Karen Mirza and Brad Butler: author(ity)

Karen Mirza

Brad Butler

May 20, 2013 10:00 am

In conjunction with the exhibition video vintage, Beirut art center has invited Karen Mirza and Brad Butler to lead a workshop around political engagement in film. The participants in the workshop will collaborate in a multidisciplinary project combining practice and theory, the outcome of which will be presented to the public on Monday 27 May, 8 pm. can film be made ‘collectively’ when the medium itself is so embedded with hierarchy? 

For a week we will work together to intertwine experimentation with theory and practice using drawing, political theatre, video, sound, and public interventions to get inside the power dynamics of images and the film apparatus in order to understand and subvert how we as artists, activists and/or filmmakers can co-author work. Together, by exploring the city, exchanging ideas, skills, and techniques, and through a series of ‘games for actors and non-actors we will build a work to be premiered at Beirut art center that is not a passive experience for its audience. Rather those in attendance will be offered the opportunity to become agents and active, to ‘act’ as well as observe.

Karen Mirza and Brad Butler have worked together since 1998, and in 2004 formed (, an artist-run space for the production, discussion, and dissemination of practices engaged with the moving image, politics, technology, and aesthetics.’s role as a cooperative environment is directly related to the centering of mirza and butler’s own practice upon collaboration, dialogue, and the social.

Since 2007 they have pursued a strain of practice entitled the museum of non-participation ( This was born during a visit to the newly opened national gallery of art in Islamabad. As mirza and Butler stood inside the controversial gallery of nude paintings, they witnessed the large-scale protests of the lawyers’ movement through a window in the museum. In that stark collision of art and political praxis, the project germinated and has subsequently remained intent on interrogating the interrelationship of politics and art, implication, participation, and potential for active agent withdrawal.

Mirza and Butler produced films including the exception and the rule (2010), bethnal green barbers (2010), deep state (2012), and hold your ground (2012). Upcoming exhibitions include the museum of non-participation: the new deal at the walker art centre April 2013 and derin devlet (deep state) at galeri non in November 2013.