In narrow or wider circles...
Begins January 2011
See below for regularly scheduled events
Slought Foundation is pleased to announce In narrow or wider circles..., a long-term installation that seeks to foster a space for inter-cultural conversation and research about the state of art and advocacy. This unique project, beginning January 2011, will enable dialogue with diverse practitioners in an effort to explore the translatability of cultural concepts and chart a variety of trends, shared differences, and common concerns.
Although the project finds its public form as an installation, it is also envisioned as an ongoing research initiative that will evolve over time through the participation from practitioners and the broader public. Those engaged will be invited according to an expansive definition of artistic practice, rather than by geography, and in recognition of the power of informal infrastructures, partnerships, and economies. It will produce an online archive of recordings over time–one to which Slought Foundation, its constituents, and its collaborators will turn to better understand what is necessary now and to recover earlier histories.
If there is an urgency to this project, it is in part because Slought Foundation recognizes that there is a need for new terminologies in art and activism. We have witnessed in recent years an escalating, and disorienting, reclamation of key concepts and language associated with these domains. This ambiguity concerning how to speak about activism and responsibly enact change is further exacerbated when we undertake inter-cultural collaborations, where the concept of "culture" itself is not immediately translatable across such different social and political contexts. The intent of this project is therefore to cultivate another public space, one that is at once more intimate and discursive, and invite a general rethinking of our approach as a cultural organization.
Conversations will take place within the institutional setting of Slought Foundation, surrounded by visual projects exploring cultural translation and the politics of display. These include a panorama of the Lahore cityscape by artist Sajjad Ahmed, a short film about hospitality featuring scholars Achille Mbembe and Kwame Anthony Appiah, and East Asian artifacts from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. A reading room presented in conjunction with the Perpetual Peace Project features Immanuel Kant’s 1795 essay on peace, from which the title of the installation is derived.
("The social relations between the various Peoples of the world, in narrow or wider circles, have now advanced everywhere so far that a violation of Right in one place of the earth, is felt all over it.")
Suhell Nafar and Mahmoud Jreri - DAM
April 01, 2013 (26 min)
Topics include Hip Hop, Identity, Palestine, National Liberation
In cooperation with Princeton University's Wilson College
Heralded by the major French newspaper Le Monde as "the spokesman of a new generation," DAM, the first Palestinian Hip Hop crew and among the first to rap in Arabic, began working together in the late 1990s. Struck by the resemblance of the streets in a Tupac music video to the streets in their own neighborhood of Lyd, just fifteen minutes from Tel Aviv, Tamer Nafar, Suhell Nafar, Mahmoud Jreri were inspired to tell their stories through Hip Hop and provide the youth of their city and neighboring communities with programs and opportunities otherwise denied to Palestinian citizens of Israel. After their timely song “Min Irhabi” (“Who's the terrorist”) was downloaded over a million times shortly after its internet release in 2001, DAM became a household name among youth throughout the Middle East. Interviewed by Eduardo Cadava, Aaron Levy.
December 02, 2012 (41 min)
Topics include Mayoral politics, Civic imagination, Pedagogy, Games
In cooperation with SFMOMA (San Francisco) and Mapa Teatro (Bogota, Colombia)
Antanas Mockus is a Colombian mathematician, philosopher and politician. In 1993, Mockus left his post as rector of Colombian National University to run for mayor of the city of Bogota with a platform emphasizing human rights, social justice, and participatory politics. He presided as mayor for two terms, and later ran for president of the country. Under his leadership, Bogota saw remarkable improvements such as the homicide rate falling by 70%, traffic fatalities dropping by over 50%, and drinking water being provided to all homes. He achieved these results through the playful deployment of games, rituals, and social contracts, including dressing up as a Supercitizen and hiring mimes to control traffic. Interviewed by Aaron Levy, Ignacio Valero.
April 26, 2012 (20 min)
Topics include Intuition, Vietnam, Affinity, Experience, Painting
Carolee Schneemann is a multidisciplinary artist. Her video, film, painting, photography, performance art and installation works have profoundly shaped contemporary discourses on the body, sexuality, and gender since the 1960s. Probing the precariousness of nature, art, and life, Schneemann has continually foregrounded the relationship between the body of the artist and the social body.
Interviewed by Aaron Levy.
April 12, 2012 (47 min)
Topics include Refugee camps, Human rights, Photography, Collaboration
In cooperation with Princeton University's Wilson College
Fazal Ilahi Sheikh is a photographer whose work documents the lives of individuals in displaced communities across East Africa, in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Brazil, Cuba and India. In 2001 he established a series of projects and books about international human rights issues, published and distributed free of charge and made available online. He has received many awards for his work, including Le Prix Dialogue de l'Humanite, Rencontres d'Arles (2003), the Henri Cartier-Bresson International Grand Prize (2005), and the Lucie Humanitarian Award (2009). In 2005 he was named a MacArthur Fellow. Interviewed by Eduardo Cadava, Aaron Levy.
