Go Down, Moses: a book on South Sinai
Go Down, Moses: a book on South Sinai is a cross-disciplinary photo-book project presenting a visual and textual investigation of tourism and the social topography of South Sinai through series of color photographs and newly commissioned texts. It reflects an encounter with Sinai’s livelihoods and spatial constructions with the aim of presenting a critical outlook on the landscape and its iconographies.
South Sinai is a region marked by its biblical and territorial histories as well as the pervasivess of the discourses of tourism. The project is a reflection on the status of a region in the process of becoming a ‘tourist enclave.’ It came as a result of a long-term interest in the broader notion of place-making and to explore means of forging a cross-over between visual art, social sciences and literary expression.
The project is a result of fieldwork carried over a period of two years (2008–2010). Over the course of the project I commissioned a number of writers from a variety of fields to reflect on some of the topics I had come across during my fieldwork in the region. The dialogues that followed came to inform my work in situ. The book was titled after William Faulkner’s 1942 novel Go Down, Moses, which in turn was titled after the American slave spiritual of the late 19th century. Faulkner opted to invoke the Mosaic epic in his portrayal of the social and ecological conditions of the American South. Faulkner’s novel partakes in an American literary tradition of (vanishing) wilderness, yet his local wilderness is subtended by a textual and figurative geography embedded in the semantics of Sinai. ‘Moses’ becomes textual function: a metonymy for subordination, deliverance, the social and the natural, the journey and the traveling subject, the conqueror of the wilderness and the wilderness itself. The title of this book refers to the historical iconography of Sinai as well as its mythological significations proliferated though the American context.
Ahmad Hosni was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1974. He studied medicine and worked for three years before switching to photography. Since 2004 he has been working as a professional photographer. His work spans a variety of photography fields; from documentary to editorial to art. He has worked for a variety of national and international publications. Hosni’s work blends many of the photographic genres to the point that makes his work hard to classify. He adopts a critical realism that is socially concerned with a subtle, yet astute, political tone.
Lately Hosni has been adopting a cross-disciplinary approach, borrowing from social sciences, and literature. With the book as his medium of choice, Hosni intends to forge relations between critical and literary text and visual expression. He currently lives between Cairo and Barcelona.
An online version of the work can be viewed at: http://issuu.com/ahmadhosni/docs/godownmoses-july2