A series of conversations where Can Altay meets with thinkers, artists, curators and designers to discuss the future of cultural production.
Episode 31: Alistair Hudson
57:39Renowned curator, and a trailblazer of “usefulness” in art, Alistair Hudson is the forthcoming Artistic & Scientific Chairman of ZKM (Center for Art & Media in Karlsruhe.Alistair Hudson grabbed everybody’s attention when - with Adam Sutherland - he turned Grizedale Arts, an art institution in Northwest England’s Lake District, into a hotspot of artistic discussion and production between 2004 and 2015. A directorship followed, at the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. There he developed the idea of the useful museum, opening up questions on how the museum ‘can be used’ otherwise; simultaneously reflecting on a wide collection as well as new commissions and projects. In collaboration with the artist Tania Bruguera the Van Abbemuseum and Queens Museum, he got involved in the exhibition "Museum of Arte Util", later undertaking the role of co-directorship of the Association de Arte Útil that resulted from the exhibition. This project has become a repository of artistic activities that propose new uses for art, work on a 1:1 scale, and embrace artistic thinking to respond to urgencies, in short, all things dear to Ahali Conversations so far. This Episode includes additional questions by Betül Aksu, Ceminay Kara, Sarp Özer, and Alessandra Saviotti.Over the last two decades, Grizedale Arts has become an acclaimed and influential model for a new kind of art institution, one that works beyond the established structures of the contemporary art world.Liam Gillick works across diverse forms, whose wider body of work includes published essays and collaborative projects, all of which inform (and are informed by) his art practice.The British Home Office (the UK ministry responsible for immigration, security, and law and order) building was designed by Terry Farrell and has multiple integrated artworks by Gillick.Terminal Convention was a contemporary exhibition and symposium housed in the decommissioned terminal building of Cork International Airport in the Republic of Ireland. https://rhizome.org/editorial/2011/apr/07/terminal-convention/Arte Útil roughly translates into English as 'useful art' but it goes further suggesting art as a tool or device.https://www.arte-util.orgTania Bruguera is a politically motivated performance artist, who explores the relationship between art, activism, and social change in works that examine the social effects of political and economic power. https://art21.org/artist/tania-bruguera/The Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven is one of the leading museums for contemporary art in Europe. https://vanabbemuseum.nl/enCharles Esche is a museum director, who has been directing the Van Abbemuseum since 2004.John Ruskin was an English writer, philosopher, art critic, and polymath of the Victorian era. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany, and political economy. WikipediaThe ZKM (Center for Art and Media) in Karlsruhe “is a house of all media and genres, a house of both spatial arts such as painting, photography and sculpture and time-based arts such as film, video, media art, music, dance, theater, and performance. ZKM was founded in 1989 with the mission of continuing the classical arts into the digital age. This is why it is sometimes called the digital Bauhaus”. https://zkm.de/enPeter Weibel was a post-conceptual artist, curator, and new media theoretician. He was at the helm of ZKM since 1999. Weibel passed away in March 2023, shortly after the recording of this episode. Arts Council is UK’s national development agency for creativity and culture. They invest public money from Government and The National Lottery into cultural institutions and projects. https://artscouncil.org.ukRainer Rochlitz (1946-2022) was a philospher, art historian focusing on aesthetics theory, and a translator who played a key role in publicizing the writings of German authors such as Benjamin and Habermas.Jürgen Habermas is one of the key theorists of the 20th century, with his widely read and influential works on communicative action, discourse, and perhaps most importantly on the “public sphere”. Erwin Panofsky was an influential art historian. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erwin_PanofskyJean-Luc Godard (1930-2022) probably needs no introduction, he was a filmmaker who pushed the medium to its limits while remaining relevant and influential, throughout his whole time on this earth. Onur Yıldız is a political theorist who also was the Senior Public Programmer at SALT, Istanbul.For more on Meriç Öner, head over to our conversation with her: https://www.ahali.space/episodes/episode-17-meric-onerStephen Wright defines “usology” as “a sweeping field of extradisciplinary enquiry, spanning everything from the history of the ways and means of using to usership’s conditions of possibility as put forward in various theories of practice”.https://museumarteutil.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Toward-a-lexicon-of-usership.pdf Alessandra Saviotti, a frequent contributor in our Ahali Live Sessions, co-authored this article on the usological turn: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-0752/11/1/22This season of Ahali Conversations is supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. The Graham provides project-based grants to foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. This episode was also supported by a Moon & Stars Project Grant from the American Turkish Society.This episode was recorded on Zoom on December 15th, 2022. Interview by Can Altay. Produced by Aslı Altay & Sarp Renk Özer. Music by Grup Ses.
Episode 30: Urbonas Studio
53:48We are hosting Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas (artists and educators, born in Lithuania). They work together as Urbonas Studio, with an artistic practice that combines new media, urbanism, social science, ecology, and pedagogy to transform civic spaces and collective imaginaries. We’ll start off the conversation focusing on their work on Swamps, that disregarded wealth of organic complexity; and together unpack questions around ecology, technology, and artistic practice. You’ll also get to hear about their mode of operation within often contested social and political realities.This Episode includes sound samples that act as interludes from the work:The Swamp Observatory. Nomeda & Gediminas UrbonasSound mixing by Mouse on Mars based on sampling by pupils at the Innovitaskolan Visby, Sweden. 2022Ecotones are transitional spaces between two biological communities. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EcotoneRiparian Territories are zones that tie and lie in-between land and rivers or streams.“Drain the swamp” refers to the removal of water from marsh areas which causes the removal of creatures dependent on the water. The phrase is adopted by politicians from Mussolini to Donald Trump who used it as a metaphor for ‘cleansing’ of various sorts.Bruno Latour is a philosopher, anthropologist, and sociologist. http://www.bruno-latour.fr/Established in 1895, La Biennale di Venezia is a cultural institution that organizes events and exhibitions in Art (1895), Architecture (1980), Cinema (1932), Dance (1999), Music (1930), and Theatre (1934) departments. https://www.labiennale.org/enSwamp School took place in Swamp Pavillion curated by Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas, the first individual pavilion Lithuania presents as a part of the 16th Venice International Architecture Biennale, Freespace, in 2018. Throughout the biennale, Swamp School functioned as a changing, flexible, open-ended infrastructure that supports experiments in design, pedagogy and artistic intelligence. https://www.swamp.lt/George Washington was one of the investors of the Dismal Swamp Company, a land speculation venture founded in 1763 to drain, tame and make profit from the Great Dismal Swamp, a wetland that stretches between Norfolk, Virginia, and Edeltan, North Carolina.The Baltic Pavillion was the joint contribution of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia to the 15th Venice International Architecture Biennale in 2016. https://balticpavilion.eu/Located in the Church of San Lorenzo in Venice, Ocean Space is a global center for exhibitions, research, and public programs harboring contributions to ocean literacy and advocacy through the arts. https://www.ocean-space.org/Barrenas refers to emerged lands and sandbanks of Venetian geography.Giardini della Biennale is the traditional site of La Biennale Art Exhibitions since the first edition in 1895.Swamp Radio is the independent chapter of Swamp School, featuring a number of contributors to explore spatial qualities of sonic experiments.Jana Winderen is a sound artist based in Norway. https://www.janawinderen.com/Sam Auinger is a sound artist based in Austria. http://www.samauinger.de/Petteri Nisunen is a sound artist based in Finland. https://g-n.fi/Tommi Gronlund is a sound artist based in Finland. https://g-n.fi/Nicole L’Huillier is an architect based in Chile and USA. https://nicolelhuillier.com/The Marsh Labrador Tea (Rhododendron tomentosum) is an evergreen shrub that preferably grows in moors and peat soils. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhododendron_tomentosumPirate radio refers to a radio station that broadcasts without a valid license. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_radioSant'Erasmo is an island in the Venetian Lagoon lying north-east of the Lido island and east of Venice, famous for its blue artichokes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sant%27ErasmoSundews are one of the largest groups of carnivorous plants. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DroseraMaroons were people who inhabited in the Great Dismal Swamp after escaping enslavement. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Dismal_Swamp_maroonsSwamp Thing is a fictional humanoid/plant elemental character, created by writer Len Wein and artist Bernie Wrightson. In the mid-1980s a storyline by Alan Moore elevated this character and comics series by reworking the whole origin story building a new world around it. This new Swamp Thing was timely, philosophical and ahead of its time in many ways. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swamp_ThingAlan Moore (b. 1953) is an English author known primarily for his work in comic books. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_MooreStaying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene is a 2016 book by Donna Haraway, published by Duke University Press. https://www.dukeupress.edu/staying-with-the-troubleWalden is a book by American transcendentalist writer Henry David Thoreau.Swamp Observatory (2020) is an installation by Urbonas Studio, commissioned for the exhibition, Critical Zones – Observatories for Earthly Politics, curated by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel at ZKM Center for Arts and Media. The installation proposes to approach to the swamp as an interface to Gaia and continues to regenerate itself at different locations and through different mediums.Swamp Game is the extension of Swamp Observatory installation and stands as an invitation to experience the relations between organisms and their environments.Jutempus is a non-profit, artist-run initiative that was founded in 1993 and re-organized in 1997 on the initiative of Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas in collaboration with other artists and creative people at the former Cultural Palace of the Railway Workers in Vilnius, the capital and largest city of Lithuania. http://www.vilma.cc/jutempus/Simone de Beauvoir (1908 – 1986) was a French existentialist philosopher, writer, social theorist, and feminist activist. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simone_de_BeauvoirGround Control: Technology and Utopia is a collection of essays that expand upon an exhibition programme of the same name. The contributors of the collection reflect on the broad divisions and links in culture and history between Eastern and Western Europe.Baltic Art Center is a residency for contemporary art on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. https://www.balticartcenter.com/home/Curated by Marco Scotini, Disobedience Archive, is an ongoing, multi-phase video archive and platform of discussion that deals with the relationship between artistic practices and political actions. The latest edition of the archive was presented as a part of the 17th İstanbul Biennial through a display setting designed by Can Altay. http://www.disobediencearchive.othe rg/Mel King (b. 1928) is an American politician, community organizer, and educator. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_KingThe Tent City Protests in Boston was a public revolt demanding the right to affordable housing, led by Mel King in 1968.Naomi A. Klein (b. 1970) is a Canadian author, social activist, and filmmaker. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naomi_KleinThe Occupy movement is an internationally localized socio-political movement in search of “real democracy”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_movementThe Black Panthers, also known as the Black Panther Party, was a political organization founded in 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale to challenge police brutality against the African American community. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Panther_PartySylvère Lotringer (1938 – 2021) was a French-born literary critic and cultural theorist. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylv%C3%A8re_Lotringers. This season of Ahali Conversations is supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. The Graham provides project-based grants to foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. This episode was also supported by a Moon & Stars Project Grant from the American Turkish Society.This episode was recorded on Zoom on November 23rd, 2022. Interview by Can Altay. Produced by Aslı Altay & Sarp Renk Özer. Music by Grup Ses.
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Episode 29: Cooking Sections
41:55We are talking with Daniel Fernández Pascual from the London-based duo Cooking Sections. Together with Alon Schwabe, they use food as a lens and a tool to observe landscapes in transformation. In a broader sense, they examine the systems that organize the world, through food.Their output manifest in a variety of media: using site-responsive installations, performance, and video. Cooking Sections offer a mode of cultural production that navigates the overlapping boundaries between art, architecture, ecology, and geopolitics.EPISODE NOTESTThis episode includes additional questions by Sarp Renk Özer & Jing Yi.Find more about Cooking Sections from https://www.cooking-sections.com/CLIMAVORE is a long-term project that sets out to envision seasons of food production and consumption that react to man-induced climatic events and landscape alterations.For hundreds of years, the wetlands north of Istanbul have been home to water Buffalo. Wallowland (Çamuralem) presents the outcomes of a series of metabolic surveys conducted at different times of the year. Buffalo kaymak, yoghurt, and sütlaç made from local producers are offered as tastings accompanied by field recordings and Buffalo songs aiming to enhance a cultural landscape on the verge of extinction. https://bienal.iksv.org/en/17b-artists/cooking-sections https://saltonline.org/en/2317/climavore-seasons-made-to-drift?q=cooking+sect%C4%B1ons The First Geography Congress (Turkish: Birinci Türk Coğrafya Kongresi), which was held in Ankara in 1941, separated Turkey into seven geographical regions, which are still used today. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Geography_Congress,_TurkeySalmon: A Red Herring was first exhibited at Art Now, Tate Britain. As part of the project, Tate removed farmed salmon from its menus across all four Tate sites and introduced CLIMAVORE dishes instead.Set on the intertidal zone/seal-mara at Bayfield, CLIMAVORE: On Tidal Zones explores the environmental impact of intensive salmon aquaculture and reacts to the changing shores of Portree, Isle of Skye. Eyal Weizman is the director of the research agency Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London where he is Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures and a founding director there of the Centre for Research Architecture at the department of Visual Cultures. https://forensic-architecture.org/Tim Ingold is an anthropologist https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Ingold Lüfer Koruma Timi was a campaign to protect the bluefish of the Bosphorus, urging fisher people, restaurants, and the consumers to not fish, sell, or buy younger fish, until the fish reaches its proper growth to reproduce. https://www.yesilist.com/tag/lufer-koruma-timi/The Lionfish is an invasive marine species. https://www.wri.org/research/reefs-risk-revisited/atlantic-and-caribbean-lionfish-invasion-threatens-reefs#:~:text=With%20venomous%20spines%2C%20lionfish%20have,of%20fish%20in%20the%20region.This season of Ahali Conversations is supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. The Graham provides project-based grants to foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. This episode was also supported by a Moon & Stars Project Grant from the American Turkish Society.This episode was recorded on Zoom on August 25th, 2021. Interview by Can Altay. Produced by Aslı Altay & Sarp Renk Özer. Music by Grup Ses.
