Technology will theme Art Forums in Kuwait and Dubai

Technology will theme Art Forums in Kuwait and Dubai

Art Dubai announces Global Art Forum 2015

2015 Global Art Forum takes on the theme of technologies, and their impact on the world of art, culture and beyond.

50 local and international contributors participate in the ninth edition, codirected by Turi Munthe and Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, with Shumon Basar as Director-at-Large

The Global Art Forum begins, for the first time, in Kuwait, where it also features a workshop on digitising archives

English: Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime...

English: Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, at the World Economic Forum Summit on the Global Agenda 2008 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Global Art Forum is known as a particularly innovative, leading platform for cultural debate, featuring live talks and presentations, plus commissioned research and projects. In 2015, the Forum takes place over five days, beginning for the first time in Kuwait (March 14-15), before continuing at Art Dubai (March 18-20).

Titled ‘Download Update?’, the 2015 Forum takes on the theme of technologies, and their impact on the world of art, culture and beyond. Co-directed by Turi Munthe and Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, with Shumon Basar as Director-at-Large, the Forum debates how technologies have transformed not only the way we work, but how we think, interact, learn and create.

The Global Art Forum was launched in 2007 by Art Dubai, the leading international art fair in the Middle East and South Asia, and in 2015, is presented by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and supported by Dubai Design District (d3). In Dubai, the Forum is located next to Art Dubai Modern, at Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah (March 18-20).

The Global Art Forum Kuwait (March 14-15) is supported by The Tamdeen Group and takes place at Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, in association with Sultan Gallery and Nuqat. Global Art Forum Kuwait is accompanied by special exhibitions and events across the city.

“The 2015 Global Art Forum will alter the conversation about technology and the Middle East, and shed light on how the region’s culture in being influenced by the streams of communication innovations that have appeared in the past few decades,” says Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Global Art Forum Co-director.

“Perhaps nothing makes our lives feel better and worse at the same time than technology,” says Shumon Basar, Global Art Forum Director-at-Large. “And while it’s humans who theoretically ‘invent’ technology, the truth is that it’s technology that ‘reinvents’ us humans constantly, in ways we aren’t aware of. ‘Download Update?’ is an opportunity to zoom out and take a screen-shot of the world today, in all its high definition glory and confusion.”

Adds co-director Turi Munthe: “Tech used to lag human: for all of history, we have imagined things that couldn’t be built. That may have inverted: we may not be able to conceive of what already exists. Most symposia that tackle the theme of technology believe in technology. We know it exists. We just don’t worship it.”

The Forum’s diverse talks and presentations in Kuwait and Dubai include:

  • a debate on the online art market, with directors from leading art dotcoms brought together for the first time
  • ways in which virtual museums in the Arab world and Latin America are reaching diasporic publics
  • conversations with artists working at the forefront of new technologies
  • a look back at the first communication technologies in the Gulf, from newspapers to radio and cinema
  • a panel that asks whether we have ‘Too Much Artificial Intelligence’
Art Dubai March 2015 exhibit speakers

Art Dubai March 2015 exhibit speakers

The line-up of speakers ranges from those at the forefront of new developments in technology – including Jawbone founder Alexander Asseily, M3/Relativity design director Christopher Bevans, Google Cultural Project director Amit Sood and digital education innovator Ayesha Khanna – to artists, writers and curators engaging with technologies in particularly innovative ways, including Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Amar Bakshi, James Bridle, Manal Al Dowayan, Cécile B. Evans, Omar Kholeif, Dan O’Hara, The Otolith Group and Troy Therrien.

The Forum features more participation from the Gulf than ever before, with speakers including former Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabi magazine Sulaiman Al Askari, the artists’ collective GCC, Dubai’s Higher Colleges of Technology director Dr. Saoud Al Mulla, Hessa Al Ossaily of Al Oula radio and Kuwaiti writers and academics Al Anoud Al Sharekh and Mai Al-Nakib, among others.

