This title explores the concept of magic and its relationship to power, specifically in regards to the formation of state identity, notions of modern sovereignty and politics.
The book, in English and Arabic, accompanies The Magic of the State, two interconnected exhibitions held at Beirut in Cairo and Lisson Gallery in London in Spring 2013, which were set against a backdrop of political upheaval in Egypt.
Anthropologist Michael Taussig revisits concepts explored in his original book The Magic of the State (Routledge, 1997). Jonathan Allen examines the ethical value in the interplay of illusion and deception in the conjurer’s spectacle and its affinity to the mobilisation of desire in politics. Bassam El Baroni discusses ideas of sovereignty and the effect of Nasserism on intellectual and artistic output in Egypt. Hany Darwish evokes the desert road to Ain Sukhna, its neo- Pharaonic designs permeated with military iconography and corruption. Lastly, Peter Lamborn Wilson and Evan Calder Williams discuss the fetishisation of the state, the difference between magic and mysticism, Egyptosophy and demons.
English and Arabic text.
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