January 30, 2012 (30 min)
Topics include Cosmology, Partical astrophysics, Collaboration, Mining, Contingency
In cooperation with Musagetes Foundation, Canada
Physicist Nigel Smith is the director of SNOLAB, an International Underground Science Facility situated 2 km underground in Vale-INCO's Creighton Mine in Sudbury, Canada. As the world's deepest underground laboratory, SNOLAB has the lowest background from cosmic rays and provides an ideal location for measuring particles that would otherwise be unobservable. These include the search for dark matter particles left over from the Big Bang, which are thought to make up about 23% of the universe. In 1987, as the sole operator of the telescope at the U.S. Amundsen-Scott station, he was the first Briton to successfully winter at the South Pole. Interviewed by Aaron Levy, Shawn van Sluys, Joy Roberts.
December 05, 2011 (69 min)
Topics include Mass media, Violence, Precariousness, Markets
In cooperation with Princeton University Art Museum
Thomas Hirschhorn is a Swiss artist whose confrontational art is dedicated to resistance and the voicing of his discontent with contemporary politics and public discourse. His installations join images of destroyed bodies from mass media with material debris from modern life: discarded beverage containers, fake washing machines, and shop window mannequins. In works such as Deleuze monument (Avignon, 2000), Bataille monument (Kassel, 2002), and the Bijlmer Spinoza festival, Hirschhorn produced, together with city residents, civic institutions and public spaces such as libraries, internet cafes, and cafeterias formed with everyday materials such as tape, cardboard, and foil. Interviewed by Aaron Levy, Eduardo Cadava, Mimi Cheng.
November 13, 2011 (35 min)
Topics include Global Campaigning, Advocacy, Non-Governmental Organizations, Non-Profit Management
Barbara Fiorito has served as Board Chair and Deputy Chair of Oxfam International from 2000-2005, and helped transform Oxfam America from a grants-based NGO into an influential global campaigning and advocacy organization. She has also served as a Director and Board Chair of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations (FLO) International, a global NGO representing over 650 disadvantaged producer organizations from 60 developing countries. Interviewed by Aaron Levy.
Patricia J. Williams
October 05, 2011 (23 min)
Topics include Legal Theory, Journalism, Race Studies, Civil Rights
In cooperation with Princeton University's Wilson College
Patricia J. Williams is a lawyer, journalist, and scholar whose writings about race and the jurisprudence of rights have been transformative for legal and literary studies. Her work invokes complex questions of social justice and reveals the historicity and human dimension of legal and cultural constructions. Her book The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor offers a new form of legal writing and scholarship that integrates personal narrative, critical and literary theory, traditional legal doctrine, and empirical and sociological research in discussing the legacy of slavery.
Interviewed by Eduardo Cadava, Aaron Levy.
August 25, 2011 (32 min)
Topics include Game Urbanism, Spatial Planning
Hans Venhuizen is an urbanist based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands whose work addresses the culture of spatial planning. Games can simplify a complex situation, reveal the wishes and interests of those involved, and provide pleasure in uncertain processes of change. Venhuizen's 'The Making Of' is a large group game through which he has collected the full range of opinions, wishes, initiatives, and interventions for various complex planning questions around the world. Interviewed by Aaron Levy, Ken Saylor.
July 23, 2011 (39 min)
Topics include Women's Cooperative, Post-conflict reconciliation, Rwanda
In cooperation with General Architecture Collaborative (GAO)
Bangire Constance is the founder and president of Dushyigikirane ("to work together"), a cooperative located in Masoro, a sector on the periphery of Kigali, Rwanda. The cooperative runs social and economic programs, including housing construction, a meeting house, a micro-loan bank, a library, and two orphanages. Independently initiated after the Rwandan genocide, it also provides a sense of community and sustainable income to its over 600 members. Interviewed by Aaron Levy, Yutaka Sho.
Siebren de Haan and Lonnie van Brummelen
April 22, 2011 (42 min)
Topics include National Borders, Trade barriers, Bureaucracy, European Union
Siebren de Haan and Lonnie van Brummelen produce film installations that peruse the boundaries of the public realm and the movements, textures and tonality of cultural and geopolitical borders. These include the fringes of Europe, whose divided landscapes are heavily guarded by the military (Grossraum, 2004-2005), and sites of global trade (Monument of Sugar, 2007), which documents the flow of sugar from the European Union to Nigeria, and explores how artistic means can elude trade barriers. Their works have recently been shown at Shanghai Biennial 2008; MoMA, NY; Palais de Tokyo, Paris and TPW Gallery, Toronto. Interviewed by Aaron Levy, Chi-Ming Yang.
