Leila Nassereldein

Birkbeck, University of London

Thesis title: Militant and Experimental Historiography: Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project and Humphrey Jennings' Pandaemonium in Constellation with Ubu Web and the Essay Film.

Leila is investigating “militant historiography” in reference to the experimental methods employed by Humphrey Jennings and Walter Benjamin in their respective literary collections - Pandaemonium and the Arcades Project.  In constellation with UbuWeb  - Kenneth Goldsmith’s online archive of pirated avant-garde material - and the Essay Film, Leila’s work critically examines Surrealist-inspired, modernist aesthetics running throughout her objects: montage, ambiguity, de-familiarisation; experimentation and critique. Posing questions on the character of critical subjectivity in the contemporary audience and the historiographic methods employed by cultural producers from the 1930’s to the present, Leila’s doctoral research considers the outpouring of the past into the present by way of examining the curated exhibition of text, visual art and audio-visual moving image through questions of 'the curatorial'; of found footage, cut and paste and the potentials of archive; the collector, scraps and modernity’s fragments; forgotten histories, interruption and rupture; narrative and the capacity for critical engagement with that which is disseminated.

Supervised by Esther Leslie and Silke Arnold-de Simine.

About Leila

Alongside her current doctoral project, Leila is presently involved in a year-long curatorial position at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA); Leila is the Creative Articles Editor for the Brief Encounters Journal and is too presently working with the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI) in the review and write up of London’s 3rd annual Essay Film Festival, whilst also remaining committed to her non-academic, DiY/activist projects as co-founder of Decolonise Fest. Leila works part-time at The University of Roehampton as a Specialist Mentor.

Research interests

Critical Theory/Frankfurt School; Surrealism and the Avant Garde; Historiography; Experimental aesthetics in historiography; archive, collection and exhibition; narrative and anti-narrative practices; audience, spectatorship and critical subjectivity; resistance, criticism and radical aesthetics; Documentary; Essay Film; Installation; Nostalgia; Conversation; Open History; Non-linearity; T <<<