note_12 Kandahari Cramps? A human fly linking Busheyr, Bandar Abbas, Bhuj in Kachhch and Dubai -of course…

Home of the DRONE Creech_Air_Force_Base_aerial

Desert Terror

Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, 45 miles N of Las Vegas, home of the MQ1 Predator Drone

Five years after writing this short story, Buzz, Buzz, Buzzzzz, it feels timely to share it here (below). It describes drone flights over Herat, Khorasan and Iran’s central plateau across to Bushehr and Bandar Abbas where the drone tracks back east again. I wrote it in the voice of the drone (mad thought obviously), which begins in the kind of (monstrously violent/ deeply racist) formulaic AI-speak of its makers -also in Nevada- but changes when brought down to earth in Iran, as the RQ-170 actually was, where it encounters people and place, face-to-face…

Commissioned in London, written and submitted from Bhuj in Kachhch in December through January 2012-13 -where I was also in March 2003, incidentally, when the declining US Imperium unleashed shock ‘n awe/invasion ‘n occupation on Iraq, making the ground move where I was standing too- to be published and launched at Dubai in March 2013. Continue reading “note_12 Kandahari Cramps? A human fly linking Busheyr, Bandar Abbas, Bhuj in Kachhch and Dubai -of course…”

notes from a meeting, appendix 1. conversation: sejla kameric and i go east [to kalba]

Sejla Kameric 1395 Days Bait al Shamsi Photo G Mannes-Abbott

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Sejla Kameric and I go East [to Kalba] 

March 2012 Sharjah UAE

1395 Days without Red is the Artangel-enabled film which received its regional premier in Sharjah. It comes in two parts; Anri Sala’s was shown indoors one evening, Sejla Kameric’s followed the next evening in an outdoor screening in Bait al Shamsi. Both are based on the experience of the 4-year long siege of Sarajevo [which began April 5 1992] and make different responses to it -while following a woman’s attempt to cross her city on foot. Continue reading “notes from a meeting, appendix 1. conversation: sejla kameric and i go east [to kalba]”

notes from a meeting, on homing in on conclusions…

March Meeting Sharjah 2012 Every which way… Photo G Mannes-Abbott

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As I home in on conclusive thoughts, the first must be an acknowledgement of the fifth March Meeting as such. It brought together over 80 speakers plus audience to talk, listen, and exchange over 3 long and short days -as well as film screenings, exhibitions and musical performance. Inevitably, it generated brain-burn, the occasional misfiring or abbreviated note, and the expressed desire for either longer sessions at times or a pause button to reflect at others.

However, the intensity was generative of wide ranging conversations, links and relinks, discovery and trust, committedness and complexities. It’s a risky venture, with all sorts of intellectual and creative risks talked of and engaged, by practitioners with experience of or aspirations for just such frontier activity. The scent of new and different futures is in the air as is impatience to get there ASAP… Continue reading “notes from a meeting, on homing in on conclusions…”

notes from a meeting, from hubtastic to actual costs of moving, making, showing… [day 3]

Eungie Joo New Museum Photo G Mannes-Abbott

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A consequence of trying to write about the MM while presenting at it as well as attending panels, films and exhibitions [to say nothing about the barely glimpsed wonders of downtown Sharjah itself!] was that I missed some sessions. It would be invidious to select any that I particularly regret missing, especially as the quality of presenters and presentations was so high this year, so I will resist.

My Meeting day began with an in-conversation between Eungie Joo from the New Museum and William Wells from the Townhouse in which they talked about their Museum as Hub initiative. Continue reading “notes from a meeting, from hubtastic to actual costs of moving, making, showing… [day 3]”

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

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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

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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 – on commissioning and reconfiguring risk [day one pt 3]

Image

Shezad Dawood Framed Photo G Mannes-Abbott

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Continued…

Highlights of other sessions included Samar Martha’s marshaling of interesting tales from the frontline of smaller organizations, including MASS, the space that Wael Shawky -Abraaj Prize Winner 2012- created from his old studio in Alexandria. Run on a shoestring, it’s now in its second year with twice as many students covering a wide age range. An inspiring story, presented by Daniella Rose King, I hope to watch it survive and flourish. This is when and how artists can generate step changes… Continue reading “notes from a meeting – on commissioning and reconfiguring risk [day one pt 3]”