Mary Ellen Carroll, MEC Studios, The Circle Game, 2016. Work-in-pogress, site-specific
installation for Alserkal Avenue Programming. Image courtesy of Alserkal Avenue.
Site-specific commissions by six artists unveiled during Art Week 2016
March 14–19, 2016
United Arab Emirates
Alserkal Avenue Programming is excited to present five new site-specific art commissions as part of Art Week 2016, in various locations across Alserkal Avenue. These commissions cap a year of programming, investigating unique notions of home and community taking shape in Dubai. The artists have been invited to engage the physical and social architecture of the Avenue, to dissolve its borders, reveal hidden spaces and viewpoints, highlight the incoherence of the neighbourhood and challenge notions of permanence and place.
Tracing the Chora is a sound-walk through Al Quoz, conceived of and created by sound artists Fari Bradley and Chris Weaver. The chora, described by Plato, is a space through which to decipher the reality of our surroundings. The walk observes Al Quoz’s vastly different terrains through the eyes of those who have worked in the area for years. Narration and sounds direct listeners on a one-hour journey that traces the boundaries between the Avenue and its neighbourhood.
Mohammed Kazem‘s site-specific installation consists of six images from his 2006 photographic series, “My Neighbors,” that evokes the poetry of a quotidian view taken over the course of several days outside the artist’s house. The artist’s neighbours are migrant workers whose lives are marked by ephemeral traces: arguments in a foreign language, the smell of cooking and the rustle of cleaning.
Topologies, by Jessica Mein, is a work that seeks to index and map hidden, subtle and varied marks of life in the Avenue. Since January the artist has been capturing surfaces and impressions of the neighbourhood through processes of rubbing, scanning and video. More than a thousand collected rubbings will be exhibited made with the help of over 50 people in the community. The work remains in-progress and will culminate in a book and animation at the end of the year.
Vikram Divecha‘s Warehouse project conflates art, commerce and commodities. He has bartered the exhibition space given to him with a general trading company requiring storage facilities, in exchange for the goods to be exhibited. The flow of goods in and out will create fluctuating sculptural structures shaped by the market’s hand.
The Circle Game is a major new multi-form work by conceptual artist Mary Ellen Carroll that invites the public to interrogate the history, present and future of Dubai from the top of a 15-meter high tower erected in the Yard and prompted by two LED signs installed on the rooftops: WHEN DID YOU ARRIVE / WHEN WILL YOU RETURN.
Carroll comments, “The commission from Alserkal Avenue has provided the possibility to imagine the future conditional in the city of Dubai, wherein the city or, more importantly, the inhabitants are the subject. The city is re-imprinting itself through the realm of culture and its production as directed in The Circle Game—where Alserkal Avenue is itself an example of the social effects of material culture.”
Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Founder of Alserkal Avenue states, “These commissions represent the growth of Alserkal Avenue over the last year, both as a community and as an arts organization. They exemplify our commitment to new ideas and experimentation, and our support for projects that connect us with our community and engage the city itself. We look forward to continuing to provide such opportunities and to provoking further dialogue on art in the region.”
Tairone Bastien, Director of Programming adds, “I’m thrilled that we can support the research, development and creation of new commissions by Dubai-based and international artists. The commissions present opportunities for further dialogue on public art in this city, and help us imagine a more nuanced and elastic sense of where we belong.”
About Alserkal Avenue programming
Alserkal Avenue Programming is dedicated to incubating innovative ideas and creative projects that increase understanding and appreciation of communities and histories within the region and foster a productive dialogue with the general public. 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
Alserkal Avenue is the region’s foremost arts and culture neighbourhood located in Al Quoz, Dubai. Since it was established in 2007, Alserkal Avenue has grown to become an essential platform for the development of homegrown artistic and cultural initiatives. It supports a vibrant community of contemporary art galleries and alternative art spaces, together with design, media and industrial studios. In 2015, Alserkal Avenue introduced its own homegrown programme as an arts organization dedicated to encouraging new ideas, open dialogue and a more diverse and rich eco-system for art in the region. In 2016, Alserkal Avenue will launch its project space as well as new art, design and creative concepts.