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 notes from a march meeting, sharjah 2012

I’ll be speaking at the March Meeting, on a great panel [here] during 3 days of high calibre contributions/discussions [here]. I’ll be talking about writerly life on the ‘frontier’, using e.things -including IR,R’s crossing of disciplines/limits- not as models but as exemplary productions on the frontier.

I’ll also be writing about the MM and associated events as a further extension of Notes from a Fruitstore. Things change and -as an artist friend said to me while badly letting me down in public- shit happens. Although I have regrets about last year’s events, I welcome SAF’s new direction too [under Yuko Hasegawa here], towards the east [with clear implications] from its location close to the Indian Ocean.

There is a great archive of March Meetings [here] from which I quote Jack Persekian, not to be clever or contentious but because his words describe why I’m going to be part of the coming week in Sharjah [which compliments other rich programmes in Doha and Dubai here];

‘The March Meeting is a serious attempt to engineer strategies of discussion, networking and collaboration on topics of mutual concern and future possibilities… Our objective is to establish Sharjah as a permanent address for an annual gathering of artists, curators, institutions, writers, producers and art practitioners from around the world.’

on in ramallah, running – cover artwork, advance info., etc.

In Ramallah, Running cover artwork – click on image to expand

In Ramallah, Running

Guy Mannes-Abbott

Edited by Guy Mannes-Abbott and Samar Martha

Introduction by Jean Fisher

Contributions from Jananne al-Ani, Francis Alÿs, Najwan Darwish, Emily Jacir, Olaf Nicolai, Paul Noble, Khalil Rabah, Adania Shibli, Mark Titchner, Sharif Waked.

Co-produced by ArtSchool Palestine & Sharjah Art Foundation

Published by Black Dog

“I read it in one breath. A cunning simplicity of writing the complexity of today’s Palestine, through the alleys, roads, streets, hills, valleys, days and evenings in and around Ramallah, charged me with love of the art of writing, of Palestine… You showed me my place and made me hear my story. I loved the piece without limits.”

Mourid Barghouti, Palestinian Poet and author of classics memoirs; I Saw Ramallah & I Was Born There, I Was Born Here.

In Ramallah, Running represents Guy Mannes-Abbott’s uniquely personal encounter with Palestine, interweaving short, poetic texts with exploratory essays. International artists and prominent writers have been invited to respond both directly and indirectly to the texts with newly commissioned works.

The principal text is a series in 14 parts, alternating running within the limits of the city and walking out from it to, along, beyond and off limits, discovering how insidiously mobile those limits are under Occupation. With singular style and compelling force, Mannes-Abbott generates a very special intimacy with a rarely seen or experienced Palestine; the actual place itself, the people in their place.

Jean Fisher contributes a substantial introductory essay, while the poet and critic Najwan Darwish and novelist Adania Shibli have written further captivating responses. Visual contributions include a project linked to a pair of paintings by Francis Alÿs, drawings of stoney aridity with ambiguous structures by Paul Noble, and a searingly intimate journal-based piece by Emily Jacir. Jananne al-Ani, Khalil Rabah and Mark Titchner contribute varying photography-based projects focused on the place and its relationship to the body and word. Olaf Nicolai contributes an angular text-based project and Sharif Waked highlights the abysmal ambiguities of the political context.

In Ramallah, Running
Paperback
160 pages
32 colour plus b/w ills
26.0 x 19.0 cm
10.20 x 7.5 in
ISBN 978 1 907317 67 5

NB: Advance proofs of the book have arrived and are really quite beautiful Continue reading “on in ramallah, running – cover artwork, advance info., etc.”

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 translated by, biggin’ japan at cca kitakyushu until 20 jan 2012

Translated By – London 2011

Translated By, Shumon and Charles’ exhibition of audio recordings of writing about place by a range of writers including myself, with a short excerpt from In Ramallah, Running  in the form of cut-together running texts, is currently on show at CCA KITAKYUSHU Ogura Gallery December 12, 2011 – January 20, 2012. Continue reading “on translated by, biggin’ japan at cca kitakyushu until 20 jan 2012”

on cabbage love; from gordon matta-clark to forest food

I’ve always felt there were many uses for a ‘Gordon Matta-Clark’ and can only approach life, especially urban life, as or through art in the broadest sense, that sense being not a Marxian one but a making something-from-nothing one. I’m [to a fault] less interested in exploiting my own having-made something-from-nothing -except to the extent of being able to make it in the first place and make something else subsequently! Only an idiot wouldn’t be interested in or cognisant of the abysmal world of surplus value, however there is a certain idiocy in being transfixed by it too…

One use for a Gordon Matta-Clark is to help think through the question of whether art can be food or food art. The answer is obviously in the affirmative but I have something quite specific in mind. Food, itself. As such. The piece that was also a place which was also a community-borne restaurant called Food, that is. Continue reading “on cabbage love; from gordon matta-clark to forest food”