Episode 28: Paul O’Neill (Part 2)
54:00We are hosting Paul O’Neill. We closed our last episode at a crucial and rather existential moment. This second part of our conversation extends to our small group of audience members. You will hear Paul responding to questions on the educational turn, auto-theory, and variations on how to work with artists.Ahali Conversations are often recorded with an intimate group of audience members, so if you’d like to be in the loop, and join live sessions, please feel free to get in touch.EPISODE NOTES PART 2This episode includes questions by Alessandra Saviotti, Ula Soley, Enrico Arduini, and Furkan İnan. Paul O’Neill is a curator, artist, writer, and educator. He is currently the artistic director of Publics, in Helsinki, Finland.Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) is an artistic and cultural center based in London. https://www.ica.art/Mick Wilson is an artist, educator and researcher based in Gothenburg and Dublin.Adrian Rifkin is a professor of art writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. http://gai-savoir.net/Dr. Andrea Phillips is BALTIC Professor and Director of BxNU Research Institute, Northumbria University & BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.Richard Birkett was a curator at the ICA, London; and at the Artists Space in New York. He is currently a curator at the Yale Union art center in Portland, Oregon.Dave Beech is an artist and writer. https://www.davebeech.co.uk/Sarah Pierce is an artist based in Dublin.Nought to Sixty was a program of exhibitions and events, curated by Richard Birkett at the ICA, in 2008. Over the course of six months, the program was presenting solo projects by sixty emerging British- and Irish-based artists. https://archive.ica.art/nought-sixty-artists-index/The Copenhagen Free University is an artist-run institution, dedicated to the production of critical consciousness and poetic language. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_Free_Universityunitednationsplaza is a project by Anton Vidokle in collaboration with Boris Groys, Jalal Toufic, Liam Gillick, Martha Rosler, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Nikolaus Hirsch, Tirdad Zolghadr, and Walid Raad It operated as a temporary, experimental school in Berlin, following the cancellation of Manifesta 6 on Cyprus, in 2006. The project traveled to Mexico City (2008) and to New York City under the name Night School (2008-2009) at the New Museum. Its program was organized around a number of public seminars, most of which are available in the online archive. https://www.unitednationsplaza.org/The text Paul was referring to –Introduction to The Paraeducation Department– written by Annie Fletcher and Sarah Pierce is in the anthology Curating and the Educational Turn edited by Paul O’Neill and Mick Wilson: https://betonsalon.net/PDF/essai.pdfKate Zambreno is an American novelist, essayist, critic, and professor.Roland Barthes (1915 – 1980) was a French literary theorist, essayist, philosopher, critic, and semiotician. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_BarthesOctavia Butler (1947 – 2006) was an American science fiction author. Her writings have finally attracted well-deserved attention in the past years.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octavia_E._ButlerMaryam Jafri is a Copenhagen-based American artist. The artist’s book Independence Days presents an expanded version of her photo installation and includes texts by Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, Paul O’Neill, Nina Tabassomi. https://www.maryamjafri.net/Lygia Pimentel Lins (1920 – 1988), better known as Lygia Clark, was a Brazilian artist and co-founder of Neo-Concrete movement. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lygia_ClarkP! is a multidisciplinary gallery and project space formerly in New York, currently based in Berlin. http://p-exclamation.com/Taken place in P!, in 2016, We are the (Epi)center was a group exhibition organized with the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, featuring: Can Altay, David Blamey, Katarina Burin, Jasmina Cibic, Céline Condorelli, Marjolijn Dijkman, Chris Kraus, Gareth Long, Ronan McCrea, Harold Offeh, William McKeown, Eduardo Padilha, Sarah Pierce, Richard Venlet, Grace Weir, and many others.PARSE is an international artistic research publishing and biennial conference platform based in the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts at University of Gothenburg. This is the visual essay Paul was referring to: https://parsejournal.com/article/before-and-after/Autotheory refers to a critical approach in which the author uses personal experiences as the major creative force and the body as the source of knowledge.Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) is an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis. Jacques Marie Émile Lacan (1901-1981) is a French psychoanalyst and interpreter of Sigmund Freud’s studies. Their contributions to the psychoanalytic theory have been influential on the literary theory in terms of deciphering a work based on the psychological condition its author is in, or conversely, portraying such condition through unconscious revelations of the author within the work.Maggie Nelson is an American writer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maggie_NelsonSemiotext(e) is an independent press, publishing works of theory, fiction, madness, economics, satire, sexuality, science fiction, activism, and confession. http://www.semiotextes.com/McKenzie Wark is an Australian-born writer and professor of Media and Culture at Hudson University.Raymond Williams (1921 – 1988) was a Welsh socialist writer, academic, novelist, and critic. In his essay Dominant, Residual, and Emergent, he characterizes the grounded parts of cultural groups and their operating methods. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_WilliamsStephen Wright is a writer and gardener. Listen to Episode 1 to get to know him better. https://www.ahali.space/episodes/episode-1-stephen-wrightTania Bruguera is an artist and activist. https://www.taniabruguera.com/Dr. Gregory Sholette is a New York-based artist, writer, teacher, and activist.NTS is a global radio station and media platform founded in 2011 by Femi Adeyemi. https://www.nts.live/Bjork is an Icelandic singer, songwriter, composer, record producer, and actress. https://bjork.com/Annie Fletcher is the Director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art.Leninism is a political ideology developed by Russian Marxist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin that proposes the establishment of communism through dictatorship of the proletariat.Stalinism is a totalitarian extension of Leninism and a period of governing by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union from 1927 to 1953.COALESCE is an ongoing exhibition project by Paul O’Neill which takes place at different locations with different artists and shapes around the idea of cohabitation.
