The webinar Decolonizing the Arts from Within tackles the question of dismantling colonial practices and legacies in art and art institutions. Where are the points of friction between exhibition content and institutional structures, and how to address these? What is the role of the artist in bringing forth structural change? What kinds of ethical guidelines should institutions consider to make sure their funding base is aligned with their often progressive values? Should we build new forms of organisations altogether? Where are our individual and institutional points of complicity and how to work through them?
In the event we will discuss these and other questions through the expertise of Lara Khaldi, who is a member of the curatorial team of Documenta 15 and the newly appointed director of de Appel Art Center; Farid Rakun who is an artist, editor and researcher of ruangrupa collective; and sámi artist and Vera List Institute of Politics Fellow Matti Aikio. The discussion is moderated by the award winning journalist, scholar and activist Majed Abusalama.
The event is hosted by Station of Commons and co-organised with the Kiasma_strike, that calls for institutions to set ethical guidelines for their private supporters, and stands in solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement.
18:00 Welcome / Station of Commons
18:05 Introduction / Majed Abusalama + introductions of speakers
18:15 Brief contextualization of Kiasma_strike Terike Haapoja / Eero Yli-Vakkuri
18:20 Speaker 1 Lara Khaldi
18:35 Speaker 2 Farid Rakun
18:50 Speaker 3 Matti Aikio
19:05-19:30 discussion, Q&A, Moderated by Majed Abusalama
19:40 introduction / screening
19:45 Screening: Jumana Abboud: I Feel Everything (9min)
Video recording will be posted on the kiasmastrike.art website after the event, and as podcast on Lumbung radio.
Majed Abusalama is an award winning journalist, scholar, campaigner and human rights defender who grew up in Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza and is now based between Berlin and Zurich. His articles and political commentary has been featured in Middle East Eye, Mondoweiss, Deutsche Welle, Aljazeera, Babelmed, among others. He holds three Master degrees (Peace Studies and Conflict Transformation, Business Administration, and Islamicate World Philosophy/Theology). He specialises in political analysis, foreign policy, and conflict transformation programs. He co-founded different organizations and serves as a board member in different Palestinian, Arab and international organizations and companies.
Lara Khaldi is a curator, critic and artist living between Jerusalem and Amsterdam. Since 2019 she has been a member of the curatorial team of documenta fifteen. In recent years she was the head of the Media Studies Programme at Alquds Bard College, Jerusalem and a core tutor in the Disarming Design MA program, at Sandberg Institute, 2020-2022. A former deputy programme director at the Sharjah Art Foundation and director of the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre in Ramallah, Khaldi went on to complete the Curatorial Programme at De Appel, Amsterdam in 2014 and the Philosophy, Art and Cultural Theory, European Graduate School, Saas-Fee, Switzerland, 2015.
She has curated projects and symposia in Palestine and abroad, some of which include project Shifting Ground, Sharjah Biennial 13 (2017), Unweaving Narratives (2018) at the Palestinian Museum, Birzeit, a solo exhibition by Noor Abuarafeh at the Al Ma’mal Art Foundation in Jerusalem (2019) and Overtones (2019) at the Goethe Institute, Ramallah. Lara is a co-founding member of the independent educational platform School of Intrusions and the collective Question of Funding. Khaldi has been recently appointed as director of de Appel Art Centre in Amsterdam, starting from January 2023.
Farid Rakun is an artist, writer, editor, teacher and instigator based in Jakarta. Trained as an architect, he currently serves as editor and researcher for the artists’ initiative ruangrupa.
