CARGC Colloquium: Hatim El-Hibri, George Mason University

Infrastructure and the Antagonisms of Liveness in Lebanon: A Media Theory of Concealment
satellite transponder el-hibri book talk
07 Nov 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
3901 Walnut Street, 6th Floor
Open to the Public

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About the Talk

This presentation proposes that a key but often overlooked dimension of media infrastructure are those relationalities that remain incommunicado by design. If infrastructure conditions how information, people, and things circulate, then what might the practices of concealment tell us about the political stakes of circulation, and about the nature of our infrastructural surround? What kinds of visual forms emerge in global media events in which concealment is crucial part, sometimes even the condition of possibility for targetable people and equipment to stay on air. This colloquium examines these contradictions in the context of Lebanon, where infrastructural disrepair and breakdown parallel political impasses and fragmentation. It takes the 2006 Israel-Hizbullah war and subsequent protests in Beirut later that year as its case study. Based on fieldwork and visual analysis, El-Hibri examines how concealment structures phenomena ranging from live satellite news broadcasts, drone-cam footage, signal jamming and hacking, and online guerilla video from the 2006 Israel-Hizbullah war and subsequent protests in Beirut later that year. He shows how televisual liveness in this event — that new-again promise to see things faraway as they happen — demonstrates how the geopolitics of simultaneity has transformed in the contemporary moment.

About the Speaker

Hatim El-Hibri is a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication and an Assistant Professor of Film and Media at George Mason University. He earned his Ph.D in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University, and previously was a member of the Media Studies Program at the American University of Beirut. His research and teaching interests are global and Arab media and communication, visual culture studies, media infrastructure, and urban studies. He is currently finalizing his first book titled Visions of Beirut: The Urban Life of Media Infrastructure, which examines the history of how images and imaging processes — from colonial mapping to corporate film to live satellite broadcasts — have been mobilized in attempts to manage and contest the spaces and sociality of the city. His work has appeared in journals such the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication and the International Journal of Communication.

Lunch begins at 11:45. Space is limited, RSVP to

Photo Caption: Mechanical layout of the receiver portion of a Ka/W/V-band satellite transponder
Photo Credit: Buzzlink
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