Susan Meiselas - From the Field to the Archive
Susan Meiselas is an award winning documentary photographer based in New York. Meiselas joined Magnum Photos in 1976 and has worked as a freelance photographer since then. She is best known for her coverage of the insurrection in Nicaragua and her documentation of human rights issues in Latin America, which were published widely throughout the world. In 1981, Pantheon published her second monograph, Nicaragua, June 1978-July 1979. Meiselas served as an editor and contributor to the book El Salvador: The work of Thirty Photographers (Writers & Readers, 1983) and edited Chile from Within (W.W. Norton, 1991) featuring work by photographers living under the Pinochet regime. She has co-directed two films: 'Living at Risk: The Story of a Nicaraguan Family' (1986) and "Pictures from a Revolution" (1991) with Richard P. Rogers and Alfred Guzzetti. In 1997, she completed a six year project curating a 100-year photographic history of Kurdistan, and integrating her own work into the book entitled Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History. Meiselas then created the website, www.akaKURDISTAN.com, an online archive of collective memory; as well as an exhibition that was launched at the Menil Collection in Houston, and traveled over eight years to venues in the United States and Europe.
From the Field to the Archive: Susan Meiselas will focus on the book Kurdistan: in the Shadow of History, and the process of gathering historic material to give form to a collective memory from scattered fragments. For Meiselas, storytelling begins around the photograph and only through the careful weaving together of images and artefacts is a larger historical narrative revealed. Rather than producing her own pictures, Meiselas' choice was to research and repatriate images she found and place herself in a timeline of imagemakers. Oral histories, declassified government documents, newspaper clippings and memoirs detail the West’s encounters with the Kurds over the last century, through the multiple perspectives of travelers, missionaries, colonial administrators, anthropologists, journalists, as well as the Kurds themselves. She will discuss her collaboration with the Kurdish community in the making of her book, its design strategy and the evolution of the website, akaKURDISTAN, a virtual archive of cultural exchange for a dispersed people with no physical national archive.
Beatrice von Bismarck - The Archive in Transformation
Beatrice von Bismarck (Leipzig, Berlin) is professor of art history and visual culture at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig. From 1989 - 1993 she worked as a curator of the department of 20th Century art Städelschen Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt/Main and until 1999 she taught at Lüneburg University. There she was co-founder and -director of the project-space Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg. In Leipzig she also co-founded the project-space Ñ/D/O/C/K-Projektbereich and initiated the M.A. Program 'Cultures of the Curatorial', which started in autumn 2009. Her current research areas include: Modes of cultural production connecting theory and practice; curatorial practice; effects of neo-liberalism and globalization on the cultural field; postmodern concepts of the artist. Her publications include, among numerous others, the seminal book Interarchive. Archival Practices and Sites in the Contemporary Art Field, Cologne 2002 (edited with Hans-Peter Feldmann, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Diethelm Stoller, Ulf Wuggenig).
The Archive in Transformation: The Royal Museum for Central Africa (Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale) in Tervuren, Belgium, is an ethnographic and anthropolical institution which exemplifies the developmental stages involved in the processing of colonial history from the end of the nineteenth century into the present. Founded in 1907 it makes apparent a view of the African continent characterized by the perspective of European expansionist politics. In the year 2008 the German artist Peggy Buth has taken this cultural archive as the starting point of her on-going documentation and research project “Desire in Representation”. It combines documentary photo material of the museum´s representation of Central Africa and its colonization with a narrative created by quotations of travelogues and adventure stories, archival images and historic documents from the colonial days of Belgium and Germany, and integrates them in the production of a series of installations, a film, two book publications and an exhibition. The talk will trace the archival strategies Buth employed in order to create counter-narratives to that of the institutional tradition and to expose the colonizers´ desires and expectations.
Kristine Khouri - 'The History of Arab Modernities in the Visual Arts Study Group': The Beginning.
Kristine Genevive Khouri is a researcher in art history based in Beirut focusing on the modern period in the Middle East. She received her BA in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago in 2007 with a minor in Art History. A recipient of the Fulbright fellowship (2007-2008), she spent a year in Amman, Jordan investigating visual art practice and production, looking specifically at institutions and structures surrounding art production and exhibition. She spent a year doing research with Walid Raad for his current project, "Scratching on Things You Could Disavow: A History of Modern and Contemporary Arab Art." She has contributed as a writer and photographer and has written for several magazine and newspaper publications in the region and also serves as the program director for Gen70, an artist portfolio project for ArteEast.
