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Title: Wujod : resistance strategies in the Syrian genocide?
Author: Abou Hamad, Mario
ISNI:       0000 0004 9358 3670
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2019
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Since the start of the Syrian civil uprising of February 2011, I have become a trusted individual among an exiled community of Syrian civil society activists in the UK. As an Arabic speaker of Lebanese origin, I have continued to work with them as a filmmaker and advocate in various capacities. Stemming from this long-standing engagement, this practice-based research draws from a combined lineage of Militant Film and Expanded Cinema, questioning how this hybrid practice is capable of resisting what I refer to as the “narrative component” of genocide in Syria. “Genocide” here refers to the term used by Syrian activists to describe what they see as a campaign of extermination targeting their friends, families and compatriots, and which they regard as being instigated and carried out by the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad and his international allies; and “narrative component” refers to what I and Syrian activists view to be a propaganda narrative that the Assad regime and its allies have disseminated internationally in order to justify their campaign of extermination targeting that segment of the Syrian population in opposition to its rule. My experimentation in this cross-disciplinary arts practice—conducted in a co-authorship with Syrian civil society activists—is informed by my concept (and claim to new knowledge) of wujoud (Arabic: وجود | lit: presence/existence): an ethos and philosophy of resistance that I argue emerges in the context of the Syrian genocide. Engaging eclectic audience demographics through multiple strategies of wujoud, my practice endeavours to stimulate audience activism in solidarity with the Syrian democratic-humanitarian cause. This project therefore makes use of a variety of audiovisual art forms that include film, video and found-footage, stills photography, sound recording and its manipulation, stroboscopic lighting, and experiments situated at the 3 intersection of protest and conceptual art. Some of these forms are also deployed as installations that make specific use of the space and surfaces in which they are exhibited, producing immersive spatial environments that play upon an experiencer’s (audience) physical and emotional senses. This research is situated in the field of political audio-visual arts practice and theories of “affect” and “embodiment”, with an emphasis on revolutionary and anti-regime audiovisual material in the Syrian context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Film & Video