Film-maker and activist Philip Rizk looks over the key junctures in his artistic and personal trajectory, via an encounter and a workshop, to reflect on how the moving image weaves affective communities and collective forms of utterance. Rizk experiments with different techniques in his films that range from performance or the limits between fiction and documentary to the found footage montage, with a view to making the habitual strange and posing the question: How do we prepare ourselves for what is to come?
The machinations exhibition explored different forms of resistance, coalition and creativity from the definition of “machine” formulated by the French thinkers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, understanding it as a nucleus of relations and alliances between the human and the non-human that can eschew and subvert established power. With respect to film, one of the strands articulating the exhibition, Cinema Machines of Care, upheld that the intersection of the social-machine and the desiring-machine turns the medium into a space from which to think about the image as something that goes beyond, something “post-cinematic”.
This premise can be applied to Rizk’s militant cinema, with its images contributing to that which anthropologist Denise Ferreira da Silva describes as “ending the world as we know it”, while also stressing the need to adopt a decolonial perspective encompassing all “others” excluded by racial capitalism and modern thought in the West.
Philip Rizk (Limassol, Cyprus, 1982) is a film-maker, writer and activist who lives in Berlin, and one of the salient voices of his generation who has been at the centre of popular uprisings in Cairo. He is a member of the audiovisual collective Mosireen, which works to conserve the audiovisual archive 858.ma of the Egyptian Revolution (2011–2013). His most recent films include Terrible Sounds (2022), Mapping Lessons (2020) and Out on the Street (with Jasmina Metwaly, 2015). Notable among his published work is the essay “2011 is not 1968: An Open Letter to an Onlooker”, published in the anthology Uncommon Grounds. New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East (I.B. Tauris, 2014), and the book On Trials: A Manual on the Theatre of Law (Archive Books, 2021), of which he is the co-author with Jasmina Metwaly. At the present time, he sporadically teaches in classrooms and workshops.