(Part 1) In pictures: Fifth March Meeting, 17–19 March 2012, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Sign marking directions to the March Meeting venues.

Latitudes participated in the March Meeting (17–19 March 2012), a three-day symposium organised by the Sharjah Art Foundation which featured presentations by around 80 artists, art professionals and institutions working on the production and presentation of art. The programme of this fifth edition focused on Working With Artists and Audiences on Commissions and Residencies and comprised a series of lectures, debates and breakout sessions that took place in Dar Al Nadwa and other locations around Sharjah's Heritage Area.

More images of the fifth March Meeting and other related events on our Flickr.

 Arrival day – Tour to the Barjeel Art Foundation (collection of Sultan Bin Sooud Al-Qassemi) and the Maraya Art Centre, Al Qasba.

The opening of the exhibition "Ziad Antar: Portrait of a Territory" by Lebanese artist Ziad Antar, Collections Building, Heritage Area, Sharjah. Curated by Christine Macel, Chief Curator, Musée National D’Art Moderne Centre Pompidou Paris.
 
 Day 1 – Registration desk at Dar Al Nadwa in Sharjah's Calligraphy Square, the venue where most of the talks took place.

As announced in a previous post, Latitudes presented on the first day two case studies of commissions and residencies as participants in the panel "Minding the Gap: the Critical Role of Smaller Organisations" alongside Hu Fang (Vitamin Creative Space, China), Daniella Rose King (MASS Alexandria, Egypt) and moderated by Samar Martha (ArtSchool Palestine, Palestine). 

 Panel "Minding the Gap: the Critical Role of Smaller Organisations". Photo: Alfredo Rubio/Sharjah Art Foundation 

Latitudes during their presentation. Photo: Alfredo Rubio/Sharjah Art Foundation.

Firstly, Latitudes introduced the commission in the context of 'Portscapes' that was developed from its invitation to the Rotterdam-based artist and editorial duo Fucking Good Art (FGA) to live and work for a month in Rotterdam's Maasvlakte, and secondly, presented a commission addressed to Latitudes in the context of 'The Last Newspaper' in which we worked in the New Museum galleries for 3 months editing a weekly newspaper which became an incremental catalogue based on the micro-community of the exhibition.

 Lunch breaks took place at the beautiful Bait Al Naboodah, a two-storey house from 1845.

Plaque marking the entrance to the Bait Obaid Bin Eissa Al Naboodah house.

 Guests were treated to wonderful Emirati food.

At the end of the first day, the film "1395 Days without Red" by Anri Sala was premiered at Sharjah's Institute of Theatrical Arts. Šejla Kameric's film was screened on the 18 March at the courtyard of Bait Al Shamsi, Arts Area, Sharjah. Commissioned by UK's Artangel.

 Second day – Panellists getting ready for the discussion on "The Importance of Site". With Yusaku Imamura (Tokyo Wonder Site, Japan), Adam Sutherland (Grizedale Arts, UK), Khalil Abdulwahid (Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, UAE), Lu Jie (Long March Space, China) and moderated by Anne Barlow (Art in General, USA).

Day 2 – Panel "Artist as nomad" with Basma Alsharif, Ziad Antar, Šejla Kamerić, Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen and moderated by Sama Alshaibi (University of Arizona, USA).

Day 3 – Panel "The Biennial as Commissioning Agent" with Paul Domela (Liverpool Biennial, UK), Yuko Hasegawa (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Japan & curator of the forthcoming Sharjah Biennial 2013), Abdellah Karroum (independent art researcher, publisher and curator, Morocco), Riyas Komu (Kochi Biennale Foundation, India) and moderated by Marieke van Hal (Biennial Foundation, Greece).

Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi, President of the Sharjah Art Foundation, giving her closing remarks of the March Meeting 2012.

