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Tarek Elhaik

Tarek Elhaik

Assistant Professor

PhD - University of California, Berkeley (2007)

Young Hall 226

Office Hours for :

  • Mondays 10:00 am-12:00 pm



My work is based on intensive participant-observation in contemporary art and curatorial worlds.  Animated by a deep sense of care towards assemblages and images, I think of my work as a simultaneous contribution to the anthropology of media, the anthropology of art, and the anthropology of the Image.  Until now I have been conducting fieldwork in Mexico City where I was particularly attentive to the formal inquiries, image-making processes, and writings of media artists, as well as to the concept-work of curators who care about them. I have engaged, specifically, those artists and curators whose inquiries have provocatively signaled an ongoing breakdown of cultural forms and historical figurations of anthropos in Mexico (eg. mestizaje, mexicanidad, cosmopolitan-nationalist modes of existence).  The outcome of this first fieldwork experience and experiment is a book length study titled The Incurable-Image:Curating Post-Mexican Film & Media Arts (Edinburgh University Press, 2016).

My writings have appeared in books and journals, including FrameworkRevista de Antropologia Social, and Critical Arts. I have also curated and collaborated on several film programs and symposia. Rather than illustrations of fieldwork, these public programs index a form of “curatorial work” and “curatorial design” . I therefore deploy curation both as a form of fieldwork and as the medium of my participant-observation based concept-work.  I'm also part of a collaborative team of researchers, hosted by the Los Angeles Film Forum and funded by the Getty Foundation, currently editing and curating an anthology and several platforms on experimental cinema and media in Latin America. 

I have also set up AIL: Anthropology of the Image Lab in Young Hall 226.  AIL is a space that hosts monthly conversations between anthropologists, curators, artists, and interlocutors committed to fostering fieldwork-led modes of curation and inquiries through images. 

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