Global Art Forum Talks Highlight Power, Politics and Technology

May 4, 2015

In March, the ninth edition of the Global Art Forum took place in Dubai and Kuwait, with Creative Time Reports serving as a media partner for the event. This series of videos from the forum features artists, scholars and curators discussing a range of topics including state power, gender politics and the use and abuse of technology.

Heritage Engineering: A Conversation with GCC
The critic and curator Murtaza Vali talks with the eight members of GCC, an international artist collective formed in 2013, whose exhibition A Wonderful World Under Construction was on view at Sultan Gallery in Kuwait over the course of the Global Art Forum. GCC’s work deals with the language and imagery of commerce, diplomacy, civic ritual and state power in the Gulf region during an era of unprecedented development. Among the issues addressed in this discussion are strategies of institutional critique, the subversion of traditional gender roles and the challenges and joys of collaboration.

Aural Contract: The Voice Before the Law
Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s multidisciplinary work deals with the intersections of sound, politics and testimony. In this talk, Abu Hamdan describes the emergence of the field of forensic linguistics, a form of voice analysis that has been used by national border protection departments to determine the countries of origin and cultural backgrounds of immigrants, asylum seekers and criminals. Interweaving sound and music with his presentation, Abu Hamdan interrogates the problematic implications of legally determining an individual’s national identity on the basis of his or her speech profile.

Negotiations and Collaborations: Reflections from the Field
The researcher Al Anoud Al Sharekh sits down with the artist Manal Al Dowayan and the social psychologist May Al-Dabbagh to discuss their recent project Voice (re) Claimed. Central to this project is a series of interviews with Saudi women on topics such as national belonging, relationships, motherhood and the experience of being constantly scrutinized by the international media. Lifelong friends and now collaborators, Al Dowayan and Al-Dabbagh reflect on their experiences undertaking the project and discuss how technology both enables and limits collaborative work.

We Live in the Exoskeleton of the Internet
Omar Kholeif talks with the artist James Bridle about the importance of technology to his multidimensional art practice. Bridle’s ongoing research project The New Aesthetic explores how the visual language of digital technology has not only come to permeate our physical surroundings but has also influenced our faculties for viewing and making sense of the world. The topics addressed in this conversation include the technological glitch as a doorway into the underlying functioning of systems, Bridle’s projects about military drones and his strongly held view that educating people in computer programming and technology is a politically important task.