This project investigates artistic representation in contemporary Lebanon, focusing on art made in postwar Beirut that mixes documentation and aesthetic strategies — particularly those of Walid Raad, Lamia Joreige, Walid Sadek, Joana Hadjithomas, Akram Zaatari, and Bernard Khoury. T.J. Demos explores the motivations and consequences of this transgression of categories within representation, testing the hypothesis that such art proposes a new paradigm of truth — neither neutral nor objective — that joins reportage to subjective imperatives in the face of violent history and traumatic experience. This involves tracing the historical conditions of this development and theorizing its representational effects, particularly in relation to the writing of philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Ranciere.
T.J. Demos lectures in the art history department at University College, London. He writes widely on modern and contemporary art, and is the author of Dara Birnbaum: Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman (Afterall Press, 2010) and The Exiles of Marcel Duchamp (MIT Press, 2007). Demos was co-curator of Uneven Geographies: Art and Globalization at Nottingham Contemporary in May–June 2010 and director of the research-exhibition project Zones of Conflict: Rethinking Contemporary Art during Global Crisis in 2008–2009. He is presently completing two new books: Return to the Postcolony: Spectresof Colonialism in Contemporary Art (Sternberg Press, forthcoming, 2012) and The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary during Global Crisis (Duke University Press, forthcoming, 2013). He is also currently guest-editing a special issue of Third Text on contemporary art and the politics of ecology (to be released in early 2013).