Broadening the Scope: Working Across Disciplines
Guy Mannes-Abbott, Negar Azimi, Defne Ayas, Alanna Heiss, Omar Kholeif
Dar Al Nadwa
Guy Mannes-Abbott (writer and critic, UK)
Negar Azimi (Bidoun, USA)
Defne Ayas - moderator (Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, the Netherlands) Alanna Heiss (Art International Radio-AIR, USA)
Omar Kholeif (FACT, UK)
In recent years, the art world has seen an increasing number of projects, exhibitions and publications that explore the crossovers between visual arts, theatre and publishing via the Internet. This panel sheds light on the possibilities for a new kind of visual culture by questioning the ways in which interdisciplinarity today can be approached. The discussion will explore the ways in which disciplines are being bridged and how this is manifest, whether a new vocabulary for an expanding discourse needs to be established and how art world structures and strategies should be revisited. This panel will address these issues with a focus on what the current needs are in the MENASA.
Guy Mannes-Abbott is a writer, essayist and critic who lives and works in London. He is the author of a singular series of texts, poems, stories and aphorism called e.things, which have been exhibited, published and performed alongside the work of leading British artists. In Ramallah, Running (co-produced with ArtSchool Palestine and Sharjah Art Foundation, published by Black Dog, 2012) is the longest and latest in this series of texts and projects. Mannes-Abbott has recently collaborated with the Bombay-based collective CAMP on a film, The Country of the Blind, and Other Stories for the Folkestone Triennial 2011. He has written catalogue essays on visual art as well as been a tutor in architectural theory at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London and published in specialist journals. His critical journalism spanning literature and visual art has appeared in the New Statesman, The Guardian, Harpers and Queen, TANK, Bidoun and The Independent. Recent publications include: Translated By (Ed. Arsene-Henry and Basar) and an Introduction to Mourid Barghouti’s Midnight and Other Poems. Currently he is working on his forthcoming novel, which is set between the Arabian and Baltic seas.
Negar Azimi is the Senior Editor of Bidoun Projects, an award-winning, not-for-profit publishing, curatorial and educational initiative with a focus on the Middle East and its Diaspora. Her writing has appeared in a variety of publications including: Frieze, Art Forum, Harper’s, The Nation, The New York Times Magazine and Slate. She studied politics at Stanford and Harvard and anthropology at Columbia. She is a member of the Beirut-based Arab Image Foundation and a board member of Artists Space in New York City.
Defne Ayas is the new Director of Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam as of 2012. Ayas arrived to Rotterdam from New York, where she remains a Curator-at-Large of Performa, the visual art performance biennial of New York City and via Shanghai, where she Co-Founded Arthub Asia, a contemporary art initiative devoted to art creation and exchange across Asia. Ayas is also Co-Curator of Blind Dates Project, an artistic platform that she Co-Founded, dedicated to tackling the legacy and the rupture of the former Ottoman Empire.
Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art is an international public institution with Rotterdam as its home base. Established in 1990, Witte de With explores developments in contemporary art worldwide and presents this through exhibitions, theoretical and educational programmes, public events and publications. Over the course of the past 20 years, Witte de With has become internationally recognised for the innovation and quality of its programming.
Alanna Heiss is the Director of ArtonAir.org and the Clocktower Gallery and is a leader of the early 1970s alternative spaces movement in New York City. She founded the Clocktower Gallery in 1972, founded PS1 Contemporary Art Center in 1976 and was its Director until 2008. Heiss is known for her ability to transform abandoned spaces into pioneering art centres. She has organised over 700 exhibitions at PS1 and in art spaces around the world. In 2003 she founded Art Radio WSP1.org, the Internet radio station of PS1 and first ever all-art museum station. Heiss was Commissioner of the 1985 Paris Biennial and Commissioner of the 1986 American Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. She is the recipient of the Mayor’s Award for Contributions to the Artistic Viability of New York City, France’s Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in the Legion d’Honneur, the Royal Swedish Order of the Polar Star, the Skowhegan Award for outstanding work in the arts, the CCS Bard Award for Curatorial Excellence, an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Amongst her numerous publications are catalogues of the work of Janet Cardiff, Alex Katz, Dennis Oppenheim, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Katharina Sieverding and John Wesley.
Omar Kholeif is an Egyptian-born, UK-based writer and curator, and a specialist in contemporary art and film from the Arab world. He is currently Curator at FACT, the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool, which is dedicated to the support, commission and exhibition of artist film and new media. He is also a Visiting Curator at Cornerhouse, Manchester, a Curator at the Arab British Centre, London and Founding Director of the UK’s Arab Film Festival. Omar frequently writes for international arts press and has recently edited/co-edited: Vision, Memory and Media (Liverpool University Press, 2010), Far and Wide: Nam June Paik (Leonardo, 2012) and is working on a forthcoming publication, Arab Art in the Age of New Media. He serves as Reviews and Critique Editor for Portal 9, a new, semi-annual cultural magazine in Arabic and English, published in Beirut. He is also a Churchill Fellow and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 2012, his newest curatorial project, Subversion, will open and he will serve as a Contributing Curator for the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art.
FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) has been developing the UK’s video, film and new media arts scene for over 20 years with groundbreaking exhibitions, education and research projects. The organisation aims to pioneer new forms of artistic and social interaction with individuals and communities. During its history, FACT has commissioned and presented over 250 new digital media works with artists, including: Pipilotti Rist, Bill Viola, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Vito Acconci and Isaac Julien. FACT is a member of LARC (Liverpool Arts Regeneration Consortium), a partnership of eight of the leading cultural organisations in Liverpool set up to help ensure that the cultural sector plays a significant role in the regeneration of the Liverpool City Region. The organisation is based in the heart of the RopeWalks area of the city and is central to the regeneration of the area. Recently, FACT has been involved with significant research and innovation projects, which include: Artplayer.tv, ArtSense and the Open Curate It Platforma and Talent Lab.