Anatomy of Revolution
2021 Fay Chandler Creativity Grant
Archiving movements of protest
Anatomy of Revolution draws inspiration from Lara 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 Revolution invites internauts to explore Baladi’s Vox Populi, Tahrir Archives, an archive of digital data the artist has gathered and curated since 2011.
The interface to navigate the archive is an ABC, an abecedary of revolting. The viewer scrolls ad infinitum down or up, from A to Z, to explore definitions, concepts, anecdotes, and methods of achieving sustainable social change. Anatomy of Revolution reflects 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—along with excerpts from literature, press articles, and references from popular visual culture. This visual narrative is inspired by, and turns on its head, the language of propagandist educational tools, illustrating and defining vocabulary which has emerged and will continue to emerge from protests.
While Anatomy of 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 archive initiatives on the 2011 Egyptian revolution. The 2015-16 project and Anatomy of 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.
ABC: A Lesson in History (forthcoming 2022, Orbis Editions with Gato Negro) won Orbis Editions’ Cantabrigia award for an artist book in 2021.
The Anatomy of Revolution website is expected to have its soft online launch by the end of 2022.
Publication (2022, Orbis Editions with Gato Negro): ABC: A Lesson in History
2022-23: Anatomy of Revolution website
I AM WITH HER
Part of Lost in the Right Direction
December 4, 2021– January 9, 2022
ArtDesignLebanon, Deir el Kalaa ruins, Beit Meri, Lebanon
Vox Populi, ABC: A Lesson in History (2020), Anatomy of Revolution
Part of The Protest and the Recuperation
Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University
New York, NY
Read more on the ACT website
ABC: A Lesson in History
Part of Dear Truth: Documentary Strategies in Contemporary Photography
Anatomy of a Revolution
Part of Me, Family
Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Lara Baladi is an Egyptian-Lebanese multidisciplinary artist, archivist, and educator. Her 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.
Biography: Art, Culture, and Technology Program at MIT
Website: tahrirarchives.com (Presentations | Press)
Supported by a Fay Chandler Creativity Grant from the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST), and by a grant from the Council for the Arts at MIT (CAMIT).
In the Media
ArteEast: Artist Spotlight with Lara Baladi, 2022
Immerse: Recording History, Augmenting Reality: An Interview with Lara Baladi, by Sarah Wolozin, 2021
Hasselblad Foundation: Dear Truth: Interview with the artists, 2021
Zenith Magazine: “The Arab Decade,” Interview with Lara Baladi by Michael Nuding, 2020 (in German)
Document Journal: Lara Baladi, the Egyptian-Lebanese Artist Changing our Perception of Protest, 2019
Hromadske International: The Aftermath of Egypt’s 2011 Revolution: Lara Baladi Speaks, Ukraine, 2019
Ibraaz: Archiving a Revolution in the Digital Age, Archiving as an Act of Resistance, 2016