Dr Chrisoula Lionis - Defamiliarising the Familiar: Humour in Contemporary Palestinian Art and Film

Chrisoula Lionis is a researcher and curator based at the National Institute for Experimental Arts, Art & Design UNSW. Lionis is the author of Laughter in Occupied Palestine: Comedy and Identity in Art and Film (I.B. Tauris, forthcoming, 2015) and has published widely in the  eld of visual culture in journals such as Social Text and the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication. Examples of her curatorial work include the annual Palestinian Film Festival in Australia, Cyprus – Pictures of Peacekeeping (2007), and Beyond the Last Sky: Contemporary Palestinian Photography and Video (2012) at the Australian Centre for Photography.

The last two decades have witnessed a remarkable increase in the exhibition and screening of Palestinian art and  lm in festivals, galleries and cinemas around the world. Since the mid 1990s this Palestinian work has been marked by a distinct turn toward the employment of humour. This shift signals a radical departure from the aesthetic modes that previously dominated Palestinian art and Film. Only with an understanding of the historical trajectory of Palestinian art and  lm and its relationship to critical moments in history can one understand how the failure of the peace process has led to the proliferation of humour in Palestinian cultural output.

This paper will discuss the role of humour in contemporary Palestinian art and  lm and the significance of curatorial practice- led research in the development of a PhD thesis in visual culture. More specifically

it will address the specific challenges of conducting research on Palestinian art and  lm in an Australian context and the crucial role of curatorial work as a means to establish research networks, access to art and  lm and to the cultivation of research outreach through community involvement.

From The Outstanding Field: Artistic Research Emerging from the Academy - A Symposium. 19th — 21st of March 2015.