The Zurich conference
July 28–30, 2016
8005 Zurich West
Draft explores contemporary art that produces, contributes to or provokes public debate. It involves nine interdisciplinary collaboratives from nine cities: Beijing, Cairo, Cape Town, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Mumbai, St. Petersburg and Zurich. The conference is focused on the projects developed and carried out by the collaboratives over the past 12 months in their local contexts. The projects intervene in contexts of action, production and discourse, by exploring the imaginary, rendering the latent visible or critiquing concrete circumstances.
Media censorship, state authoritarianism, social injustice, xenophobia, nationalism, various forms of violence, migration, the effects of frantic urbanisation, real estate speculation, commodities trading and repatriation are some of the pressing issues highlighted by these year-long investigations. Artists respond to these circumstances through critique and fiction, by establishing infrastructures, educational programmes and counter publics, and by employing re-enactments and mnemonic techniques. They reveal the consequences of such phenomena and processes on our affective and intellectual life—in short, they draft a different history and a different present. The conference will address the notion of debate: debate as a device for managing conflicts, negotiating standpoints, making things public and defining the space we live in. It will be focused in particular on the debate around the crises of belonging—i.e. who can belong, to what and how much—a subterranean reverb that runs through each of the projects.
Draft was launched in June 2015 with a conference in Mumbai where the positions and working methodologies of the collaboratives and their members were presented. The 2016 conference in Zürich will provide insights into art activities undertaken as part of Draft, and discuss them in terms of their sources and research materials, approaches adopted and their consequences for life-worlds. How do these projects change their context, our worldview or concrete action? How do they maintain dissent and promote complexity? What do they appeal for?
The upcoming conference is also imagined as a research and pedagogical environment; it will be attended by approximately 40 students visiting from universities across Alexandria, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Mexico City, New Delhi, Palermo, St. Petersburg, and Zurich. The students will be in town for Negotiating Space: Art and Dissent, the International ZHdK Summer School 2016, convened in cooperation with Manifesta 11.
Contributors: Giorgio Biancorosso, CAMP (Shaina Anand, Ashok Sukumaran, Simpreet Singh), Helena Chávez Mac Gregor, Chto Delat (Tsaplya Olga Egorova, Nikolay Oleynikov, Dmitry Vilensky), Cosmin Costinas (Para Site), CTC. Curating the City (Sophie Goltz, Alice Peragine), Gitanjali Dang, Anila Daulatzai, Gareth Evans, Gabrielle Goliath, Rupali Gupte and Prasad Shetty, Rohit Jain, Ju Anqi, knowbotiq (Christian Hübler, Yvonne Wilhelm with Nina Bandi), Qinyi Lim, Jens Maier-Rothe, Cuauhtémoc Medina, Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk, Alia Mossallam, Riason Naidoo, Ambimbola Odubegsan, Richard Pithouse, Sarah Rifky, Uzma Rizvi, Nils Röller, Christoph Schenker, Teatro Ojo (Héctor Bourges Valles, Laura Furlan Magaril, Karla Rodríguez Lira, Patricio Villarreal Ávila), Xu Peili (Mianbu), Samson Young and Zheng Bo
The conference is open to the public. Admission is free.
Artistic directors: Gitanjali Dang/Khanabadosh and Christoph Schenker/IFCAR
Partners: Pro Helvetia – Swiss Arts Council, and Connecting Spaces Hong Kong – Zurich
Supported by: artEDU Foundation, Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation
Download Draft Booklet
Nina Bandi is a philosopher and Ph.D. Researcher at the Lucerne School of Art and Design and the Zurich University of the Arts. She holds an MA in Social and Political Thought from the University of Sussex (2011). Since 2015, she has been working in a research project funded by the Swiss National Research Fund on the relevance of political art practices, called ‘What Can Art Do?’. Her Ph.D.—which is part of this research project—focuses on the development of a non-representational thinking of the relation between arts and politics. Before this she has been involved in different political and artistic projects on the diagrammatical space of socio-economic transformation processes in the former Yugoslavia, on conflict and violence in Israel/Palestine and subversive art strategies in Austria. Her research interests include the interplay of aesthetics and politics in recent protest movements and artistic practices as well as the relation between gendered bodies, technology and materiality. She is part of the editorial collective of kamion, a journal at the intersection of political theory, social movements, and artistic practices. For Draft’s Zurich project, Nina Bandi is collaborating with knowbotiq.
Giorgio Biancorosso is Associate Professor in Music, School of Humanities, The University of Hong Kong. He is the author, most recently, of Situated Listening: The Sound of Absorption in Classical Cinema (Oxford University Press, 2016). He received a Ph.D. in Musicology at Princeton and was a Mellon Fellow at the Society of Fellows, Columbia University, for three years. His work on the history and theory of listening practices reflects a long-standing interest in musical aesthetics, film music, and the history of global cinema. Biancorosso is also active in Hong Kong as a programmer and curator.
