Serpentine Gallery’s Edgware Road Project Presents the Bidoun Library at the Serpentine Gallery 12 July–17 September 2011 

The Bidoun Library, a peripatetic resource of books, periodicals and ephemera dedicated to supporting contemporary cultural producers from the Middle East will be in residence at the Serpentine Gallery this summer. While in London, the Library will address the Revolution in Egypt and the swiftly changing state of UK Libraries. They will also launch a special issue of Bidoun magazine produced in and around the revolution in Egypt.

Bidoun will also be continuing their investigation into the diverse history of printed matter related to the Middle East, as well as exploring the swiftly changing state of UK libraries, focusing on London. During July and August, Bidoun will host a series of events at the Serpentine Gallery, including talks by leading authors and artists. The term ‘Middle East,’ by most accounts, was coined in an English newspaper at the turn of the century. Since then it has continued to exist more concretely as an object of discourse than a geographical region. The Bidoun Library is an attempt to survey this imagined territory through its manifestations in printed matter. Its strategy is in the consideration of books, periodicals and printed matter as objects; subject to the incentives of material production and beholden to complex and historically contingent objectives. It does this by collecting and arranging in one place, not the most apt or excellent materials on the Middle East, but those which are cheapest.

Talks and events

During July and August, Bidoun will host a series of events including talks by leading Middle Eastern writers and artists.

Launch Event: Bidoun Library and
Monday 11 July
Sackler Centre of Arts Education

A celebration to mark the launch of Bidoun Library’s residency at the Sackler Centre of Arts Education and the first volume of CAMP’s research for, an information bank and publishing platform created in collaboration with local communities.

People’s Research Seminar

Wednesday 13 July, 2-4pm

For our first research seminar of the Bidoun Library residency, Sophie-Therese Trenka-Dalton will take us through the processes around the development of ‘The Distance Narrows’, an artist publication project on the abandoned embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Berlin-Pankow. 

Saturday Seminars at 3pm, Free

(all seminars take place at the Sackler Centre of Arts Education)

Saturday 16 July: Hisham Matar, author

Saturday 23 July: Nawal El Saadawi, author & activist

Saturday 30 July: Samandal Comics, artists

Saturday 6 August: Slavs & Tatars, designers

Saturday 13 August: A Partial History of Magazine Diplomacy, Michael C. Vazquez

Saturday 20 August: Ahdaf Soueif, author

Saturday 27 August: UK Libraries: Struggles for the Knowledge Commons

Saturday 3 September: Sonallah Ibrahim, author

Evening events

UK Premiere: Rania Stephan. The Three Disappearances of Suad Hosni

Monday 18 July, 7pm

Rania Stephan presents the UK premiere of her film The Three Disappearances of Suad Hosni (2011), which recently won the Sharjah Biennial Prize. The film’s non-fiction narrative reflects on the life and death of Egyptian actress Suad Hosni, who died in mysterious circumstances while living on the Edgware Road in 2001.

The Gate, 87 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3JZ. Tickets £6/£5, Available from The Gate or


Friday 22 July, 8pm

Selected texts from the Bidoun library will be read out to an accompaniment of loud music, in a celebration of unexpected and unusual pairings.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion Tickets £5/£4. Available from the Gallery Lobby Desk or Ticketweb: 08444 771 000.

The Bidoun Library residency is part of the Serpentine Gallery’s Edgware Road Project, which links local and international artists with people living and working in this London neighbourhood.

Also on View at the Serpentine Gallery: Michelangelo Pistoletto 12 July – 17 September Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011 by Peter Zumthor 1 July – 16 October

The Bidoun Library is presented in collaboration with The Church Street Library The Delfina Foundation In association with Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture