For March Meeting 2019, the annual international conference organized by Sharjah Art Foundation on off-biennial years, and by Sharjah Biennial curators on biennial years, I forewent the conference format and opted instead for a two-day performance programme + talk series across Look for Me All Around You’s three main venues, in the city of Kalba and in the Emirate of Umm Al Quwain on March 8 and back in Sharjah in Bait Al Shamsi and Al Mureijah Square on March 9.
The two-day programme presented performances, films, talks and landscapes spanning the United Arab Emirates, from the Gulf of Oman in the east to the Arabian Gulf in the west. Taking place across two emirates, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain, and two cities, Kalba and Sharjah City, the programme is a journey that both retraces and anticipates diasporic movements, speculative flows and extractives uses of human and natural resources scattered across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, exposing models of modernity under scrutiny. The programme evolved from contemporary forms of public address and modes of embodiment that resist solidification and codification, reification and canonisation, to trembling gestures and passing presences, elusive sounds, flickering lights and interrupted motions that ultimately unfold into idea-forms of history and futurity. Performances featured works by Mohau Modisakeng, Isabel Lewis, Nikolaus Gansterer, Torkwase Dyson, Carlos Martiel, Ulrik López, Meschac Gaba, Peter Friedl, Eisa Jocson and Tracey Rose. Guest speakers included Yarimar Bonilla, Fabian Villegas, Imani Brown, Michael Marder, Felwine Sarr, Alexandre Kazerouni, Aisha Bilkhair, and Philippe Rahm.
A guest lecture at the Black Embodiments Studios, the arts writing incubator and public lecture series rooted in expansive and dynamic investigations of blackness in contemporary art led by Kemi Adeyemi. I presented Look for Me All Around You: Aporia and Diaspora based on my investigation of conditions of creative, resistive or dispossessive blackness in contemporary cultural life and artistic creation up til my eponymous project for Sharjah Biennial 14.
10.12. Black Modernisms Seminar: Afro-Oceanic Modernisms: The Case of Indian Ocean Black Diasporas
Part 1/2 of the Black Modernisms Seminar at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts (CASVA), National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. I presented the paper Afro-Oceanic Modernisms: The Case of Indian Ocean Black Diasporas in contemporary artistic practice based on my current research of and commissioning process around the topic for my curatorial platform for Sharjah Biennial 14. Directed by Huey Copeland and Steven Nelson, the seminar includes Sylvester Ogbechie, Kobena Mercer, Adrienne Edwards and more. It will result in a publication.
A series of presentations and discussion introduced and moderated by SVA / MA Curatorial Practice Brian Kuan Wood with fellow Sharjah Biennial 14 curator Zoe Butt and Sharjah Art Foundation President and Director Hoor Al Qasimi, followed by Q&A from students and general audience members. I introduced Look for Me All Around You, my curatorial platform for the biennial.
I presented Of Heterochronotopia and African Diaspora Space: Towards Caribbean Curatorial Spatial Practices at MoMA’s C-MAP (Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives) Latin America seminar alongside Branislav Jakovljević (Central and Eastern Europe group) and Anoma Pieris (Asia group) as part of the workshop Performing Identities: Self-fashioning in Visual Culture and Architecture. Putting forth the notion of “heterochronotopia” as an “always-already othered time-space (dis-)continuum”, I argued that for the formation of resistant spaces / spatial infrastructures of fugitivity within African diasporic spatial practices with a view to investigating their possible adaptability to global spaces of diasporization. The following day, I introduced a small the carnival performance practice of artist Peter Minshall in an audio-visual presentation including Minshall: Mas of the Millennium, the short I co-produced and co-edited with Abigail Hadeed in Trinidad in 2017 to (re-)introduce the celebrated Caribbean masman and artist to contemporary art audiences.
Discussion and audience Q & A with Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe moderated by Lafayette Anticipations curator Charles Aubin following their lecture performance “The next ‘invasive” is native.” I provided a response from a French context to the postcolonial framework laid out in the book and eponymous project, The Empire Remains Shop, which focuses on the UK and its former colonies.
A panel discussion, Techno Techne Tech, with Basilea artist Isabel Lewis and Tate Modern Performance curator Catherine Wood, moderated by Tate Modern Film curator Andrea Lissoni. The discussion revolved around Isabel Lewis’ inquiry into the meaning of contemporary rituals of gathering in the wake of her contribution to Basilea, a series of public workshops that assembled and interwove a selection of techniques from contemporary dance, performance, moving meditation and Parkour, into a hybrid bodily praxis.
