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Conference Program
20.03.2004 10:00
The Three-Part Conference Series Framing and a conference on The Significance of New Communications Media in the Arab World

Framing is a series of events concerned with issues related to the practices of exhibiting and depicting non-European cultures in the western context and the resulting structures of perception in the intercultural domain. The conferences Frames of Viewing and Migrating Images, conducted in May 2002 and November 2003, respectively, were already intended as first steps toward examining the House of World Cultures itself as a kind of "frame." This discussion will be taken up again by the Framing project, three conferences scheduled for March, April and June 2004. The series will be launched jointly with the exhibition of the works by Iranian artists, but to extend beyond this specific project. The concept for the series was developed by Tirdad Zolghadr in cooperation with Kerstin Frei and Peter C. Seel.

Framing I: Exhibition Practices as 'Framing'
>>> 20 + 27 March 2004

Taking as their starting point the HKW exhibition Far Near Distance: Contemporary Positions of Iranian Artists, curators, experts and artists discuss how exhibition practices and artistic and curatorial strategies engender a specific perception of Iran and its art. Central to this discussion is the question "How has Iran been exhibited/represented/ commodified/framed. Not only by nasty westerners, but also within the country itself. The event would basically be an inquiry into 'representations of Iran'." (Tirdad Zolghadr) Another topic of discussion will be the influence of the setting of such an exhibition in the House of World Cultures, in Berlin, in Germany, on the perception of this art, and the role played by the specifically western relationship between art and economics in respect to this question.

Framing II: 'Framing' and the Representation Regime
>>> 23 + 24 April 2004

As a second step, representation practices on a further sociopolitical level will be examined. The tendency to exoticize non-European cultures is omnipresent in western societies. The topics for discussion here are the questions as "to what extent representation can have a powerful effect and how it influences perception through omissions, accentuations, stereotyping, de- and recontextualization, exoticization, ethnicization and differentiation." (Kerstin Frei) The goal is to uncover the ways in which such modes of representation develop and become entrenched. Questions concerning structures of dominance in society as a whole, as well as power and impotence with regard to modes of depiction and representation are also to be raised. A society’s majority and their institutions set frames of perception. They determine the format, the conditions and the motive for making art and artists visible. They define the "representational space" (P. Niedermüller) within which "foreign cultures," or more generally speaking, "those who are different," may and should position themselves. In this a significant role is played by the question of "who speaks for whom?"

Framing III: Performing Culture as Cultural Policy
>>> June 2004

The final part of this series of events concerns itself with the forms of cultural "staging" of cities via a multicultural pastiche of cultural, leisure-time and educational offerings. Festivals, events, projects, performances, street parties, markets and parades are typical representational forms in which cities attempt to lend themselves a 'cosmopolitan' character. The extent to which these forms are appropriate for conveying cultural 'foreignness' will be a topic for discussion at this event. The staging of cultural diversity, its producers and its audience, its subjects and its forms will be examined. Discussion will also center on the institutions that represent "foreignness" as an object of cultural policy and enable a broad public to experience and access it (as explored by Gisela Welz). Further topics include cultural policy in the era of "festivalization" drawing up on the example of the Berlin Republic, among others; performing culture as an instrument of competition among cities; and ethnic marketing and the connection between art, consumption and the process of creating the "ethnic."

The Significance of New Communications Media in the Arab World (Conference)
>>> June 2004

Satellite TV, cell phones and the Internet are new communication technologies that have gained predominance across the globe, including the Arab world, where, however, their effect on communication within society has been more radical than in places like Europe. As such, they have made it possible to undermine certain social and political limitations that exist in many Arab societies.
Cell phones and the Internet have revolutionized the possibilities for private, interpersonal communication. These widespread technologies have provided young people especially with a previously unheard-of scope of freedom to communicate outside the social control of the family. The boom in Internet cafés throughout the Arab world has created new public spaces that are open to both women and men late into the night.
Since the mid-1990s, satellite TV and the Internet have revolutionized political discussion and debate in Arab societies by completely eroding national control and censorship of publicly communicated ideas. Governments attempt time and again to reassert their control, but have met with little success.

At the conference, Arab and German media scholars, intellectuals and journalists will analyze and discuss these developments