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Excavating Alternative Histories

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Panelists: Naeem Mohaiemen (Artist), Adam Khalil and Zack Khalil (Artists), & Discussant Faye Ginsburg (NYU).

This program features artists/scholars exploring/excavating alternative histories and whose practices subvert traditional forms of ethnography.

Co-presented by the ARAB FILM FEST COLLAB (ArteEast, Arab American National Museum, Arab Film and Media Institute, & Mizna) and NYU’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies and co-sponsored by NYU’s Center for Media, Culture, and History.


Naeem Mohaiemen makes films, installations, and writes essays about rhizomatic families, malleable borders, and socialist utopias – beginning from South Asia’s two postcolonial markers (1947, 1971) and then radiating outward to transnational linkages. The idea of a future global left, as an alternative to current organizing categories of race, religion, and nation, drives the work. He is author of Prisoners of Shothik Itihash (Kunsthalle Basel, 2014); and co-editor with Eszter Szakacs of Solidarity Must be Defended (Tranzit, forthcoming) and with Lorenzo Fusi of System Error: War is a Force that Gives us Meaning (Sylvana, 2007).

Adam Khalil (Ojibway) is a filmmaker and artist who lives and works in Brooklyn. His practice attempts to subvert traditional forms of ethnography through humor, relation, and transgression. Khali’;s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Sundance Film Festival, Walker Arts Center, Lincoln Center, Tate Modern, Toronto Biennial and Whitney Biennial, among other institutions. Khalil is a core contributor to New Red Order (NRO) and a co-founder of COUSINS Collective. Khalil is the recipient of various fellowships and grants, including but not limited to: Sundance Art of Nonfiction, Jerome Artist Fellowship, and Gates Millennium Scholarship. Khalil received his BA from Bard College.

Zack Khalil is a filmmaker and artist from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, currently based in Brooklyn, NY. His work centers indigenous narratives in the present- and looks towards the future -through the use of innovative nonfiction forms. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Lincoln Center, Walker Arts Center, New York Film Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival among other institutions. Khalil is the recipient of various fellowships and grants, including the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship, Sundance Art of Nonfiction Grant, and Gates Millennium Scholarship. Khalil received his BA from Bard College


Faye Ginsburg is an American anthropologist who has devoted her life to the exploration of different cultures and individuals’ styles of life. She was born on October 28, 1952 in Chicago, Illinois. Ginsburg has published ethnographies about her fieldwork experiences in the U.S., Canada and Australia. The intercultural connections in her ethnographies have contributed to the fields of anthropology and sociology because they allow readers to understand other cultures through her narratives. Currently, she is an anthropology professor at New York University and the director of the Center for Media, Culture and History at NYU.

This program is part of Alternative Archives: Discourses and Disruptions, an ongoing series of webinars that explore innovative artistic processes and productions from the SWANA region, tackling critical questions around storytelling and archiving in a rapidly evolving digital world, Organized by ArteEast in partnership with the Arab American National Museum and NYU’s Kevorkian Center.

Don’t miss the Excavating Alternative Archives film program at AFFC!


INAATE/SE/ [it shines a certain way. to a certain place/it flies. falls./], 2016

Adam And Zack Khalil (USA)

The Violence of a Civilization Without Secrets, 2017

Adam and Zack Khalil in collaboration with artist Jackson Polys (USA)

Afsan’s Long Day, 2014

Naeem Mohaiemen (Bangladesh / USA)