompidou Centre, and from 1990 she worked for the Jeu de Paume National Gallery. Art director of Documenta X (dX) in Kassel, she directed the Witte de With Contemporary Art Centre in Rotterdam from 2002 to 2004. She currently is a fellow from the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin (2005-2006).

Nuria Enguita Mayo (Paris, France, 1954) is graduate in Spanish and Portuguese Literature and Linguistics and History of Art. From 1981 to 1990 she was curator of the National Museum of Modern Art, Georges Pompidou Centre, and from 1990 she worked for the Jeu de Paume National Gallery. Art director of Documenta X (dX) in Kassel, she directed the Witte de With Contemporary Art Centre in Rotterdam from 2002 to 2004. She currently is a fellow from the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin (2005-2006).

Kaïs Jewad Alazawi (Khalis, Iraq, 1945), journalist and researcher, he is graduated in Psychology at the University of Cairo and obtained a doctorate in Modern History at the Paris IV University. He was chief editor of the Études orientales magazine in Paris, and political analyst for BBC Radio, and for TV: Al-Jazeera, Abu Dhabi, Dubaï, Shargat, from 1994 to 2003. In May 2003 he was appointed editor of the Al Jarida newspaper in Baghdad. He is currently the director of l'Observatoire Irakien. He has produced numerous articles and research papers in different Arab newspapers and magazines, and has published over a dozen books, including: La pensée islamique contemporaine (Beirut, 1992); Du califat au coup d'Etat (Paris, 1994); Les Arabes et l'occident à la veille du XXIème siècle (Paris, 1997); La citoyenneté dans un pays multi-ethnique et multi-confessionnel (Baghdad, 2005); La protection des journalistes en Irak (Paris, 2005) and Recueil de feuillets culturels (Baghdad, 2005).

Michel Khleifi Michel Khleifi (Nazareth, Palestine, 1950) studied theatre at the INSAS in Brussels, where he has lived since 1971. He has directed and produced several documentaries and fiction films such as La mémorie fertile (1980); L'ordre du Jour (1992) and Mariages interdits en Terre Sainte (1995), and also a series of documentaries for the À Suivre programme on Belgian television (RTBF), including La Cisjordania, un espoir palestinien? (1978); Le paix et les Palestiniens (1979) and La route de Naim Jader (1981), a profile of Jaim Nader, the PLO representative in Brussels who was murdered by the Mossad in 1981. His work has been rewarded with numerous prizes at international festivals, including the International Critics Prize at the Cannes Festival and the Concha de Oro at San Sebastián in 1987 for his film Noces en Galilée (1986). Michel Khleifi teaches cinema at l'INSAS in Brussels.

Pierre-Jean Luizard (Paris, France, 1954) is a researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France. He has lived long periods of time in most of the Arab countries of the Middle East, particularly Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt. A historian of Contemporary Islam in his native country, he is especially interested in the effect of different manifestations of Islamic faith and the role played by some of them in current political systems: history of the Chiite clergy in Iraq; history of Islamic reformism, especially following the reform of Al-Azhar and popular Islam as structured by the Suffi brotherhoods in Egypt. He is a member of the Groupe de Sociologie des religions et de la Laïcité (GSRL) in Paris, and his recent publications include La formation de l'Irak contemporain (París, 1991), La question irakienne (París, 2002) and La vie de l'ayatollah Mahdî al-Khâlisî par son fils (2005). Together with Martine Cohen and Jean Joncheray he co-directed the collective work Les transformtations de l'autorité religieuse (2004).

Gema Martín MuñozGema Martín Muñoz (Madrid, Spain, 1955) is Professor of Sociology in the Arab and Muslim World at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Her main field of study is that of political and social change processes in Arab and Muslim countries, where she has travelled extensively on research trips. She participated as an international observer in the electoral processes in Algeria, Palestine, Egypt and Iran. She has also carried out research into the Muslim dimension of immigration into Spain, and was a founder member of the Network On Comparative Research On Islam and Muslims In Europe, coordinated by the Groupe de Sociologie des Religions et de la Laïcité at the Sorbonne University in Paris. She writes articles on Arab and Muslim themes for the El País newspaper and has published several works, including: Islam, Modernism and the West (1999); El Estado Árabe. Crisis de legitimidad y contestación islamista (2000); Irak, un fracaso de Occidente (1920-2003) (2003) and Marroquíes en España. Estudio sobre su integración (2003).

Samir (Baghdad, Iraq, 1955) work on video and electronic cinema has made over forty films, including Morlove - an Ode for Heisenberg (1986) and the documentary Babylon 2 (1993). In 1994 he co-founded Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion with the director Werner Schweizer. In the nineties besides concentrating on his own projects as an independent producer and director, he worked for German broadcasters, directing several feautures and series for private channels such as SATI, RTL and Pro7, as well as for public television such as the German channels WDR and ZDF and the French-German ARTE. Samir currently teaches at the Kunsthochschule für Medien (KHM) in Cologne and in the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie (dffb) in Berlin.

Eyal SivanEyal Sivan (Haifa, Israel, 1964) lived in Jerusalem until 1985, when he left Israel to settle in France. He has produced and directed numerous full length documentary films, many of which have been awarded prizes in different film festivals. His first film, Aqabat Jaber vie de Pasagge (1987), about refugee Palestinian communities, won the Jury's Prize at the Cinémá du Réel Festival in the Centre Georges Pompidou. Since then Eyal Sivan has used his publications, conferences and work as a film director to focus on the political exploitation of Israel's past, on civil disobedience and on the instrumentalization of genocide and its representation. He has made numerous programmes for television, including a series of 11 advertisements for the Progressive List for Peace, Israel (1988), and was art director for Scalpel, Art Channel (2001). He also co-authored Éloge de la Désobéisance with Rony Brauman.

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