Tahrir Cinema, Tahrir Square sit-in. July 2011, Cairo, Egypt.
During the summer-2011 Tahrir sit-in, there was much screaming and shouting into microphones on stage. Diffuse information floated about but with no focus. In all this noise, I felt a strong need for imagery in the square. Serendipity brought me together with people with a similar impulse. I co-founded Tahrir Cinema, a pop-up cinema, with the non-profit Egyptian media initiative Mosireen. I fabricated a screen with an old plastic banner and bits and pieces of wood. I borrowed equipment from the Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art. Together we organized, in Tahrir, day by day, the program and the screenings. It was an immediate success. We showed, shared, and exchanged films on the revolution, recalling and reflecting on the events unfolding since January, not only in Cairo, but also in Alexandria, Mahalla, the Canal cities, etc – Suez in particular fought hard and a lot of blood was shed for the revolution. We invited journalists from Al Masry El Youm to share their experiences on filming the revolution. Activists of the No To Military Trials campaign screened testimonies of the violence inflicted by the army on civilians. We created a space where filmmakers, artists, activists and civilians could share their stories in the square.
Tahrir Cinema inevitably contributed to the continuing process of collecting and archiving footage on the revolution. Ultimately, Tahrir Cinema countered official media propaganda by offering different perspectives on the political situation.