In The Naked Blogger of Cairo, Marwan Kraidy builds on his decades of experience researching and writing about Arab media, culture, and politics to consider the ways in which people create rebellious art, attract public attention, and conjure new political imaginaries. At the heart of these processes Kraidy finds the human body, employed as tool, medium, symbol, and metaphor, tying the revolutionary activism we associate with the Arab uprisings of recent years to those of a longer past.
The book develops the notion of “creative insurgency” to explore the mixture of activism and artistry characteristic of revolutionary expression, turning to the work of dozens of sloganeers, graffiti artists, puppeteers, videographers, cartoonists, satirists, and bloggers to explore a series of cross-disciplinary questions about practices of rebellion:
How does creative insurgency emerge and thrive? What kinds of artistic practices does it spur? What debates does it foment? How has creative insurgency evolved in different periods and places? What do self-immolations in 1963 Saigon and 1969 Prague reveal about Bouazizi’s in 2010 Sidi Bouzid? How does Mubarak’s switching off the Internet in 2011 resonate with the British ban on theater in 1919 Cairo? What historical perspective can we gain by revisiting the French Revolution? Can the aesthetic sensibility of Delacroix’s La liberté guidant le peuple help us grasp the Naked Blogger of Cairo? What can we learn about political street art in 2010 Arab capitals from civil war–era stencil graffiti in 1970s Beirut? How do loaf-brandishing revolutionaries and the superhero Captain Khobza in 2010 Tunis echo past bread riots? How does Top Goon—Diaries of a Little Dictator recast ancient puppetry traditions for the digital era? Is revolutionary graffiti mere political messaging or is it art? How has creative insurgency evolved in different periods and places?
Kraidy gives a more complete sense of his project in the video below.