Ahmad Rafay Alam
April 17, 2011 (47 min)
Topics include Legal advocacy, Urban planning, Public infrastructure, Pakistan
Ahmad Rafay Alam is a legal activist and lawyer in Lahore, Pakistan who advocates for equitable environmental and urban planning. He is chairman of the Lahore Electricity Supply Company, on task forces for Urban Development and the Social Sector for the Planning Commission of Pakistan and the Environment Ministry's UN-HABITAT plan for Pakistan. He teaches Law and Policy at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), is a weekly columnist for The News and Express Tribune, and was a leader of "Lahore Bachao Tehreek," a 2006 movement against the felling of ancient trees along Lahore’s renowned canal. Interviewed by Aaron Levy.
Ko Siu Lan
April 14, 2011 (65 min)
Topics include China, Translation, Political Slogans, Tiananmen Massacre, Censorship
Ko Siu Lan is an artist based in Beijing, China. Until 2007, she worked for several non-governmental organizations. Her work confronts the politics of language, often re-appropriating governmental and everyday slogans to offer new possibilities of reading. Her installation at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris (2010) satirized a campaign slogan of Nicolas Sarkozy ("work more to earn more") and ignited a national controversy for being "overtly political." Interviewed by Aaron Levy.
April 02, 2011 (45 min)
Topics include Documentary Filmmaking, Kashmir, India, Pakistan
Ajay Raina is a filmmaker whose work integrates storytelling, fiction, and the documentary tradition in addressing the history and contemporary context of the conflict in Kashmir. In Tell them, the tree they had planted has now grown, Raina, a Kashmiri Brahmin, goes "home" after 13 years. The film is a cinematic diary of a man uncovering the scars on his lost homeland, and won the Golden Conch award at Mumbai Festival 2002 and the RAPA award. Interviewed by Aaron Levy.
March 28, 2011 (70 min)
Topics include Quaker Community, Public-interest lobbying, Peace Activism
In cooperation with Haverford College, Center for Peace and Global Citizenship
Joe Volk recently retired as executive secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a nonpartisan Quaker lobby in the public interest in Washington, DC. For over 30 years, he has lobbied Congress to support peaceful prevention of deadly conflict, nuclear disarmament, peace in Iraq, and other issues. Interviewed by Aaron Levy.
March 23, 2011 (33 min)
Topics include Medicine, Health Clinic, Abortion
Dr. Rebecca Gomperts studied medicine and visual arts in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. In 1999 she founded Women on Waves, a non-profit organization with a floating reproductive health clinic and series of national hotlines that provides the abortion pill safely and legally outside the territorial waters of countries where abortion is illegal. Interviewed by Aaron Levy, Eduardo Cadava.
March 22, 2011 (52 min)
Topics include Palestine, Human rights
In cooperation with Princeton University's Wilson College, and the Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture Fund
Hanan Ashrawi is a writer, activist, legislator, and spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). One of the most influential women in the Middle East, Ashrawi has established a series of institutions dedicated to human rights and the Palestinian struggle for liberation. Interviewed by Aaron Levy, Eduardo Cadava.
Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin
March 09, 2011 (56 min)
Topics include Documentary photography, Geopolitical Conflict, Embedded Media
Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin are London-based documentary photographers whose projects explore the relationship between photography and witnessing, and the implications of being embedded media in global conflicts. Their video for the Massive Attack song Saturday Come Slow features UK citizen and former Guantánamo detainee Ruhal Ahmed to protest sound as a form of torture. Interviewed by Aaron Levy, John Palmesino.
Uday Singh Mehta
February 09, 2011 (59 min)
Topics include Nonviolence, Political Theory, Civil Disobedience, Mahatma Gandhi
In cooperation with James Gallery, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Uday Singh Mehta is a political theorist at the City University of New York whose work explores the relationship of war, peace, and nonviolence in Mahatma Gandhi's views on change. Interviewed by Aaron Levy, Katherine Carl.
January 23, 2011 (56 min)
Topics include Architecture, Advocacy
Teddy Cruz is an architect based in San Diego whose work recognizes the political and economic frameworks that shape architecture, and who believes in the adaptive inventiveness of community social service organizations in solving architectural needs. Interviewed by Aaron Levy.
No upcoming conversations scheduled at this time.
Curated by Aaron Levy, Slought Foundation, with consulting curators David Alesworth and Huma Mulji, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore, Pakistan. Exhibit design by Ken Saylor, Saylor + Sirola. Interviews edited by Aaron Levy with Clare Kobasa and Rachel Heidenry, Curatorial fellows.
This project has been made possible through materials provided by the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, and emerged from workshops led by by Independent Curators International (ICI) and the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative (PEI) at the PEW Center for Arts and Heritage.
Image: Sajjad Ahmed, Small, Round World, 2009