#27 Diaspora

Brute Ornament
By Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

It is to curator Murtaza Vali's great credit that he paired up Aram and Shah in the exhibition, ��Brute Ornament,�" for no other obvious reason than to propose an idea � that meaningful tensions arise from the meeting of modernity and tradition when it is cast as a conversation between abstraction and decoration. Vali upends the assumption that modernism simply purged itself of ornament because the decorative was useless and had no function. In the curatorial statement accompanying the show, he argues instead that ornament played an essential part �Sin the move towards pure abstraction that was modernism's endgame.�

Aleph Null
By Alexander Keefe

Shridhar Bapat was Shirley's assistant, the tech guy at the pleasure palace; he�"d joined the Troupe after leaving The Kitchen, where his official position was Director (if you believe the paperwork) and unofficial position was factotum and dogsbody. He was an expert at managing what they used to call Spaghetti City � the mess of wires that connected cameras to monitors, early video synthesizers and recorders, tape to reel. It wasn�"t easy in the first place, and almost everyone was stoned, anyway. But Shridhar could keep the video cameras from jamming, the tapes from spooling off the open reels; he could rig up monitors and cameras into complex machines for the production of video feedback.

The Apparatus of the Game: Jumana Manna
By Kate Sutton

“The various rituals � car waxes, close shaves, bicep curls � play out to a soundtrack of Syrian, Egyptian, and Lebanese pop music. Jumana Manna makes aggressive use of the camera, punctuating the images of hands at work with intrusions into the small spaces and overlooked nooks of the male body. The erotic unpacking of constructions of masculinity is something of a ritual in itself for Manna…”

A Very Still Life
by Anna Della Subin

“The paintings are the work of Jack Kevorkian, the late Armenian-American pathologist, philosopher, assisted-suicide advocate, and convicted felon otherwise known as Dr. Death. They are strikingly well executed. Unlike the works of other improbable painters � Adolf Hitler's multicolored bouquets and elegant nudes or Winston Churchill's pastoral sceneries � Kevorkian's canvases are markedly obvious and gruesomely, almost risibly, literal. And the man in the coma, the man on fire, and the man with the brains by his side look a lot like the auteur himself…”

#27 Table of Contents

Letter from their Editors

Jumana Manna
Kate Sutton

Vishal Jugdeo
Aram Moshayedi

Rokni Haerizadeh
Negar Azimi

Nimco Mahamud-Hassan

A Very Still Life
Anna Della Subin

The Imaginary Elsewhere
Media Farzin

Aleph Null
Alexander Keefe

Darryl Li

Sudarshan Purohit


Bidoun with Nadia Ayari, Annabel Daou, Ranya Husami, Mahmoud Khaled, and Sarah Rifky

Imprisoned Airs
Daniel Mufson and Salar Abdoh

Sukhdev Sandhu

Mumu's Gelateria & Barbershop
As told to Yasmine Seale

Hassan Sharif
Ghalya Saadawi

The Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival
Ania Szremski

New Museum Triennial
Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

Brute Ornament
Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

La Triennale 2012
Sam Thorne

Yto Barrada
Martin Herbert

Haj to Utopia
Hussein Omar

The Colonel
Christopher de Bellaigue

Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian
Issandr El Amrani