The History of Arab Modernities in the Visual Arts Study Group is a long-term research project, initiated in 2008, whose mission is to investigate key questions in the history and historiography of modern art in the Arab world. The founding members are Kristine Khouri and Rasha Salti, both based in Beirut, and includes a growing network of contributing individuals. The project is independent and aims to propose a space for experimentation in methodologies and archival practice.
As a more serious scholarly interest in modern and contemporary art from the Arab world has emerged in the past few years, the status of the field's scattered historiography as well as the scarcity of primary sources has proven restrictive to scholars, researchers, historians, and curators. This recently developing field beckons a serious investigation of the past and its guiding paradigms. In its core, the mission of this research project proposes a rethinking of the historiography of modern Arab art. Existing works (in English, Arabic and French), have almost systematically ignored a political-social-historical approach and interpretive framework, and have been almost exclusively biased towards artists' narratives. They do not answer how the paradigm of the modern permeated the various realms of society and came to prevail, or how modernity conjugated with ideologies salient at the time nor do they explain how the postmodern turn came about.
The Study Group proposes this exploration through conducting and recording dialogues with seminal protagonists in the field of modern and contemporary art, such as established art critics, gallerists, curators, museum directors, and collectors, whose experiences have not been collected or recorded in books who were mostly active during the 1950s-1970s in the region and through unearthing archives. The project also includes investigating and reconstructing major events: international and regional exhibitions, biennials, and festivals deemed as milestones in the region.
The paucity of primary sources is a sad fact and the Study Group's approach will produce valuable material for further research. Thus one of its central goals will be to publish interviews, primary source material and findings as widely as possible through the creation of a digitally-based and publicly accessible bilingual primary source for research in art and visual culture for the region, comprised of video, sound and image-- documentation of the interviews, documents, and other material. In addition to gathering and presenting material, the Study Group aims to build a network of researchers to share material and develop their projects, and consider a comparative approach for similar projects, both regional and international, through seminars and workshops.
Miguel A. Lopez - South-South Intersections: Southern Conceptualisms Network and the Political Possibilities of Local Histories
Miguel A. Lopez is a writer, artist and researcher based in Lima. He is a regular contributor to Ramona and Artecontexto, and has also written for Afterall, Papers d'Art, Papel Alpha, Juanacha, and other periodicals. He is co-author of Post-Ilusiones. Nuevas visiones. Arte critico en Lima, 1980-2006 (2007) and co-curator of "Subversive Practices. Art under conditions of Political Repression. South America / Europe / 60s-80s" at Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart (2009); "La Persistencia de lo Efímero. Orígenes del no-objetualismo peruano: ambientaciones / happenings / arte conceptual (1965-1975)" at Spanish Cultural Center, Lima (2007), among many others. He is also an active member, since its foundation in 2007, of the Red Conceptualismos del Sur.
Red Conceptualismos del Sur (Southern Conceptualisms Network) is an international platform for joint production, reflection, and the establishment of a common political position. This network was founded towards the end of 2007 by a group of researchers concerned with the need for a political intervention on the neutralizing process of a set of critical and ‘conceptual’ practices, which had taken place in Latin American since the 1960s under authoritarian regimes and political repression. Its main objective is to create renewed conditions for the preservation of artists archives and/or the documentation of political events dismissed by hegemonic readings and recent historiographic accounts of so-called Latin American art. This presentation focuses on two of RCS’s recent projects: the ‘Cartographies’ project, an attempt to seek for both existing archival initiatives and documents and material sources at serious risk in Latin America; and its experience creating a public archive of the Uruguayan experimental poet and artist Clemente Padín in Montevideo city.
Negar Azimi and Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh - Arab Image Foundation.
Negar Azimi is Senior editor of Bidoun Magazine. She is a member of the Beirut-based Fondation Arabe pour l'Image, with whom she is working on photographic projects in Iran and the greater Arab region. She studied politics at Stanford and Harvard, and is now pursuing her PhD at Columbia University.
Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh studied history, photography and visual anthropology in Paris. In 2006, she moved to Burj al-Shamali, a refugee camp established in 1956 and located just south of the port city of Tyre. There, she carries out a photographic project with a group of young Palestinians. She also carries out archival work on family and studio photographs, as well as personal research on vernacular visual cultures.
Negar Azimi will discuss the origins and evolution of the Arab Image Foundation from its founding in Beirut in 1998 by three artists to its subsequent life as an institution with an archive of over 300.000 photos. Such an evolution has provoked debates as to the expectations and responsibilities attached to an archive of this nature and at least some of these issues will be raised here. Azimi will also discuss a current project of the Foundation she is working on with fellow member Karl Bassil: a monograph of the late Armenian-Egyptian photographer Van Leo which takes "the photography book" and "the monograph" at large as its point of departure.
Subsequently, Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh will review the working process of her project "A photographic conversation from Burj al-Shamali camp". In the particular context of this Palestinian refugee camp, situated in Southern Lebanon, she has collected and produced a variety of audio-visual material. The initial intention to form a visual archive, representing the camp's and its inhabitants' visual memory, over the period of 9 years developed into a more subtle examination of different aspects of the collected material. Tackling different questions such as how to deal with the privacy and intimacy, which is embedded in the relationships people develop to photographs, or the ownership of photographs and their public display, Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh will try to discuss issues related to how "A photographic conversation from Burj al-Shamali camp" simultaneously confronts and deconstructs established stereotypes of representation.
Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin
Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin have been collaborating for over a decade. They have produced six books which in different ways examine the language of documentary photography: Trust (2000) accompanied their first solo-show at The Hasselbad Center; Ghetto (2003) a collection of their work as editors and principal photographers of Colors magazine, was exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum; Mr. Mkhize's Portrait (2004) documented South Africa ten years after apartheid and accompanied a solo show at The Photographers' Gallery; Chicago (2006), an exploration of the militarization of contemporary Israel was published by SteidMACK in conjunction with a solo-show at The Stedelijk Museum; and Fig (2007), by Steidl/PHOTOWORKS, accompanied their solo exhibitions at the John Hansard Gallery and Impressions Gallery, UK. The Red House (2007), produced in the cells below the former Ba'athist Party headquarters in Iraq, is published by Steidl Editions. Broomberg and Chanarin regularly teach workshops and give master classes in photography, as well as lecturing on the MA in Documentary Photography at LCC. They are the recipients of numerous awards, including the Vic Odden Award from the Royal Photographic Society and are trustees of the Photographersí Gallery and Photoworks in the UK.
Broomberg and Chanarin will introduce three projects, including their forthcoming book, made in response to the photography archive at Belfast Exposed in Northern Ireland. The book, to be published by Steidl in Spring 2011, focuses on the layers of marking, scratches and obliterations by successive generations of archivists and the public on the images contained in the collection. The project upsets the indexical nature of the archive. Instead, a fragmented narrative of the period known as the 'Troubles' emerges that resists traditional empirical categorisations and sequences. This will be followed by an introduction to their book Fig, which is concerned with photography and the archive - in this case however the archive under investigation is an apparently imaginary one, constructed from a variety of sources and presented in the form of a cabinet of curiosities that highlights the links between documentary photography practise and colonial expansion. Finally, the artists will present some findings from their investigations into the Egyptian surrealist movement, begun during a residency at the Townhouse in 2010. They hope to share the growing archive of material related to the group and invite members of the audience to contribute with any additional information.
Negar Azimi - The Bidoun Library Project.
Negar Azimi will present the Bidoun Library, an itinerant long-term exhibition project curated by the editorial team of Bidoun Magazine. The library was launched in Abu Dhabi and has since been to Dubai, Beirut, and most recently, the New Museum in New York City. At the New Museum, the library took on a new life, presenting a highly partial account of five decades of printed matter in, near, about, and around the Middle East. Bidoun has compiled diverse publications ranging from pulp fictions and propaganda, monographs and guidebooks, and pamphlets and periodicals, on subjects like the oil boom to the Dubai bust, the Cold War to the hot pant, Pan-Arabs to Black Muslims, revolutionaries to royals, and Orientalism to its opposites. This talk will briefly present the New Museum version of the library as well as its current incarnation in Cairo, while more broadly, exploring the many ways in which we have come to know the "The Middle East" in the 20th century through printed matter.