CAMP (Zinnia Ambapardiwala, Shaina Anand, Simpreet Singh, Ashok Sukumaran) is a collaborative studio founded in Mumbai in 2007. It has been producing provocative new work in video and film, electronic media, and public art forms, in a practice characterised by a hand-dirtying, non-alienated relation to technology. CAMP's projects have entered modern social and technical assemblies: energy, communication and surveillance systems, neighbourhoods, ships, archives – things much larger than itself. These are shown as not having a fixed function or destiny, making them both a medium and stage for artistic activity. CAMP’s work has been shown in venues such as Khoj, Sarai, Lalit Kala Akademi and NGMA, New Delhi; Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Gallery Chemould, Mumbai; MoMA and New Museum, New York; Serpentine Galleries and Gasworks, London; Asia Art Archive and M+ Hong Kong, Ars Electronica, Linz, HKW, Berlin, MoMA Warsaw, Askhal Alwan, Beirut, Experimenter, Kolkata and Documenta 13, Kassel; in the streets and markets of Bangalore, San Jose, Dakar, Mexico City, East Jerusalem, Delhi and Mumbai; in the biennials of Shanghai, Sharjah, Gwangju, Taipei, Singapore, Liverpool and Kochi-Muziris; at film venues such as the AV Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Viennale, Flaherty Seminar, Anthology Film Archives, and CAMP’s own rooftop cinema. From their home base in Chuim Village, Mumbai they co-host the online archives Pad.ma and Indiancine.ma among other longue-durée activities.
Helena Chávez Mac Gregor
Helena Chávez Mac Gregor is a researcher at the Research Institute of Aesthetics and lecturer of Art History at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City. She holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from UNAM with a thesis on the relation between politics and aesthetics. She has been Academic Curator at University Museum of Contemporary Art, MUAC (2009–2013), where she developed the program in Critical Theory, Campus Expandido. She curated the exhibition ‘Critical Fetishes: Residues of General Economy’ at CA2M, Madrid (2010) and Museo de la Ciudad, Mexico City (2011) with The Red Specter, a Mexico City-based collective comprising Mariana Botey, Helena Chávez Mac Gregor and Cuauhtémoc Medina. The collective explores the intersection between artistic and theoretical practices from a political, postcolonial and poetic perspective. She also recently curated ‘Color Theory’ (2014–2015) at MUAC with Cuauhtémoc Medina and Alejandra Labastida. Her most recent essays include Occupying the Space, The Battle for Politics; Necropolítica, la políticacomotrabajo de muerte; Políticas de la aparición: estética y política and The Revolution Will Not be Televised.
Founded in 2003 in St. Petersburg, Chto Delat (What is to be done?) is a collective that counts Russian artists, critics, philosophers, writers and choreographer among its members. The collective came about with the intention of merging political theory, art and activism, a paradigm which continues to be the urgent need of the hour. Working across a range of media—from video and theatre plays, to radio programs and murals—their activities include art projects, seminars and public campaigns. These activities are coordinated by a core group including Tsaplya Olga Egorova (artist), ArtiomMagun (philosopher), Nikolay Oleynikov (artist), Natalia Pershina/Glucklya (artist), Alexey Penzin (philosopher), Alexander Skidan (poet and critic), Oxana Timofeeva (philosopher), Dmitry Vilensky (artist) and Nina Gasteva (choreographer).
In 2013, Chto Delat initiated an educational platform—School of Engaged Art in Petersburg and also runs a space called Rosa’s House of Culture. From its inception, the collective has been publishing an English-Russian newspaper focused on the politicisation of Russian cultural situation, in dialogue with the international context.
Their recent solos include ‘Time Capsule: Artistic Report on Catastrophes and Utopia’, 2015, KOW BERLIN, Germany and 2014, Secession, Vienna. Recent group exhibitions include ‘Really Useful Knowledge’ (2014–2015), Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid and ‘Art Turning Left’ (2013–2014), Tate Liverpool, London.
Cosmin Costinas is the executive director and curator at Para Site, Hong Kong, since 2011. He previously served as curator at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, Netherlands from 2009-2011 where he curated ‘In the Middle of Things’ (2011), a solo exhibition by Moscow-based artist Olga Chernysheva and ‘I, the Undersigned’ (2010) by Lebanese theatre director, playwright, actor and artist Rabih Mroué which toured Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts), London, among other places. In 2013 he co-curated ‘A Journal of the Plague Year. Fear, Ghosts Rebels. SARS, Leslie and the Hong Kong Story’, exploring Hong Kong’s complex political, social, pop cultural and epidemiological history through the work of 27 artists. He was co-curator of the First Ural Industrial Biennial (2010) with Ekaterina Degot and David Riff and one of the editors of the Documenta 12 magazines. Most recently he was on the curatorial team of the 10th Shanghai Biennale (2014) led by Anselm Franke.
