The People Are Not an Image. Vernacular Video After the Arab Spring
(Verso Books, 2020)

This book is the cumination of my reflections on the vernacular videos I worked with while making my film The Uprising (2013). Through a series of close readings of individual videos, it elaborates the argument that we cannot understand the politics of these images without paying close attention to their formal and aesthetic qualities. In doing so, it also seeks to place this work in dialogue with concepts elaborated by political activists, philosophers and artists from both within and beyond the Arab world, including Mohammed Bamyeh, Ayman El-Desouky, Ahdaf Soueif, Rabih Mroué, and the Egyptian video collective Mosireen, as well as Ivan Illich, Judith Butler, Hito Steyerl, Jacques Rancière, Giorgio Agamben, Gilles Deleuze, the Invisible Committee and Agustin Garcia Calvo. 

The book was greeted by Laura Marks as “powerful and graceful”, by J. Hoberman as “a key development in the history of collective image-making”, and by Hamid Debashi as “revelatory... (and) indispensable for our understanding of what happened in the course of the Arab Revolutions when we were not paying proper attention”

The book can be purchased direct from Verso, or through any good bookshop.