You Died Again on Screen
2018 – 2019
The ancient Egyptian mummies have been extensively portrayed throughout history,
since the early inceptions of photography and cinema, and remain popular in visual
culture. Certain ways of portraying them have been repeatedly followed like traditions,
which resulted in establishing stereotypes. In the thesis, I investigate how some of these
recurring portrayals dehumanise the ancient Egyptians. For this purpose, I have compiled
an archive of photographs and films, and analysed their stereotypical portrayal patterns.
In doing so, I have identified two traditions; the portrayal of mummies in non-fictional
photographs as artefacts (artefication), and their portrayal in fictional films as monsters
(monstrification). In two visual essays accompanying this thesis, I demonstrate how these
traditions systematically deny the portrayed mummies essentially and uniquely human
qualities, resulting in their dehumanisation.
In the filmic
essay, You Died Again on Screen, I attempt to portray them humanely, by addressing them directly in my
voice-over narration as seated spectators looking at their own fictional portrayals. In the photographic essay, At Last, I hold Your Gaze, I attempt
to imagine their voices commenting on their own artefication, and in doing so protesting
the way in which they have historically and incessantly been muted. On the whole, the thesis aims to offer a critique on
dehumanising portrayals of the ancient Egyptians, shedding light on the repercussions of
the encounter with such images.
At Last, I hold Your Gaze – photobook excerpt
You Died Again on Screen – film essay
// This project was conducted during my masters studies at Leiden University. My mentor was Ali Shobeiri.