2018, Sun, Jan 07

Autonomy, Predicament and Imbroglio: The CCF in the Third World

Expert talk with Paz Guevara & Rasha Salti

During the 1950s and 1960s, the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) published and supported more than forty prestigious magazines on all continents. Even more than artists, writers became the CIA’s weapon of choice in promoting the idea of “anti-totalitarianism” among opinion leaders around the world. Paz Guevara and Rasha Salti will discuss the political and cultural role played by magazines in the context of Cold War politics. Navigating through articles and archival material the conversation will shed light on the rise and fall of Beirut-based Hiwar magazine, which was shut down by its editor Tawfiq Sayigh in the aftermath of a 1966 New York Times article that revealed the CCF to be a front organization for the CIA, as well as Mundo Nuevo magazine and the Latin American debates between instrumentalization and intellectual autonomy, and the anti-colonial positions granted across several CCF magazines.

Rasha Salti is an independent film and visual arts curator and writer, working and living between Beirut and Berlin. She began her career working at the Théâtre de Beyrouth, a multi-disciplinary performance and exhibition space in Beirut (1992-1995). She co-curated several film programs including The Road to Damascus, with Richard Peña, a retrospective of Syrian cinema that toured worldwide (2006-2008); The Calm Before the Storm, a Retrospective of Lebanese Cinema, also with Richard Peña and presented at Lincoln Center (2009); and Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation in Arab Cinema from the 1960s until Now, with Jytte Jensen (2010-2012) showcased at the MoMA in New York. At present she is the commissioning editor for La Lucarne, the experimental documentary program for Arte France. In 2011, she was one of co-curators of the 10th edition of the Sharjah Biennial for the Arts, and in 2015, she co-curated with Kristine Khouri the exhibition Past Disquiet: Narratives and Ghosts from the Exhibition of International Art for Palestine (Beirut, 1978), at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona (MACBA), and at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin, in 2016.

Paz Guevara is a curator, researcher and author based in Berlin. Currently, she is collaborating in the long-term project Kanon-Fragen at HKW. She contributed to Past Disquiet at HKW with research on Latin American artists and museums involved in the solidarity movement. Among other things, Guevara has been co-curator of In Other Words: The Black Market of Translations—Negotiating Contemporary Cultures at NGBK (Berlin, 2012); the Latin American pavilion at the 55th and 54th Venice Biennales (2013 and 2011) and Comunidad Ficticia in Matucana 100 (Santiago, Chile, 2009). For the 7th Berlin Biennale in 2012, she conceived the workshop for young curators, Curating in Times of Need.