On Focus: Communal Knowledge at Large

Curated with The Showroom, London and Elvira Dyangani Ose

February 2020

Curated with The Showroom, London with Elvira Dyangani Ose, the 1-54 Forum programme was a series of workshops, panels, artist talks, performances and screenings that interrogated multiple practices of socially-engaged art, leading to the production of a new road map of organisational and institutional collective methodologies.

Speakers and contributors included Youness Atbane, M'barek Bouhchichi, Florence Devereux, Christine Eyene, Simohammed Fettaka, Jan Goossens, Katia Kameli, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Hansi Momodu-Gordon, Joe Namy, Sofiane Ouissi, Fatima-Zahra Lakrissa, Carlos Perez Marín, Francesca Masoero and Marie-Ann Yemsi.

The Programme

Curating as Collaborative Practice: THE FICTIONAL MARRAKECH BIENNALE

Within On focus: Communal Knowledge at Large, a laboratory of three events taking place at key intervals took on a workshop approach. Entitled, Curating as a Collaborative Practice, the laboratory provided ESAV students, local practitioners and other members of the public with the opportunity to observe, debate, and participate in a dialogue around three case studies, which take as a source their immediate context and the communities that inhabit them.

A speculative exhibition history exploring the performative attempt behind the formulation of The Fictional Biennale, an artist-driven project which questions the role and agency of artists in the absence of particular platforms of display. This laboratory takes as starting point Youness Atbane, M’barek Bouhchichi and Simohammed Fettaka’s inquiry and the ghostly imaginary their project generated, to expand their ideas and unveiled some of the fictional propositions they included in the ‘catalogue’ it archived in 2018. They will be joined by Florence Devereux, member of Mint Works and applicant to The Fictional Biennial.

ESAV, Ecole supérieure des arts visuels de Marrakech

Opening Remarks by programme curator Elvira Dyangani Ose

Context as Source

What are the fundamental mechanisms that establish curatorial remits or exhibition-making as a tool to read a context? How do curators and artists predominantly working on the edges or outside of a determined territory or arena successfully build the connections with art and non-art audiences? CHRISTINE EYENE (Art Historian, Critic and Curator of the Biennale Internationale de Casablanca), Sofiane Ouissi (Co-Founder of L’art Rue and director of Dream City) Jan Goossens (Artistic Director, Festival de Marseille and Dream City), and Marie-Ann Yemsi (Art Consultant and Curator) in conversation with Elvira Dyangani Ose.

 

Artist Talk: Kiluanji Kia Henda

Invested in a postcolonial imaginary beyond both conceptual and physical remains of the colonial era, artist Kiluanji Kia Henda’s work focuses on the role and engagement of individuals as participants of history writing and of the transformation of current or futuristic societies.

Disguised as a Dance Floor

A performance made of improvised happenings, Disguised as a Dance Floor focuses on the politics of bass, the subversive role of loud music and their effect on the body. Instigating an immersive experience in LE 18, artist JOE NAMY will create a space for new ways of listening with and through the body, creating situations for gestures, sounds and words that merge in ways that haven’t been previously accessible.

LE 18

Artist Talk: Katia Kameli

Artist Katia Kameli introduces us to her film trilogy, The Algerian Novel, in which she gathers a myriad of images to look at the complex relationships between notions of history and future.

Curating as Collaborative Practice: DREAM CITY

Within On focus: Communal Knowledge at Large, a laboratory of three events taking place at key intervals took on a workshop approach. Entitled, Curating as a Collaborative Practice, the laboratory provided ESAV students, local practitioners and other members of the public with the opportunity to observe, debate, and participate in a dialogue around three case studies, which take as a source their immediate context and the communities that inhabit them. 

Meeting an urgency to reclaim public spaces confined by officialdom and its institutions, Dream City is a bi-annual contemporary arts festival in the medina of Tunis, Tunisia, that aims to reimagine the city. Co-founder of arts association, L’art Rue, and director of the festival, Sofiane Ouissi and artistic director Jan Goossens, lead a session delving into the festival’s concept and materialisation. 

 

Enacting Agencies

Working across geographies, connecting with communities locally, highlighting aspects of craftmanship or vernacular knowledge. These are some of the defining aspects of projects such as Future Assembly, Caravane Tighmert and QANAT (Kibrit) whose founders Hansi Momodu-Gordon, Carlos Perez Marín and Francesca Masoero respectively will be in a discussion around models and methodologies for community based and peer-to-peer engagement projects.

À L’ÉPREUVE DU TAMIS

LE 18 features À L’épreuve du Tamis, a project aiming to explore different approaches to material and immaterial cultural heritage and knowledge within Moroccan contemporary art. Led by curator Fatima-Zahra Lakrissa, the artists participating in the exhibition will debate around an entanglement of concepts and traditions, restaging vernacular understanding and know-how.

LE 18

Curating as Collaborative Practice: COMMUNAL KNOWLEDGE

Based on the methodology developed by one of The Showroom’s pioneering programmes, Communal Knowledge, Elvira Dyangani Ose will lead a workshop interrogating the institutional possibilities of engaging with local communities on artistic projects. Generating playful and experimental reflections on social issues at stake in The Showroom’s local context, for the last ten years this programme has brought together different initiatives around art and social justice incorporating long-term research projects into existing community activities.

ESAV, Ecole supérieure des arts visuels de Marrakech