Small Axe: A Caribbean Platform for Criticism is bringing together 10 contemporary artists and 10 writers from the global Caribbean in an initial conversation about The Visual Life of Social Affliction (VLoSA) that will culminate in a curated art exhibition and catalogue in 2019 featuring new work by the artists gathered and new critical essays by the writers paired with them. Artists + Writers pairings include Blue Curry + Chandra Frank, Marcel Pinas + Nicole Smythe-Johnson, Ricardo Edwards + Yolanda Wood. I was in discussion with artist Kara Springer.
The Little Haiti Cultural Center hosted a conversation between author and Rutgers University Professor Yarimar Bonilla, Johanna Auguiac and myself around her book Non-Sovereign Futures: French Caribbean Politics in the Wake of Disenchantment. The book, which problematizes the notion of self-governance in the French Caribbean and the Caribbean at large, was a major source of inspiration for Hétéronomonde.
The Museo de Arte São Paulo (MASP) has been organizing the Histórias Afro-Atlânticas Seminar in preparation for an exhibition of the same title to commemorate the centennial of the abolition of slavery in Brazil. Co-organized by Instituto Tomie Ohtake, the exhibition will gather a wide array of artworks and documents related to the “flows and reflows” (as Pierre Verger used to put) between Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe. I was invited to participate along with colleagues including Denise Ferreira da Silva, Chika Okeke-Agulu, Kalia Brooks, Tumelo Mosaka, Huey Copeland, Ayrson Heráclitos and others and presented Roadworks: The Independent Mas Movement in the Trinidad Carnival along an in-progress version of Minshall: Mas of the Millennium, the video interview I co-edited and co-produced with Abigail Hadeed during the Trinidad Carnival 2017.
As part of the INSIDE/OUT Lecture Series, I delivered the talk Mas’ in the Museum: Carnival, Performance and Exhibition drawing from my historicization of the modern carnivals of the Americas, conceptualisation of the contemporary practice of processional performance and contextualization of the notion of roadwork. I shared insights into my decade-long critical engagement with post-Bakthninian Carnival theory and curatorial experimentation with large-scale public performance against the practice and discourse of performance in contemporary art and asked:
How can Carnival occupy the location of the institution? What position can mas perform in the museum? Where should roadworks occur outside of the territory of the road understood not as the space of the street but rather as both an escape from and perpetual return to the Middle Passage? I also shared an in-progress version of Minshall: Mas of the Millennium, the video interview I co-edited and co-produced with Abigail Hadeed during the Trinidad Carnival 2017.
I also shared an in-progress version of Minshall: Mas of the Millenium, the video interview I short during the Trinidad Carnival 2017 and produced with Abigail Hadeed.
10.11 Curating Carnival
On the occasion of the exhibition 50 Years of Leeds West Indian Carnival at The Tetley, I was invited to discuss the history and legacy of the Leeds West Indian Carnival with exhibition curator Sonya Dyer and researcher Tola Dabiri in a panel moderated by Gill Park of the University of Manchester.
07.11 Of Roadworks and Wandering Artworks: Circum-Atlantic to Pacific Rim
Connective Conversations Series: Of Roadworks and Wandering Artworks: Circum-Atlantic to Pacific Rim
A key element of The Ford Family Foundation’s Visual Arts Program, the Connective Conversations | Curator and Critic Tour organized in collaboration with Pacific Northwest College of Art / Center for Contemporary Art and Culture about (PNCA / CCAC) brings professional curators and critics from outside the Northwest to conduct one-on-one studio visits with established Oregon artists, deliver lectures, and join in community conversations. At the invitation of PNCA director Mac McFarland, I conducted a dozen of studio visits over four days and delivered the lecture Of Roadworks and Wandering Artworks: Circum-Atlantic to Pacific Rim with fresh new insights into Atlantic/Pacific relationships.
An invitation to reflect on the diasporic in contemporary artistic practice in France organized by artist Nathalie Muchamad focusing specifically on the notions of “carnivalization of identities” and the experience of carnival’s power of disidentification. The program, entitled WETRANSFER: Diasporic and Situated Knowledge and held at Bétonsalon in Paris, also included artists Jean-François Boclé, Tarek Lakhrissi and Mukerem Tuncay and the cultural organization Mémorial ACTe.Skype intervention: a response to Muchamad’s and Boclé’s video essays that stemmed from their experience of the Guadeloupe Carnival in its activist version as mas, framed against my own theorization of the modern carnivals of the Americas in the aftermath of the Middle Passage.
