For those who are a part of the contemporary movements that have managed to occupy public space – from Tahrir Square to Wall Street – with dramatic effect, one of the first rules of belonging is that you lose your individual identity by dissolving it into the identity of the movement. A similar procedure allowed a group of Egyptian artists and filmmakers to become Mosireen. Based in Cairo, Mosireen was created with the goal of filming, collecting and broadcasting footage from the ground in Egypt. Since the beginning of the revolution, the collective sought to raise public consciousness regarding the manipulative use of protest imagery by the mainstream media and attempted to create a parallel narrative that came from the protesters.
The group researches and documents cases of torture, illegal military trials and detentions; it conducts workshops in the immediate aftermath of events and live-streams footage from mobile phones, with the production of such media split and delegated among many members and supporters. Mosireen initiated, among other things, the so-called Tahrir Cinema – a series of public screenings that started during the sit-ins in July – as an exercise in raising awareness of media coverage and potential strategies of counterpropaganda. The group’s material is available on social networks and YouTube, and is occasionally broadcast on Al Jazeera. There is an old quote from Marina Abramović: ‘Art without ethics is cosmetics’. Although Abramović appears to forget this sometimes, Mosireen does not. Quite the opposite.
This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue.