The vanished image: who owns the archives of the Arab uprisings?

by Donatella della Ratta

Download .pdf book

The talk reflects on the destiny of the Arab image post-2011. Arab, and particularly Syrian video activists who became image-makers in the excitement of the revolutionary moment have now lost control of their images. Arab image-makers are no longer image-keepers. The collective commons of the once revolutionary time have turned into digital commodities managed by Silicon Valley’s corporate capital establishing what ought to be remembered and what to be forgotten, sentencing the Arab image either to the meaningless hashtag reproduction in the networked data stream, or to digital disappearance and eternal oblivion. The ongoing struggle is about ownership of memory and history, therefore about controlling the future in the realm of the digital.