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Public Programme | Heba Y. Amin – When I see the future, I close my eyes

The Mosaic Rooms announces the public programme accompanying the exhibition Heba Y. Amin – When I see the future, I close my eyes, curated by Anthony Downey.

The online programme in 2020-2021 is developed with artist Heba Y. Amin and Anthony Downey featuring artists, thinkers and activists who engage with the themes of her practice and further investigate urgent and contemporary questions prompted by the exhibition. It invites us to rethink technology and its implications for our future, to challenge politics of surveillance, and to enquire into the rise of digital authoritarianism in the Middle East and beyond. It also explores new forms of artistic research, knowledge production and alternative approaches to historical and web-based archives.

The programme launched with a conversation between Heba Y. Amin and Anthony Downey about their new book Heba Y. Amin: The General’s Stork (Sternberg Press, 2020) departing from ongoing research and retracing how land surveying, bombing, drone technologies and other forms of technology have transformed Western power in the Middle East into a spectacle of high-tech weaponry.

Looking at the origins of conspiracy theories, The Research Institute for Technical Aesthetics present their findings to suggest that legitimising these paranoia could help redirect the intelligence and creativity invested in them towards social and economic emancipation. Workshops with The New Centre will experiment with digital methodologies for collective and critical knowledge production. Cairotronica curates a screening programme to look at the correlations between fiction, future and technology. Shona Illingworth, William Merrin, Heba Y. Amin, Anthony Downey and Andrew Hoskins launch and discuss the first issue of the Journal of Digital War with a focus on hypervigilance and predictive surveillance. Artist-activists from The Dazzle Club will teach how to craft shape shifting clothing to frustrate surveillance technologies.  Heba Y. Amin, Emilio Distretti and Ian Alan Paul will excavate the entangled histories of Mediterranean Fascisms with a new object database. Abdelkarim Mardini, Adel Iskander and Heba Y. Amin will revisit Egypt’s 2011 internet shutdown and the importance of the digital platform Speak2Tweet. Sternberg’s new book on Archives, War and Contemporary Art – (W)archives will be launched by editors and contributors Daniela Agosthino, Kristin Veel, Heba Y. Amin, Anthony Downey, Sophie Dyer and Oraib Toukan. In collaboration with Mizna, Kamal Aljafari‘s An Unfinished Summer will be screened, followed by a conversation with the director and Kareem Estefan.

A series of reading groups will host discussions based on texts linked to the exhibition. Families can participate in an art workshop led by artist Dia Batal and inspired by the current exhibition.

The programme culminates in the symposium When I see the future…, exploring digital methodologies and evidentiary practices with Helene Kazan, Naeem Mohaiemen, Susan Schuppli, Donatella Della Ratta, Jeff Deutch and Nishant Shah. These panel discussions are followed by two roundtables on research and practice.

Finally, a new online platform and, in partnership with Status Audio Magazine and Jadaliyya, a new podcast, will be introduced to examine the enduring impact of new technologies on epistemic, political and territorial realities.


Image: Heba Y. Amin, The Master’s Tools I (restaging of Herman Soergel’s portrait), 2018. Archival B/W print. Courtesy of the artist.

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