Student Work

  • Design Studies (MA)

    Salma Shamel Bakr

    The Ceremony Has Been Cancelled

    An archive was to be built, and a celebration was to be held. A witness was to be honored. And on stage, a certificate was to be distributed. The witness was not honored. And the ceremony never took place. Instead, we were left with some forms, certificates, and stories of ghostly journeys through the sites of history. The Ceremony Has Been Cancelled consists of found documents including certificates, forms, videos, and letters collected while researching the Egyptian archival committee formed just a few days after the revolution of January 25th, 2011. The Committee to Archive The Revolution was formed by the Egyptian government under the supervision of the National Archives. Historians, information activists, academics, and bureaucrats gathered around a table to negotiate the possibilities of assembling an open-source, accessible, and inclusive archive in order to preserve the revolutionary moment. The committee attempted to launch a nationwide campaign to record oral histories and collect testimonies from those who had witnessed the events. Following a series of negotiations, the committee dissolved and the archival attempt was halted. By making visible this attempt, this exhibition thematizes the way archival technologies disappoint and fail to contribute to historiography.