 Day 3 – Final drinks and snacks at Bait Al Naboodah before Tarek Atoui's performance at the Calligraphy Square. During the drinks, Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi announced the recipients of the 2012 Production Grants worth a total of 200,000 U$: Sean Gullette, Mario Rizzi and Lindsay Seers. The grants were judged by PS1 curator Peter Eleey, artist Isak Berbic, and Sharjah Art Foundation President Hoor Al Qasimi. More here.

Impressive setting for Tarek Atoui's performance "Revisiting Tarab" at the Calligraphy Square. Photo: Sharjah Art Foundation.

Tarek Atoui's (Lebanon 1980, lives in Paris) 5.5-hour-long incredible performance "Revisiting Tarab" involved the participation of 17 musicians and sound artists. Atoui writes: 

"Tarab" is used in Arab culture to describe the emotional effect of music, and refers to the older repertoire rooted in the pre-World War I musical practice of Egypt and the East Mediterranean Arab world. In the occasion of Performa 2011, Atoui invited musicians and sound artists to travel to Beirut to explore the world's most extensive collection of Classical Arab music owned by Lebanese collector Kamal Kassar, which comprises over 5,000 old 78rpm shellac discs and tapes dating from 1903 to 1950s. Participants selected excerpts from the collection and independently composed their own interpretations of both the content and its possibilities in relation to the history of "Tarab". 

(...) The structure and orchestration of the "Re-visiting Tarab" performance is inspired by the rules of the traditional wasla –literally meaning a connection or chaining together. In Egyptian music and Near East is a suite of several vocal and instrumental pieces composed and improvised anchored to the same maqam or harmonic mode– that compiles and shifts between musical forms such as the dulab – a short melodic and rhythmic introduction – the taqsim – an instrumental solo improvisation– and the muwashah – a song based on an Arab-Andalusian or Oriental poem. The performance was produced by Sharjah Art Foundation with the support of AMAR Foundation. More info: http://www.visitingtarab.com

20 March: Guests waiting to take the bus to Kalba opposite the Sharjah Art Museum.

On the last day a group of guests and journalists were taken 110km from Sharjah city to Kalba, the third most important city in the Emirate, on its east coast, whose road extends up to the border with Oman. Here the Sharjah Art Foundation is currently readapting a 200m2 concrete building by the creek to become the Kalba Art Centre, planned to open in a years time. (Ziad Antar’s ongoing exhibition "Portrait of a Territory" at Sharjah's Collection Building, includes photo documentation of this coastline taken between 2004 and 2011.)

 Judith Greer, Associate Director of International Programmes at the Sharjah Art Foundation,
holds a map of the area where Kalba's future art centre will be while Hisham Al Madhloum, director of the Sharjah Directorate of Art, points out the location and particularities of Kalba and its surroundings.
Bus nearby Kalba's creek, a mangrove swamp.

The future site of the Kalba Art Centre occupies a total area of 13,000 m2 and in the 1970s was originally intended to be used as a fish fertiliser factory but is now intermittently used as an ice factory and a boat repair shop. The former factory will have a space for exhibitions, a cafeteria, spaces for workshops and host artist residencies, and will be managed and programmed by the Sharjah Art Foundation.

  
 Façade of the future Kalba Art Centre. This triple height pitched space overlooks the protected mangroves and heritage area across the creek.

 Interior space of the future Kalba Art Centre.

Back in Sharjah, we did a final tour to see the show "What should I do to live in your life?" at Bait Al Serkal, opposite the Sharjah Art Museum, which presented film works by Lee Kit, Minouk Lim, João Vasco Paiva, Part-time Suite and Yuk King Tan.

Entrance to Bait Al Serkal exhibition space.


All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except where noted otherwise in the photo caption)

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.




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.





Peter Fend ARABIAN GULF INTEGRATION ROOM

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.
DRAFT PRICE LIST
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.






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 | www.lttds.org




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?

Panelists:
Sarah Rich (Managing Editor, Worldchanging and inhabitat.com, 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?

Panelists:
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?

Panelists:
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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