Huston School of Film and Digital Media (Conference Papers)

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  • Publication
    Bring a camera with you: the posthumous collaboration of Ahmed Basiony and Shady El Noshokaty
    (The European Society for Aesthetics, 2015) Putnam, El; Dorsch, Fabian; Ratiu, Dan-Eugen
    In this paper, I investigate the role of digital technology and its relationship to gesture in the posthumous collaboration of Ahmed Basiony and Shady El Noshokaty, drawing upon the philosophy of Bernard Stiegler. Picking up where Basiony left off, El Noshokaty frames the presentation of two seemingly disconnected videos—documentation of a performance that Basiony was preparing for the 2011 Venice Biennale and his footage from the Tahrir Square protests where he was killed—resulting in 30 Days of Running in the Place. This fulfillment is possible due to what Stiegler refers to as epiphylogenesis, or the development of new ways of being through technological innovation. Digital technology has introduced new forms of tertiary retentions, or the process of externalising memories beyond the fragility of living beings into the facticity of the non-living, affecting how these are externalized and shared. Stiegler describes how the repetition of tertiary retentions can lead to indifference, as images and sounds are played back over and over again, dulling the senses of human recipients as they are transformed into passive consumers, resulting in symbolic misery, or lost of participation in the symbolic. The development of new forms of participation that attempt to re-develop and re-use these technologies provide platforms for coming together and becoming together. Drawing from Stiegler’s relationship between aesthetics and politics, specifically his understanding that a political community is one that comes together and feels together, I describe how El Noshokaty fulfills Basiony’s gesture while presenting a new means of participation that offers an escape from symbolic misery. In this action of common becoming, the artists present dedication to the politics, aesthetics, and ethics of a better society.