As part of Tilting Axis 3: Curating the Caribbean, I participated in the panel The Spaces of Exhibitions: Traditional vs Non-Traditional Spaces moderated by Tobias Ostrander of PAMM with Sean Leonard of Alice Yard and Eungie Joo. Tilting Axis is organized by ARC Magazine and Fresh Milk with support from Perez Art Museum Miami and Res Artis.Paper: Roadworks: Processional Performance and the Diasporic Articulation of the Curatorial.Borrowing from Christopher Cozier’s characterization of the artwork of masman Peter Minshall as roadwork, and reflecting upon Homi Bhabha’ assessment of William Kentridge’s processional ethics, I proposed processional performance as an articulation of the curatorial under conditions of diaspora and dispossession.Watch the 25-min video here.
The Entertainment and Art Law Society of Tulane Law School invited Claire Tancons to reflect upon issues of copyright and intellectual property based upon her experience working at the intersection of Carnival and processional performance within a global art context.Q&A: Carnival & Copyright, an informal exchange between curator Claire Tancons and Tulane Law School students and faculty building upon curatorial practice and
legal expertise to articulate the ethical challenges inherent in working with creative communities in the public sphere.
On the occasion of editor Jason Farago’s interview with Matthew Barney for their new issue, Even Magazine http://evenmagazine.com/ is organizing screening of Barney’s rarely-seen film De lama lâmina, shot during carnival in Salvador de Bahia in 2008.Conversation:Post-screening conversation between Even Magazine editor Jason Farago ,De Lâma Lamina performer, musician and composer Melvin Gibbs and Claire Tancons
The annual Mixed Media Lecture of the Art History Department at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) coordinated by Monica Amor. Recent mixed-media lecture series have featured Amelia Mesa-Baines, Rick Lowe and Shamim S. Momin.Lecture: Sidelong Glance and Sideway Steps: The Processional Side of Performance
Cranbrook Academy of Art’s lecture series considers the consequences of globalization on creative practice and social engagement – from issues of cultural homogenization to the politicized body to neo-liberalism – and questions how pressure for global cultures and multiple identities fuels the communication of ideas. Other guests speakers in the series this year include Kristi McGuire, Sampada Aranke and Ebony G. Patterson.Lecture: Carnival is not the CostumeVisiting Critic Claire Tancons discusses her work on Carnival-inflected performance at the invitation of Fiber Art Department Artist-in-Residence Mark Newport.
03.18-19. Animate Entities: Objects in Performance
A Gathering of scholars, poets, puppeteers, curators, and artists at the University of Toronto for two days of public presentations, dialogues and performances organized by Gabriel Levine at the Jackman Humanities Institute, Program for the Arts, Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies, University of Toronto
Keynote: Flesh as Object in Circum-Atlantic Performance. A Critique of the Exhibitionnary Complex
03.12-13. The ninth edition of Sharjah Art Foundation’s March Meetings, Education, Engagement and Participation, will consider how institutions, initiatives, curators and artists have increasingly prioritised their relationships with audiences and communities through current thinking around ideas of education, engagement and participation.
Panel discussion: Curating as Communities with Ahmed El Attar, Zoe Butt, Susanna Chung and Claire Tancons
A conference by Claire Tancons, associate curator of the first biennial edition of Printemps de septembre, at l’Institut Supérieur des Arts de Toulouse, at the invitation of Les Amis du Printemps de septembre. In this conference, titled etcetera after the name of her project, Tancons will address the question of what a contemporary civic ritual could be in France today.
