notes from a meeting, artists on the frontier; resident or nomad? [day two pt2]

Sejla Kameric 1395 Days on the Frontier Photo G Mannes-Abbott

CLICK on image to link to SAF & more images or read on below …

 

Sama Alshaibi moderated a panel on Artists as Nomads, describing herself as the least “nomadic artist on the panel, relatively speaking,” secure in a US Professorship. Basma Alsharif, a Palestinian who “can’t really base myself in Palestine” settled in Egypt before “moving based on projects”, a process that has now been formalised through International residencies. “So then my life became a residency” with obvious costs and which have rendered her almost homeless at times -all of which she was quick to qualify too.

Ziad Antar fizzed on stage, to the audience’s amusement, relaying a similar tale of struggling to “create a point of view” in the churn; “when you live nowhere” there is a price to pay. Sejla Kameric introduced a note of caution by asking “is it a life we choose or is it by necessity… there’s a fine balance between a need and a choice.” She said she had also moved a lot on what can appear to be a circuit, but increasingly found she needed a strong working base at home in Sarajevo. [I’ll return to the screening of her version of the 1395 Days Without Red film in Bait al Shamsi later in the evening when I post a substantial interview soon; see Appendix 1 Sejla Kameric & I Go East [to Kalba]. Continue reading “notes from a meeting, artists on the frontier; resident or nomad? [day two pt2]”

notes from a meeting, on throwing forth – artists and audiences [day two pt1]

Murtaza Vali Artists & Audiences Photo G Mannes-Abbott

CLICK on image to link to SAF & more images or read on below…

Murtaza Vali moderated another of the central panels during this March Meeting; Artists and Audiences. One which spoke from the UK, the USA/Dubai, Palestine, Taiwan and Qatar to an audience far more diverse in its locations. Vali spoke of a radical “rethinking of the artwork as a situation that requires an audience to complete it”, something which new media has helped generate as well as being some of its sites. As he said, this raises many issues but “the really big one [is] what is it exactly that we mean by the word audience?” If audience activates the artwork then how does the artist/artwork/institution ‘activate’ the audience? How is theory made new practice?

It’s a tough question which the panel bounced around but didn’t ‘dunk’. Louise Hui-Juan Hsu from the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, Taiwan, for example, reminded us that the “translator in this case, is beyond the translation of words”. Abed al Ju’beh, who runs the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre in Ramallah, Palestine, spoke of the singularity of his literally captive audience. I’d not seen him since the leaving party at his home in the South-east of England 5-6 years ago when he took up this post. Ramallah is at the heart of a giant open air prison where, he said, the audience comes looking for confirmation of their existence. It’s an audience which the Sakakini reaches out to with a residency programme strictly for local artists. Continue reading “notes from a meeting, on throwing forth – artists and audiences [day two pt1]”

notes from a meeting, sharjah 2012

March Meeting Day 1 Falling, Flying, photo G Mannes-Abbott

CLICK image to link to SAF or read on below…

This is my second March Meeting and my first attended without the contextual buzz and fruitful ‘distractions’ of the Sharjah Biennial going on around it. It’s worth remarking on what a special and in fact, important event it is.

The March Meeting exists not to promote the exchange of capital in the form of visual art, but to talk, listen, converse and engage ideas of and about the art of now and here, that here being inherently global and simultaneously local. This year’s Meeting is specifically aimed at exploring the relationships between artists and art infrastructures, context and audience.

If that sounds a little dry [and I sound naive], its worth investigating, especially perhaps here in Sharjah where audience is nascent, which also means not yet habituated or complacent in its responses -a good thing obviously. The art of our times is changing formally to reflect exactly these issues, around the role audience or reception plays in the making of art, its intentions, notions of completion, etc., in quite radical ways.

