Ahali Conversations with Can Altay podcast

Episode 31: Alistair Hudson

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Renowned 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.org

Tania 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/en

Charles 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. Wikipedia

The 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/en

Peter 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.uk

Rainer 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_Panofsky

Jean-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-oner

Stephen 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/2076-0752/11/1/22

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 December 15th, 2022.

Interview by Can Altay. Produced by Aslı Altay & Sarp Renk Özer. Music by Grup Ses.

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