04.25. Paradiso: Performing the Renaissance conference organized by RoseLee Goldberg and Adrienne Edwards with artist Shahzia Sikander and Alexander Nagel, Mark Franko, Christopher Heuer, Kate Lowe, Katharine Park, Alessandra Russo, Pamela Smith, and Rebecca Zorach, Performa Institute at New York University
Invited lecture: “Works of Art Wandering through the Streets”: Processional Performance and the Expansion of the Exhibitionary Complex
04.04. Victor Harris’ 50th Anniversary Masking Indian and Walking in the Spirit of Fi Yi Yi, Dillard University, New Orleans
Invited lecture: The Spirit of Fi Yi Yi: Exhibiting the African Diasporic Aesthetics of Mardi Gras Indian Practice in the work of Victor Harris, Big Chief of the Mandingo Warriors
03.19. ARE YOU ALIVE OR NOT? Looking at ART Through the Lens of THEATRE curated conference with Claire Bishop, Claire Tancons, David Weber-Krebs and Joanna Warsza organized by Gabriëlle Schleijpen, Rietveld Academy’s Studium Generale at De Brakke Grond Theatre, Amsterdam
Trialogue with folklorist Jack Santino and artist Florian Göttke: Carnival of Griefs and Shrines to Democracy
02.14. The Politics of Carnival, international conference organized by Aurélie Godet and Maria Laura Réali with Samuel Kinser, Denis-Constant Martin, Milla Cozart Riggio and Helen Regis among others, Paris Diderot – Paris 7 University
Closing keynote: Carnivalscape: A Circum-Atlantic Genealogy of Carnival
11.17. Question of Practice, Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia
Conversation with Kristy Edmunds
09.29. On Publicness, Tate Modern, London
Conversation with Catherine Wood and panel discussion with Santiago Serra and Chantal Mouffe, moderated by Jen Harvie
04.05. The New Performance Turn, its Histories and its Institutions international conference organized by Cosmin Costinas and Ana Janevski, Para Site, Hong Kong
Invited lecture: Carnival: A Genealogy of Performance
11.06. MOVE…ment journal, Witte de With, Rotterdam
Magazine launch with Federica Bueti and Jan Vanwoert
05.04. Black Collectivities: Contemporary Collective Formations in Africa and its Diasporas conference, organized by Huey Copeland and Naomi Beckwith, MCA Chicago
Invited lecture: Taking It To the Streets: Of Public Ceremonial Culture and African Diasporic Aesthetic and Political Practices
03.14. Beyond the Arab Spring: The Aesthetics and Politics of Popular Revolt international conference organized by Pnina Werbner, Martin Webb and Kathryn Spellman, Aga-Khan University, London
Invited lecture: Carnival, Capitalism and Slavery. Carnival Periodization as Prefigurative Politics
02.01. Office of Possibilities, CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw
Invited lecture: Carnival, Procession, Protest – Performance, Reenactment, Protest (on Occupy Wall Street)
01.21. Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc: Les Orphelins de Fanon conference, La Ferme du Buisson, Noisiel
Invited lecture: L’An 1 de l’Occupation Américaine (sur Occupy Wall Street)
10.12. Institutions by Artists: The Convention, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver
Conversation with Christopher Cozier of Alice Yard
05.13. Exhibiting Slavery, Methodologies and Practices International colloquium organized by Françoise Vergès, Quai Branly Museum, Paris
Invited lecture: Carnival as a Site of Memory for Slavery
03.31. Terceira Metade / Third Half conference, Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro
Invited lecture: Carnaval do Sublime
03.18. Fillip magazine launch, The Western Front, Vancouver
Conversation with Jesse McKee
03.01. Black Jacobins: Negritude in a post-global 21st century conference organized by International Curators Forum, ATRIUM, Fort-de-France
Invited lecture: Curating Carnival or the Paradox of Performance in Contemporary Caribbean Art Discourse and Display
10.23. Something You Should Know seminar organized by Patricia Falguières, Elisabeth Lebovici, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Natasa Petresin-Bachele, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris
Invited lecture: Pratique curatoriale interculturelle, le Paradigme du Carnaval et le Paradoxe de l’Art Performance
10.16. Research Forum Seminar organized by Sarah Wilson, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London
Invited lecture: Cross-Cultural Curating, The Carnival Paradigm and the Paradox of Performance Art
10.06. The Laboratory organized by Stina Edblom, University of Göteborg
Invited lecture: Carnival Return or Carnivalesque Turn. On the Paradox of Performance in Contemporary Art Practice
05.14. The Task of the Curator: Translation, Intervention and Innovation in Exhibitionary Practice International Academic Conference organized by Lucian Gomoll and Lissette Olivares University of California at Santa Cruz
Invited lecture: Carnival as Art, Procession as Exhibition. Art, Agency, and the Re-Possession of Perception
02.11. StudioFilmClub presented by Peter Doig, Port of Spain
Lecture and screening of Carnaval da Vitória (1978) by António Ole
Contemporary Curatorial Practice Lecture series, Platform 3, Munich
Invited lecture: Carnival: Another Relational Aesthetics
10.26. Guest Speakers Series, SUNY, Buffalo
Invited lecture: Circum-Atlantic Carnivals: Art from New Worlds
10.23. Art on Parade: Between Procession and Demonstration, Carnival and Spectacle, Goethe Institute, New York
Panel discussion with Marlon Griffith, Arto Lindsay and Jennifer Scott organized in collaboration with Tobi Maeir
5.19. On Biennials International festival, C Festival Arte Contemporanea, Faenza
Conversation with Arto Lindsay