Night of Dictatorships: How to remain human during times of inhumanity?

Photography + Interview - 

What is the influence of crisis, violence or exile on the individual? What does it do to your dreams and your subconscious, with how you form relationships and how you view yourself? In short, what does crisis do with you as a human? The renowned Syrian photographer Omar Imam researches these questions in his work. Especially for the Night of the Dictatorship he will talk with theatre director Casper Vandeputte regarding these subjects.

Omar Imam became famous with his photography project ‘Live, Love, Refugee’. For this project, he conducted research into the mental state of Syrians in a refugee camp in Lebanon. He asked them to portray their dreams. Dreams of escape, decline, love and terror. The surreal images picture the inner worlds of those portrayed and therefore break with the way refugees are usually represented: as a number and as a victim.

What are the stories that Imam wants to convey to us, the viewer, with his photos? And how does his photography appeal to our sense of humanity? For this night, philosopher and columnist Marjan Slob chooses one of his photo’s, and pronounces a column on this. Vandeputte and Imam will then talk about his work, and about representation, inner resistance and humanity.

About the speakers

Omar Imam (Damascus, 1979) is a Syrian photographer and video-artist, who works from Amsterdam. His project ‘Live, Love, Refugee’ has been exhibited in 14 countries throughout the world. In his photographic works Imam uses irony and a conceptual approach to respond to the violent situation in Syria. After his departure from Damascus near the end of 2012, he started making short fictive films.

Casper Vandeputte has been connected as a director to het Nationale Toneel, where he directed, amongst others, De gouden draak (2015), Fit to fly (2015), Elektra (2014), Titus (2014), Speeldrift (2013) en Nieuwspoort (2013). Vandeputte is fascinated by the question what moral points of reference remain in a world where almost all large ideologies have perished.

Marjan Slob is philosopher, writer and columnist. In 2017 she won the Socrates Wisselbeker for her book ‘Brain Beast (Hersenbeest)’. In this book she addresses big questions like: What is a human, what can you know about yourself, what is consciousness, and what determines your freedom? Marjan is a permanent columnist at the Volkskrant and was editor of Humanist (nowadays Waardenwerk), the magazine of the Humanistic Association Netherlands.

Location + Tickets

This event will take place at ProDemos (Hofweg 1, Den Haag). Tickets for this event are for sale on the website of the Night of the Dictorships.

About the Night of the Dictatorships

For the seventh year in a row, Prodemos organizes this event in The Hague. The Humanity House, like last year, has been asked to fill in a programme. The Night of the Dictatorships originated as a counterpoint to the Day of the Democracy, declared by the UN on September the 15th. During this event we will approach freedom, democracy and the rule of law from a different perspective. This happens in different ways: from debates to diner, and from movie screening to escape rooms.