Anila Daulatzai is an anthropologist with active research projects in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She is currently the Louise Lamphere Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Brown University, Providence. She has previously taught at Harvard University, Cambridge; the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; the Lahore University of Management Sciences; the University of Zurich; Kabul University and the American University of Afghanistan, Kabul and the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU), Kabul. She has graduate degrees in public health and Islamic studies and a Ph.D. in socio-cultural anthropology. Her current interests primarily circulate around the themes of war and humanitarianism, as well as the related themes of violence and care. Daulatzai is writing a book based on more than four years of anthropological fieldwork with widows and their families in Kabul, conducted between 2003 and 2011. She has two current research projects: on polio in Pakistan, since 2014; and a multi-sited study of heroin users in cities throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan, since 2011. Daulatzai was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and is a khanabadosh living in Oakland, California, and Providence, Rhode Island.
Gareth Evans is a writer, curator, presenter, producer and Whitechapel Gallery’s Film Curator. He is also co-curator of Swedenborg Film Festival, London; Estuary 2016; Whitstable Biennale and Utopia 2016, Somerset House, London. He created and programmed PLACE, the annual cross-platform festival at Aldeburgh Music, Suffolk, is Co-Director of production agency Artevents and has curated numerous film and event seasons across the United Kingdom (e.g. J.G. Ballard, Portugal, Armenia). He conceived and curated the major London season ‘John Berger: Here Is Where We Meet’ (2005) and co-curated ‘All Power to the Imagination! 1968 and Its Legacies’ (2008). He regularly hosts events at institutions both nationally and across London. He produced the essay film Patience (After Sebald) (2012) by Grant Gee as part of his nationwide arts project The Re-Enchantment (2008–2011). He worked on the film pages of Time Out from 2000–2005, edited the international moving image magazine Vertigo from 2002–2009 and now edits Artesian and runs Go Together Press. He has written numerous catalogue essays and articles on artists' moving image. Recent and forthcoming monograph pieces include Melanie Manchot, Siobhan Davies, Bill Morrison, Joshua Oppenheimer and Mark Boulos.
Gabrielle Goliath is a multidisciplinary artist known for her conceptually distilled and sensitive negotiations of complex social concerns, particularly in relation to situations of gendered and sexualised violence. Drawing on music’s capacity to both commemorate and evoke nostalgic memory, her current research aims to explore the possibilities and ethical demands of ‘performing’ and making ‘shareable’ traumatic recall, specifically the lived and perpetually relived trauma of rape survivors in South Africa. Goliath is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute for Creative Arts, Cape Town, and holds a Master’s degree in Fine Art (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg), and an M.Phil. in African Studies (University of Cape Town). She has exhibited widely, and in 2012 participated in the Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar. Her work features in numerous public and private collections, including the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, Johannesburg Art Gallery and Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg.
Sophie Goltz is the Artistic Director of Stadtkuratorin Hamburg (Public Art Curator of the city of Hamburg) since 2013; a newly created position aiming to give fresh impetus to the project ‘Kunst im öffentlichen Raum/Art in Public Space’ that has existed since 1981, and the chairwoman of the association CTC. Curating the City. Since 2008 she has been working as curator for Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) Goltz also lectures at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg and writes regularly for magazines such as Texte zur Kunst, springerin and Art Agenda. Previously, she has worked as a freelance curator and art educator with Documenta 11, Kassel (2002), the 3rd Berlin Biennale (2004), ‘Projekt Migration’, Cologne (2004–2006) and Documenta 12, Kassel (2007). Together with Alice Peragine and Christoph Schäfer, she is a co-founder of CTC. Curating the City. It is a fostering association with the aim of activating, curating, and communicating art in urban space. The association in particular performs as an initiator and partner of artworks, research projects and other cultural knowledge formats.
