Lantian Xie, Turn the Sun and Fun into Cold Weather, 2015. Lecture performance. Courtesy of the artist and Grey Noise, Dubai.
Programming and artist commissions for 2015–16 season
Alserkal Avenue programming announces the core theme and schedule of its 2015–16 season. Inspired by the Avenue’s central position within the growing arts community in Dubai, the year’s programme will critically examine expanding concepts of community and belonging taking shape in this globalised city. From October 2015 to April 2016, Alserkal Avenue programming will present a series of artist commissions, talks, films and workshops that interrogate these concepts through various disciplines, including visual art, architecture, sociology, anthropology and urbanism.
The programme includes artist commissions that investigate the industrial heritage of Al Quoz and the points of intersection between Alserkal Avenue and its neighbourhood. Commissioning artists based in Dubai alongside international figures, the programme supports the creation of ambitious works that range in scale and duration, as well as disciplines including performance, social practice, research and public art. Artists commissioned this year are Mohammed Kazem, Mary Ellen Carroll, Jessica Mein, Vikram Divecha, Fari Bradley & Chris Weaver, Hera Büyüktaşcıyan and Oliver Herring.
“The Alserkal Avenue programme is the next step in our organisation’s development, and has been designed to encourage and support new artistic practices and to help develop a deeper appreciation for art in and from the MENASA region,” said Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Founder of Alserkal Avenue and patron of the arts.
A six-week series of talks and workshops will be presented in the lead-up to the commissions that encourage a reimagining of how individuals can creatively engage the city. “Open City” on 3 November is a talk that explores the ways public art and architecture can impact local communities and urban dynamics, featuring Noura Al-Sayeh, Head of Architectural Affairs for the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities and Curator of Bahrain’s first participation at the 12th Venice Architecture Biennale, and Mary Ellen Carroll, a Houston- and New York-based artist who has realized major public art commissions for international exhibitions such as the Busan Biennial and Prospect 3: Notes for Now. On 10 November, Yasser Elsheshtawy, Associate Professor of Architecture at UAE University and head of the Urban Research Lab, will lecture on informal urbanism and the extent to which migrant communities lay claim to parts of the city. On 24 November, artist Lantian Xie will present Turn the Sun and Fun into Cold Weather, a performative lecture about waiting and belonging in Dubai. Staged on Sunset Beach, Xie locates the talk in an imagined orchestra pit: a “mystic” gulf between local and visitor and an unmapped gulf neither Persian nor Arab. On 8 December, Oliver Herring, a visiting artist from New York, will lead workshops with various communities in Al Quoz that encourage creative risk and the break-down of social barriers.
The programme and its themes will be further explored in ”Where We Dwell,” a film series presented in collaboration with Cinema Akil. The series examines the concept of home through five lenses: as a theatre for life; a cause or purpose; a feeling or an emotional state; a built environment; and as an idea that arises in the absence of place. The screenings will also include special talks and introductions by experts and researchers from the film world. The screenings will start in October 2015 and will run until March 2016, with a new film being screened every week.
“We’ve organised the Alserkal Avenue programme to focus on a particular issue each year, bringing artists and professionals from different fields together to examine a concept through wide-ranging means and perspectives. Our programming intends to provoke questions, unexpected encounters and new imaginings for the diverse public in our city,” said Tairone Bastien, Programming Director at Alserkal Avenue.
About Alserkal Avenue programming
Alserkal Avenue programming is dedicated to incubating innovative ideas and creative projects that increase understanding and appreciation of diverse communities and histories within the region, and to fostering a productive dialogue with local, regional and international publics. With a view to working mainly with emerging and mid-career artists, AAP provides additional support for artists living and working in the MENASA region whose projects are collaborative, participatory and ephemeral.
About Alserkal Avenue
Located in Al Quoz, Dubai, Alserkal Avenue is the region’s foremost arts and culture neighbourhood. Since it was established in 2007, Alserkal Avenue has grown to become an essential platform for the development of homegrown artistic and cultural initiatives, supporting a vibrant community of contemporary art galleries and alternative art spaces, together with design, media and industrial studios. In 2015, Alserkal Avenue began introducing its own homegrown programme as an arts organization, dedicated to encouraging new ideas, open dialogue and a more diverse and rich ecosystem for art in the region.
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