A Right to the Image

Panel Discussion Mon 15 Jun 2015 7.00PM-8.30PM IFC Center
323 Sixth Avenue at West Third Street
New York City

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Box office 212 924 7771
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In our hyper-mediatized world, victims of wars and mass violations of human rights are often depicted in terms of bodies rather than individuals. Representations of human suffering and injustice are not only aesthetic choices; they are also political and ethical choices. In an era where images can be captured in one place and consumed instantly around the world, certain paradoxes and dilemmas are relevant to all legal systems. Thus comes the proposed concept of "a right to the image"—complex, multilayered, and not associated with any single right but a group of rights. By examining different bodies of work from the worlds of film and photography, we explore the notion of a right to the image that protects the dignity of subjects, as well as the integrity of the journalists, filmmakers, photographers, and researchers who work in these situations.

Winner of The New School's 2014 Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics, Abounaddara is an anonymous collective that emerged at the onset of the civil uprising that led to the Syrian Civil War. Abounaddara posts one video on Vimeo every week about individual Syrians on all sides of the conflict, providing an immediate, disturbing and intimate record of one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our age. The collective has used their work not only as a way to show daily life in Syria, but also as a platform to advance their belief in the "right to a dignified image" as a human right. The Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics honors an artist or group of artists who has taken great risks to advance social justice in profound and visionary ways.


Charif Kiwan, Co-founder of and spokesperson for the Abounaddara Collective.

Susan Meiselas, photographer, President & Acting Executive Director, Magnum Foundation and Member, Advisory Committee of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics

Pamela Yates, filmmaker and Co-founder & Creative Director, Skylight Pictures

This event is presented as part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival and is a part of the biennial Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics initiative