Claire Hsu - Asia Art Archive.
Upon graduating with an M.A in the History of Art from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Claire Hsu returned to Hong Kong to cofound Asia Art Archive in December 2000. As its first Executive Director, Claire Hsu has overseen all aspects of AAA's establishment. Hsu has participated as a speaker in a number of forums including Panel on the Future of the Museum: Profile China, Conversations, Art Basel, Switzerland (2005); D-LAB 3 for the Second Guangzhou Triennial, China (2005); Contemporary Institutions: Between Public and Private Annual Conference of the International Committee of ICOM for Museums and Collections of Art, Tate Modern, U.K (2006); Open Dialogue: Cultural Spaces and the City, Business of Design Week, Hong Kong (2008); and Museum as Hub, New Museum (2009). She is currently a member of the Museum Committee for the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong and sits on the Board of The Foundation for Arts Initiatives, the Advisory Board for Yishu magazine and the Advisory Committee of the Academy of Visual Arts of Hong Kong Baptist University. She received the Asian Cultural Council, Starr Foundation Fellowship in 2005 and the RBSCoutts/Financial Times Women in Asia Awards Rising Star Award in 2009.
Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, AAA has grown from a single shelf of books in 2000 to become one of the most important public resources for contemporary Asian art in the world with a library and archive collection of over 32,000 items of material, and has research posts in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan and India. AAA is not only as a valuable resource and 'ideas' centre, but also an active platform for dialogue and exchange in the field. From the beginning, AAA was conceived as more than a static collection of material. Through the initiation of a broad range of projects AAA is pro-active in instigating critical thinking and dialogue and forging networks in the region. Projects developed and supervised by Hsu with the AAA team include: Archiving the Contemporary: Documenting Asian Art Today, Yesterday and Tomorrow Workshop (2005); Wu Shanzhuan: Red Humour International Publication (2005); All you want to know about International Biennials and Triennials Website Project (2006); SHIFITNG SITES: Cultural Desire and the Museum (May 2008); Materials of the Future: Documenting Contemporary Chinese Art 1980-1990 (2006 - 2010); and AAA's International Residency Programme and Research Grant.
Farah Wardani - The Indonesian Visual Art Archive (IVAA).
Farah Wardani (b. Jakarta, August 1, 1975), completed her undergraduate study in Graphic Design in 1998 at Trisakti University, Jakarta. In 2001 she obtained her MA in Art History (20th Century) from the Department of Historical & Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, London, UK, with a scholar-ship from the British Chevening Award. She has been active as a teacher, writer, curator and art organizer since 2002 in her home country, Indonesia. Her curatorial works comprise projects collaborating with art spaces like Cemeti Art House, ruangrupa, Edwin's Gallery, Nadi Gallery, Biasa Art Space and many others. Her writings were published in local and international mass media such as The Jakarta Post, Kompas, Art Asia Pacific, and in 2007 she co-wrote with Carla Bianpoen and Wulan Dirgantoro, a book titled Indonesian Women Artists: The Curtain Opens. Since 2007 she is the executive director of the Indonesian Visual Art Archive (IVAA) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, which includes the IVAA Online Archive, the first online digital archive of contemporary art in the country. More recently she has been conducting research in Japan about art and cultural relations between Japan and Indonesia during WWII, under the Japan Foundation JENESYS Creators Program 2010.
The Indonesian Visual Art Archive (IVAA) is a non-profit institute based in Yogyakarta. Its main area of work is in documentation, research, library and organizing visual art education and exploration programs. IVAA also functions as a think tank or a creative laboratory to discuss various concepts and activities that support the development of visual art and contemporary culture in both practice and discourse. IVAA's documentation collection includes photographs and audio-video recordings of artists at work processes and visual art events as well as donations in the form of reference materials of various kinds starting with visual arts and culture reference books, national and international exhibition catalogues, visual artists portfolio's through to audio visual/video art works. IVAA's database contains thousands of data references and archives related to Indonesian and international visual arts, which have been collected for more than 10 years. All of this data is stored at the IVAA library in Patehan Tengah 37 in Yogya. Since the middle of 2008, IVAA has digitalized archives and developed partnerships with various fine art institutes in Indonesia in order to preserve the visual arts archives and to put this database onto an online network at ivaa-online.org.
