Mark R. Westmoreland, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Section for Journalism, Media and Communication, Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University

Out in the Streets: Protest Images and Political Enactment in Cairo

This paper explores the “street” as a concept in Egyptian activist videos. Activist filmmakers have criticized both those “capitalizing on the revolution” and the prevailing myopic view of political discontents in Egypt. Nevertheless, as a member of the Mosireen media collective, who actively documented the various protests and their violent suppression, Philip Rizk unflinchingly identifies his cause with “The street” – that is, the disenfranchised people “with enough of a cause to put their life at risk.” Rizk sees his filming as a way to participate on the frontlines of resistance against neocolonialism. As such, resistance by recording as a mode of political enactment combines the way a handheld camera radically realigns the body according to corporeal processes of looking and being with the possibility of risk-taking activist documentary to animate the body politic. And yet, as the street has become reified in both representational and political frameworks, activists look to engage it in new ways.

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