Photography, writes Ariella Azoulay in Civil Imagination, is an event and an encounter, irreducible to its end product: the photograph. This shift in focus to the practice of producing photographs (the """"Copernican Revolution"""" in studying photography) brings to light how images can both reinforce and resist power regimes. Azoulay engages with Arendt and Benjamin, arguing that art-world concerns regarding authorship, intention and frameworks should be replaced with a discussion of what can be seen, and where the imagination can break through political boundaries. Showing how photographs from the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank recognize or deny the Palestinian disaster, Azoulay reconstructs the narrative of the responsible, ruling regime - and in so doing, also demonstrates how its power can be renegotiated through acts of imagining. Packaged beautifully with many color photographs, Civil Imagination is a provocative argument for photography as a civic practice, capable of reclaiming power for the purposes of critique, freedom and resistance.
Ariella azoulay Director of Photo-Lexic, International Research Group, Minerva Center, Tel Aviv University
2010 Gladstine Visiting Professor, Human Rights Center, UConn
She is the author of Civil Imagination: The Political Ontology of Photography (2010, in hebrew, Resling, in english 2011, Verso), Constituent Violence 1947-1950 (Resling in Hebrew, 2009, in english From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction and State Formation, 1947-1950, Pluto Press), Act of State (2008, in Hebrew - Etgar publisher, in Italian Atto di Stato in Italian Bruno Mondadori), The Civil Contract of Photography (2008, Zone Books, 2007 Resling), Once Upon A Time: Photography following Walter Benjamin (Bar Ilan University Press, 2006, in Hebrew), Death's Showcase (MIT Press, 2001 - Winner of The Affinity Award, ICP) and TRAining for ART (Hakibutz Hameuchad and The Porter Institut Publishers, 2000, in Hebrew).
She is co-author with Adi Ophir of This Regime Which Is Not One: Occupation and Democracy between the Sea and The River - (1967 - ), [2008, Resling, in hebrew; 2011, Stanford University Press]; Bad Days, 2002, Resling (in Hebrew).
Curator of Untaken Photographs (2010, Winner of the Igor Zabel Competition, The Moderna galerija, Lubliana, Zochrot, Tel Aviv), Constituent Violence 1947-1950 (Zochrot, Tel Aviv), Architecture of Destruction (Zochrot, Tel Aviv), Act of State: 1967-2007 (Minshar Gallery, 2007), Everything Could Be Seen (Um Al Fahem Gallery, 2004), The Angel of History (Hertzela Museum of Art, Mishkan Le-Omanut, Ein Harod, 2001).
Director of documentary films, At Nightfall (2005), I Also Dwell Among Your Own People: Conversations with Azmi Bishara (2004), The Chain Food (2004), The Angel of History (2000) and A Sign from Heaven (1999).