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65 5th Ave, Room 411
New York, NY, 10003
United States

Funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought at the New School incubates advanced transdisciplinary research and practice at the intersection of social theory and design and fosters dialogue on related themes across the university.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan


The GIDEST seminar is held on Fridays from 12-1:30pm. All seminars take place in the GIDEST Lab at 63 Fifth Avenue, Room 411.

Sessions are devoted to discussion of pre-circulated papers that can be downloaded one week in advance by clicking on the presentation title below.


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Lawrence Abu Hamdan

The Right to Lie

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, a 2015-17 Vera List Center Fellow, is a visual artist and audio investigator with a background in DIY music. He has had solo presentations at Portikus, Frankfurt, Kunsthalle St Gallen, Beirut in Cairo, Casco Utrecht and The Showroom, London. Abu Hamdan was the Armory Show commissioned Artist of 2015 and has exhibited and performed at venues such as The New Museum, Van AbbeMuseum, The Shanghai Biennial (2014), The Whitechapel Gallery, MACBA, Tate Modern, MHKA and The Taipei Biennial (2012).  In 2013 Abu Hamdan’s audio documentary The Freedom of Speech Itself was submitted as evidence at the UK asylum tribunal where the artist was called to testify as an expert witness. He continues to make sonic analyses for legal investigations and advocacy. Most recently, his audio analysis was a prominent part the No More Forgotten Lives campaign for Defence for Children International. His writing can be found in Forensis (Sternberg Press, 2014), Manifesta, and Cabinet.

In The Right to Lie, Abu Hamdan explores the concept and practice of Taqqiya­ - an Islamic jurisprudence practice that allows a believing individual to deny his faith, lie, or commit otherwise illegal acts when they are at risk of persecution or in a condition of statelessness. It is a form of communication and political practice forged at remote altitudes, at the fringes of failed states, in buffer zones, and on ceasefire lines. The seminar on the elusive world of Taqqiya and its relation to contemporary technology and politics will be an experiment in an attempt to trouble the conventions of  advocacy and free speech with strategies of dissimulation in today’s All-Hearing and All-­Speaking society.

This event is made possible with the support of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School. 



Earlier Event: April 15
John Bruce
Later Event: September 16
Otto von Busch