Cover Story—April 2018: Dates, 700 BC to the present: Michael Rakowitz

Latitudes' home page

The April 2018 monthly Cover Story "Dates, 700 BC to the present: Michael Rakowitz" is now up on Latitudes' homepage:

"As Michael Rakowitz’s fourth plinth commission is unveiled in London’s Trafalgar Square, this month’s cover story image revisits Return (2004-ongoing) a related project by the artist that also speaks about the turbulent history of Iraq. And dates. In London, Michael has deployed thousands of date syrup cans to make a 1:1 scale recreation of Lamassu, the fantastic winged bull that graced the gates of the city of Nineveh from 700 BC until it was destroyed by Isis in 2015."

—> Continue reading
—> After April it will be archived here.

Cover Stories' are published on a monthly basis on Latitudes' homepage and feature past, present or forthcoming projects, research, writing, artworks, exhibitions, films, objects or field trips related to our curatorial activities.


  • Archive of Monthly Cover Stories
  • Cover Story – March 2018: "Armenia's ghost galleries" 6 March 2018
  • Cover Story – February 2018: Paradise, promises and perplexities 5 February 2018
  • Cover Story – January 2018: I'll be there for you, 2 January 2018
  • Cover Story – December 2017: "Tabet's Tapline trajectory", 4 December 2017
  • Cover Story – November 2017: "Mining negative monuments: Ângela Ferreira, Stone Free, and The Return of the Earth", 1 November 2017
  • Cover Story – October 2017: Geologic Time at Stanley Glacier 11 October 2017
  • Cover Story – September 2017: Dark Disruption. David Mutiloa's 'Synthesis' 1 September 2017
  • Cover Story – August 2017: Walden 7; or, life in Sant Just Desvern 1 August 2017
  • Cover Story – July 2017: 4.543 billion 3 July 2017
  • Cover Story – June 2017: Month Light–Absent Forms 1 June 2017
  • Cover Story – May 2017: S is for Shale, or Stuart; W is for Waterfall, or Whipps 1 May 2017
  • Cover Story – April 2017: Banff Geologic Time 3 April 2017

    Sharjah Biennial 8 (2007) part 2 publication with transcripts of the 3-day conference organised by Latitudes and the RSA, London

    Above images of the recently published catalogue of the Sharjah Biennial 8, United Arab Emirates [25º 22’N, 55º 24’E] titled 'Still Life: Art, Ecology and the Politics of Change (Part II)' which includes installation shots of the exhibition as well as transcripts of the 3-day conference Latitudes organised in collaboration with the Royal Society of Art's Arts & Ecology programme (today the RSA Arts and Ecology Centre) back in April 2007 (+ info).

    The symposium
    (images here) considered today’s uses and abuses of the ‘eco-’, notions of artistic agency and critical practice, as well as the role of the public realm in today’s artistic and institutional practices. How has it become fashionable (or profitable) to be seen to be eco? How has what we mean by ecology been transformed and evolved through the uses of terms such as ‘environmental’, ‘green’, ‘ethical living’, and so on?; How do some artists desire palliative results, while others offer strategies of friction or resistance? How far are the sources of materials a consideration for artists, designers and architects? And how does this relate to wider questions of resources—water, energy, oil in the Emirate and beyond?

    The symposium included focused presentations by keynote speakers such as Bruce Sterling (read his paper here), critical panels with participating artists Sergio Vega or Peter Fend as well as Van Abbemuseum director Charles Esche, or Smart Museum's
    Curator of Contemporary Art Stephanie Smith as well as breakout seminars with participating artists Tomás Saraceno and Michael Rakowitz.

    You can download the symposium programme, exhibition guide and view press-related materials in this archive.

    'Sharjah Biennial 8. Still Life: Art, Ecology and the Politics of Change (Part II)'
    568 pages, 233 x 165 mm, softcover 350g. Art Matt Card

    Paper: 80g. offset wood free and 135 g. Art Matt

    Publisher: Sharjah Biennial,
    ISBN 978-9948-04-328-6 Part II

    Lara Almarcegui's Wastelands

    Last weekend we visited 2 of Lara Almárcegui's wastelands. One in the Rotterdam harbour ( and the other one in Genk, Belgium. The Rotterdam wasteland (first 4 pictures) has remained untouched since 2003 and will be kept until 2018. The Genk wasteland's dates are 2004-2014 (following 12 images).

    "Lara Almárcegui's work often explores neglected or overlooked sites, carefully cataloguing and highlighting each location's tendency towards entropy. Her projects have ranged from a guide to the wastelands of Amsterdam to the display, in their raw form, of the materials used to construct the galleries in which she shows. Her works are simple actions that belie the vast research process which she undertakes to achieve them." (Frieze Projects, 2006)

    Tue Greenfort & Piotr Uklanski, Secession, Vienna

    Piotr Uklanski 'A Retrospective' (main space) and Tue Greenfort's 'Medusa' (upper and lower galleries) at the Secession, Vienna, 20 September – 18 November 2007.

