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“If desire [in a society] is repressed, it is because every position of desire…is capable of calling into question the established order of society…it is revolutionary in its essence…It is therefore of vital importance for a society to repress desire, and even to find something more efficient than repression, so that repression, hierarchy, exploitation, and servitude are themselves desired…that does not at all mean that desire is something other than sexuality, but that sexuality and love do not live in the bedroom of Oedipus, they dream instead of wide-open spaces, and…do not let themselves be stocked within an established order.”

— Gilles Deleuze, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia

Stencil graffiti depicting Elmahdy, in the form of the nude blog photo of herself. Its text also refers to the case of Samira Ibrahim. (Credit: Women in the Revolution)

In his essay Arab Porn (2017), the Egyptian author and journalist Youssef Rakha deconstructs an aspect of Egypt’s cultural history of the new millennium. He makes a case for how and why amateur Arab pornography acts as a political tool against the sexually repressive status quo. He attempts to account for the failures of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 by connecting the activists’ shortcomings and ultimately frustration to the nature of Arab porn, which is reflective of the Egyptian society’s approach to sexuality, culture, politics and change. Sharing Rakha’s views, I see the Egyptian Revolution as a failed one: It replaced a military dictator with a misogynistic Islamic fundamentalist one, turning the country into a theocracy that was later overthrown in a military coup to have Egypt return once more to military dictatorship.

While Egypt does not have an official porn industry, if one searches for Arab Porn, plenty of home-made, low-quality videos can be found. Through a voyeuristic gaze, Rakha analyses various porn videos (links to which are included in his book), and draws what I perceive as far-fetched connections between the amateur porn industry, the Arab Spring in general, and Egypt specifically.

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► Monday: Interfilm Festival Opening

film

Start your week on a positive note by attending the Opening Night Gala of one of Europe’s most important short film festivals: the Interfilm. The opening ceremony of the week-long film festival will not only host international guests and Berlin celebrities, but will also show a selection of films and live music! Make sure to check out the daily program for the festival and make your pick.

  • When: 21:00
  • Where: Volksbühne –  Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, 10178 Berlin
  • Admission: 8€
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The Launch of a New Book by Laura Scuriatti

The Launch of a New Book by Laura Scuriatti

On Tuesday 24 of November, ECLA faculty members and students gathered at Berlin’s Institute for Cultural Inquiry to celebrate the launch of a book co-edited by their very own colleague and friend, Laura Scuriatti. The Exhibit in the Text: The Museological Practices of Literature represents a fascinating journey into the influential role of museums in literature throughout the centuries.

Starting in the eighteenth century and continuing up to the twentieth century, the book edited by Laura Scuriatti and Caroline Patey explores the way in which the presence of the museum as a setting, or of the concepts associated with museology, have shaped literary works.  Amongst those discussed are The Ambassadors by Henry James, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey, Romola by George Eliott and House of Life by Mario Praz.

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