Rupali Gupte and Prasad Shetty
Rupali Gupte and Prasad Shetty are urbanists. They believe that the urban realm is incoherent, unbound, unstable and gets worked out through multiple and messy logics. Their conceptual journey has moved from an urge for mapping cities, articulating problems and developing corrective interventions to looking closely at urban conditions, formulating newer ways to speak about them, and developing engagements to live and find delight in them. Their work often crosses disciplinary boundaries and takes different forms—writings, drawings, mixed-media works, storytelling, teaching, conversations, walks and spatial interventions. Some of their joint works include Multifarious Nows (2007), Manifesta 7, Bolzano, a multi-media map of the textile mill lands in Mumbai and Studies of Housing Types in Mumbai (2007) produced for Urban Age, London School of Economics, the work is a compilation of twenty-one housing typologies in Mumbai with narratives on the contexts of their production, Being Nicely Messy (2012) an artistic take on the Future of Urban Mobility produced for the Audi Urban Future Initiatives, ‘Gurgaon Glossaries’ (2013) a methodology to read cities, shown at Sarai 09 Delhi, Mumbai Art Room and the Sao Paolo Architecture Biennale and Transactional Objects (2015) an installation shown at the 56th Venice Biennale.
IFCAR Institute for Contemporary Art Research
The Institute for Contemporary Art Research (IFCAR) was founded in 2005 to give impetus to artistic research and other closely related inquiries on an institutional basis. It’s a division of the Department of Art & Media, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). The institute has two research focuses. In the research field Art and Knowledge, artists explore specific forms and functions of artistic knowledge within contemporary cultures of knowledge. Although practice-based and subject-specific, the research also implicitly relates to theory of science. In the second research field, Public Art, artists investigate how their practices bring into view, reflect, and contribute to—particularly urban—social changes. In doing so, art develops its own means, tactics, and conceptions. The majority of IFCAR’s projects are carried out by interdisciplinary teams and through transnational co-operation. IFCAR is publisher of a monograph series, which comprises fifteen titles so far. IFCAR in collaboration with Khanabadosh is the co-organiser of Draft.
Rohit Jain is an anthropologist and anti-racism activist. Currently, he is Scientific Officer at NCCR on the Move, the National Center of Competence in Research for Migration and Mobility Studies at the University of Neuchâtel. His research has sought to understand and articulate how the representation and commodification of difference is engaged and contested in transnational spaces of colonialism and global capitalism. Jain has done research on Max Müller’s colonial and Indological gaze on India, on the entanglements of racism and humour in Swiss TV comedy and on the connection of the Swiss public spectacle of Bollywood, yoga and IT with postcolonial anxieties. Jain’s Ph.D. thesis was focused on how persons of Indian origin, who grew up in Switzerland, negotiated multiple norms of assimilation, exoticism and global Indian modernity in transnational life-worlds and public spaces. His current aim is to find strategies to better understand, represent and appropriate the multiplicity of subject-making and the fractional translation of meaning in assemblages and hierarchies of postcolonial global capitalism, combining multi-sited ethnography and cultural studies with political interventions and collective transdisciplinary approaches. In 2015 he contributed a chapter to Swiss Colonial Encounters and Postcolonial Assemblages edited by Harald Fischer-Tiné and Patricia Purtschert.
A graduate of the Beijing Film Academy, Ju Anqi is an artist and filmmaker. His films have been exhibited at the Centre Pompidou, Paris and MoMA, New York City. His film Poet on a Business Trip (2014) premiered at the 44th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2015 where it won the Network for the Promotion of Asia Pacific Cinema (NETPAC) Award. In 2000, he directed There’s a Strong Wind in Beijing, a documentary reflecting contemporary China’s social and cultural anxieties. A strong advocate of reforms in Chinese media laws, in 2004, Ju along with six other independent filmmakers—including Jia Zhangke and Lou Ye—submitted a statement to the China Film Bureau identifying Bureau laws that were in need of urgent reform. He has participated in the Berlinale (2000) in Berlin and in numerous film festivals across North America, Australia and Asia.
Khanabadosh is an itinerant arts lab founded in Mumbai in 2012 by curator and writer Gitanjali Dang. Persian for those who carry their homes with them, Khanabadosh thrives on latitude; not having a fixed address helps. Defining the ‘aboutness’ of Khanabadosh is an existential crisis no less. It can, however, be said with some certainty that Khanabadosh lives off latitude, magic and agnosticism. It is interested in everything. It is particularly interested in constantly rethinking what it—and everything around it—is about. Recent stuff includes ‘The Porcupine in the Room’ (2015), Delfina Foundation, London, a group exhibition, which takes a closer look at the puzzle called intimacy, ‘Kairos’ (2013) Shedhalle, Zurich, a sequence of documentary screenings focused on disenchanted voices of the Indian subaltern and included works by Anand Patwardhan, Rakesh Sharma and Sanjay Kak and ‘The Age Of Re:discovery’ (2014), a nine-month long online workshop by Compasswallah which accessed the history of science through the urban situation. Upcoming stuff includes ‘Love in the Time of Choleric Capital’ (October, 2016), School of Arts and Aesthetics Gallery, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Khanabadosh in collaboration with Institute for Contemporary Art Research IFCAR, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) is the co-organiser of Draft.
