A People’s Tribunal: 28 Exhibits

What I will be attending today: A People’s Tribunal: 28 Exhibits
October 19, 2019, 4-6PM
Twelve Gates Arts, 106 N. 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Performers: Amina Ahmed, Dena Al-Adeeb, Fadaa Ali, Yaroub Al-Obaidi, Nada El-Kouny, Hatif Farhan, Kazem Ghouchani, Maryam Jahanbin, Luma Jasim, Mohammed Okab, Hussein Smko

Organizers: Dena Al-Adeeb, Shimrit Lee, Nataša Prljevi?, Farideh Sakhaeifar

28 Exhibits is a performative tribunal that brings together a group of artists, activists, and scholars to account for the impact of global counterinsurgency doctrine. With storytelling, installation, and song as “evidence,” the tribunal interrogates the rhetoric that has fueled the lasting trauma of the U.S. War in Iraq, while building a collective archive that fosters alternative spaces of restitution for evaluating the war on terror.

Our starting point is Twenty-Eight Articles, a 2006 paper written by Australian strategist David Kilcullen used to advise General David Petraeus, who helped design the Iraq War troop surge. The “Twenty-Eight Articles”, a nod to T.E. Lawrence’s “twenty-seven articles” on tribal desert warfare from 1917, describes counterinsurgency as “armed social work,” and urges the modern counter-insurgent to “engage the women, beware the children,” “know the turf,” “remember the global audience,” and above all, “keep the initiative.” The document was later formalized as an appendix to the FM 3-24, the U.S. military’s counterinsurgency doctrine, and has been in use by U.S., British, Canadian, Dutch, Iraqi and Afghan armies as a training document. 28 Exhibits will be set up like a trial, in which excerpts of Kilcullen’s articles will be critically evaluated through artistic intervention.

28 Exhibits is an extension of Clear-Hold-Build, an exhibit currently on view in Philadelphia’s Twelve Gates Arts, which brings together artists to survey the impact of counterinsurgency over the past seven decades. Clear-Hold-Build is curated by Shimrit Lee, Joshua Nierodzinski and Nataša Prljevi? of HEKLER, an artist-run collaborative platform that fosters critical examination of hospitality and conflict. The event 28 Exhibits is the product of a collaboration between HEKLER and exhibiting artists Dena Al-Adeeb and Farideh Sakhaeifer.

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