Unfinished Conversations Talk

John Akomfrah · Zineb Sedira · Penny Siopis

Moderated by Ghalya Saadawi

Along with unfinished conversations exhibition, Beirut art center presents an extensive program of parallel events including talks, panel discussions, film screenings, and educational workshops. This talk is the first of this series and will include the artists of the exhibition, John Akomfrah, Zineb Sedira, and Penny Siopis. The talk will highlight the artists’ practices in light of Stuart Hall’s thoughts and writings. Unfinished conversations is a tribute to the late British and Caribbean thinker, cultural theorist, and sociologist Stuart Hall (1932 -2014), who was one of the founders of the British concept of cultural studies, and co-founder of political magazine new left review. The works displayed here were chosen for the way in which they echo Hall’s conceptions. The constant motion of the films and the dispersion of speech refer to a central idea in his thinking: the necessary instability and multiple definitions of what is called identity. He conceived of the latter as a conversation “forever unfinished,” prone to the fluctuations of history and memory, and emanating from a constant exchange between oneself and others. This conception illuminates current discussions on racism and segregation, as well as different experiences of coexistence and dialogue