Ahali Conversations with Can Altay podcast

Episode 18: Nato Thompson

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Nato Thompson is a curator and the founder of the Alternative Art School. Before setting up this experimental education project, Nato was the artistic director of Philadelphia Contemporary and a key figure at Creative Time, New York’s influential organization focusing on art in public space.

You will listen to Nato reflecting on that shift, from working within institutions to setting up one’s own. His insights on the inner workings of the art industry are totally thought-provoking. And it’s the first time we are talking about NFT’s at Ahali! This conversation really shows the many blind spots, or things we tend to overlook about the status quo.


Nato Thompson is an author, curator, and self-proclaimed “cultural infrastructure builder”. www.natothompson.com/about

The Alternative Art School (TAAS) is an affordable learning program run by a stellar faculty offering intimate class sizes. TAAS emphasizes group work, community building, and dynamic modes of socializing and art-making. www.thealternativeartschool.net/how-it-works-1

Philadelphia Contemporary is an independent and free-standing venue that celebrates the abundance of genre-bending, multidisciplinary practices that make up the field of contemporary art. www.philadelphiacontemporary.org

Operating since 1974, Creative Time is an influential public arts organization in New York. creativetime.org/about/

Growing out of a major exhibition that had occurred in Creative Time, Living as Form contains commissioned essays from noted critics and theorists who look at Socially Engaged Art practiced between the years of 1991-2011. mitpress.mit.edu/books/living-form

MASS MoCA is a contemporary art museum located in North Adams, Massachusetts. massmoca.org/about/

Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century (2015) www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/214258/seeing-power-by-nato-thompson/9781612190440/

Culture as Weapon: The Art of Influence in Everyday Life. www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/545444/culture-as-weapon-by-nato-thompson/

Part of the TAAS faculty, Paul Chan is an artist, writer, and publisher. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Chan_(artist)

Trevor Paglen is an artist, geographer, and author whose work critically deals with mass surveillance and data collection. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevor_Paglen

A fierce political figure of our time that operates within (but not limited to) the field of contemporary art, Tania Bruguera's work pivots around issues of power and control, and several of her works interrogate and re-present events in Cuban history. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tania_Bruguera

Simone Leigh is an artist who reflects on the black female subjectivity through her practice. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simone_Leigh

Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a decentralized political and social movement protesting against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against black people. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Lives_Matter

Star Trek is a science fiction media franchise created by Gene Roddenberry. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek

Janine Antoni is an artist who focuses on process and the transitions between the making and finished product, often portraying feminist ideals. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janine_Antoni

Miguel López is an artist, researcher, and writer. www.bakonline.org/person/miguel-a-lopez/

Yael Bartana is an artist whose work focuses on political or feminist themes. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yael_Bartana

Motivated largely by political, cultural, and social circumstances, Mel Chin is an artist. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Chin

Hito Steyerl is an artist, theoretician, and educator. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hito_Steyerl

Marinella Senatore is an artist. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marinella_Senatore

Mia Yu is an independent researcher, curator, and educator. portal.cca.edu/events-calendar/curatorial-practice-lecture-mia-yu/

Mario Ybarra Jr. employs his multi-layered artistic practice to e various components of Mexican-American identity. www.otis.edu/faculty/mario-ybarra-jr

Kathrin Böhm is an artist whose practice focuses on the collective re-production of public space; on the economy as a public realm; and every day as a starting point for culture. Check out Ahali Conversations Episode 13 to get inspired by Kathrin's way to build diverse economies within, out of, and around the field of culture. www.ahali.space/episodes/episode-13-kathrinbohm

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.


Smashcut is an online learning platform built for real-time, media-based education. www.smashcut.com/about

Pedagogy of the Oppressed is considered one of the foundational texts of critical pedagogy and proposes a pedagogy with a new relationship between teacher, student, and society by Paolo Freire. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedagogy_of_the_Oppressed

Black Mountain College was an experimental college founded in 1933.

John Cage (1912 – 1992) was a composer, music theorist, artist, and philosopher who was a teacher at BMC.

"Merce" Cunningham (1919 – 2009) was a dancer and choreographer who was a teacher at BMC.

Gezi Park Protests occurred in Turkey in 2013 to contest the urban development plan for Istanbul's Taksim Gezi Park. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gezi_Park_protests

The Arab Spring was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab world in the early 2010s. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Spring

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) was a protest movement against economic inequality and the influence of money in politics that began in New York City's Wall Street financial district, in 2011. It gave rise to the wider Occupy movement in the United States and other countries. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_Wall_Street

Sotheby's is a multinational corporation headquartered in New York City. It is one of the world's largest brokers of fine and decorative art, jewelry, and collectibles. www.sothebys.com/en/

Christie's is an auction house like Sotheby's known for its involvement in high-profile private transactions. www.christies.com/en

SAHA is an association that seeks to support contemporary art from Turkey. www.saha.org.tr

Protocinema is a cross-cultural art organization that commissions and presents works and exhibitions of contemporary art. www.protocinema.org/about

Fırat Engin is an artist based in İstanbul and Ankara. firatengin.com/cv

Vahap Avşar is an artist based in New York and İstanbul. vahapavsar.com/bio/

DC hardcore, sometimes referred to in writing as harDCore, is the hardcore punk scene of Washington, D.C. Emerging in late 1979, it is considered one of the first and most influential punk scenes in the United States. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington,_D.C._hardcore

Bad Brains are a rock band formed in Washington, D.C. in 1977. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_Brains

Minor Threat was a hardcore punk band, formed in 1980 in Washington, D.C. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minor_Threat

Fugazi is a post-hardcore band that formed in Washington, D.C. in 1986. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugazi

The Nation of Ulysses was a punk rock band from Washington, D.C., formed in spring 1988. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nation_of_Ulysses

Minecraft is an influential sandbox video game with a major impact on popular internet culture. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minecraft

Red Dead Redemption is a Western-themed action-adventure game. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Dead_Redemption

Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is a series of action-adventure games. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Theft_Auto

The Sandinista National Liberation Front is a socialist political party in Nicaragua. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandinista_National_Liberation_Front

Just google Google. g.co/kgs/2CdUks

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