The Istanbul Biennial (IB) editions, as cultural events for the wider region and the Middle East, are examined in this article with regard to their relevance for art and artists and their interactions with their host city. Biennials of contemporary art, as main exhibition events of the present, and the urban transformations of Istanbul form the context of the research. Biennials, including the IB, often address controversial topics. Accordingly, the discrepancy between the critical stance of curators and artists, as well as the uses that a Biennial is subjected to by various interest groups, has to be taken under scrutiny.
Examples from Vienna
In the last decade or so, several projects to exhibit 'migration' were staged in Austria's capital, Vienna. They were undertaken in various contexts: in museums, as part of art shows and in art festivals. These efforts are taken under scrutiny by the author, regarding their production, their way of enabling participation and articulation, and the new perspectives they opened. It is argued that through efforts of formerly excluded groups a change came about in how the figure of the 'migrant', and the various processes of migration, are perceived.
Ethnography of an EU Erasmus+ Project
Terry Lamb and Danila Mayer
Researchers participating in the development and training week of one of the European Union’s Erasmus+ projects come forwards in this contribution and share their insights. Youth engaged in integration of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers were to be trained, their approaches made visible and their networking strengthened in a two-year project that included a seven-days get-together in Croatia. Further activities included ample desk research of relevant initiatives, dissemination conferences in the participating countries (England, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Croatia), a research report, and a collection of training modules. A definite goal was to address and to counter rising tensions in EU countries regarding refugee and migration movements.
An Anthropological Look at Art in the Middle East
Danila Mayer and Soheila Shahshahani
This is a very particular issue, and its topic – art in the Middle East – is new. All of the writers seem deeply involved in their subject and present their research in a fresh and spirited way.
Bariaa Mourad and Danila Mayer
'Beirut': An Itinerary Art Exhibition, 29 June-24 August 2011, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, and 6 June-18 July 2012, Contemporary Art Platform, Kuwait
Paris Triennale, 'Intense proximité', April-August 2012, Palais de Tokyo
Material Culture of the Middle East, Its Intangible Dimensions and New Museums
Janet Blake and Danila Mayer
In this issue of Anthropology of the Middle East, we present contributions that deal with museums, museology and their approaches to the new social situations through which they must navigate. Cutting a swathe very generously around the Mediterranean and the Middle East – from Tunis to Qatar, Turkey and, as an extension, to Austria – we bring together articles that look closely into some acute issues of today: the transformation from colonial to post-colonial and its reverberant impacts, from national to post-national and transnational societies both in Europe and the Middle East, and to the stringencies of material culture, cultural heritage and ‘meaningful objects’, and how to preserve, to analyse and to exhibit them. All contributors dedicate their works published here to the social, cultural and economic changes affecting societies and communities, and to the demands that increasing diversity presents as challenges to cultural institutions and their personnel.
Publications, Films and Conferences
Jennie Doberne, Danila Mayer, Soheila Shahshahani and Jocelyn DeJong
Stein, Rebecca L. (2008), Itineraries in Conflict: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Political Lives of Tourism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press). ix + 219 pp., notes, bibliography, index.
Iranian Travelogues: Notes on Farhad Varahram, Iranian-Austrian Documentary Filmmaker
‘Thirty Years On: The Social and Cultural Impacts of the Iranian Revolution’, University of London, School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS), 5–6 June 2009
Reproductive Health Working Group Annual Meeting, Istanbul, July 2008
Exhibitions, Publications, Films, Music and Conferences
Danila Mayer, Elizabeth Berk, Ali Abdi, Soheila Shahshahni, Latofat Tolibjonova, Trinidad Rico, Hassan Asif and Fakhri Haghani
Exhibitions ‘Tuzlu Su – Saltwater: A Theory of Thought Forms’: The 14th Edition of the Istanbul Biennial of Contemporary Arts, 5 September – 1 November 2015
Publications Ellen Amster (2013), Medicine and the Saints: Science, Islam, and the Colonial Encounter in Morocco, 1877–1956, Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 334 pp. US$30.00, ISBN: 9780292762114.
Madawi Al-Rasheed (2013), A Most Masculine State: Gender, Politics, and Religion in Saudi Arabia. London: Cambridge University Press. 352 pages. $26.28. ISBN-10: 052112252X.
Films Iran Burger, by Mas’ud Ja’fari Jowzani (2015).
Music Cultural Representations of New Uzbeks: Society, Music, Media
Conferences Islamic Pasts: Research Workshop, 10–11 December 2014, Doha, Qatar
Ethnography of Iran: Past and Present, 2–3 October 2015, Princeton University