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Mapping Sitting. On Portraiture and Photography
A project by Walid Raad and Akram Zaatari
Co-produced by the Arab Image Foundation and the Palais des Beaux Arts,
Brussels, Belgium, 2002

"In Mapping Sitting, we present geographically and culturally specific photographic works that raise questions about portraiture, performance, photography and identity in general. We start with the proliferation of portrait photographic practices in the Arab world in the early to mid-20th century - passport studio photographs, institutional group portrait photographs, 'Surprise' photographs and street portrait photographs by itinerant photographers - to examine how the photographic portrait functioned in the Arab world as a commodity, a luxury item, an adornment; as a description of individuals and groups; and as the inscription of social identities. We proceed from the thesis that the photographic practices in question are symptomatic of an evolving capitalist organization of labor and its products, and of established conventions of iconic representation. We also propose that these practices were not only reflective but also productive of new notions of work, leisure, play, citizenship, community, and individuality."

The curators

A catalogue by the same title was published to coincide with the exhibition.

Studio Soussi portrait index books: 2 books, 10p, 150 photos, 50/35/9,5 cm
Studio Anouchian: 4250 photographs of 8,7 x 6,3 cm each
Studio Shehrazade: 48 bromide prints of 40 x 60 cm
18 bromide prints of 60 x 90 cm = 66 bromide prints
Zainah Shalabi photos: 7 photographs of 42 x 35 cm


House of World Culture
Berlin, Germany, March 2003   
World Wide Video Festival
Netherlands, May 2003  
Video Brasil Festival
Sao Paulo, Brazil, October 2003   
Centro de Estudios Juan de Mariana
Toledo, Spain, November 2003
National Museum of Contemporary Art
Athens, Greece, January 2004   
Centre pour l'Image Contemporaine
Geneva, Switzerland, April 2004 
Beiteddine Festival
Beiteddine, Lebanon, July 2004   
Singapore Contemporary Art Museum
Singapore, October-November 2004
Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
U.S.A., April-June 2005   
Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery
Reed College, Oregon, U.S.A., August-September 2005   
Carleton College
Minnesota, U.S.A., October-November 2006  
Palais des Beaux-Arts
Brussels, Belgium, May 2002     
Nicéphore Niepce Museum
Chalon-sur-Saone, France, March 2004   
website venue photos
Die Photographische Sammlung
Koln, Germany, September 2002   
website venue photos
Kunstnernes Hus
Oslo, Norway, February 2003   
website venue photos
Grey Art Gallery
New York, U.S.A., January-April 2005   
website venue photos