Barnaby Drabble - The Archive as a Performance of Knowledge. Curating Degree Zero Archive 2003-2008.
Dr. Barnaby Drabble works as a freelance curator, critic, researcher and teacher based in Zurich. He holds an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from Goldsmiths College in London and has recently been awarded a PhD for his thesis entitled "Stop Making Sense: the ends of curating and the beginnings of the exhibition". In addition to having lectured, tutored and given workshops at numerous educational institutions in Paris, Milan, Bern and London, Drabble has also established the Postgraduate Program in Curating at the ZHdK in Zurich. He has held public lectures, lead workshops and chaired discussions in a range of international institutions, including Tate Britain and the ICA in London, the Power Plant in Toronto, The Migros Museum in Zurich, INSA art space in Seoul, the Alexandria Contemporary Art Forum and the Witte de With in Rotterdam. Together with curator and academic Dorothee Richter, Drabble conceived of and oversaw the travelling archive project Curating Degree Zero Archive (2003-2008) and has compiled two collections of texts on curating; including the recent reader Curating Critique (Revolver, 2008).
The Curating Degree Zero Archive was initiated in 2003 by Barnaby Drabble and Dorothee Richter as a platform for locating, debating and documenting critical and experimental approaches to curating contemporary art. The project sought not only to gather documentation about exhibitions and make it public, but also to provide a space for questions about the role of documentation in the establishment of curating as a cultural practice in its own right. The archive existed as a touring exhibition with a complimentary website, the collection of documentation growing over time in relation to the contexts it was shown in and the people who invested their energy in the tour. The act of making the material public was rethought at each step of the tour by the respective host organisations, resulting in a diverse range of approaches to display and numerous related discussions and events.
In his presentation Barnaby Drabble will briefly describe the project, and reflect on the things to be learned from the project's nomadic, open-source, live, and no-budget strategies.
Vasif Kortun - Platform Garanti
Vasif Kortun is a writer, curator and teacher in the field of contemporary art. He is the founding director of Platform Garanti CAC [2001-] a non-profit contemporary art institution with an extensive library, documentation center, artist archives, exhibition space and an international residency program for artists, critics and curators. He also founded Proje4L, Istanbul Museum of Contemporary Art [2001-2003], where he curated seminal exhibitions of artist from Turkey. The first director of the Museum of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College [1994 and 1997], he organized the first U.S. museum exhibitions of artists like Kara Walker, Nedko Solakov and Boris Mikhailov. Vasif Kortun was the chief curator of the 1992, and co-curator of 2005 Istanbul Biennials; a co-curator of Sao Paolo , Tirana , Second Ceramics Biennial [Albisola, 2003], Taipei Biennial in , The UAE Pavilion, Venice Bienial . He has curated the Turkish pavilions for 1994 and 1998 Sao Paolo and 2007 Venice Biennials. He is a board member of the Foundation for Arts Initiatives, and sits on the advisory committees of the Periferic Biennial; Artists Pension Trust Dubai, The Gyeonggi Creation Center, Korea, and Broadsheet Magazine Australia.
Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center formally ended its activities under the name Platform in 2010. The former institution has since combined its activities with Garanti Kültür Inc.’s Garanti Gallery (GG) and the Ottoman Bank Archives and Research Center. Opening in spring 2011, the remodelled and renamed institution will benefit from a fully accessible and public library of more than 30,000 publications; an archive of documents and products by architects and designers, visual artists' files, and data on the local socio-economical history. Since 2002 Platform Garanti has acted as a dynamic catalyst for the dissemination, research and practice of contemporary art in the city, providing a meeting point for exchange between contemporary artists, curators and critics. The institution's library and archives have expanded exponentially over the last eight years, often through the generous support of friends and colleagues, as well as on the occasion of specific initiatives such as the 2006 Frieze Art Fair 'Collection Point' project. Today the institution holds documentation on works by more than 200 artists from Turkey and the most comprehensive library of art publications in the city. The collection includes, but is not limited to: magazine publications, exhibition catalogues, rare books, catalogue raisonnés, and books on theory and philosophy. More recent endeavors include the creation of an archive that focuses on the history of design and architecture in Turkey, the amassing of a curatorial archive, and research into the history of contemporary art exhibitions in Turkey.