knowbotiq/Christian Hübler and Yvonne Wilhelm
knowbotiq is an artist group based in Zurich, Berlin and Lisbon. It has been experimenting with forms and medialities of knowledge, political representations and post-digital agency since 1992 and was formerly known as knowbotic research (with Alexander Tuchacek). In the context of their artistic research, the group has realised various projects in urban public spaces. knowbotiq is currently working on post-digital constructions of history in the context of the 100 years of Dada Zurich, focusing on the uncertainties of technologically traumatised landscapes, such as the coal mining in the Ruhr area in Germany, and human-machine landscape hybrids related to the agricultural policies in Tyrol, Austria. They have participated in the 48th Venice Biennale (1999), Seoul Biennale (2002), Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (2007), Biennale Rotterdam (2009), Moscow Biennale (2011), Salon Suisse at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) and exhibited at Museum Contemporary Art, Helsinki (1994), Hamburger Kunstverein, Hamburg (1995), Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2000), New Museum, New York (2002), and MOCA Taipei (2004). Awards include: the Prix Arts Electronica (1994 and 1998), the International ZKM Media Art Award (2000) and the Claasen Prize for Media Art and Photography (2001). For Draft’s Zurich project, knowbotiq is collaborating with philosopher Nina Bandi.
Qinyi Lim is a writer and independent curator. She held the position of Curator at Para Site from 2012 to 2016. Previously, she has held curatorial positions at the National University of Singapore Museum and the Singapore Art Museum. Her research is focused on a plurality of vocabularies conditioned by exigent circumstances, drawing from fields of anthropology, history and sociology, not dwelling on the sanctity of the object but rather what the cracks in the sanctity or historicisation mean. She holds a MA in Southeast Asian Studies from the National University of Singapore and a BA in Art History from the University of Queensland, Australia. Past exhibitions and projects include ‘A Luxury We Cannot Afford in Singapore’ (2015), Para Site; ‘Eros’ (2014) with Sumesh Sharma/Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, ‘Para Site; Present/Future’ (2013), Artissima 20, Turin, ‘And The Difference is. . .’ (2008), Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, ‘TelahTerbit: Out Now’ (2006), Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, ‘Why Stay If You Can Go?’ (2011), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and ‘Three Artists Walk Into A Bar . . .’ (2012), de Appel, Amsterdam.
Jens Maier-Rothe researches, writes and makes exhibitions. He is currently based in Berlin and Cairo, where he co-founded Beirut in 2012. He has written for and edited numerous publications and magazines. He attended the Critical Studies program at the Malmö Art Academy and the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum, New York City. Recent collaborations include 'The Magic of the State' (2013), Lisson Gallery, London; 'Tape Echo' (2013–2014), Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; 'Here Today Gone Tomorrow' (2014), Stedelijk Museum and Trouw, Amsterdam; 'A Guest without a Host is a Ghost' (2014–2015), Kadist Art Foundation, Paris. His essays have appeared in Camera Austria International No. 126 (Graz/Berlin, 2014); Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East (I.B. Tauris, London, 2014); Mass Effect: Art and the Internet in the 21st Century (MIT Press/New Museum, 2015).
Cuauhtémoc Medina is an art critic, curator and historian with a Ph.D. in History and Theory of Art from the University of Essex. He is currently Chief Curator of MUAC, University Contemporary Art Museum, in Mexico City. He was the first Associate Curator of Art Latin American Collections at the Tate Modern, London (2002–2008). He curated the Manifesta 9 Biennial (2012) in Genk, Belgium, with Katerina Gregos and Dawn Ades. He collaborated on Francis Alÿs’s ‘When Faith Moves Mountains’ (2002). Exhibitions include ‘20 Million Mexicans Can´t Be Wrong’ (2002), London, Francis Alÿs. Diezcuadrasalrededor del estudio’ (2006), Mexico City and Teresa Margolles’ project ‘What Else Can We Speak About’ (2009) for the 53rd Venice Biennale’s Mexican Pavilion. He co-curated ‘The Age of Discrepancies, Art and Visual Culture in Mexico 1968–1997’, (2007–2008) in Mexico City. Publications include South, South, South, South: 7th International Symposium of Contemporary Art Theory México (Patronato de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, 2010) and “Entries” (in collaboration with Francis Alÿs) in Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception (Tate Publishing, London, 2010). In 2012, Medina became the sixth recipient of the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement instituted by the Menil Foundation.
Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk
Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk are an artist/filmmaker duo working together since 2011. They formed the video collective intifadat intifadat in 2011 and produced the series of videos ‘Remarking January 25’ (2011). In 2015, Metwaly and Rizk released their first feature film Out on the Street in which they engage with performativity and theatre, with non-professional actors exploring the social and political landscape in Egypt around the January 25 Revolution. The film premiered at the 2015 Berlinale and a work around the film is presented at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015). In collaboration with the exhibition space Beirut, they presented ‘How To Act: On Stages and Storytellers’ (2015), a program of film screenings, talks and discussions, inspired by their on-going research, which uses the conditions of work, labour and revolt as a starting point.