    All images: Latitudes |

    Bruce Sterling's Sharjah Biennial keynote

    We have uploaded Bruce Sterling's keynote paper 'Ecology and the Politics of Change' presented in the Sharjah Biennial 8 symposium on 5 April. You can download the document on the SB8 archive (pdf, 404 KB).

    Author, futurist and critic Bruce Sterling (b. 1954) is based in Austin, Texas and Serbia. Best known for his eight science fiction novels, he has also written short stories, book reviews, design criticism, opinion columns, and introductions for books ranging from Ernst Juenger to Jules Verne. His non-fiction works include 'The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier' (1992), 'Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next 50 Years' (2003) and 'Shaping Things' (2005). He is a contributing editor of WIRED magazine. He also writes a weblog and runs a website and Internet mailing list on the topic of environmental activism and postindustrial design. In 2005, he was the Visionary in Residence at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He has appeared on ABC’s Nightline, BBC’s The Late Show, CBC’s Morningside, on MTV and TechTV, and in publications including Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fortune, Nature, I.D., Metropolis, Technology Review, Der Spiegel and La Repubblica.


    From Peter Fend: 

    "To those interested in the Basin of the Gulf installation at the 8th Sharjah Biennial (2007), in the Expo Center: here is a plan of the installation, with items numbered, and a price list for realization of the items on site. The prices are based, for larger site projects, on satellite investigations into similar-scale constructions, and, for smaller site projects, on prior budgets which I had prepared. Inquiries are welcome on all modeled and budgeted projects. Contracts are welcome, too. I am ready to discuss these estimate prices and project schedules with engineering and regional-planning firms in the area. The large figures are based on consultations with engineers during the years of satellite monitoring of similar-scale projects in the Arabian Gulf Basin and elsewhere. The small figures given are based on earlier project budgets."

    ARABIAN GULF INTEGRATION ROOM AGIR Meaning, in French, “to act”.
    Displaying how to make a cohesive whole of the Arabian Gulf as a basin.
    1. Convex-Disc Ramp Stepdown, near Birecik, Turkey $300 MILLION
    2. Wadi el Batin Cut-Through $800 MILLION (using aircraft)
    3. Karun River Zig-Zags $1 BILLION (undershot waterwheels)
    4. Nafuds cut with Multi-channel canals $300 MILLION
    5. Sea-level Flushing, into UAE, or even to the Umm as Samim $1 BILLION
    6. Offshore Biomass Rig: Gracilaria $100,000
    7. Satellite assessment of marine bioproductivity using SeaWiFS data, through Global Feed $20,000
    8. Cones, Cages and Wallows near Salt Pans (Sabkhas) $150,000
    9. Flushing out Alluvial Fans at the Head of the Gulf Based on satellite assessment of Iraqi projects $2 BILLION
    10. Convex-Disc Marsh Zig-Zag Strcture, for mountains $300,000
    11. Wadi Yudayyah Hydrometric Area, site for projects Example: clearing the mouth to yield seagrass $20,000/month
    12. Feather-Production Sequence, from urban wastes Example: keratin dispersion in swamps or oases $10,000/month
    Dispersed throughout space. Undershot Waterwheels, to replace hydroelectric dams $20,000 per test
    Inshore Biomass Rig: Microalgae $20,000

    Sharjah Biennial (y Latitudes) en El País

    Reportaje de la Sharjah Biennial 8 por Ángela Molina publicado en el Babelia de El País: ‘Una mentira cómoda’, 21 Abril 2007, pp.16-17.

    Sharjah Biennial opening on Artforum Diary

    Rafal Niemojewski wrote on the opening of the Sharjah Biennial 7 on Artforum Diary. Read the full account here.

    Spot the typo!

    Sharjah Biennial 8 - part 3

    Pictures from our excursion/roving seminar to Dubai Pivot Fields, Ras Al Khor wetlands (bird list below); and Al Khan, an abandoned village in Sharjah and the basis of Lara Almárcegui's UNESCO-prize-winning project for the Biennial. Participants: Michaela Crimmin, Max Andrews, Mariana Cánepa Luna, Mark Nash, Sarah Rich, Susi Platt, Stephanie Smith, Lara Almárcegui, Ignasi Aballí, Gulnara Kasmamlieva, Muratbek Kjoumakliev,Tea Mäpikää. Bird guiding: Clive Temple.