This year’s Meeting draws together a wide range and depth of speakers; from government institutions through tiny self-generating practitioners. Importantly there are artists here to give voice to experiences of working within this new global activity; residencies, collaborations, shifting curatorial practice and transformative technologies. Activity shaping an emergent consciousness itself reflective of geopolitical shifts from ‘west’ to ‘east’ -a change that renders such unipolar crudities obsolescent. Put it another way, more of us are from/in, claiming/reclaiming, reconfiguring/recovering more places than ever before…

The March Meeting was formulated in 2008 with the very ambitious aim of becoming a permanent fixture in Sharjah, drawing in “artists, curators, institutions, writers, producers and practitioners from around the world.” The idea, which is worth repeating, was to experiment with new “strategies of discussion … and collaboration” fed by urgently shared concerns and committed to explore “future possibilities.” This is what someone I overheard describing variant complimentary qualities on display during a marathon ‘art week’ meant when they said; “the content is at Sharjah”

The intensely focused format and high calibre ‘cast’ is a risky venture. Risk is a key quality owned or claimed by the work -and words- of many of the contributors to the Meeting. However, the question has shifted from one of falling or flying, succeeding or failing, to an appreciation of attempts and their related processes, such that they remain in flight amidst new formulations of time and value.

on a frieze review of ‘the country of the blind…’ with CAMP at folkestone triennial 2011

frieze_cover-143-240x314

2011 Folkestone Triennial

VARIOUS VENUES, FOLKESTONE, UK

Scroll down for review…

[NB Collaborations are a particular, demanding and beautiful form of work which I seem to have developed a taste for, at least in a visual art context and since 1997!

2011 was a year of varying forms of artful collaboration, each very special but none quite so intimate as this one for me; how it came about, whom it involves and the result of our efforts. To avoid the obvious-but-hideous potential problems of collaboration, a certain more or less unspoken [else endlessly detailed!] but deeply-shared approach to all-things essential is elemental. Continue reading “on a frieze review of ‘the country of the blind…’ with CAMP at folkestone triennial 2011”

on the comma, between ramallah and running and everything else

In Ramallah, Running due Feb. 28th 2012

Gertrude Stein didn’t think much of commas, you remember? I think a lot of Gertrude’s work and Gertrude herself, as Fruit Store regulars will know, but disagree with her about the comma.

Commas break-up, complicate, deepen, add dimension to statements and any prose that takes ‘sense’ for granted. They elucidate, make-difficult, render actual complexity. The comma in In Ramallah, Running does these and many other things for me…

Above is a graphic rendering of a tiny part of the cover-image of the book [actual cover image coming soon], in which the sticking-out comma sticks out!

Commas are inconvenient, never quite fit, force you to notice that which you might not, condense and disrupt [presumed, heh Adania?] sense, etc. They are abyss and peak, add crucial [a]rhythms and make for the elliptical.

Writing without these things is almost literally nothing…

on paul noble, font of … etc. – more on nobson at gagosian to dec 17

more…

Returning for a longer look at Paul Noble’s current exhibition, I realise that Nobson is more prominent in the show than I’d understood. Also, that my sense that deserts had bloomed is probably more revealing of my baseline bounce into every morning as a blind optimist than the actuality! That is; yes there are trees, plants and they emerge from the desert but that doesn’t quite conjugate the verb ‘to bloom’. Plus, my eyes lied to me in identifying clusters of rocks -which I know peculiarly well, given their relationship to images in In Ramallah, Running– as bushes, trees, verdancy! Continue reading “on paul noble, font of … etc. – more on nobson at gagosian to dec 17”

on a hand made dummy of in ramallah, running -pre design meet

My hand-made and -cut rough mock-up of In Ramallah, Running this night…

I can’t  resist sharing my pleasure at having assembled all the elements of In Ramallah, Running in hard form for the first time tonight in preparation for a big design and layout meeting tomorrow. It’s very strange to materialise something that has existed in my mind as a project and proposal, then a place and people as well as a piece of my own inevitably elliptical work, before becoming a project once more with a range of very special people responding to and contributing work to the book, for all of that to eventually come together from all over the world and now to have a dummy of it in my fingers and see that it is pretty much as conceived -albeit only held together by a single bulldog clip- except that it’s so much better in actuality! Continue reading “on a hand made dummy of in ramallah, running -pre design meet”