Alternative Archives: Discourses and Disruptions

Posted: Oct 5, 2020

Image: Under the Ceiling (film still), Nidal Al-Dibs, 2005

AANM, ArteEast,  NYU’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, Shangri-La Museum of Islamic Art, and the Honolulu Museum of Art are excited to come together to present Alternative Archives: Discourses and Disruptions, a series of events that will explore themes of storytelling, archiving and evolving technologies in the digital world as they relate to the SWANA (South West Asia and North Africa) region. These programs are part of two broader thematic series from the Kevorkian Center titled Digital Forays and Global Uprising. For more information or to RSVP for all sessions, visit


Excavating Alternative Histories

December 11, 2020 12:30 – 2:30 EST REGISTER

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

Co-presented by the Arab Film Fest Collab: AANM, ArteEast, Arab Film and Media Institute and Mizna, and NYU’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies

Session 1: Digital Forays: Archives & Activation // Artists & Access

The last 20 years have been marked by the expansion and creation of many archival projects across the SWANA region. What is saved? Who decides what is of worth? How accessible does it become? How are artists and cultural works accessing, making and moving beyond archives?

When speaking of Archives & Activation // Artists & Access, what are the absences, gaps, cracks…?

How is digitality, in a broader sense, bridging, morphing and exploiting the gaps of knowledge and access?

Featuring panelists Diana AllanAsunción Molinos Gordo and Mohammad Shawky Hassan with moderator Helga Tawil-Souri.

Diana Allan is an Assistant Professor at McGill University in the Department of Anthropology and the Institute for the Study of International Development. She is a filmmaker and anthropologist, and the founder of two grassroots media collectives in Lebanon, the Nakba Archive and Lens on Lebanon. Her ethnography, Refugees of the Revolution: Experiences of Palestinian Exile (2014) won the 2014 MEMO Palestine academic book award and the 2015 Middle East Section Award (AAA). She is currently working on a historical ethnography of the sea in Palestine.

Asunción Molinos Gordo is a research-based artist strongly influenced by disciplines such as anthropology, sociology and cultural studies. In her practice she questions the categories that define “innovation” in mainstream discourses today, working to generate a less urban-centric way of understanding progress. She won the Sharjah Biennale Award in 2015 with her project WAM (World Agriculture Museum). Her work has been exhibited at museums and institutions around the world. In 2014 Molinos was a resident at Delfina Foundation, during the first iteration of The Politics of Food thematic programme and in 2019 she was a resident at CCA Glasgow with Verbatim Theatre mentor Mark Jeary. Molinos has been commissioned to create Art Jameel’s 2020 Artist’s Garden Project in Dubai.

Mohammad Shawky Hassan is a filmmaker and video artist living and working between Cairo and Berlin. He studied philosophy, film directing and cinema studies at the American University in Cairo, The Academy of Cinematic Arts & Sciences and Columbia University. His films include It Was Related to Me (2011), On a Day like Today (2012), Compos Mentis (2016) and And on a Different Note (2015), which was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York as part of its permanent collection. A recipient of the Fulbright Fine & Applied Arts Grant, his work has been shown at the Berlinale, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), MUCEM, Sursock Museum and Contemporary Image Collective (CIC) among other festivals and museums. In addition to his film and video work, he was the film programs director at ArteEast, the director of the Network of Arab Alternative Screens (NAAS), the Residential Fellow for Art & Philosophy at the Cairo Institute of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CILAS) and a Lecturer at the German University in Cairo.

Helga Tawil-Souri is a media scholar who focuses on spatiality, technology, and politics in the Middle East and especially Israel/Palestine, and methodologically incorporates political economy, visual and cultural studies, and cultural geography. Broadly, my work critiques the notion that we live in an increasingly open and borderless world, by analyzing how technologies and their infrastructures – such as cell phones and the internet – are explicitly territorial and political and often impose new forms of borders and controls. On the flip side of that, she is equally fascinated by how spaces and ‘things’ that are overtly territorial and political – borders, checkpoints, and identification cards, for example – themselves function in cultural ways. Most of her teaching is through the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication. Helga teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on topics including borders and spatiality; Arab media; critical theory and media studies; Israel/Palestine; war and media; globalization, international development, and commodities.


In partnership with

Session 1 is cosponsored by the Program in Museum Studies at NYU

Session 2: GLOBAL UPRISING: Indigeneity, Land, Heritage // Hawaiʻi & Palestine

November 15, 2020 3:00 – 4:30 PM EST

Panelists: Nida Sinnokrot (Artist), Sean Connelly (Artist), and Discussants Nasser Abourahme (NYU), ‘Ilima Long (University of Hawaiʻi)

Co-presented by the Arab American National Museum, ArteEast, NYU’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, Shangri-La Museum of Islamic Art, and Honolulu Museum of Art

How do cultivation, contractors, culture, and cosmopolitics relate to land rights struggles in Palestine and Hawaiʻi? This panel will reflect on growing ecological crises, displacement from land, and alienation from heritage through potential strategies or antidotes presented by education and cultural projects that bridge art, science, and agriculture. Through the practice of two working artists and two academics we will think through linkages of land, lineage, and laws.


Nida Sinnokrot (MIT) Through tactical acts of technical and conceptual détournement, much of Nida Sinnokrot’s work aims to subvert various technologies of control that give rise to shifting social, political and geographic instabilities. His films, installations, and sculptures often transform ordinary objects or actions into sensory experiences that reveal the hidden complexity of relationships trapped within the mundane. Nida is a co-founder of Sakiya – Art | Science | Agriculture, an international residency program and farm with an emphasis on fostering and developing sustainable practices across disciplines and is a faculty member of MIT’s program in Art, Culture and Technology Program (ACT) in the School of Architecture and Planning in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Sean Connelly (b.1984), is a Pacific Islander American artist-architect from Honolulu, Hawai‘i. He directs his work through an independent studio practice named After Oceanic Projects for Architecture, Landscape, Infrastructure, and Art. Sean’s research is about advancing an architectural history and theory from Hawai‘i. His built conceptual works have included sculptures and video works exhibited at ii Gallery, Honolulu Museum of Art, Foster Botanical Gardens, Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco, and Akron Art Museum in Ohio. Upcoming installation projects include a public sculpture for Thomas Square commissioned by the City and County of Honolulu Arts Commission, and an exhibition in Hong Kong curated by Patrick Flores, scheduled for 2021. Recently completed projects include a 1600 acre building and landscape plan for Mālama Loko Ea Foundation to restore a historic Hawaiian fishpond located in Haleiwa, Hawai‘i. Currently, Sean co-teaches an architecture studio in collaboration with Leong Leong at Columbia University. Sean holds a doctorate in Architecture, and a master’s in design from Harvard University, and has attended artist residencies at the Santa Fe Art Institute and NTUCCA Singapore. His combined works (2010 – 2020) strives to promote justice-advancing futures that address the dynamics of human geography today.


ʻIlima Long (University of Hawaiʻi) was born in Hilo, raised in Washington and returned to her one hānau in 2003. She lives in Makiki with her 10 year old daughter and is slowly tackling her PhD in Political Science at UH Mānoa. Her entry point into activism was on the Boeing picket line in Everett, Washington where her dad worked and was a member of the machinist union. In Hawai’i she has been involved with various aspects of Hawaiian sovereignty organizing and in doing so, works to connect struggles across oceans.

Nasser Abourahme is a Faculty Fellow at the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, at NYU. He completed his PhD at Columbia University in 2018, was most recently a fellow at the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities at Princeton University, and is currently working on a book manuscript titled, The Time Beneath the Concrete: Camp, Colony, Palestine.