Heba Farid is a multidisciplinary artist based in Cairo and a founding board member of the Contemporary Image Collective, an independent artist-run initiative dedicated to the Visual Image. www.ciccairo.com. Since 2004, Farid has been working on an independent multidisciplinary art, research and documentation project about Naíima al-Misriyya, an early 20th century performer of the phonograph era of Egyptian Arabic music that will produce a book, image and music archive and a documentary film in the near future. www.naima-project.org.In parallel, Farid is project coordinator for the photographic heritage project at the Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (CultNat).
CultNat's mission is to digitally document Egypt's cultural and natural heritage and disseminate the findings to the public through a wide spectrum of activities, such as books, CDRoms, short documentary films and public presentations. Since its inception, the focus has been on the release of products of internal program-led research efforts. After almost ten years of digitization, there now exists a massive body of information that needs to be managed and accessed in a different way, to ensure not only its longevity but also open public access, therefore, CultNat is re-thinking its workflow and creating a new archive strategy. In regards to the Photographic Memory of Egypt program (PME), from its inception there did not exist a clear theoretical foundation to guide the manner in which the collection, eventual archive or research program would be managed and run, hence, many issues have begun to emerge, other than digitization, affecting the articulation of a new approach - to contribute to the historiography of photographic practice specific to Egypt. In addition to the commercial products made available through CultNat and Bib Alex, and the eventual transition of our databases to be openly accessible and on-line, the PME program aims to engage in other activities that build appreciation for Egypt's photographic heritage by expanding on the public dimension of the program. The hope is that these activities will affect public perception of photography in Egypt and encourage the recognition of its practice, its historiography, and engender the appreciation for the photograph as an artifact of cultural production and an example of material culture.
Lucie Ryzova and Hussein Omar - Remembering Downtown: Making Memory History.
Dr. Lucie Ryzova is a researcher at St John's College, University of Oxford. She works on social and cultural history in Egypt in the first half of the 20th century. She is particularly interested in questions of vernacular, everyday modernity among Egyptian urban middle strata groups, which she explores using sources from popular culture as well as private materials created by anonymous individuals. She is the author of L'Effendiya ou la modernité contestée (Cairo: CEDEJ, 2005) and a number of articles. Her book on the emergence of local Egyptian middle class culture in the Interwar period is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. She is currently finishing a project on the social history of photography in Egypt, which will result in a monograph. She is also editing a collection of essays on local vernacular photography in the Middle East together with Issam Nassar (under review with Indiana University Press).
Hussein Omar is a history PhD candidate at Merton College, Oxford. His work examines the social and political history of the interwar era in Egypt through family papers and collections privately held. By focusing on a rich corpus of diaries, letters and photographs, he questions the dominant historical narratives based on official documents. He reacts to a scholarship which naively uses the archive as mere source, rather than critically as historically contingent subject.
The aim of the Downtown History and Memory Centre (Dhakirat wust al-balad) project, which is currently at a very early stage, is to promote a different kind of history of Egyptís capital city. It is broadly conceived as a critique of the prevailing perception of Downtown Cairoís history as an enclave of westernized local elites and foreigners. Instead, the Centre aims to chart an inclusive history of what has once been the social, political and commercial centre of the Metropolis, and remains its cultural and social center - albeit in different ways -until today. The center aims to serve as a resource for scholars through its extensive archiving and documentation activities, to provide training and assistance to young Egyptian scholars in cutting edge historical methodologies, and to become an intellectual hub bringing together the local and international academic community, Egyptian intellectuals and cultural figures, and the wider Egyptian public in raising awareness about and understanding of social processes shaping the Cairene urban space from both historical and contemporary perspectives. To fulfill this mission, and in addition to archiving, documentation and the organization of workshops, the centre will run a long-term Oral History project with the aim of building up a collection that will be inclusive both socially and in terms of its understanding of what constitutes historical material.
