Memory, Preservation and Post-Revolutionary Egyptian Digital Visual Cultures

Nancy Demerdash (Albion College)

Many might argue that the prospects of a progressive politics and democratic governance that the 2011 Egyptian revolution sought to realize have completely vanished. Those revolutionary aspirations for social change, political justice, economic opportunity, or civic equality have disintegrated, for some, into disillusioned desperations. In turn, recent cultural discourse about Egypt’s post-revolutionary malaise has often been couched in terms of ‘dystopia.’ However, this paper posits that Egyptian contemporary artists are testing the limits of their creative expression, experimenting to give rise to alternative heterotopias. Specifically, this paper examines how two artists, Lara Baladi and Ganzeer, wrestle with the archives and memories of the 2011 Egyptian revolution to visually, digitally theorize and reconstitute its political resonance, salience, and urgency. Through digital and graphic media, Cairo-based and diasporic Egyptian artists alike continue to ruminate on the country’s present stagnation all while keeping a pulse on the potential for a revolutionary resurgence.