Episode 27: Paul O’Neill (Part 1)
43:16We are hosting the curator, artist, writer, and educator Paul O’Neill. Paul is someone who is very attentive and elaborate in figuring out and shaping thought around curatorial and artistic work. Together, we delve into his take on what publics means and discuss the importance of opening up spaces of contact and sites for ‘working together’. We also scrutinize the state of art institutions today and their future, along with hearing his take on the convergence of exhibition-making and programming, along with insights on establishing and running an institution or an art space today.We release this conversation in two parts, something we’ve never done before. But there was so much valuable insight in the q&a session that I thought this time deserves its own space.EPISODE NOTES PART 1Paul O’Neill is a curator, artist, writer, and educator. He is the artistic director of Publics. O’Neill has held numerous curatorial and research positions over the years and taught in many curatorial and visual arts programs in Europe, the UK, and the USA. He was the Director of the Curatorial Studies program and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Hessel Museum at the Bard College, NY. He has co-curated more than sixty projects across the world including We are the (Epi)center, P! Gallery, New York (2016), and the multi-faceted We are the Center for Curatorial Studies for the Hessel Museum, Bard College (2016-17). He has co-edited the books Kathrin Böhm; Art on the Scale of Life, MIT Press (forthcoming), Curating After the Global; Roadmaps to the Present, MIT Press, CCS Bard and LUMA Foundation, Arles 2019, How Institutions Think; Between Contemporary Art and Curatorial Discourse, MIT Press, 2017, and many more.http://www.pauloneill.org.ukPUBLICS is a curatorial agency with a dedicated library, event space, and reading room in Helsinki. PUBLICS follows and expands on O’Neill’s critical social thinking, contemporary art, and publicness, with a much more open and participatory stance. https://www.publics.fiCenter for Curatorial Studies is an experimentation base at Bard College dedicated to curatorial studies and exhibition making. The Hessel Museum of Art in Bard College is an extension of the Center for Curatorial Studies. https://ccs.bard.edu/Checkpoint Helsinki, was a contemporary art organization that operates as a critical platform to support local cultural activities and public engagement while contributing to the international visibility of artistic production in the city of Helsinki. https://www.checkpointhelsinki.orgJulia Studio is a design practice that brings together graphic and spatial design. Operating between London, Paris and Rome. https://julia.studioLiam Gillick is an artist based in New York. https://liamgillick.info/Kathrin Böhm is an artist. Listen to Episode 13 to get to know her better. https://www.ahali.space/episodes/episode-13-kathrinbohmCasco Art Institute: Working for the Commons is a non-profit public art institution based in Utrecht. https://casco.artBétonsalon is a center for contemporary art and research-based practice in Paris. https://www.betonsalon.netSAVVY, the laboratory of form and ideas is a public cultural institution based in Berlin. Find more about SAVVY in Episode 15, featuring Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung:https://savvy-contemporary.com/https://www.ahali.space/episodes/episode-15-bonaventureWalter Benjamin criticizes the monistic approach of historical materialism and considers history as a concept made out of self-standing memory layers and relations.Chris Kraus is an American writer and filmmaker. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_KrausCynthia Cruz is a contemporary American poet. http://cynthiacruzblog.blogspot.com/Eliisa Suvanto is the Program Manager at PUBLICS.Shimmer is a curatorial studio based in Rotterdam. https://shimmershimmer.org/Latitudes is a curatorial office based in Barcelona that works internationally across contemporary art practices. https://www.lttds.org/Laia Estruch is an artist based in Barcelona. https://laiaestruch.com/Black Lives Matter is a decentralized political and social movement and a growing quest for racial justice, began in 2013, as a reaction to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Lives_MatterMeToo is a phrase coined by sexual assault survivor and activist Tarana Burke. Following its initial use in 2006, to establish an empowering ground among survivors, it became a social movement against sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and rape culture. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MeToo_movementMary Douglas (1921 – 2007) was a British anthropologist. In her book “How Institutions Think”, Douglas discusses the recurring effects of individuals and institutions on each other, regarding the processes of thinking. https://www.routledge.com/How-Institutions-Think-Routledge-Revivals/Douglas/p/book/9780415684781SHAPE map is a website resource for Helsinki’s contemporary art landscape, a mapping of art spaces and public events across the city. https://www.shape-helsinki.fi/Multiples X was an organization that commissioned and supported curated exhibitions of artist'’ editions.Keller Easterling is an architect, writer, and professor of architecture.Listen to Episode 25 to get to know her better. https://www.ahali.space/episodes/25kellereasterling
Episode 26: Raqs Media Collective
59:00Our guests are the legendary Raqs Media Collective, formed in New Delhi in 1992, by Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi and Shuddhabrata Sengupta. I like to call them intellectuals-at-large, but their production ranges from artistic to curatorial projects, from theoretical to educational works. The collective also co-founded Sarai—the inter-disciplinary and incubatory space at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.You’ll hear their unique blend of thinking on technologies and media, from surveillance to bureaucratic interfaces as deeply embedded in societal dynamics; and we’ll get to explore together how they have been producing knowledge as artists. The tidal changes in image cultures; how digital technologies are intertwined with urban infrastructures; how the poetic is also the political; and ultimately the significance of languages are a few of the things that are lingering in my mind and provoking further thoughts after this conversation.EPISODE NOTES & LINKSBased in New Delhi, Raqs Media Collective comprises three practitioners: Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta. For the past three decades, the Collective has been concerned with urbanism, epistemology, technology, globalization, and the experience of time. Drawing upon critical theory and political philosophy, their work is marked by active inquiry, double-meanings, pluralism, and entanglement. https://www.raqsmediacollective.net/Sarai is among South Asia’s most prominent and productive platforms for research and reflection on the transformation of urban space and contemporary realities, especially with regard to cities, data and information, law, and media infrastructures. https://sarai.net/about/Initiated by Ankur: Society for Alternatives in Education, Delhi, and Sarai-CSDS, Delhi in the year 2001 Cybermohalla is a network of dispersed labs for experimentation and exploration among young working-class individuals https://sarai.net/projects/cybermohalla/.The first Cybermohalla took place in LNJP (Lok Nayak Jarai Prakash), an informal settlement in Central Delhi.Parda-darii is a noun in Hindu meaning play of the veil, removing the veil, revealing the truth, and revealment of secrets.Can has written on the design of Cybermohalla Hub, in relation to his ‘Setting a Setting’ idea.https://www.academia.edu/5980837/_Setting_and_Remaking_in_Cybermohalla_Hub_eds_Hirsch_N_and_S_Sarda_Berlin_Sternberg_Press_2012Curated by Raqs Media Collective “In the Open or In Stealth” was a group