Alia Mossallam has been teaching at The American University in Cairo since 2014 and the Cairo Institute for Liberal Arts and Sciences (CILAS) since 2015. She has been holding a series of workshops for ‘Reclaiming Revolutionary Histories’ with activists and artists, often on remote islands in Egypt. Disguised as an academic, Mosallam spends most of her time listening to people tell stories, and experimenting with ways to re-tell them. Her recent focus has been on stories behind popular movements and revolutions that make nationalist histories but are seldom told. She continues to look for these stories, and songs, in an attempt to recover a lost history of popular movements; in hopes that one-day, we may write our own. Her recent work—including her 2012 Ph.D. thesis, Stories of Peoplehood—revisits experiences of the workers and resistance fighters behind the 1952 coup d’état in Egypt while another traces a peasant uprising before the 1919 revolution in the form of a play called Whims of Freedom. She is now engaged in projects, which endeavour to create spaces for youth inside and outside of academic institutions in Egypt (and beyond), and to search their personal and communal histories with the intention of exploring the idea of retellings.
Riason Naidoo is a South African curator. He has curated several exhibitions on the work of veteran Durban photographer Ranjith Kally (b.1925), which have been shown in Johannesburg and Durban (2004) and travelled to museums in Mali (2005), Austria (2006), Spain (2006), and Reunion Island, France (2007). ‘The Indian in DRUM Magazine in the 1950s’ followed in 2006. The project was curated out of 500,000 negatives from the Bailey’s African History Archive; in 2008 he published a book by the same name. ‘1910–2010: From Pierneef to Gugulective’ has been his most ambitious exhibition, showcasing a century of South African art via almost 600 artworks at the South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2010). The exhibition sparked debate and controversy not only nationally but in reviews in New York, London, Berlin and Amsterdam as well. In 2012, he was one of three curators of the 10th edition of the Dak'Art: African Contemporary Art Biennale in Senegal. He has also curated exhibitions on the works of legendary South African artist Peter Clarke in Dakar (2012), London (2013) and Paris (2013). He recently received the French Order of Arts and Literature.
Abimbola Odugbesan, born in Ibadan, holds a B.Sc in Political Science and has taught Social Studies and English in Nigeria. Odugbesan is a spokesman of Lampedusa, a protest group in Hamburg, a member of the labour union Gewerkschaft, Erziehung und Wissenschaft (GEW), Hamburg and one of the initiators and participants of ‘Here to Participate!’ a program for refugee teachers. He's a lecturer at Silent University Hamburg and has presented his lecture Nigeria During Slavery in West Africa to various schools and institutions such as Abendschule vor dem Holstentor, Hamburg; Gymnasium Hamm, Hamburg; Gruner + Jahr, Hamburg; Amadeu Antonio Stiftung, Berlin; Refugees Welcome, Schwerin. He was one of the organisers of the International Conference of Refugees and Migrants, (2016) at Kampnagel Hamburg and part of the panel Wie gestalten wir das Einwanderungsland Europa (How Do We Construct the Immigration Country Europe) 2016, at Leuphana University, Lüneburg, and participated in Integration ermöglichen - Zusammenhalt stärken (Enabling Integration - Strengthening Solidarity) 2016, a forum organised by the Robert Bosch Stiftung. Odugbesan considers himself an activist and academic and is still looking for more prospects and perspectives for the future. His research activities focus on the emancipation of African women from patriarchy.
Founded in early 1996 as an artist run space, Para Site was Hong Kong’s first institution of contemporary art and a crucial self-organised structure within the city’s civil society, during the uncertain period preceding its handover to Mainland China. It was founded by Patrick Lee, Leung Chi-wo, Phoebe Man Ching-ying, Sara Wong Chi-hang, Leung Mee-ping, and Tsang Tak-ping. It produces exhibitions, publications and discursive projects aimed at forging a critical understanding of local and international phenomena in art and society. Over the years, Para Site has evolved into a professional contemporary art centre, engaged in a wide array of activities and collaborations with other art institutions, museums, biennials and academic structures in Hong Kong and the international landscape. Throughout its history, Para Site's activities have included a range of different formats, such as P/S magazine (1997–2006), a bilingual publication, which was Hong Kong's first visual arts magazine and a central platform for the development of art writing in the city and the Curatorial Training Programme (2007–2010). Since 2012, Para Site has been running an International Art Residency Programme.
