Frieze Projects - Symposium

Working Across Continents: A day of conversations about Operndorf Afrika

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The starting point for this one-day series of conversations is German artist Christoph Schlingensief’s Operndorf Afrika, an ongoing project in Burkina Faso since 2008, which was presented at Frieze London 2016 as part of Frieze Projects. 

The intent was to build an infrastructure for a social space where everyday-life, education and art would merge, enabling people from different backgrounds to engage in artistic exchange. Instead of reproducing the rhetoric of selfless aid or social interest, Schlingensief had set out to reverse North-South relations by asserting that the West must 'learn from Africa'. At the same time Schlingensief acknowledged the risk of romanticising the motto of 'learning from', and remained extremely wary about the possibility of achieving a genuine connection across the two global contexts - a wariness that is reflected in UK artist Sonia Boyce’s question in our title, 'how cultural differences might be articulated, mediated and enjoyed'.

With an increasing number of artists and curators from Western Europe seeking to realise projects in the Global South and Far East, the aim of the day is to discuss the interests and the realities involved in presenting projects and artworks out of their locale, and to raise the diverse ambitions behind international art projects. Now that the Western art world is finally opening up to showing work from outside North America and Western Europe, how successful are we in avoiding binaries and stereotypes given conflicting social and political contexts, the legacy of colonialism, and fiscal inequalities?

Programmed by Marcel Bleuler (artasfoundation), Michaela Crimmin (Culture+Conflict) and Raphael Gygax (Frieze Projects), speakers include: David A. Bailey, curator and director of the International Curators Forum; Reema Salha Fadda, commissioning editor (reviews) for Ibraaz; Alexander Koch, co-director of KOW and New Patrons, Berlin; Aino Laberenz, director of Operndorf Afrika; Uriel Orlow, artist; Pooja Sood, curator and director and director of KHOJ, India, and Andrea Thal, artistic director of CIC Cairo.

Schedule:

10.00am                    Introduction, Marcel Bleuler and Michaela Crimmin

10.15am                     Aino Laberenz and Raphael Gygax

11.15am                      Coffee break

11.45pm                    Uriel Orlow and Andrea Thal

12.45pm                   Lunch break

2.00pm                      Alexander Koch and Pooja Sood

3.00pm                      Coffee break

3.30pm                      Reema Salha Fadda and David A. Bailey

4.30pm                      Closing remarks

The symposium is supported by Arts Council England, Embassy of Switzerland in the United Kingdom, and Goethe-Institut London.

Frieze Projects is supported by the LUMA Foundation

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