Lara Baladi

2015-16 Ida Ely Rubin Artist in Residence at CAST
2021 Fay Chandler Creativity Grant

Tahrir Square on Friday of Victory, Cairo, Egypt 2011. Photo: Lara Baladi.
Political cartoon displaying Mubarak's resignation, 2011. Photo: Lara Baladi.
Oum el Dounia; Lara Baladi (b. 1969, Beirut); Belgium, 2000–2007; wool and cotton. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.
Still from a wall projection. Notes From El Saniyya. Event by Lara Baladi in collaboration with DocShop, Harvard GSD, 2014. Photo: Lara Baladi.

Archiving revolution

About the Project

Anatomy of a Revolution draws inspiration from Baladi’s participation in Egypt’s 2011 uprisings and her ongoing research on the iconography of protests. This web-based art project marks the tenth anniversary of Egypt’s Tahrir Square and a decade of unprecedented social global movements. 

At once an artistic and educational endeavor, Anatomy of a Revolution invites internauts to explore via an abecedary, Baladi’s Vox Populi, Tahrir Archives, an archive of digital data Baladi has gathered and curated since 2011.

The abecedary allows one to scroll down and up ad infinitum from A to Z and back, and explore definitions, concepts, anecdotes, and methods to achieve sustainable social change, and to reflect on the principle inherent to all revolutions: the quest for freedom.

Throughout the twenty-eight letters of the Arabic alphabet, the abecedary weaves contemporary iconography of protest with the history of art—in particular the representation of revolts and revolutions, and excerpts from literature, press articles, and references from popular visual culture. This visual narrative, inspired by and turning on its head the language of propagandist educational tools, illustrates and defines vocabulary which has and continues to emerge from protests.

While Anatomy of a Revolution dissects the cycle of revolutions across time and cultures, it highlights Egypt’s 2011 uprising and its aftermath, the 2019 protests in Lebanon, Hong Kong, Bolivia, and Sudan, and the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests in the US, suggesting an ongoing march towards an imagined future.

As the Ida Ely Rubin Artist in Residence at CAST in 2015-16, Baladi published a data visualization of online archives on the 2011 Egyptian revolution. This project and Anatomy of a Revolution are the culmination of Baladi’s research Vox Populi, Tahrir Archives and a tribute to the 2011 Egyptian revolution and its impact on and resonance with the uprisings and sociopolitical movements that followed.

Schedule

Exhibitions

Vox Populi, ABC: A Lesson in History (2020), Anatomy of Revolution
Part of The Protest and the Recuperation
June 12 – August 14, 2021
Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University
New York, USA
Read more on the ACT website

ABC: A Lesson in History
Part of Dear Truth: Documentary Strategies in Contemporary Photography
Spring 2021
Hasselblad Foundation
Gothenburg, Sweden

Anatomy of a Revolution
Part of Me, Family 
A 2020 digital project, ongoing
Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean
Luxembourg

Past Events

“Listening In: Sonic Interventions in the Middle East and North Africa”
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Presentation at Northwestern University

“Art and Politics in Postcolonial Africa”
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Lecture at Princeton University

MIT 2016 Open House
Saturday, April 23, 2016 / 10:00am-3:00pm
Saxon Tennis Courts
Presentation of “Vox Populi, Archiving a Revolution in the Digital Age”

Technology / Affect / Space: a workshop exploring the politics and aesthetics of Affect Space
Wednesday, April 6, 2016 / 11:00am-1:00pm
ACT Cube, E15-001
A workshop exploring the nature of spaces such as Tahrir Square with Lara Baladi, media theorist Eric Kluitenberg, artist and Professor of Emergent Media Alessandra Renzi and media maker and Professor of Civic Media Sasha Costanza Chock (MIT/CMSW). Baladi presents work during the revolution and the timeline she has developed while at MIT.

Lara Baladi and Robert Ochshorn
Thursday, April 14, 2016
E15-054
Presentation of Robert Ochshorn‘s works, coder and artist, including his collaboration with Lara Baladi on Vox Populi production.

Transmediale “Five Years After” and “Tactile Media and the Archive”
Saturday, February 6, 2016
Berlin, Germany

Invisible Monument
Wednesday, September 30, 2015 / 4:00-7:00pm
Dewey Square, Boston, MA

Residency Schedule

Public Presentation
MIT 2016 Open House
Saturday, April 23, 2016 / 10:00am-3:00pm

Class Visits

April 8, 2016
WGS.220: Women and Gender in the Middle East and Africa

March 31, 2016
CMS.360: Introduction to Civic Media
Presentation and workshop

Presentation
December 9, 2015
Open Documentary Lab

Vox Populi Workshop
October 23, 2015 / 12:00-4:00pm

Research and Project Development
September – November 2015

Collaborators

Biography

Lara Baladi is an Egyptian-Lebanese multidisciplinary artist, archivist, and educator whose practice spans photography, video, sculpture, architecture, and multimedia installations. Informed by critical investigations into historical archives and the study of popular visual culture, Baladi’s work questions the theoretical divide between myth and reality and the cycles inherent to history.

Since 2011, Lara’s ongoing initiative Vox Populi: Tahrir Archives, includes a series of media initiatives, artworks, publications, and an open-source timeline and portal into web-based archives of the 2011 Egyptian revolution and other global social movements. Her work has been exhibited and featured internationally—including at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2004; Transmediale, Berlin, 2016; the Gwangju Biennial, South Korea, 2018; and the Hasselblad Foundation, Sweden, 2021.

Within her artistic practice, she is active in socially engaged projects. For more than twenty years, she has been on the board of the Arab Image Foundation in Lebanon and the Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art in Egypt.

Baladi received fellowships from the Japan Foundation (2003) and MIT’s Open Documentary Lab (2014). She was an artist-in-residence at Art Omi (Ghent, New York, 2014), MacDowell (New Hampshire, 2015), and MIT CAST (Ida Ely Rubin Artist in Residence, 2015) among others. Since 2016, Lara Baladi has been a lecturer in MIT’s Program in Art, Culture and Technology.

Visit the artist’s website: Lara Baladi