    Birds we saw during the excursion:

    Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

    Western Reef-egret (Egretta gularis)
    Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
    Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
    Great Egret (Ardea alba)
    Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
    Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
    Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
    Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
    Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
    Eurasian Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
    Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga)
    Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus)
    Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
    Little Plover (Charadrius dubius)
    Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
    Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)
    White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)
    Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)
    Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
    Temminck's Stint (Calidris temminckii)
    Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
    Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia)
    Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis)
    Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
    Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri)
    Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)
    Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)
    Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
    House Martin (Delichon urbica)
    Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
    Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)
    White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
    Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola)
    Blue-headed Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla flava)
    Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
    White-cheeked Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucogenys)
    Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer)
    Purple Sunbird (Nectarinia asiatica)
    House Crow (Corvus splendens)
    Asian Pied Starling (Sturnus contra)
    Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)
    Bank Myna (Acridotheres ginginianus)
    House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
    Indian Silverbill (Lonchura malabarica)

    Sharjah Biennial 8 - part 2

    Further documentation pictures from the Symposium, which we conceived and developed in collaboration with the RSA and the American University of Sharjah.

    All images: Latitudes |

    Sharjah Biennial 8 - part 1

    Some images from today and yesterday of the preparations for the Sharjah Biennial 8 which opens on Wednesday 4th April. The RSA Arts & Ecology/Latitudes for the Biennial in collaboration with the American University of Sharjah takes place on the 5th, 6th and 7th. Here is the programme:

    ‘Still Life: Art, Ecology and the Politics of Change’
    Sharjah Biennial 8, 4 April – 4 June 2007
    Symposium: 5–7 April 2007
    Venue: Expo Centre, Sharjah
    Symposium Organisers: Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna (Latitudes, Barcelona)
    Michaela Crimmin (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce, RSA, London)
    Roderick Grant (American University of Sharjah, AUS)
    Amir Berbic (American University of Sharjah, AUS)
    Tarek Talat Al-Ghoussein (American University of Sharjah, AUS)
    Jeremy Bendik-Keymer (American University of Sharjah, AUS)

    Symposium Coordinator in Sharjah: Sharon Ahimaz (Sharjah Biennial team)

    Offset of 70 tonnes of Carbon.
    The conference language is English.

    The Symposium, which forms part of the Sharjah Biennial, aims to explore specific aspects of the relationship between culture and ecology - not least the challenges and the contradictions. The event will profile the extraordinary work taking place in architecture, the visual arts, across new technologies, in design and on screen. Discussions will involve artists, academics and students, architects and designers, people living locally and a number of key contributors from other continents. It draws from and will build on previous discourse - capturing the perspectives of people who are addressing ecological issues on a daily basis. The Symposium bravely takes place in a country which is prepared to look to the future and the changes we are all going to have to make.

    THURSDAY 5 April

    9.30 – 10am: Refreshments and Orientation
    10 – 10.15am: Welcome by Jack Persekian (Artistic Director SB8) and Michaela Crimmin(Director RSA Arts and Ecology).

    10.15 – 10.45am: Keynote speaker: ‘Ecology and the Politics of Change’, Bruce Sterling, Author, journalist, editor and critic, Texas and Serbia.

    10.45 – 12.00: Panel Discussion: The lure of the 'eco'
    Eco-art, eco-fashion, eco-tourism, eco-politics, eco-activism, eco-village ... In almost every aspect of how and where we live, work and play, the eco has embedded itself. How has what we mean by ecology transformed and evolved through the practice of everyday life?

    Sarah Rich (Managing Editor, Worldchanging and, a weblog covering sustainable design and green building, Seattle)
    Sergio Vega (Artist, Gainesville; participating in Sharjah Biennial 8)
    Siobhan Leyden (producer and presenter of the daily talk show ‘Siobhan Live’ on Dubai Eye radio, 103.8 FM)
    Stephanie Mahmoud (Marketing and Management student, AUS)
    Chair: Jeremy Bendik-Keymer (Philosophy teacher in the Department of International Studies, AUS)

    12 - 12.45pm: Film Programme Excerpt: Riverglass: A River Ballet in Four Seasons. Andrej Zdravic, 1997 (41 mins)
    "Riverglass presents the 'materiality' of the river Soca. A symbol of importance in Slovenian culture, the film presents the force and clarity of the water from the point of view of the river itself, a Gaian perspective possibly. In its content and development of specialist filming equipment it recalls other film-makers landscape interventions (for instance Michael Snow's La Region Centrale (1970) or Robert Beaver's The Stoas, (1991-97)." – Mark Nash

    12.45 – 2 pm: Lunch Break

    1.45 – 3.00pm: Parallel Seminars:

    I. Emergencies and Risk
    What is the role of architects, designers and artists concerning housing and communities? With increasing pressure on resources and space, and an increasingly volatile political climate how can we move from coping with aftermaths to try to mitigate risk before crises? Can design and architecture be a political act?

