I.B. Tauris books are currently unavailable for purchase on this site, as we are migrating to www.bloomsbury.com Books will be available for purchase online via the Bloomsbury site from 14th January 2019. Thank you for your patience with this process.

If you would like to place an order before 14th January 2019, please email mail@ibtauris.com and you will be directed to the correct department for your region.

Print details Printable details


Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East

Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East
Anthony Downey

  • Paperback | Not defined | £25.00

    Email me when available
  • Paperback | Out of Stock | $29.50


In this groundbreaking book, a range of internationally renowned and emerging academics, writers, artists, curators, activists and filmmakers critically reflect on the ways in which visual culture has appropriated and developed new media across North Africa and the Middle East. Examining the opportunities presented by the real-time generation of new, relatively unregulated content online, Uncommon Grounds evaluates the prominent role that new media has come to play in artistic practices - and social movements - in the Arab world today. Analysing alternative forms of creating, broadcasting, publishing, distributing and consuming digital images, this book also enquires into a broader global concern: does new media offer a 'democratisation' of - and a productive engagement with - visual culture, or merely capitalise upon the effect of immediacy at the expense of depth?Featuring full-colour artists' inserts, this is the first book to extensively explore the degree to which the grassroots popularity of Twitter and Facebook has been co-opted into mainstream media, institutional and curatorial characterisations of 'revolution' - and whether artists should be wary of perpetuating the rhetoric and spectacle surrounding political events.

In the process, Uncommon Grounds reveals how contemporary art practices actively negotiate present-day notions of community-based activism, artistic agency and political engagement.

Table of Contents

Anthony Downey

30 2011 is not 1968: An Open Letter to an Onlooker
Philip Rizk

The Paradox of Media Activism: The Net is not a Tool, It’s an Environment
Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi

Revolution Triptych

For the Common Good?: Artistic Practices and Civil Society in Tunisia
Anthony Downey

Citizens Reporting and the Fabrication of Collective Memory
Jens Maier-Rothe, Dina Kafafi and Azin Feizabadi

Performing the Undead: Life and Death in Social Media and Contemporary Art
Nat Muller

Artists’ Inserts
Wafaa Bilal, 3rdi
Sarah Abu Abdallah, Saudi Automobile
Fayçal Baghriche, Family Friendly
Ganzeer, Manazer
Roy Samaha, Untitled for Several Reasons

Art’s Networks: A New Communal Model
Derya Yücel

When the Going Gets Tough …

Potential Media: The Appropriation of Images, Commercial Media and Activist Practices in Egypt Today
Maxa Zoller
A Critical Reflection on Aesthetics and Politics in the Digital Age
Dina Matar

Digital, Aesthetic, Ephemeral: A Brief Look at Image and Narrative
Sheyma Buali

New Media and the Spectacle of the War on Terror
Maymanah Farhat

The Magnetic Remanences: Voice and Sound in Digital Art and Media
Nermin Saybasili

Re-examining the Social Impulse: Politics, Media and Art after the Arab Uprisings
Omar Kholeif

Artists’ Inserts
Tarzan and Arab, Gazawood
Sophia Al-Maria, Chewing the Data Fat
Hans Haacke for Gulf Labor
Rabih Mroué, The Pixelated Revolution

Arab Glitch
Laura U. Marks

The Many Afterlives of Lulu
Amal Khalaf

Cardboard Khomeini: An Interrogation
Annabelle Sreberny

The Art of the Written Word and New Media Dissemination: Across the Borders between Syria and Lebanon
Tarek Khoury

On Revolution and Rubbish: What has Changed in Tunisia since Spring 2011
Timo Kaabi-Linke

Saadiyat and the Gulf Labor Boycott
Gulf Labor

Author Info

Anthony Downey is an academic and writer. He is the author of Art and Politics Now (Thames and Hudson, 2014), and editor of Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practice in North Africa and the Middle East (I.B. Tauris, 2014). Recent and forthcoming publications include The Future of a Promise: Contemporary Art from the Arab World (Ibraaz Publishing, 2011); Dissonant Archives: Knowledge Production and Art Practices in the Middle East (forthcoming, I.B. Tauris, 2015); and Mirrors for Princes (NYU Press, forthcoming 2015). He is the Director of the Contemporary Art Masters Programme at Sothebys Institute of Art, London, and the Editor in Chief of Ibraaz (www.ibraaz.org), a research forum on visual culture across the Middle East and North Africa.


'Uncommon Grounds is an ambitious anthology that attempts to take the measure of ... the widespread impact and appropriation of social/new media throughout visual culture in its broadest sense'.
Jay Murphy, Transnational Cinemas

‘Edited by the always insightful Anthony Downey, Uncommon Grounds is a good place to start for those seeking to understand the role of new media in the region. This isn’t a conventional art book, but an exploration of new media and its impact on a land often manipulated and colonized (particularly through images) by foreign forces.’

'[Uncommon Grounds] presents a new analysis paradigm that moves beyond merely framing the elements of the social movements within their historical backgrounds and political interpretations, and instead engages with the specifics of the accountability of new media in the democratic movements.'
Wided Rihana Khadraoui, Kalimat

'What readers get out of [Uncommon Grounds] is an intimate and close reading of certain arts practices situated in various local contexts within the Middle East; a reading that does not claim to represent or diagnose, but rather pools together the raw materials for an interdisciplinary discussion into the politics of visual or artistic representation, grounded in case studies and inserts that illustrate some of the theoretical discussions being had.'
Arek Dakessian, London School of Economics Review of Books

'A valuable volume...well edited'
Jane Jakeman, The Art Newspaper

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: Ibraaz

ISBN: 9781784530358
Publication Date: 29 Jul 2014
Number of Pages: 240
Height: 234
Width: 156
Illustrations: 60 bw integrated, 8 colour in 8pp plates

Also of Interest

Vanessa Bell

Vanessa Bell
Paperback / softback
£25.00 | $40.00

Statues of the Xxvth and Xxvith Dynasties: Catalogue General of Egyptian Antiquities Nos. 48601-48649

Statues of the Xxvth and Xxvith Dynasties
Josephson, Mamdouh Mohamed Eldamaty

Islamic Art and Culture: Timeline and History

Islamic Art and Culture
Nasser D Khalili (Founder of the Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art Founder of the Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art; Visiting Professor of Art and Archaeology Founder of the Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art)

New Product Alerts

Sign up now

Powered by Google