Alice Peragine is an artist living and working in Hamburg. Utilising performative installations and site-specific interventions her work examines social, visual and institutional structures. Space, body, and image are crucial parameters in her performances and video installations. Questions concerning the relationship between the audience and the work, the beginning and end of a performance and structural power relations within institutional ensembles are central to her approach. After completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Art History at the University of Greifswald, she moved on to study Fine Arts at HFBK Hamburg with Michaela Meliàn in the department of Time Based Media in 2010. Currently she is involved in several collaborative projects in Hamburg such as PLATEAU, a web-based publication for the performing arts that aims to create more visibility for experimental approaches to performance and social practices in urban spaces by providing a platform for interdisciplinary discourse through the production of texts. Together with Sophie Goltz and Christoph Schäfer, she is co-founder of CTC. Curating the City. It is a fostering association with the aim of activating, curating, and communicating art in urban space.
Richard Pithouse lectures at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, where he teaches contemporary political theory and urban studies and runs an annual semester-long post-graduate seminar on the work of Afro-Caribbean psychiatrist, philosopher, writer and revolutionary Frantz Fanon. He sustains a lifelong commitment to active participation in popular struggles. And his recent academic work focuses on emancipatory political theory and popular struggles in contemporary South Africa. He is also a widely published journalist who has written about music, poetry and politics. His new book, Writing the Decline (Jacana Media, 2016), takes on xenophobia, racism, homophobia, inequality and political repression across the globe with a focus on South Africa, and brings activist and academic knowledge together to provide an account of our social condition.
Sarah Rifky is an Egyptian writer and curator. She is co-founder of Beirut (2012–2015) an art initiative and exhibition space in Cairo. She co-directed the MASS Alexandria independent studio and study program (2010–2012). She is the author of numerous essays of art and other speculative fiction. She has contributed to publications and newspapers including Egypt Independent (Al Masry Al Youm), Bidoun, Mousse, Flash Art, Spike Art Quarterly and Art Agenda. Currently she is pursuing her Ph.D. in History, Theory and Criticism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she is a fellow of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture.
Uzma Z. Rizvi
Uzma Z. Rizvi is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies at the Pratt Institute of Art and Design, Brooklyn, and a Visiting Scholar in the Department of International Studies at the American University of Sharjah. Prior to her appointment at Pratt Institute, Rizvi received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania (2007), a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University (2008), and was the Faculty Fellow for the Initiative of Art, Culture and Community Development at the Pratt Center, Brooklyn. Recent articles and publications include Crafting Resonance: Empathy and Belonging in Ancient Rajasthan (Journal of Social Archaeology, 2015), Decolonizing Archaeology: On the Global Heritage of Epistemic Laziness (Sternberg Press, 2015) and The World Archaeological Congress Research Handbook on Postcolonial Archaeology (Left Coast Press, 2010). Rizvi has written for e-flux, The New Inquiry, and LEAP, among others. In 2016, she directed (with Amal Khalaf) Art Dubai's Global Art Forum 10 ‘The Future Was’. Her current research work is focused on Ancient Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, with an interest in the 3rd millennium BCE and contemporary heritage politics. She utilises poetics as a mode through which to push the limits of archaeological theory.
Nils Röller is Professor of Media and Culture Theory at the Zurich University of the Arts, where he is also a member of the management team of media art studies. After completing his studies in philosophy in Berlin he was a research assistant at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM) where among other things he was director of the Digitale Festival together with Siegfried Zielinski from 1995–1999. He built up the Vilém Flusser Archive and was co-editor of KHM’s yearbook Lab – Jahrbuch für Künste und Apparate (Walther König, 1995–1999). In 2002 he published online the novel SMS macht Liebe (2002). Since 2006 he is co-editor (with Barbara Ellmerer and Yves Netzhammer) of the Journal für Kunst, Sex und Mathematik (2010/2011). He directed the SNF – Research Project Indirect Experiences. His current research field is the relationship between instruments, their qualities and properties as media, and reality. His recent publications include a novel about Dieter Roth, Roth der Grosse (Klever, 2013), and Über Kräfte (Merve, 2014).
Christoph Schenker is Professor of Philosophy of Art and Contemporary Art at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). He has been head of the Institute for Contemporary Art Research (IFCAR), part of the university’s Department of Art & Media, since 2005. His main research interests are artistic research as well as public art. Under his direction, IFCAR produced public art research projects by Harun Farocki, Bethan Huws, Ken Lum, Shirana Shahbazi, Lawrence Weiner and Sislej Xhafa in Zurich and Engadine, Switzerland. He co-edited MIND THE GAP, Kunsthof Zurich, Materials and Documents 1993–2013 (edition fink, 2013), a publication tracing the exhibition history of the outdoor exhibition site Kunsthof Zurich, which he established and conducted between 1993 and 2005 in close collaboration with art students. Furthermore he has co-edited Kunst und Öffentlichkeit, Kritische Praxis der Kunst im Stadtraum Zürich (JRP Ringier, 2007), a research publication on public art and its contexts in Zurich, and most recently Künstlerische Forschung, Ein Handbuch (diaphanes, 2015). He is co-directing Draft together with Gitanjali Dang.
