Islamic studies scholar Bettina Gräf and art historian and Manazir member Laura Hindelang have collaborated on editing the special issue “Urban Cultures in the Gulf from a Historical Media Perspective” in the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication. The goal of their approach is to use a media-historical approach to examine the Gulf cities’ presumed lack of history. The contributions of the special issue engage with the past and present of the Gulf region’s urban cultures viewed through the lens of one selected medium, e.g. the film Roll’em, architectural writing in Saudi Arabia, youtubers in Dubai, and the illustrated magazine Al-Arabi. They reflect the history of each medium and its defining characteristics in relation to the history of the Gulf cities to understand the trajectories of the region beyond very recent developments.
Check out the issue and read the introduction in Open Access here.
Berlin, De Gruyter, 2022
Petro-modernity is a local phenomenon essential to the history of Kuwait, while also a global experience and one of the prime sources of climate change. The book investigates petroleum’s role in the visual culture of Kuwait to understand the intersecting ideologies of modernization, political representation, and oil. The notion of iridescence, the ambiguous yet mesmerizing effect of a rainbowlike color play, serves as analytical-aesthetic concept to discuss petroleum’s ambiguous contribution to modernity: both promise of prosperity and destructive force of socio-cultural and ecological environments. Covering a broad spectrum of historical material from aerial and color photography, visual arts, postage stamps, and master plans to architecture and also contemporary art from the Gulf, it dismantles petro- modernity’s visual legacy.
Download a PDF version here.
With contributions by Antonie Bassing-Kontopidis, Lisa Blackmore, Laura Valentina Bohnenblust Dayron Carillo Morell, Martin Hartung, Laura Hindelang, Marco Jalla, Patricia Lurati, Charlotte Matter, Pathmini Ukwattage, Filine Wagner, Sandro Weilenmann, Muriel Willi and Ismene Wyss. The publications focuses on transcultural exchange and global art history with an essay on contemporary art from the Persian Gulf region as well as one on Swiss architects in Afghanistan.