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Ali Cherri: image/text/paratext

May 3, 2015 6:00 pm

In the context of the exhibition afteratlas, Beirut art center is inviting Ali Cherri to lead a three-day workshop on image-text compositions and the creation of new narratives.

The workshop will take as its starting point Bertolt Brecht’s war primer, which was first published in 1955. This book is a collection of “photo-epigrams.” each consists of a photograph, usually cut out from a magazine or a daily, mounted on a black background and accompanied by a four-line poem he wrote. The book takes World War II as its central theme.

Brecht suggests that the individual image can be redeemed not by combining it with another image, but by giving it a caption. By paying attention to the verbal texts that (re) contextualize the act of viewing, it becomes clear that what the image-text produces is neither a contradiction nor duality, but a multiplicity.

The workshop will be divided in two parts. On the first day, we will be looking at different text-image relations in artists’ projects, film excerpts, and videos. We will also discuss analytical readings, and investigate the potentials of the caption and language to counter the mystifying, and many times deceiving, power of the image. During the last two days, the participants will conceive and produce a series of compositions around current events of their choosing. Each composition will consist of a collage of photographs (from newspapers, magazines, etc.) and existing textual excerpts (from novels, poems, etc.). The aim of this exercise is to read photographs by integrating them into yet another narrative.