The Against Nature Journal: Manufacturing of Rights (2015)

The event organised at art centre Ashkal Alwan (Beirut) on May 14–16 2015, represents both the beginning of The Against Nature Journal and the conclusion of the first phase of research of the project, called Manufacturing of Rights. Over the course of this three-day public conference, participants were invited to share legal cases, both historical and contemporary, referring to Nature in the form of short speeches, lecture-performances, audio pieces and films. The booklet of the event can be downloaded here.



Thursday, May 14

5.30pm: Forewords
— Christine Tohmé (Ashkal Alwan); Bente Scheller (Heinrich Böll Stiftung - Middle East Office); Sandra Terdjman 2 (Council); David Kim; Lawrence Abu Hamdan, and Nizar Saghieh (Legal Agenda)

Moderated by Tarek Zeidan

— Case #7: A Tale of Two Judgments: Between Empathy and Contempt, video-letter by Arvind Narrain 3
— Case #12: The Petitioner’s Case, lecture by Eric Gitari 4
— Discussion

7.30pm: Screening
Introduced by Maya Mikdashi and Carlos Motta

— Case #5: Deseos / رغبات, premiere screening of Carlos Motta’s film
— Discussion

Friday, May 15

2.00pm - 3.30pm: First Sequence
Moderated by Grégory Castéra

— Case #4: Dahdah Verdict, co-intervention by Lawrence Abu Hamdan & Marwa Arsanios
— Case #8: Another Earth, reading by Émilie Notéris
— Case #3: The Case for Di Aping, lecture by Adrian Lahoud
— Discussion

4.00pm - 5.30pm: Second Sequence
Moderated by Maya Mikdashi

— Case #2: Indecencies, lecture by Nayla Geagea
— Case #1: Chlordécone, video-letter by Vanessa Agard-Jones
— Case #11: The Intermorphs, reading by Ashkan Sepahvand
— Discussion
— Video Case: Toxic, screening of Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz’s video (2012, 13 min)5

Saturday May 16

11.00am - 12.30pm: Third Sequence
Moderated by Carlos Motta

— Case #6: The Dekwaneh Case, lecture by Karim Nammour
— Case #10: Unnatural Bodies, Desires, and Devotions, lecture by Zeb Tortorici
— Case #9: God, Nature, and the Nature of God, video-letter by Linn Tonstad
— Discussion

1.30pm - 3.30pm: Workshop For the Collective Writing of the Online Data Platform
Moderated by Youmna Makhlouf, David Kim, Sandra Terdjman and Grégory Castéra 6

4.00pm - 5.00pm: Conclusions
Introduced by Youmna Makhlouf and David Kim
— Concluding remarks by Council


14–16 May 2015


Ashkal Alwan, Beirut 1st Floor, Building 110, Street 90, Jisr el Wati, Beirut


Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Vanessa Agard-Jones
Marwa Arsanios
Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz
Grégory Castéra
Joscelyn Gardner
Nayla Geagea
Eric Gitari
David Kim
Adrian Lahoud
Youmna Makhlouf
Maya Mikdashi
Carlos Motta
Karim Nammour
Arvind Narrain
Émilie Notéris
Nizar Saghieh
Ashkan Sepahvand
Sandra Terdjman
Linn Tonstad
Zeb Tortorici

curated by

Council (Grégory Castéra and Sandra Terdjman, in collaboration with Emma McCormick-Goodhart)

initiated with

Ashkal Alwan
Legal Agenda

initiated with

Heinrich Böll Stiftung - Middle East Office


Foundation for Arts Initiatives
French Institute of Beirut

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2. Introduction to the event by Sandra Terdjman
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3. Presentation of legal battles in India that recently brought to the repeal of Section 377 of Penal Code
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4. Lecture by Eric Gitari, director of NGLHRC, Kenya
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5. Still from Toxic, an installation with Super 16mm film / HD,
13 min and archive by Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz, 2012
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6. Sandra Terdjman, Grégory Castéra, David Kim and Youmna Makhlouf lead the Workshop for the Online Data Platform on the final day of the conference
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