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Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East, edited by Anthony Downey

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Uncommon Grounds is a stimulating exploration into art practices in North Africa and the Middle East, and also a thought-provoking look at the fluid relationship between art and society more generally, writes Arek Dakessian. Chapters cover media activism, social media and contemporary art, and critical analyses of aesthetics and politics in the digital age.  Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East is the first book in a series that aims to make sense of visual culture in relation to the so-called Arab Spring.Indeed, since the start of the Tunisian revolution in January 2011, middle-class English-speaking activists and artists alike have been relied upon in varying degrees to narrativise and make familiar the strange events unfolding in the Middle East, as Philip Rizk observes in the opening chapter “2011 is not 1968 – An Open Letter to an Onlooker” (pp. 30 – 39). Continue to read the review here.

The North Africa Journal is a leading English-language publication focused on North Africa. The Journal covers primarily the Maghreb region and expands its general coverage to the Sahel, Egypt, and beyond, when events in those regions affect the broader North Africa geography. The Journal does not have any affiliation with any institution and has been independent since its founding in 1996. Our position is to always bring our best analysis of events affecting the region, and remain as neutral as humanly possible. Our coverage is not limited to one single topic, but ranges from economic and political affairs, to security, defense, social and environmental issues. We rely on our full staff analysts and editors to bring you best-in-class analysis. We also work with sister company MEA Risk LLC, to leverage the presence on the ground of a solid network of contributors and experts. Information on MEA Risk can be found at