exhibition that has taken place at MACBA in 2018-2019 about the concept of a future in which multiple histories and geographies were placed in dialogue. https://www.macba.cat/en/exhibitions-activities/exhibitions/open-or-stealthThe Walker Art Center is a multidisciplinary contemporary art center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. https://walkerart.org/visitEstablished by Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima in Tokyo, Atelier Bow-Wow is an architecture firm. http://www.bow-wow.jp/Taken place in Walker Art center in 2003, How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age was an exhibition about ways that globalization, or the “new internationalism in art” is affecting visual culture. https://walkerart.org/calendar/2003/how-latitudes-become-forms-art-in-a-global-agHow Latitudes Become Forms has a vintage website that constitutes substantial archival material about the project. http://latitudes.walkerart.org/overview/index.htmlFatwa is a ruling on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized authority.Abhinavagupta (c. 950 – 1016 CE) was a philosopher, mystic, and aesthetician from Kashmir. He was also considered an influential musician, poet, dramatist, exegete, theologian, and logician – a polymathic personality who exercised strong influences on Indian culture. William Shakespeare used more than 20,000 words in his plays and poems, and his works provide the first recorded use of over 1,700 words in the English language. https://www.shakespeare.org.uk/explore-shakespeare/shakespedia/shakespeares-words/Submitted by Rohana Khattak, a sixteen-year-old reader of the New York Times from, Islamabad, Pakistan to the newspaper’s Invent a Word Challenge, “Oblivionnaire” refers to a billionaire who chooses to be blind to the disparity and inequality that his or her wealth is creating.“Khullja Sim Sim” translates as “Open Sesame” in English, and “Açıl Susam Açıl” in Turkish. It is a magical phrase in the story of "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" and in Antoine Galland's version of One Thousand and One Nights. It opens the mouth of a cave in which forty thieves have hidden a treasure.Nishastagah is a Hindu word referring to a place not (yet, ever) inhabited by memory. In response to the passage of the Citizenship Act on 11 December 2019 and the ensuing police intervention against students at Jamia Millia Islamia who were opposing the Amendment, the Shaheen Bagh protest was a peaceful sit-in protest in Delhi, India, that began on 15 December 2019 and lasted until 24 March 2020.The permanently lost 16mm film, “Half the Night left, and the Universe to Comprehend” is Raqs Media Collective’s first work. In the Hindu epic the Mahabharata, Ashwatthama was a Maharathi warrior who became a Chiranjivi (immortal) due to a curse given to him by the god of protection, compassion, tenderness, and love, Krishna.In the essay titled dictionary of war by Raqs Media Collective Ashwatthama is described both as an omnipresent immaterial entity that acts as a propagator of war while tracing his essence within the essence of human subjectivity. http://dictionaryofwar.org/node/894Mahendra Raj (1924 - 2022) was a structural engineer and designer who contributed to the structural design of many buildings in India including the Hall of Nations at the Pragati Maidan in Delhi.Opened in 1972, the Hall of Nations was a building designed by architect Raj Rewal, and structurally engineered by Mahendra Raj. The structure was demolished in April 2017 to make way for a new complex.The essay that Jabeesh mentions while referring to Mahendra Raj is titled Living with the Future in South Asia by Chris Moffat. https://www.publicbooks.org/modernist-architecture-heritage-south-asia-pragati-maidan/This season of Ahali Conversations is supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. The Graham provides project-based grants to foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. This episode was also supported by a Moon & Stars Project Grant from the American Turkish Society.This episode was recorded on Zoom on May 17th, 2022. Interview by Can Altay. Produced by Aslı Altay & Sarp Renk Özer. Music by Grup Ses.
Episode 25: Keller Easterling
47:41In this episode, we are in conversation with the architect, writer, and Professor of Architecture at Yale, Keller Easterling. Her books include Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (Verso, 2014); Enduring Innocence: Global Architecture and its Political Masquerades (MIT, 2005); and her latest Medium Design: Knowing How to Work on the World, to which we dedicate special attention to in this episode.I think Easterling’s project boils down to how architecture and design can actually intervene and/or contribute to the cultural change around social justice and ecological crises; through thinking about, and ‘knowing-how’ to work the systems at play. So designing within interplay; rather than the total compliance and submission on behalf of the architectural profession is what she seeks. She redirects our attention to the spatial dimension of how things are arranged, be it politically, financially, or socially. Episode Notes & Linkshttp://kellereasterling.com/ In Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space, Keller Easterling reveals the nexus of emerging governmental and corporate forces buried within the concrete and fiber-optics of our modern habitat. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/enduring-innocence http://kellereasterling.com/books/extrastatecraft-the-power-of-infrastructure-spaceIn Enduring Innocence, Keller Easterling tells the stories of outlaw "spatial products"—resorts, information technology campuses, retail chains, golf courses, ports, and other hybrid spaces that exist outside normal constituencies and jurisdictions—in difficult political situations around the world. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/enduring-innocenceMedium Design by Keller Easterling looks not to new technologies for innovation but rather to sophisticated relationships between emergent and incumbent technologies. It does not try to eliminate problems but rather put them together in productive combinations. And it offers forms of activism for modulating power and temperament in organisations of all kinds. https://www.versobooks.com/books/3245-medium-designhttp://kellereasterling.com/books/medium-design-knowing-how-to-work-on-the-worldElements of Architecture was the title of the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale curated by Rem Koolhaas. https://www.labiennale.org/en/architecture/2014/elements-architectureBeatriz Colomina is an architecture historian, theorist, and curator.Mark Wigley is an architect and author. Colomina and Wigley co-curated the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial with the same title in 2016. https://tasarimbienali.iksv.org/en/biennial-archive/3rd-istanbul-design-biennialJames Jerome Gibson (1904-1979) was an American psychologist known as a seminal figure in the field of visual perception. He coined the phrase “affordance” which later became a key concept in the field of design.John Durham Peters is a professor of English and film and media studies. His book The Marvelous Clouds reveals the long prehistory of so-called new media and shows how media lie at the very heart of our interactions with the world around us. https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/M/bo20069392.htmlTim Ingold is an antropologist. This is the text Can is referring to:https://doi.org/10.1017/S1380203807002127Michael Polanyi (1891-1976) was a polymath of the 20th century. He was engaged in many knowledge fields including physical chemistry, economics, and philosophy. Check his thoughts on positivism to provoke your mind.Gilbert Ryle (1900-1976) was a philosopher, principally known for his critique of Cartesian dualism, for which he coined the phrase "ghost in the machine." which of course influenced the legendary Ghost in the Shell manga series by Masamune Shirow.Bruno Latour is a philosopher, anthropologist, and sociologist. He is especially known for his work in the field of science and technology studies. http://www.bruno-latour.fr/Richard III by William Shakespeare is the last in a sequence of four history plays known collectively as the “first tetralogy,” treating major events of English history during the late 14th and early 15th centuries. Lady Anne is a fictional character from Richard IIIhttps://www.britannica.com/topic/Lady-AnneCharles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, was an author, poet, and mathematician. His most notable works are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass. Jorge Luis Borges (1889-1986) was an essayist, poet, and translator of Carroll’s work to Spanish.Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472) was an Italian Renaissance humanist author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher, and cryptographer. MarshallAI detects objects and incidents in real-time from any video feed through consistent monitorization and employment of precise artificial intelligence and machine vision. They provide sharp and automatic situational awareness and intelligent automation by gathering relevant data for smart cities, security, and authorities. https://marshallai.com/ J.K Gibson-Graham is the pen-name of Katherine Gibson and the late Julie Graham. As feminist political economists and economic geographers, they have extensively written about diverse economies, urbanism, alternative communities, and regional economic development. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._K._Gibson-GrahamArturo Escobar is an anthropologist whose research interests include political ecology, anthropology of development, social movements, anti-globalization movements, and post-development theory. We suggest Territories of Difference published by Duke University press in 2008 to learn more about his thought. https://www.dukeupress.edu/territories-of-differenceZenzile Miriam Makeba (1932-2008) nicknamed Mama Africa was a South African singer, songwriter, actress, and civil rights, activist. https://www.miriammakeba.co.za/Silvia Federici is an academic and activist particularly influential for radical Marxist feminist theory.McKinsey & Company is a management consulting firm that advises on strategic management to corporations, governments, and other organizations. Deloitte is one of the Big Four accounting organizations and the largest professional services network in the world by revenue and number of professionals, with headquarters in London, England.Vilém Flusser (1920-1991) was a philosopher, writer, and journalist. You can meet fellow flusserians or learn more about his works through https://www.flusserstudies.net/flusserKathrin Böhm is an artist. Listen to Episode 13 to get to know her better. https://www.ahali.space/episodes/episode-13-kathrinbohmThis season of Ahali Conversations is supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. The Graham provides project-based grants to foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. This episode was also supported by a Moon & Stars Project Grant from the American Turkish Society.This episode was recorded on Zoom on March 29th, 2022. Interview by Can Altay. Produced by Aslı Altay & Sarp Renk Özer. Music by Grup Ses.
Episode 24: Design Studio for Social Intervention
1:03:29Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI), is a Boston-based “artistic research and development outfit” that operates in response to social justice and its literal and figurative resonations in public space.Founded by Kenneth Bailey and Lori Lobenstine in 2006, DS4SI invites activists, artists, academics, designers, dreamers, tricksters, organizations, and foundations to respond to critical and urgent social problems in a light and playful manner. Through these encounters, DS4SI questions the impacts of change in social relationships that may affect everyday life and intervenes in the ways of practicing it. In their words, they are “dedicated to changing how social justice is imagined, developed and deployed in the U.S.A”. https://www.ds4si.org/#test-sectionWritten by DS4SI, IDEAS ARRANGEMENTS EFFECTS could be considered a roadmap for using social interventions to invite the larger public into imagining and creating a more just and vibrant world. https://www.ds4si.org/bookshop/ideas-arrangements-effects-systems-design-and-social-justice-paperback-bookSUMMITT undertakes the role of executive dog within the team of DS4SI. https://www.ds4si.org/people/2021/3/1/summitt-executive-dogInspired by the family kitchen as a gathering place, the Public Kitchen invited Upham's Corner and Dudley Street residents to feast, learn, share, imagine, unite and claim public space. https://www.ds4si.org/creativity-labs//public-kitchenAlongside various other academic positions, Ceasar McDowell is a Professor of Civic Design at MIT. He teaches civic and community engagement and the use of social technology to enhance both.The Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) at MIT supports the Department of Urban Studies Program by bringing together the best thinking in planning and information technology with the learned experience of community practitioners. https://dusp.mit.edu/programs/overviewTrickster Makes This World is a book by Lewis Hyde. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56450.Trickster_Makes_This_WorldRazorfish is one of the world’s largest interactive agencies. Created by David Walsh, MONA is a museum in Hobart, Tasmania. https://mona.net.au/museum/aboutInitiated by DS4SI, Black Citizenship Project engaged artists from the Boston area and beyond to provide a public, artistic response to police-sanctioned violence against Black bodies and Black communities. https://www.ds4si.org/interventions/2016/7/25/black-citizenship-project#:~:text=Black%20Citizenship%20Project%20engaged%20artists,Black%20bodies%20and%20Black%20communities.Dating back to 2010, The Church Street Partners’ Gazette by Can Altay was an exhibition and publication that took place in Showroom, London. https://www.theshowroom.org/projects/can-altay-the-church-street-partners-gazetteMÇPS was a work by Can Altay realized in 2017. It was a walk-in jamming/recording studio that popped up in the artist-run space İMÇ 5533, İstanbul.Lagoon is a novel by Nnedi Okorafor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagoon_(novel)Sun Ra is a god who walked on earth and made music. https://splice.com/blog/who-is-sun-ra/Ezra Collective is a band of extremely skilled, visionary jazz musicians. http://ezracollective.com/Bringing together residents, artists, activists, and passers-by, inPUBLIC highlights the importance of “public-making”—the collective creation of opportunities for interaction, laughter, dialogue, learning, and surprise. https://www.ds4si.org/interventions/inpublicSocial Emergency Response Centers are temporary, emergent, and creative spaces co-led by activists and artists. They pop up in response to a new attack on a population or to a long-standing injustice. Check DS4SI’s detailed manual to learn more or start one in your city! https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53c7166ee4b0e7db2be69480/t/5914a3dd579fb3c20cf4ab9a/1494524919092/DS4SI-SERC-Manual.pdfFerguson riots in Ferguson, Missouri, involved protests and riots which began on August 10, 2014, the day after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson.This season of Ahali Conversations is supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. The Graham provides project-based grants to foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. This episode was also supported by a Moon & Stars Project Grant from the American Turkish Society.This episode was recorded on Zoom on March 15th, 2022. Interview by Can Altay. Produced by Aslı Altay & Sarp Renk Özer. Music by Grup Ses.