Celine Condorelli - Il n'y a Plus Rien ('There is Nothing Left')
Celine Condorelli works with art and architecture, combining a number of approaches from developing structures for supporting to broader enquiries into forms of commonality and discursive sites, resulting in projects merging politics, fiction, public space and whatever else feels urgent at the time. She is the author/editor of 'Support Structures' on Sternberg Press, 2009, and one of the founding directors of Eastside Projects, an artist-run exhibition space in Birmingham, UK. Recent work includes 'Il n'y a Plus Rien' (ACAF, Alexandria, Manifesta 8, 2010) 'Revision part 1 and 2' (Artists Space, New York, 2009, and Cell Projects, London, 2010), 'Curtain Show' (Eastside Projects, 2010), 'Life always Escapes' (Wysing Arts, Cambridge, and e-flux journal 2009), 'Hidden Curriculum', Casco, Utrecht (2007), GIL Biennial, Ghuang Zhou, Shanghai, Beijing, (2007), 4'33'', Magazin 4 Bregenzer Kunstverein, (2007), 'theatre pieces', Tate Triennial (2006). Recent projects include developing Support Structure phase 1-10, with Artist-Curator Gavin Wade, at Chisenhale Gallery, The Economist, ICA, V&A, London, amongst other (2003-2009). Celine Condorelli is guest professor at the Nuremberg Art Academy, has been teaching in various places since 2000, and is PhD candidate in Research Architecture, Goldsmith London.
Il n'y a Plus Rien ('There is Nothing Left'). Alexandria, Egypt.
A city exists in the world and is home to some its inhabitants, and yet at the same time seems to have disappeared for some others. This project addresses the construction of the city in time and that of history: in the unstable relations between knowledge and experience, fact and fiction, association and potential, a fragile scaffolding is formed and used as an attempt to foresee the present.
Jesús Carrillo - Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and the Universal Archive.
Jesús Carrillo is a Professor of Contemporary Art History at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Head of the Cultural Programmes Department of the Reina Sofia Museum since 2008. He combines an analysis of contemporary culture and cultural institutions with a critical reading of art historical narratives. He has published: Arte en la Red (Madrid: Cátedra, 2004), Naturaleza e Imperio (Madrid: 12 calles, 2004) and Tecnología e Imperio (Madrid: Nivola, 2003), and has also edited: Modos de hacer: arte crítico, esfera pública y acción directa (Salamanca: Ediciones de la Universidad de Salamanca, 2001), Tendencias del Arte. Arte de Tendencias (Madrid: Citedra, 2003), Desacuerdos: sobre arte, políticas y esfera pública en el Estado español vols 1, 2, 3 y 4 (Barcelona: Macba, 2004-2007), Douglas Crimp: Posiciones críticas (Madrid: Akal, 2005), Martha Rosler. Imágenes Públicas (Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 2008).
In his presentation, Jesús Carrillo will present the Reina Sofia's project on the Universal Archive. Modern museums traditionally combine accumulation and display: two typical operations of power. Modern museums also reflect colonial power relations, both past and present. Reina Sofia Museum is a national institution with specific ideological functions, as a representation of the Spanish State at home and abroad. Being aware of this, under the notion of Museos del Sur, it has recently embraced the task of transforming the institution from within, taking a political stance towards a different approach in which communality and universal access become central principles. The aim of the project Universal Archive is not to deterritorialize culture in 'google' terms, but to explore a different power relationship between the local and the global. Reina Sofia Museum does not only need to work against the grain of its inertia as a collector of precious objects and set up a technological framework that makes the archive network possible, but it also has to develop new protocols and a whole new ethic, to deal with other agents which share the legitimacy and the authority with regard to this heritage that is nobody's and everybody's at the same time.
Sebastian Lütgert, Jan Gerber, Sanjay Bhangar, Namita Malhotra, Ashok Sukumaran and Zinnia Ambapardiwala - PAD.MA
Zinnia Ambapardiwala is a physics graduate, trichologist, hairdresser, and system administrator. She is currently the technical coordinator of Pad.ma.
