Contemporary Arab Representations is a long-term project which includes meetings, publications, productions and presentations of visuals, texts and discourses by various authors in many different cultural venues and other places. The aim of the project is to stimulate locally based critical platforms and exchanges in the Middle East, as well as between the different centers of the Arab world and the rest of the world.

The consolidation and promotion of contemporary Arab critical culture has become even more urgent with the worsening situation after the violent and cynically premeditated dismantling of Iraq and the emergence of another colonial occupation in the region.

The temporary presentation of Contemporary Arab Representations in Venice has been conceived as an information platform and possible meeting place in order to develop further steps. The presentation is not a re-staging of previous moments of the project, nor is it an exhibition; it is more a project of projects, where a certain number of authors have contributed various “works in progress” and documentation on their research. Other images and proposals might be added to the screens during the course of the Venice Biennale, and other events (meetings and discussions) might be held in places other than Venice.

Not all the authors contributing to Contemporary Arab Representations at this stage have been able or willing to be present in the context of the Venice Biennale and confront a situation of paradoxical visibility in a global event where dissymmetric situations are not yet openly proclaimed (in terms of budgets, structures of production and presentation, and political and cultural agendas).


The Atlas Group / Walid Raad (b. 1967 in Chbanieh, Lebanon. Lives and works in Beirut and New York)
My Neck Is Thinner Than A Hair: A History of Car Bombs in the Lebanese Wars 1975-1991 (Volumes 1-245); Engines, 2003

Taysir Batniji (b. 1966 in Gaza. Lives and works in Marseille)
Untitled, 2001
Photographic fragments taken in the streets, from the walls, and in the doorways of Gaza in 2001

Tony Chakar(b. 1968 in Beirut. Lives and works in Beirut)
Beirut: The Impossible Portrait. (And Now, Will You Let us Play with You?), 2003
Text: excerpts from The Eyeless Map by Tony Chakar, 2003 (forthcoming)

Bilal Khbeiz
(b. 1963 in Kufur Shooba, Lebanon. Lives and works in Beirut)
Self-portrait. Knowledge does not precede effort, 2003

Randa Shaath
(b. 1963 in Philadelphia. Lives and works in Cairo)
Under the Same Sky – Rooftops from Cairo, 2002 – 2003
Selection from a series

Paola Yacoub Michel Lasserre
(b. 1966 in Beirut / b. 1947 in Auch, France. Both live and work in Beirut and Paris)
O.V. Original Version March 18, 2003 / number 1, 2003
O.V. Original Version March 25, 2003 / number 2, 2003

Contemporary Arab Representations is produced by Witte de With, Rotterdam and Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona.
For more information about La Biennale di Venezia go to
For some images of the presentation, go to Photos: Pat Binder and Gerhard Haupt.