A project by Judith Barry exploring the many different ways women negotiate ideological, cultural and economic conditions in Cairo


...Cairo stories: Public Programs

Conversations and screenings exploring notions of representation, history, subjectivity, and translation

Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Memory
  • Performance
  • Public culture


Judith Barry, Omar Kholief, Aaron Levy, Hye-Jung Park


Fine Arts Department at the University of Pennsylvania, with the Spiegel Fund and Wilks Foundation; Penn Cinema Studies; Kaja Silverman/Mellon Foundation Distinguished Achievement Award; Lesley University College of Art and Design

Opens to public





4017 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

On the web



50% Formal - 50% Informal

Slought is pleased to present a series of public conversations, talks, and screenings have been organized in conjunction with ...Cairo stories, a video and photographic installation by Judith Barry, on display at Slought from September 15 to October 24, 2014.

...Cairo stories features a selection of stories from a collection of more than 200 interviews Barry conducted with Cairene women between the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the beginning of the Egyptian Revolution in 2011. The installation chronicles personal experiences of women from a variety of social and economic classes in Egypt and expands the artist's concerns with notions of representation, history, subjectivity, and translation — particularly as these ideas circulate across cultures.

The fragmented, collaged city plan pictured above shows Cairo as it has spread from the banks of the Nile into the desert, the indigenous North African topography. Each moment in Cairo's history has produced a new city. Cairo is a palimpsest of many different epochs encompassing a geographical area that is approximately 175 square miles, including the informal settlements. During Barry's many trips to Cairo beginning in 2000, she crossed the city hundreds of times, traveling back and forth across vast distances: from the outer city where informal, working class, and public housing projects are located, to the many centers of Cairo – Pharaonic, Coptic, Islamic, and European – as well as into the gated communities of New Cairo patterned after the Emirates, which some call the Gulfication of Cairo. Her route mimicked the journeys that many of the women in these stories undertake each day as they travel to and from the informal, working class, and more affluent zones of the city. These arrows delineate their daily passage through many different neighborhoods underscoring the uniqueness of Cairo's fluid historical and cultural diversity.

The many journeys foregrounded in ...Cairo stories will be the subject of a series of events throughout September and October 2014. These include a public conversation on September 30th at 6:30pm, organized with Scribe Video Center's Muslim Voices of Philadelphia project, that will feature Anne Norton, Nusrat Jahan Bashir and Judith Barry in dialogue. They will foreground a variety of perspectives that challenge contemporary representations of Muslim life in Philadelphia, Cairo and beyond. Nusrat Jahan Bashir and Judith Barry will begin by speaking about their own work in this regard, and the methodological and philsophical considerations that have shaped and structured their efforts. In addition, Anne Norton will speak to her recent book "On the Muslim Question" and critique the West's ongoing fear of Islam. See below for a full list of upcoming programs.

read more

Public Conversations

Alexander Alberro and Judith Barry
Monday, September 15th, 2014
6:30pm at Slought
(Press coverage)

Anne Norton, Nusrat Jahan Bashir and Judith Barry in dialogue
Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
6:00pm at Slought

With a screening of "Maidservants of Allah" by Lajna Ima'illah (12 min), and "Branches to Philadelphia, Rooted in Peace," by Moorish Science Temple of America, #11 (16 min)

Presented with Scribe Video Center's Muslim Voices of Philadelphia project

Rosalyn Deutsche and Judith Barry
Thursday, October 16th, 2014
6:30pm at Slought

Presented with the University of Pennsylvania History of Art Department and Kaja Silverman

Lecture by Judith Barry
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
6:00pm at the Institute of Contemporary Art

Presented with the University of Pennsylvania Fine Arts Department, Spiegel Fund, and Wilks Foundation

Not reconciled...:
Omar Kholeif and Judith Barry
Friday, October 24th, 2014
6:30pm at Slought

This illustrated conversation will explore the public's relationship to image production and distribution in an era of global uprising, and the artist's role as an agent for social, political and affective discourse within this increasingly contested field.

Presented with the University of Pennsylvania Cinema Studies Program and the Middle East Center

Film Screenings

Je Veux Voir (2008)
Joana Hadjithomas/Khalil Joreige, Directors
Monday, October 6, 2014
5:30pm at the University of Pennsylvania
Fine Arts/Morgan Building, 205 South 34th St

Alexandria Why? (1978)
Youssef Chahine, Director
Saturday, October 18, 2014
2:00pm at Slought

Nation Estates (2012), A Space Exodus (2009), Feast of the Inhabitants (2012), Sbara (2008), Soup Over Bethlehem (2007), Bethlehem Bandolero (2006)
Larissa Sansour, Director
Saturday, October 18, 2014
5:00pm at Slought

Domestic Tourism (2008-9), The Night Visitor (2011), 2026 (2010)
Maha Maamoun, Director
Monday, October 20, 2014
7:00pm at Scribe Video Center
4212 Chestnut St, 3rd Floor

The Square (2013)
Jehane Noujaim, Director
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
5:30pm at the University of Pennsylvania
Fisher-Bennett Hall #401, 3340 Walnut St

Chaos, Disorder/Harag W' Marag (2012)
Nadine Kahn, Director
Location/Date TBD

Series organized by Omar Kholeif. Presented with the support of Scribe Video Center, and the University of Pennsylvania Fine Arts Department and Cinema Studies Program

Conversants include:

Alexander Alberro is Professor of Art History at Barnard College and Columbia University, and the author of Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity (2004). Alberro's areas of specialization are modern and contemporary European, U.S., and Latin American art, as well as the history of photography.

Judith Barry is Professor/Director of the MFA VA at Lesley University College of Art and Design, Cambridge, MA. She trained in architecture, art, literature, film theory and computer graphics and her work encompasses disciplines including performance, installation, film and video, sculpture, photography, and new media.

Nusrat Jahan Bashir is the president of Lajna Ima'illah, a Philadelphia-based women's auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. She converted from Judaism to Islam in 1971.

Rosalyn Deutsche teaches modern and contemporary art at Barnard College and Columbia University in New York City. She has written extensively and lectured internationally on such interdisciplinary topics as art and urbanism, art and the public sphere, and feminist theories of subjectivity in representation.

Omar Kholeif is a writer, editor and Curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. In 2015, he will curate the Cyprus Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale and the Abraaj Group Art Prize. Previously he was Curator at FACT, Liverpool and a co-curator of the 2012 Liverpool Biennial. His latest publications include You Are Here: Art after the Internet and Jeddah Childhood circa 1994 (2014).

Anne Norton is a Professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her books include Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire, 95 Theses on Politics, Culture, and Method, and more recently, On the Muslim Question, which explores the West's commitment to the ideals of democracy and the Enlightenment.