Marwa Arsanios

Art, Film, Artistic Research

Marwa Arsanios is currently a PhD candidate at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna. Before, she was a researcher in the Fine Art Department at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2010–12). She co-teaches at the Dutch Art Institute. Her solo shows include: Heidelberger Kunstverein (2023), Mosaic Rooms, London (2022), Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2021); Skuc Gallery, Ljubljana (2018); Beirut Art Center (2017); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2016); Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon (2015); and Art in General, New York (2015). Her work has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions including: Documenta 15 (2022), Mardin biennial (2022), Sydney Biennial film program (2022), 3rd Autostrada Biennale, Pristina (2021); 11th Berlin Biennale (2020); The Renaissance Society, Chicago (2020); Gwangju Biennial (2018); Lülea Biennial (2018); Kunsthalle Wien (2019); 1st Sharjah Architecture Triennial (2019); SF Moma, San Francisco (2019); Warsaw Biennial (2019); 14th Sharjah Biennale (2019); Maxxi Museum, Rome (2017); Ludwig Museum, Cologne (2016); Thessaloniki Biennial (2015); Home Works Forum, Ashkal Alwan, Beirut (2010, 2013, 2015); New Museum, New York (2014); 55th Venice Biennial (2013); M HKA, Antwerp (2013),); the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011).

Her films have been screened at Cinéma du Réel, Paris (2021); Rotterdam Film Festival (2021); Film Fest, Hamburg (2020); FID Marseille (2015, 2019, 2022); tiff, Toronto (2019); Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (2019); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2017); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2011, 2017,2022); Berlin International Film Festival (2010, 2015).

Marwa Arsanios’ practice tackles structural and infrastructural enquiries using different devices, forms and strategies. From architectural spaces, their transformation and adaptability throughout conflict, to artist run spaces and temporary conventions such as the convention of women farmers and ecological feminists that gathered feminist communes, cooperatives and organizations. The practice tends to make space within and parallel to existing art structures allowing experimentation with different kind of dissident politics. Film becomes another form and a space for connecting struggles in the way images refer to each other.
In the past four years Arsanios attempts to think these ideas from a new materialist and a historical materialist perspective through different feminist movements that are struggling for their land. She tries to look at questions of property, law, economy and ecology from specific plots of land. The main protagonists become these lands and the people who work them. Her research includes many disciplines and is deployed in numerous collective methodologies and collaborative projects.

During her HIAS Fellowship Marwa Arsanios will work on a new chapter (part 5) of her project Who is Afraid of Ideology? that will pursue the question of the history of property in the Ottoman territory from legal, economic, geological, agricultural and political perspectives. The research process will be in conversation with a lawyer, a historian, a philosopher, farmers and a scientist in order to think through the possibility of bringing to the forefront the idea of usership instead of ownership. One part of the film will follow female land workers and farmers in different parts of Lebanon (mostly olive and grape pickers) who have become landless because of forced displacement. They have mainly come from Syria after the break of the war. Another part will be delving into a history of land codes focusing on the relation of usership to land. A third part will be a science fiction that presents organized propertyless utopias in the Levant region. All these will be weaved together to form a complex narrative spatially and temporally.

Her tandem partner is Franziska Müller, professor for political science at Universität Hamburg.

Marwa Arsanios’ HIAS Fellowship is provided by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the federal and state funds acquired by Universität Hamburg in the framework of its Excellence Strategy.


Marwa Arsanios


Universität Hamburg


Franziska Müller, professor for political science at Universität Hamburg.

Image Information

Film still, Who is Afraid of Ideology? part 1, 18min, video, color