    Susi Platt (Architecture for Humanity's leading post-Tsunami reconstruction designer, Sri Lanka)
    Michael Rakowitz (Artist, New York; participating in Sharjah Biennial 8)
    Moderator: Mehdi Sabet (Associate Professor, Architecture & Interior Design, School of Architecture and Design, AUS)

    II. Resources: Truth and Materials
    How far are recycled or sustainable materials a consideration for artists, designers and architects? How do such considerations affect our experience/percepetion of materiality in art and the built environment? And how does this relate to wider questions of resources—water, energy, etc.?

    Mona El Mousfi (Sharjah Biennial architect and Assistant Professor, School of Architecture and Design, AUS)
    Tomás Saraceno (Artist and architect, Frankfurt; participating in Sharjah Biennial 8)

    3.00 –3.30pm: Coffee Break

    3.30 – 4.15pm: Feedback and Group Discussion

    4.15 – 5.15pm: In Conversation. ‘Kumar Shahani: Politics and the ecology of change’
    Mark Nash (curator of Sharjah Biennial 8 film programme; Director of the MA Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art, London) and Geeta Kapur (Critic and Curator, New Delhi, and member of the Jury for the 2007 Sharjah Biennial 8 Art Prize) in conversation about the work of Indian filmmaker Kumar Shahani.

    7.00 – 7.45pm: Presentation by OMA/ Rem Koolhaas, Reinier De Graaf at Qanat Al Qasba

    8.00pm: Film Programme Excerpt held at Qanat Al Qasba: The Form of the palace of Matsumae-kun’s Brothers 1, 1988 - Oki Hiroyuki – (17 min)

    8.30pm: Film Programme Excerpt held at Qanat Al Qasba: The Char Adhyay, 1997 - Kumar Shahani – (110min)

    FRIDAY 6 April

    Welcome by Michaela Crimmin, RSA Arts and Ecology Director, London

    4 – 5.30pm: Panel discussion: Offsetting / Upsetting. 'Art vs. issues'
    Much work in the field of art and ecology has emerged in the field of remedial actions in industrial sites. Today carbon trading and offsetting are, more abstractly, being proposed as a way of restoring the balance of the atmosphere. How might these two motions be linked? How or should the work of some artists might generally be regarded as a form of offsetting or redressing? How do some artists desire tangible palliative results, while others offer strategies of friction or resistance? What is more important, the issues or the art?

    Koyo Kouoh (Cultural producer, Arts Manager and Programming Consultant, Dakar)
    Peter Fend (Artist, Berlin; participating in Sharjah Biennial 8)
    Charles Esche (Director, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and member of the Jury for the 2007 Sharjah Biennial 8 Art Prize)
    Chair: Stephanie Smith (Director of Collections and Exhibitions, Curator of Contemporary Art, Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago)

    5.30 – 6pm: Break
    6 – 7pm: Jonathan Watkins (Co-curator, Sharjah Biennial 8 and Director Ikon Gallery, Birmingham) and Cornelia Parker (Artist, London; participating in Sharjah Biennial 8) to introduce Parker's project for Sharjah Biennial 8: Video interview with Noam Chomsky
    Followed by Q+A from the audience.

    7.30pm: Film Programme Excerpt held at Qanat Al Qasba: Darwin's Nightmare, Hubert Sauper, 2004 (107 min),

    SATURDAY 7 April

    4.30pm: Welcome back by Michaela Crimmin, RSA Arts and Ecology Director, London

    4.30 – 5.30pm: Artists' presentation: e-Xplo with Ayreen Anastas (Artists US/Austria; participating in Sharjah Biennial 8)

    5.30 – 7pm: Panel discussion: Urban Planning and the future city.
    What is the future of the city as a habitat for humanity? Increasingly dense housing, commercial, cultural, infrastructural and civic spaces seem to contradict our desire for space, openness and freedom. What lies ahead for the city as a living, symbiotic form of inanimate structure and animate inhabitants?

    Samir Srouji (Artist, Palestine; participating in Sharjah Biennial 8)
    Rula Sadik (General Manager, Design and Planning, The Design Group, Nakheel, Dubai)
    Samer Kamal (Founder, Bee’ah, Sharjah Environmental Company, Sharjah)
    Chair: George Katodrytis (Architect; Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture and Design, Professor of Architecture, AUS)

    7.30pm: Film Programme Excerpt held at Qanat Al Qasba: The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, Norman Cohn, Zacharias Kunuk, 2006 (112 min)

    Emirates Research Trip - Sharjah and Dubai

    Here are some photos from Latitudes research trip last week to the United Arab Emirates in connection with the upcoming Sharjah Biennial, April-June 2007. We are working on the symposium for SB8 in collaboration with RSA Arts & Ecology.

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