Taking more than ten years to finish his formal education (BArch, University of Indonesia, 2005; and MArch, Cranbrook Academy of Art, 2013), Farid Rakun operates slowly as a strategy within this fast-paced, growth-obsessed society. Saying no to nothing in order to question everything, he has designed and built buildings, products, installations, and interventions, as well as writing and editing books and various publications. His experience working with a number of cultural and educational institutions—such as the University of Indonesia (Department of Architecture), Tarumanagara University, Cranbrook Academy of Art, University of Michigan, Hongkong University, Goethe-Insitut, Centre Culturel Francais, ruangrupa, and RUJAK Center for Urban Studies—solidifies his belief in productive coincidences brought about by the c
ollaborative nature of his practice.
ruangrupa, is a Jakarta-based collective established in 2000. The collective runs an art space in South Jakarta and realizes exhibitions, festivals, publications and radio formats. The Indonesian word ruangrupa loosely translates as “a space for art” or “a space form”. Their approach is based on an international network of local, community-based organisations from the art and other cultural contexts and can be outlined by the Indonesian term ”lumbung”.
Matti Aikio is a Sámi artist from the Finnish side of Sápmi. He comes from an academic reindeer herding family. He holds an MA in contemporary art from Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art. He works with mixed media, photography, sound, text, installations and often multi-channel video installations combining video with other media. He is interested in various topics that often are inspired by his indigenous background and indigenous perspective on the world. He has made artworks dealing with topics like the truth and reconciliation process of the Sámi people in the Nordic countries, fake indigenous identity and its relationship to cultural appropriation, indigenous aesthetics and the concept of fake and authentic in the context of indigenous material and immaterial property.
His main interest is looking into and trying to understand modern society’s relationship with nature. From an indigenous point of view this relationship can be seen as quite bizarre. At the background of this problematic, or schizophrenic relationship with nature lies a very fundamental problem - relating to nature as something external, something outside of the human world.
Aikio is one of the TBA21-Academy’s Ocean Fellows 2022 and Sámi Fellow at Vera List Center for Art and Politics 2022-2023.
Station of Commons is an ongoing collaborative initiative on digital commoning practices by Grégoire Rousseau (Helsinki), Juan Gomez (Geneva), Minerva Juolahti, Alain Ryckelynck, Constantinos Miltiades, and Eddie Choo Wen Yi. Initiated in February 2020, Station of Commons investigates the possibilities of reappropriating technology within public space. The point of departure of the research questions both centralized knowledge and data centers operated by major organizations and its underlying social implications.
Eero Yli-Vakkuri and Terike Haapoja are Finnish visual artists and facilitators of the Kiasma_strike.
Jumana Abboud: I Feel Everything (2020)
Introduction to the film:
I Feel Everything primarily draws inspiration from the Palestinian folk tale "Half-a-halfling [Nos Nsais]" - a tale about an alienated half-child, born of magic, and imagines a story of a spirit half-child, invisible and annexed from her native home. The work questions who or what is the “half-child”, and does not illustrate the story, but rather, expands on it in order to frame a comfortless existence, burdened in fragmental beingness.
Inspired from water folklore that taught a spirited* relationship with water sources and their guardians - an intertwining of water, women, story, community, the living and non-living, human and other – a narrator traverses between the past and present, and between multiple voices of child, mother, animal, water source and spirit, in order to recount a tale that ultimately originates out of the unbearable state of "halfness".
I Feel Everything reweighs water folklore vis-à-vis present-day unattainability to water, and all things embodied therein, (such as homeland, life source, story, endangered heritage), and proposes its/their reanimation.
This video work comes a decade after my first video poem 'I Feel Nothing' (commissioned by the Delfina Foundation/Art School Palestine) This video which came a decade earlier adopted the folk tale of the Girl Whose Hands Were Cut Off in order to metaphorically investigate fragmented land and the exiled/annexed self (body, homeland, language).
I Feel Everything is commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation - 2020. Conceived in gratitude to the support and collaboration of Sakiya art/science/agriculture, 'Ein Qiniya community, the Water Diviners group Palestine, Issa Freij and the Sharjah Art Foundation. Additional thanks to mentorship and support of Slade School of Fine Art/ University College London; to Sharif Kanaana, Radio Alhara, Marina Warner, Ahmad Nabil, Khadijeh Kanambo, Reem Shadid and Lara Khaldi.
*spirited: to possess and be possessed, to inhabit, claim, give life, inherit, account for, regenerate, fear, sanctify.