About the part that art plays in a globalising society

Framer Framed

Morehshin Allahyari, Material Speculation: ISIS. Foto: Eva Broekema / Framer Framed

1 Mar 2017 – 19:15

Lecture: On the (re)construction of cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq

Framer Framed presents a lecture by archaeologist and heritage specialist Nour Munawar, in the framework of current exhibition As If: The Media Artist as Trickster (2017). In his presentation Munawar will focus on the promotion, protection and destruction of cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq and the role social media platforms play in recirculating videos, images and news on ISIS. ‘Media reports promptly promoted the vandalistic and iconoclastic actions of ISIS; ignoring – together with the international community – that Palmyra had been threatened before the ISIS offensive attack to control the World Heritage Site. All this triggers significant debates, starting from questioning how objective the media was when they shed light only on ISIS destruction of heritage sites in Palmyra, Nimrud and Nineveh. Is ISIS the only “bad guy” in the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts?’ – Nour Munawar

His talk refers to the artwork Material Speculation: ISIS (2015-2016) by Morehshin Allahyari currently in our exhibition As If: The Media Artist as Trickster, curated by Annet Dekker and David Garcia, i.c.w. Ian Alan Paul. Material Speculation: ISIS relates to one of the main tasks of any museum: taking care of cultural heritage. While vast amounts of objects, sculptures and monuments are destroyed throughout history for different reasons, the recent destruction by ISIS in 2015 spawned a renewed concern for cultural heritage.

In her project Material Speculation: ISIS, Allahyari creates a practical and political possibility for artefact archival, while also proposing 3D printing technology as a tool both for resistance and documentation. Inside the body of each 3D printed object is a flash drive that contains images, maps, PDF files, and videos gathered about the artefacts and sites that were destroyed. Like time capsules, each object is sealed and kept for future civilizations.

Morehshin Allahyari, Material Speculation: ISIS. Video still

Nour Munawar is an archaeologist and heritage specialist and focuses on cultural heritage management and conflict archaeology. Currently, he is a PhD-Candidate at University of Amsterdam and he is working on reconstructing Syrian and Iraqi cultural heritage in post-conflict time. Prior to his admission at University of Amsterdam, Nour finished a Master in Archaeology from the University of Warsaw-Poland. Documentation and analysis of destruction have been crucial parts of his MA thesis which titled: “Preserving Cultural Heritage in Conflict Areas, Aleppo city-Syria”. His MA research was largely based on the knowledge and experience that he has gained while pursuing MA studies at the faculty of archaeology at the University of Leiden in Netherlands before starting his master degree at the University of Warsaw in Poland.

Innovative heritage / Middle East /


Exhibition: As If - The Media Artist as Trickster

On politically inspired media art that uses deception in all its forms. Curated by Annet Dekker and David Garcia i.c.w. Ian Alan Paul


Nour Munawar

PhD researcher

Morehshin Allahyari

Artist, activist, educator, and curator