Episode 23: Marina Otero Verzier
1:11:04Marina Otero Verzier is an architect, researcher and curator, who is also the current Head of the MA in Social Design program at Design Academy Eindhoven. Until very recently, she was the director of research at the Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. Her work touches on many socio-political and environmental dimensions of design and cultural production; as well as the emergence of new paradigms for institutions. Together with Marina we unpack what designing the social might mean, and we explore the outer reaches of architectural research; both in the political and ecological realms. I think her particular mix of cautious optimism and her introspective openness allows us to reflect on how culture can be put to work, both in everyday life and in the sites of knowledge production, whether it’s the museum, the school, or the archive.EPISODE NOTES & LINKSMarina Otero Verzier is an architect. She was formerly Director of Research at Het Nieuwe Instituut (HNI), the Dutch Institute for Architecture, Design, and Digital Culture. She is the Department Head of the MA in Social Design at Design Academy Eindhoven. https://www.designacademy.nl/p/about-dae/community/marina-otero-verzierDesign Academy Eindhoven is an interdisciplinary educational institute for art, architecture, and design in Eindhoven, Netherlands. https://www.designacademy.nl/Het Nieuwe Instituut is a cultural centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It focuses on architecture, design, and digital culture.https://hetnieuweinstituut.nl/homeThe term “canon” pops up quite often, it refers to cultural works (books, buildings, etc) that come to be accepted as exceptional and set the criteria for good work. Canon has the same root as Kanun, or Qanun, which means the rule, or the law. So in a way, these works become unquestionable. Cartesian Grid refers to grids often used in architecture as the basis for organizing spatial form, as composed of squares (or cubes) aligned with the Cartesian coordinate axes. Cartesian coordinate axes exist in a coordinate system that specifies each point uniquely by a pair of numerical coordinates, which are the signed distances to the point from two fixed perpendicular oriented lines, measured in the same unit of length. Conceived as a spa resort, the exhibition Lithium took place in 2020 at Het Nieuwe. It delved into the beneficial and destructive aspects of the eternal human search for energy and reflected on the role of the chemical element lithium in powering today’s economy. https://lithium.hetnieuweinstituut.nl/enMore-than-human is an edited volume by Andres Jacque, Marina, and our previous guest Lucia Pietroiusti. https://research-development.hetnieuweinstituut.nl/en/morethanhumanCoauthored by Marina, Drone: Unmanned. Architecture and Security Series investigates the relationship between drone technology, cultural production, and forms of surveillance and violence.“Architecture of Appropriation” was an exhibition developed by Het Nieuwe in 2017 that asked questions about squatting from various perspectives including squatters, artists, and architects. https://hetnieuweinstituut.nl/en/press-releases/architecture-appropriation#:~:text=Architecture%20of%20Appropriation%20is%20designed,Architecture%2C%20Design%20and%20Digital%20Culture.The Dutch Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2018 was titled “Work, Body, Leisure”. The exhibition was about the spatial configurations, living conditions, and notions of the human body engendered by disruptive changes in labor, its ethos, and its conditions. https://work-body-leisure.hetnieuweinstituut.nl/Studio-X is a Columbia University project that appeared in various cities as laboratories for exploring the future of cities—producing events, research projects, pop-up exhibitions, and publications. Marina previously worked as Director of Programming.https://www.arch.columbia.edu/studio-xThe Master Program in Social Design at the Design Academy Eindhoven focuses on new social roles for designers attuned to contemporary ecological and social challenges. https://www.designacademy.nl/p/study-at-dae/masters/social-designCan Altay was the Head of the Industrial Design Department at Istanbul Bilgi University between 2012 -2019. Kombucha is a fermented, lightly effervescent, sweetened black or green tea drink.A biomaterial is a substance that has been engineered to interact with biological systems for a medical purpose, either a therapeutic or a diagnostic one. Stephen Wright is a writer and gardener. His works and thought on artistic activity redefining cultural practices in response to permaculture and ecological thinking are influential for the Ahali Community. https://www.ahali.space/episodes/episode-1-stephen-wrightAna Devic is a curator, writer, and teacher Ana Dević and a member of the curatorial collective What, How and from Whom (WHW). Find more about Ana in Episode 21. https://www.ahali.space/episodes/episode21-ana-devicNato Thompson is a curator and the founder of the Alternative Art School. Head over to Episode 18 to discover more. https://www.ahali.space/episodes/episode-18-nato-thompsonAhali Conversations’ Episode 14 is a great episode to explore his “out of this world” mode of thought. Jerzsy Seymour conceives of design as the creation of situations, such as the relationship we have with the constructed and the natural world, with other people, and with ourselves, and is as much about the inhabitation of the planet as the inhabitation of the mind.Amal Alhaag is a curator and researcher.Vasıf Kortun is a curator, educator and writer. He was the guest of Ahali Conversations Episode 6. https://www.ahali.space/episodes/episode-6-vasif-kortunHeman Chong is an artist, curator, and writer who creates texts, objects, installations, and situations in order to investigate the manner through which individuals form associations between objects in their environments. https://www.hemanchong.com/Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene is a 2016 book by Donna Haraway, published by Duke University Press.Lucia Pietroiusti is a curator whose work intersects art, ecology, and systems in her work. https://www.ahali.space/episodes/episode-16-lucia-pietroiustiKathrin Böhm is an artist whose practice focuses on the collective re-production of public space; on economy as a public realm; and the everyday as a starting point for culture. Episode 13 to get to know her better. https://www.ahali.space/episodes/episode-13-kathrinbohmDoughnut Economics explores the mindset and ways of thinking needed by humanity to thrive in the 21st century. https://doughnuteconomics.org/about-doughnut-economicsACCESS SERVER is a digital tool developed by MELT that addresses the unequal inclusion of disabled people in art institutions. It will be a website that provides email templates and a modest fee per email to support disabled people’s access requests. https://research-development.hetnieuweinstituut.nl/en/het-nieuwe-instituuts-call-fellows-2021-jury-reportAhali Conversations’ Episode 10 featured Chus Martinez. She is a curator and teacher. https://www.ahali.space/episodes/episode-10-chusmartinezEvanescent Institutions is the title of Marina’s PhD. Thesis. This work would be helpful to think about how public cultural institutions should resituate themselves in the 21st century. Misiones Pedagógicas (The Pedagogical Missions) was a socio-pedagogical project committed to social justice. It fostered educational renewal and was active between 1931 - 1936. The Franco dictatorship (dictadura franquista) took place between 1939 and 1975 when Francisco Franco ruled Spain with the title Caudillo. After his death in 1975, Spain transitioned into a democracy. Cátedra Ambulante Francisco Franco was a mobile propaganda project which appropriated Misiones Pedagógicas’ ideas about reaching small towns and villages through on-site activities.This season of Ahali Conversations is supported by the “Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts”. The Graham provides project-based grants to foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. This episode was also supported by a Moon & Stars Project Grant from the American Turkish Society.This episode was recorded on Zoom on March 10th, 2022. Interview by Can Altay. Produced by Aslı Altay & Sarp Renk Özer. Music by Grup Ses.