Teatro Ojo is an artistic collective founded in 2002 by Héctor Bourges Valles, Karla Rodríguez Lira, Laura Furlan Magaril and Patricio Villarreal Ávila. Their work addresses the power of the gaze as a site for the production of the visible. The gaze as a bridge allowing perception of invisible relations and behaviours within the public, private, intimate and unconscious spaces we live in. In their site-specific artworks, performances and urban interventions they dwell on and question memory, city, violence, community, modernity, education, pre-language or the post-human. At the 2011 Prague Quadrennial, they were awarded Best Work in Theatre Architecture and Performance Space for ‘Within a Failing State’, which brought together works done by the collective from 2007 to 2010. They participated in the first BiennaleOnline (2013) curated by Jan Hoet. Their work was part of the exhibition ‘Playgrounds’ (2014), Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, and ‘El Contrato’ (‘The Contract’ 2014–2015), Azkuna Zentroa. They have also performed and exhibited their work in Spain, Greece, Czech Republic, Serbia, Switzerland, Colombia, Argentina, United States and India.
Xu Peili (Mianbu)
Xu Peili (Mianbu) is a poet, curator and gallerist. In 2006, she founded Being 3 Gallery, located in the 798 Art Zone, where she is currently director. Recently Xu has curated exhibitions such ‘Beijing 2003’ (2015), a solo exhibition of Ai Weiwei featuring his video work, ‘24 fps- Deconstruction Movie(s)’ (2016), a solo exhibition of the German filmmaker Burkhard von Harder, and ‘Big Characters’ (2016), a solo exhibition by filmmaker Ju Anqi. She is the editor of Rhetoric of Memory: Interpretation of China Italy Biennale (Springer Verlag Berlin, 2015). This publication reports on the first large scale international biennale between China and Italy bringing together visual arts and other academic disciplines, such as philosophical interpretation, philosophy of the soul, art history, curatorial history, poetry and architecture. In 2006, an anthology of her poetry 白布上写白色的字 [Write the Word White on White] was published by CITIC Press.
Samson Young is an artist and composer who studied music, philosophy and gender studies at the University of Sydney, and holds a Ph.D. in Music Composition from Princeton. Young received an Honorary Mention in Sound Art at Prix Ars Electronica 2012 and in 2013 was named Artist of the Year in Media Arts by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. He participated in the Asia Triennial Manchester, the Moscow Biennale of Young Art, and also at group exhibitions at Kunsthalle Winterthur, Switzerland, Today Art Museum, Beijing and Taipei Contemporary Art Museum, Taiwan. Recent projects include Liquid Borders (2012-2014) and Pastoral Music (But It Is Entirely Hollow), 2014-onging). Liquid Borders is an archive of sounds that form the audio divide separating Hong Kong and the Mainland, comprised mainly of recording of vibrating fence wires. In Pastoral Music (But It Is Entirely Hollow), Young combines his research into Hong Kong’s involvement in the Second World War and artists’ roles in warfare, into sets of military strategies described through musical notation. In 2015, Young became the first BMW Art Journey recipient.
Zheng Bo is an artist, writer and Assistant Professor at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong. He received his Ph.D. in Visual and Cultural Studies from University of Rochester. Committed to socially and ecologically engaged art through practice and research, he investigates the past and the present from the perspective of marginalised communities and marginalised plants. His recent projects include Plants Living in Shanghai (a found botanical garden and an online course on plants and Shanghai), Weed Party (a multimedia inquiry into the role of plants in the history of the Chinese Communist Party), Weed Plot (a safe haven for weeds on the roof of Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing), Toad Commons (a community garden in Taipei), and Socialism Good (time-based plant installation at Cass Sculpture Foundation, Sussex). He is on the editorial board of Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art and is co-editing (with Sohl Lee) a special issue on art and ecology. He is also developing a database and a massive open online course on Chinese socially engaged art.
1/15 Christoph Schenker: Welcome address
2/15 Gitanjali Dang: Introduction
3/15 Mexico City collaborative
4/15 Mumbai collaborative
5/15 St. Petersburg collaborative
6/15 Zurich collaborative
7/15 Cape Town collaborative
8/15 Nils Röller: Intervention
9/15 Hong Kong collaborative
10/15 Beijing collaborative