Satellite Telefizyoon

Nahed Mansour

2013, 05:00 minutes, colour, Arabic with English Subtitles

TAPECODE 1056.07

Satellite Telefizyoon takes all of its visual content from Fawazeer (Riddles), a popular 1980s Egyptian television quiz show featured during the 30 days of Ramadan. The 1988 series Hawl El Alam (Around the World) featured the iconic singer/actress Sherihan, who would appropriate the costume, song, and dialect of an unnamed country and conclude by asking her audience to guess which country she was representing.

Focusing on the positioning of Egyptian women in relationship to their European, South American, Asian, and African sisters, Sherihan quotes academics Laura Bier, Timothy Mitchell, and Anthony Shay to provide a brief history of Egyptian conceptions of modernity from the 1950-80’s. Parallel to the contrast between academic texts and 1980’s kitsch imagery, the juxtaposition of early products of cultural globalization with post-colonial and non-aligned rhetoric creates a visual dialogue addressing Egyptian Independence, neo-colonialism, and post-modernity.

Satellite Telefizyoon (the phonetic translation of Satellite ‘Television’ in Arabic) highlights the willingness of Egyptian media to engage, reproduce, and distribute stereotypically racist depictions of other cultures in order to highlight the state’s modernizing project in the 1980’s. This project continues today on popular state and satellite television stations.

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