Episode 22: Mike Nelson
1:01:50Mike Nelson is an artist whose influential works oscillate between salvage yards and dreamscapes. He works with things from the present and the just-past, to create these spaces, that ask you to think twice about contemporary culture, and our ways of being. In his words through situations that are on the brink of obsolescence. Mike Nelson’s lessons on the agency and potency of objects, and his take on his own positionality as an artist; through the metaphor of sliders on an equalizer were thought-provoking. On every occasion, an artist has to decide over a multiplicity of issues, over ethics, politics, effects, income, and many other dimensions. These virtual sliders operate as part of a decision-making process, over the give and take, and to decide how to negotiate as well as reconcile our decisions. EPISODE NOTES & LINKSAcclaimed artist Mike Nelson's work stems from a period of living and working in a particular location in the form of large-scale, site-specific sculptural environments. http://mikenelson.org.uk/Protocinema is a cross-cultural art organization that commissions and presents site-aware art around the world. https://www.protocinema.org/aboutPROJEKTÖR was an exhibition organized by Protocinema in 2019. Nelson combined architectural intervention, sculpture, and video across sixteen rooms of the seventh floor of a historic commercial building (Gürün Han) to reflect on the changing landscape of the city, both intimate and global. https://www.protocinema.org/exhibitions/mike-nelson Rip Van Winkle is a short story about nostalgia by Washington Irving, published in 1819. The protagonist of the story falls into a deep slumber for two decades and wakes up to a completely different world.Crystal Palace is a neighborhood in London that takes its name from the exhibition space designed by Joseph Paxton in 1851 to display examples of technology developed in the Industrial Revolution. The United States Capitol attack took place in 2021 by the supporters of Donald Trump to disrupt the joint session of Congress assembled to count electoral votes that would formalize President-elect Joe Biden's victory.Formed in 1968, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY) was a folk-rock supergroup. They were not only known for their tumultuous relationship but also for political activism.Charles Manson is a criminal who led the infamous Manson Family in California, in the late 1960s.Minicab was a precarious taxi service that could be booked in advance but not licensed to pick up passengers who hail it in the street. It predates and was replaced by ride-share apps.Han is the urban version of Caravanserai, a roadside inn where travelers could rest and recover from the day's journey. They could be considered commercial settlements or artisanal facilities.Founded in 1651 by Kösem Valide Sultan, the mother of the Ottoman sultans Murat IV and Ibrahim, Büyük Valide Han is the largest historic han in Istanbul. A darkroom is a completely dark working environment that serves to carry out tasks like processing photographic film or making prints.Duveen (1869-1939), was a British art dealer who was highly active and influential in the 1920’s and 1930’s. His success is famously attributed to his observation that "Europe has a great deal of art, and America has a great deal of money."https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Duveen,_1st_Baron_DuveenHenry Moore (1898-1986) was one of the most important British artists of the twentieth century and arguably the most internationally celebrated sculptor of the period. https://www.henry-moore.org/Asset Stripper is a slang term used in a pejorative sense in the field of finances which refers to the practice of selling off a company's assets to improve returns for equity investors.“Asset Strippers” was the title of the annual Tate Britain commission in 2019 where Mike has transformed the grand spaces of the Duveen Galleries into something between a sculpture court and a salvage yard. https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/mike-nelsonFounded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. V&A Museum is the world's largest museum of applied arts, decorative arts, and design in terms of inventory. https://www.vam.ac.uk/Nelson also has a longstanding interest and knowledge of Middle Eastern art and architecture, a topic we didn’t go much into during this conversation. Assyrian Bowl https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/W_N-94An equalizing deck is a circuit or equipment used to adjust the volume of different frequency bands within an audio signal during the processes of sound recording or reproduction. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equalization_(audio)The Arab Spring (Arabic: الربيع العربي) was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab world in the early 2010s.Edward Kienholz (1927-1994) and Nancy Kienholz (1943-2019) were artists whose work heavily criticized the modern way of living and in particular Americana mostly through installation and sculptural works. Ilya and Emilia Kabakov are artists whose ground (or ceiling) breaking installations were highly influential in defining the Post-Soviet cultural production with their subtle humor and captivating visual language. Paul Thek (1933–1988) is the quintessential “artists’ artist” with his unique materiality and fragile life and oeuvre that ended up being posthumously celebrated by the following generation of artists who emerged in the 90’s.Dieter Roth (1930–1998) was an artist best known for works made of found materials, including rotting food. In the present day, his work is carried out by his son Björn Roth. William Franklin Culbert (1935 – 2019) was an artist who worked with and through painting, photography, sculpture, and installation as well as found and recycled materials.Ron Haselden is an artist who works with light, sound, film, and video, often as part of architectural projects.Richard Wilson is an artist known for his architectural sculptures and large-scale installations.Marc Camille Chaimowicz is an artist whose cross-disciplinary work in painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, installation, furniture, lighting, ceramics, textiles, and wallpaper challenges the categorical divisions between art and design. Robin Klassnik is the founder and director of Matt's Gallery. Founded in 1979, Matt’s Gallery is a contemporary art gallery located in London. https://www.mattsgallery.org/Robert Smithson (1938 - 1973) is another legendary artist who is best known for his artwork Spiral Jetty (1970). Due credit should also be given to Nancy Holt (1938-2014), in creating what is known as Land Art. https://holtsmithsonfoundation.org/ is the custodian of their legacy, until 2038, when the foundation will terminate at the 100th birthday of the couple.Hélio Oiticica (1937 - 1980) is an influential artist from Brazil known for his environments and iconic artworks: such as parangolés, wearable, experiential garments, and penetrables a series of structural works that he considers as “movable frescos on a human scale except that (most importantly) they are penetrable.”Stanislaw Lem (1921 - 2006) was a Soviet writer and thinker whose work on futurology historically stands out because of his influential work titled Solaris (1961) thanks to director Andrei Tarkovsky's movie adaptation of the novel in 1971.A Perfect Vacuum (1971) comprises Stanislav Lem's fictitious criticism of nonexisting books. The texts included reads as drafts of his science fiction novels, philosophical pieces across scientific topics, from cosmology to the pervasiveness of computers while others satirize and parody everything from the nouveau roman to pornography, Ulysses, authorless writing, and Dostoevsky.First published in 1719, Robinson Crusoe is a highly influential and seminal work of literature by William Defoe It tells the story of a castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical desert island near the coasts of Venezuela and Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers, before ultimately being rescued.