June 15 2020
Vox Populi: Tahrir Archives, is an ongoing project by Lara Baladi, which includes a series of media initiatives, artworks, publications, an open-source portal into web-based archives of the 2011 Egyptian revolution and other global social movements.
Through the filter of iconography of protest, Baladi’s work explores the processes of revolting and their resonances across social movements and past and present revolutions.
As protests break out around the United States and authoritarian leaders continue to grow in popularity, Lara’s work gives us insights into how revolutionary movements are born, how they succeed, and how they fail. Focusing on the mechanisms of protests, their ‘anatomy’ and cycles, Lara's artworks and archive of the 2011 Egyptian revolution is a constantly shifting, an ongoing living archive of one of the most mediated historical event of our time.
Presented By: The Artist
Egyptian-Lebanese multidisciplinary artist, archivist and educator, Lara Baladi, was born in Beirut, raised in Cairo and Paris, educated in London, and has lived in Egypt since 1997. She is currently based between Cairo and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Until she began her career as a visual artist, Baladi worked as a photojournalist, a producer in advertising and film, a radio host and a set photographer for short and feature films. Her work—published and exhibited worldwide—encompasses photography, video, collage, multimedia and architectural installations, perfume and sculpture. Creating new media and photographic works which provocatively cross examines the divide between reality, fiction and fantasy, Baladi questions memory, mythological and socio-political narratives, personal histories and History.
Since 1997, Baladi has made forays into archival research, directed magazine editorials, and curated exhibitions and artist residencies. In 2006, Baladi founded the artist residency Fenenin el Rehal (Arabic, Nomadic Artists) in Egypt’s White Desert. Baladi won the first prize (Grand Nile Award) at the Cairo Biennale 2008-09 for her ephemeral construction and sound installation “Borg El Amal” (in Arabic, “The Tower of Hope”).
During the 2011 Egyptian uprisings, she co-founded two media initiatives, Radio Tahrir and Tahrir Cinema, an open submission platform, Tahrir Cinema informed and raised discussion among demonstrators and challenged the political commitment and ideas of those who took control of Tahrir Square. “Baladi describes Tahrir Cinema and Radio Tahrir— in “which she played a key role in organising during the July sit-ins at Tahrir Square, as “counter-propaganda operations” that responded to a need during the extended occupation of Tahrir to channel the energy of the streets, and to provide the large assembled audiences with an alternative narrative to that being disseminated by State media.” Beth Stryker, Domus Magazine.
The amalgamation of these experiences overlaps with and carries over into Baladi’s art practice. Baladi ‘s ongoing project since 2011, Vox Populi includes a series of media initiatives, artworks, essays, publications and an open source timeline and portal into web archives on the so-called Arab Spring and other, past and present, global social movements.
In 2014, she was a Fellow at MIT’s Open Documentary Lab and in 2015, the Ida Ely Rubin Artist in Residence at MIT’s Centre for Art, Science and Technology (CAST). Since 2015, she has been a Lecturer in MIT’s Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT).