Global Art Forum_7, the leading platform for cultural discussion and debate, explores Definitionism in 2013. Featuring commissioned projects and research, as well as six days of live talks, the Forum brings together a diverse lineup of artists, musicians, curators, strategists, writers and thinkers. It begins at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha (March 17–18, 2013) and continues at Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah (March 20–23).
The Global Art Forum was launched by Art Dubai at its inaugural fair in 2007. Bringing together protagonists from the art world and beyond for a week of talk and performance, the Forum has become known as a particularly innovative platform, with an emphasis on issues prevalent in the Middle East and Asia. The Global Art Forum is presented by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), and is held in partnership with Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (Qatar Museums Authority).
In 2013, the programme is directed by Istanbul-based writer/editor HG Masters, and commissioned by writer/curator Shumon Basar. Titled IT MEANS THIS, the forum explores the concept of definitionism: investigating the words, terms, clichés and misunderstandings that proliferate in the art world and beyond. The Forum attempts to (re)define words, phrases and ideas we think we know, and those we need to know, to navigate the 21st century.
Each session or element of the Forum takes on a keyword; some are terms we use every day—such as Heritage, Biography, Freezone, Score and Place (looking particularly at how the cities Lagos and Ramallah having been shaped by writers and artists). Other terms may be less familiar—including Academese, Advert Adverts, Drone Fiction, MENA (Middle East Nervous Anxiety), or Neologism. The eclectic lineup of Forum contributors are set to pick apart these terms through talks, debates, performances, TV clips, new publications, films, music, long-term research projects, and so much more.
Global Art Forum_7 features over 40 contributors. New participants include Dubai-based political scientist Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla; poet and author Mourid Barghouti (I Saw Ramallah, among other books); artist and former REM lead singer Michael Stipe; writer-editors Charles Arsene-Henry, Brian Kuan Wood (Editor, e-flux journal) and Guy Mannes-Abbott (author, In Ramallah, Running); artists Tarek Atoui, Tristan Bera, Manal Al Dowayan, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Shuruq Harb, Hassan Khan, Slavs and Tatars, Ala Younis; writers Elif Batuman (contributor, New Yorker), Maryam Monalisa Gharavi (Editor-at-Large, The New Inquiry), Oscar Guardiola-Rivera (author of What if Latin America Ruled the World?); Lagos-based writer-editor Tolu Ogunlesi; writer/urbanist Keller Easterling (Professor, Yale University); curator-translator and Dar Al-Ma’mun founder, Omar Berrada; curators Reem Fadda (Associate Curator, Middle Eastern Art, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project, and curator, National Pavilion for the UAE at the Venice Biennial), Koyo Kouoh (Director, Raw Material Company, Dakar), Bisi Silva (director, CCA Lagos) and Tirdad Zolghadr (writer, based at Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York); New York-based anthropologist Uzma Z. Rizvi (Assistant Professor, Pratt Institute); composer and musician Andre Vida; and Doha-based analyst and commentator Tarik Yousef.
Speakers returning from previous years include writer and artist Douglas Coupland; curator Lara Khaldi (Director, Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre, Ramallah); geostrategist and Director of Hybrid Reality Institute Parag Khanna; Turi Munthe, founder of ‘citizen journalist’ newswire Demotix; Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects, Serpentine Gallery, London, Hans Ulrich Obrist; art patron and commentator Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi; and the Beirut-based critic Kaelen Wilson-Goldie.
The Global Art Forum_7 features a range of commissions, including a series of “advert breaks” by upcoming artists Lantian Xie and Abdullah Al Mutairi, and two publications—Biography (contributors; Victoria Camblin, Douglas Coupland, Suna Kafadar, James Westcott, Charly Wilder) and Drone Fiction (contributors; Rayya Badran, Josh Begley, Hu Fang, Guy Mannes-Abbott, Tod Wodicka).
Other discussions at Art Dubai include Terrace Talks, a series of high-level one-on-one conversations between key protagonists from the arts scenes of the Middle East and Asia, each year focusing on particular themes and developments.