Cultural Manager & Curator

yasmin

I don_t belong here

I don’t belong here

I DON’T BELONG HERE أنا لا أنتمي الى هنا

Artist: Hamja Ahsan

In 2019, the artist Hamja Ahsan was awarded the Grand Prize of the 33rd Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts for his work Aspergistan Referendum. The artist invited visitors to the Biennial to vote in a referendum on whether they should join Aspergistan, an independent country of shy, introverted and autistic people. 72 per cent of the voters supported the artist’s proposal. With this call for autonomy, Hamja Ahsan breathed back into his art project Shy Radicals the rebellious character from which the project had sprung a few years earlier.

The project dates back to a few years before the publication of Ahsan’s book Shy Radicals: The Antisystemic Politics of the Militant Introvert (2017), a satirical work in which the author bases his critique of the hegemony of the dominant culture on the foundations of the anti-colonial theory in the context of a new world order that emerged with the so-called War on Terror as a result of the attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States. What was originally presented as an international campaign to destroy Al-Qaeda has led to a severe setback in democracy under the pretext of an untenable just war theory that places security above freedom and civil liberties and presupposes the existence of second-class citizens, racism and Islamophobia as defence strategies against the enemy allegedly hiding in our social network.

The exhibition toys with the positive outcome of the referendum at that time and shows the history of this activist movement against the dominance of the extroverts. It ironically addresses the repressive aspects of the state apparatus, the enforced polarisation of society and the relevance of individual initiative to bring about the necessary radical changes in the community.

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The 34th Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts: Iskra Delta

Exhibition of the Grand Prize Recipient of the 33rd Biennial of Graphic Arts Ljubljana

ZVKDS Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia

10 September – 21 November 2021

Artistic Director: Nevenka Šivavec
Production: International Centre of Graphic Arts
Support: The Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana, The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Ljubljana
Photos: Klemen Ilovar.   MGLC Archive.

Watch these videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_thz194FU0&t=175s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4WcQh6unmo

Bedtime Stories

Bedtime Stories

Artists: Pila Rusjan and Nung-Hsin Hu

The circumstances which led to the formation of the experimental interactive video project by Pila Rusjan and Nung-Hsin Hu are linked to the ECVP collaborative project known as The Exquisite Corpse Video Project. This is an original cross-cultural collaboration of artists working in experimental video and is inspired by the surrealist method of the ‘cadavre exquis’. The surrealist method was based on the randomness of the story assembled by the words or phrases added by different collaborators, whereas with ESVP, each participant produces a video piece created in response to the last ten seconds of the video by the preceding artist. Ten participants of the ECPV project formed the TRAFFIC JAM #1 video group. The artists first met at the Casa das Caleiras residency in São Paulo in 2010. TRAFFIC JAM #2, in which Pila Rusjan and Nung-Hsin Hu made the creative connection, went on in Taipei, as part of the Treasure Hill Artist Village residency programme from January to March 2012. In the intense atmosphere of creative collaboration, the two artists conceived the collaborative Bedtime Stories project.

The project springs from their own experience of loneliness in a foreign country and at the same time discusses the paradoxical situation of increasing solitude in a world characterized by intense communication aided by modern technologies. The interactive book and bed make up the audio-visual installation that creates an intimate and pleasant atmosphere, where visitors could browse through the book and choose their bedtime story. The stories that were projected onto the bed were presented in different forms, blurring the line between reality and dreams.

International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia

20 April 2012 – 17 June 2012

Support: The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Ljubljana
Photos: Jaka Babnik. MGLC Archive.

X-OP CULTURAL POLICY GROUP

X-OP Cultural Policy Group

Artists: Tatu Engeström, Kalle Hamm, Ritva Harle, Minna Henriksson, Mikko Lipiäinen, Antti Majava and Tero Nauha

The group was formed in the early summer 2010 when Bo Karsten, director of Art School Maa, and Johanna Fredriksson, producer working in the Helsinki-leg of X-OP network, invited some artists for meetings in Maa-Tila project space. According to the initial plan the purpose of the meetings was to come up with an artistic program for the then forthcoming X-OP Festival, which was organized to coincide with the X-OP meeting in Helsinki. In the meetings more urgent, than to propose individual artworks to the festival, seemed to be discussing the trends in the cultural policy of Finland.

At the time acute issues were the plans to completely restructure the Finnish Arts Council (but partly due to strong opposition by artist unions it did not happen), and the new cultural policy plan of the Ministry of Education and Culture, which was being prepared with a long-term span of the next 35 years (the plan got published last winter). Also, strong concerns were directed toward the overall shift in the cultural discourse and atmosphere in Finland toward neo-liberalism. Parts of this are high profile projects by the government, the cities and the private sector, where art is merely a branding tool of neighbourhoods, cities and the country. Also characteristic to neo-liberalism are preferences on an institutional level toward commercially oriented activities such as art fairs, private galleries and consulting agencies rather than supporting knowledge production in museums and research centres.

What all members of the cultural-political group X-OP have in common is that they regard art as an instrument for participating in debate and discussion in society rather than as a channel for autonomous and personal self-expression, and therefore address current local social and political issues in their work.

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KiBela / KIBLA Maribor, Slovenia

23 May 2011 – 30 May 2011

Production: MMC KIBLA
Support: EU-EACEA, Culture Programme, Brussels, Slovenian Ministry of Culture, Municipality of Maribor and Office of Youth
KiBela programme is part of the European X-OP project.
Photos: KID KIBLA Archive.

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