Sanjay Bhangar is a writer and software developer who lives in Mumbai. He is a founder of CAMP (http://camputer.org), and has been involved with the pad.ma project since its inception. He is a big believer in the open-source software development model. He is currently working on a few web-based projects including a web-to-print publishing platform, a resource site for theatre in India, and online mapping and indexing tools.
Jan Gerber is an artist, filmmaker and software developer from Berlin. He develops platforms for the production and distribution of video material (v2v.cc, 0xdb.org, pad.ma, dictionaryofwar.org) and runs informal cinemas and publicly funded events on questions of intellectual property and piracy (piratecinema.org, oil21.org). As a co-founder of 0x2620.org, he is currently working on Pan.do/ra, the next version of Pad.ma and 0xdb.org.
Sebastian W. Lütgert is an artist, programmer and writer. He lives and works in Berlin. He has co-founded a self-organized institution for artistic research in media technology (http://bootlab.org), a cinema for movies downloaded from the internet (http://piratecinema.org) and a non-profit organization for open-source software development (http://0x2620.org). He has initiated various projects dealing with copyright and cinema, and is currently working on a film on capitalism, set in Dubai.
Namita A. Malhotra is a writer, researcher and filmmaker with the Alternative Law Forum (http://www.altlawforum.org). She lives and works in a not-big-city, Bangalore. She works on technology, legality and power and is soon (hopefully) finishing a film on video pornography and a monograph on law, affect and image.
Ashok Sukumaran is an artist whose interests are in archaeologies of media, and in what haunts or underlies network forms and material distributions. Recent subjects in his work include electricity, cycle rickshaws, sea trade, and "the neighbour". His work takes the form of public projects, exhibitions, films, lectures, and long-term collaborations via CAMP (http://camputer.org), which he co-founded in 2007.
PAD.MA - short for Public Access Digital Media Archive - is an online archive of densely text-annotated video material, primarily footage and not finished films. The entire collection is searchable and viewable online, and is free to download for non-commercial use. The initiators of PAD.MA conceptualized this archive as a way of opening up a set of images, intentions and effects present in video footage, resources that conventions of video-making, editing and spectatorship have tended to suppress, or leave behind. This expanded treatment then points to other, political potentials for such material, and leads into lesser-known territory for video itself... beyond the finite documentary film or the online video clip. The design of the archive makes possible various types of "viewing", and contextualization: from an overview of themes and timelines to much closer readings of transcribed dialogue and geographical locations, to layers of "writing" on top of the image material. Descriptions, keywords and other annotations have been placed on timelines by both archive contributors and users. The PAD.MA project is initiated by a group consisting of oil21.org from Berlin, the Alternative Law Forum from Bangalore, and three organisations from Mumbai: Majlis, Point of View and Chitrakarkhana/CAMP.
Sean Dockray - "AAAARG.ORG DOES NOT EXIST"
Sean Dockray (b. Boston, MA, 1977) lives in Los Angeles. He is an artist, writer, and a founding director of Telic Arts Exchange, a non-profit arts organization providing a critical engagement with new media and culture. Dockray initiated The Public School and AAAARG.ORG as well as the media exhibition platforms, the Distributed Gallery and Berlin. He recently co-organized an itinerant seminar in Berlin, "There is nothing less passive than the act of fleeing," with CalebWaldorf and Fiona Whitton. Dockray is collaborating on a project room with the journal Fillip at the New York Art Book Fair in November and will be presenting at the S?o Paulo Biennial in December.
Dockray's presentation will factually describe the conceptual and technological development of AAAARG.ORG, with the concomitant legal and ethical issues, as an entry point into a more general line of inquiry related to institutionality and the production of countermodels. At the heart of this inquiry lies questions of cultural labor, knowledge, spectatorship, the common, scale, etc.
AAAARG.ORG is an online pirate library integrated with The Public School, initiated by Sean Dockray with Fiona Whitton as a project for Telic Arts Exchange at the end of 2007. The Public School is a school with no curriculum, which simply means that people propose ideas for classes they want to take (or teach). In this way, the school is an open structure, or maybe a stage, on which ideas about school perform new realities. Since it started in Los Angeles, the school has multiplied to Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Paris, Brussels, Helsinki, San Juan, Durham, and Berlin, supporting similarly motivated individuals and groups in those places.