Fotograf Magazine

Akram Zaatari

A Detective on a Journey through Time

When the Lebanese artist and documentarist Akram Zaatari had a hole dug in a public park in Kassel, in which he inserted boxes featuring painted “photographic” objects which he subsequently buried in concrete with only their steel frame visible as a memento, he declared his stance regarding the relationship between photography and archive. Entitled Time Capsule (2012), the installation represents an extreme manner of depositing an archival item. With a gesture that constitutes the opposite of archeological excavation he references the past – the measures taken by the National Museum in Beirut, which had most of its archaeological collections buried in blocks of concrete in order to protect them during the civil war. Zaatari addresses questions regarding the institutional curatorship of photography towards the Arab Image Foundation (AIF), which he co-founded in 1997. The AIF is a platform for the study and collection of photographs from the Arab region and diaspora, and much of Zaatari’s creative work, verging between art and documentary, is connected with it.

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#26 documentary strategies