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Panel: Flex the Format: The Future of Institutions in Beirut


October 31, 2018

Panel: Flex the Format: The Future of Institutions in Beirut

From 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm

Beirut Art Center

Over the last twenty years, the art world in the middle east has undergone a radical shift. Institutions of a whole range have proliferated – artist-run spaces, museums, biennials, research and art educational programs – all of which have drawn an international network of artists, curators, and other practitioners.

These institutions, like all institutions today, operate under the material conditions brought about by late capitalism and neoliberal policies. They are faced with the quandaries of gentrification, near-absolute commodification of artwork, absence of state funding and reliance on private sponsorship, censorship, the rampancy of human rights discourse, and the precariousness of labor. Under such circumstances, and in light of Beirut Art Center’s imminent move in early 2019, it is time to consider the potential future of institutions in Beirut, while also considering institutional models globally.

This series of panel discussions will begin to deliberate on how to flex the format of institutions, i.e. their increasingly rigid programs, bureaucratic processes and mode of operation. How can we rethink institutions beyond their infrastructure? What kind of adaptable format can we imagine could be up to the task of responding to the specific needs of the time – and what are those needs? It will equally be necessary to consider the ethical practices of institutions and their most prominent players, and what is yet to be done in such a deregulated field.

Giovanni Carmine is a curator and art critic. He studied art history, Italian literature, and history of cinema between the universities of Lausanne and Zurich (1995-2004). He worked at the Kunstraum Walcheturm in Zurich. Since 2007, he is the director of the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen (www.k9000.ch), where he has curated more than 50 exhibitions. In 2013, he curated the Swiss pavilion at the Venice Biennale with a show by Valentin Carron. He also has extensive practice as an independent curator and writer. In 2001 he was awarded with the Swiss Art Award for curatorial excellence. He currently lives and works between Zurich and St. Gallen.

Marie Muracciole is an art critic, a writer and an independent curator based in Beirut and Paris. Since February 2014 she has been the head of Beirut Art Center. Her lastest publications include: Lights, Camera, Movement, Film Praxis in the work of Zineb Sedira in Zineb Sedira (Sharjah Foundation), 2018, Transports (Prière de toucher) in Pierre-Lin Renié, D’autres jours / On Other Days, 2017, Contrecourants: à propos d’Allan Sekula et d’Aerospace, in Jeux sérieux, (HEAD), 2015, Something New About Plants, Genealogy Tree, in Yto Barrada (JPRingier), 2013; A Love Story, Transportations, in Amar Kanwar: Evidence (Fotomuseum Winterthur/Steidl), 2012; Memory’s body. “Retrospective” by Xavier Le Roy, in Texte Zur Kunst, 2011/12; It Is Your First Mirage Sophie, on Guy de Cointet, Texte zur Kunst n°82, 2011; Tomorrow Never Knows, Peter Roehr, in 20/27 n°5, 2010. She is the French editor of Écrits sur la photographie, Allan Sekula, éditions de l’ENSBA, Paris, 2013, and Photography at Work: Allan Sekula, 2017, Beirut Art Center.

Rana Elnemr is a visual artist based and working with Cairo’s art scene and larger urban environment. Her artistic practice moves from formalist explorations of photography as a medium to genre-bending visual essays of her surroundings in Egypt. Her practice is anchored in questioning what it means to live and experience the city, through recording, describing and reflecting on this experience via photography, film, texts and conversations. Rana’s artistic process incorporates formal image-making techniques with contemporary artistic practices and it strives to integrate various forms of collaborations in different constellations, such as trans-disciplinary collaborations and alternative pedagogical practices among many others. She was one of the founders of the Contemporary Image Collective (CIC) in 2004 and remains an active board member.