Picturing the (Un)Dead: Reflections and Deconstructions of Lebanese and Iranian "Martyrs" in Contemporary Photo-Related Art-Practices (Agnes Remeder)

The project explores how four contemporary artists question and decon-struct the figure of the “martyr” in the context of Lebanese and Iranian his-tory since approximately 1970. In doing so, the artists critically engage with the  state (Iran) and sectarian (Lebanon) visual cultures of “martyr-dom” that are mainly based on photographs. By appropriating and trans-forming these existing images of “martyrs,” the artists not only reflect, re-veal and comment upon the artificial construction of the figure of the “mar-tyr” as such, but also question who is perceived as a “shahid” by whom and scrutinize the relation of the “martyr” to the writing of history, possible am-nesia of episodes of the recent past, the medium of photography and no-tions of ghosts and latency. The methodology encompasses visual close readings, the use of primary and secondary sources, art-and photo-theory, as well as artists-interviews and extensive field-research by lived experi-ence, in the countries of relevance.

Author: Agnes Remeder