In Dubai, the Global Art Forum also features the launch of a two-year partnership with 89plus, the long-term, international, multi-platform research project co-founded by Simon Castets and Hans Ulrich Obrist, investigating the generation of innovators born in or after 1989. A presentation at Art Dubai 2015 is geared towards developing a collaborative project – the first in the region – to be presented at Art Dubai 2016.In Kuwait, a special workshop devoted to debating and developing expertise in preserving and digitising archives takes place alongside the Forum. The workshop is led by Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong, together with Sultan Gallery, Kuwait. Other presenting organisations and individuals are to be announced over the coming weeks; researchers, curators and artists are invited to apply to attend via

Notes to Editors

Global Art Forum takes place:
March 14-15, 2015 at Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, Amricani Cultural Centre, Kuwait City
March 18-20, 2015, at Art Dubai, Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai

In Dubai, the Global Art Forum is presented by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and supported by Dubai Design District (d3).

Global Art Forum Kuwait is supported by the Tamdeen Group and is held in association with Nuqat and Sultan Gallery. The Forum is kindly hosted by Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, Amricani Cultural Centre.

The International New York Times is the international media partner of the Global Art Forum.

Turi Munthe is a media and journalism entrepreneur, with an interest in social enterprise, politics and the Middle East. In 2007, he founded Demotix, the multi-award winning citizen newswire. He advises, works with and invests in new media start-ups.

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi is a commentator on political, social and economic issues in the Middle East. His columns appear in the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, The Independent and the Guardian. Al Qassemi is an MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow and the Founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

Shumon Basar was Director of Global Art Forum 6, and Commissioner of Global Art Forum 7 and 8. His new book, co-authored with Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist, is called The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present. He is also advising Fondazione Prada on its new Milan cultural complex.

About Art Dubai:

Art Dubai March 2015 exhibit display

Art Dubai March 2015 exhibit display

Art Dubai is held under the Patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai.Art Dubai is held in partnership with The Abraaj Group and is sponsored by Emaar and Julius Baer. Madinat Jumeirah is home to the event. Mashreq Private Banking is the exclusive partner of Art Dubai Modern.

The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority is a strategic partner of Art Dubai, and supports the fair’s year-round education programme.

The ninth edition of Art Dubai takes place March 18-21, 2015. The gallery halls include 91 galleries from 40 countries, presented through three programmes — Contemporary, Modern and Marker. Art Dubai’s extensive not-for-profit programme includes Art Dubai Projects; an exhibition of works by winners of the annual The Abraaj Group Art Prize; a range of educational programmes including Sheikha Manal Little Artists and the community school Campus Art Dubai; and the critically-acclaimed Global Art Forum.

Global Art Forum Partners:
Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) was launched on March 8, 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Dubai Culture plays a critical part in achieving the vision of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 of establishing the city as vibrant, global Arabian metropolis that shapes culture and arts in the region and the world. The organisation has announced several initiatives that strengthen the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai. These include: The Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts Awards: The first of its kind initiative in the Arab world honouring individuals and organisations who have made financial or in kind contributions through sustained support to visual arts, performing arts, literature and film in the region; Dubai Art Season: The city’s premier umbrella arts initiatives which encompasses of Art Week (Art Dubai, Design Days Dubai, and SIKKA Art Fair), and Middle East Film & Comic Con, to highlight the Emirate’s growing creative landscape within the international circuit; SIKKA Art Fair: An annual art fair aimed at promoting Emirati and local artists in the UAE; and Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre: An annual festival that celebrates and fosters the art of theatre in the UAE.

Dubai Design District, better known as d3, is dedicated to fostering the growth of the Emirate’s design, fashion and luxury industry. It offers businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals a creative community that will be at the very heart of the region’s design scene. d3 is the newest of TECOM Investments’ freezone business parks – with 11 buildings currently under construction. Once complete, d3 will be a purpose built environment with the vision of creating a world class creative community that engages, nurtures and promotes local, regional and global design talent. d3’s facilities will include everything from cutting-edge design institutes to residential, hospitality, retail and office space. The District will be characterised by distinct public areas, unique street furniture and shaded walkways. Located close to Mohammed Bin Rashid City, the District is in sight of the Creek, Dubai’s historic and mercurial trading epicentre, Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping complex.

Global Art Forum Kuwait Partners:
The Tamdeen Group, Kuwait’s outstanding property developer and investor, is proud to support the Global Art Forum in Kuwait. One of the Tamdeen Group’s flagship developments, 360 MALL integrates retail, leisure and entertainment in a luxury environment; positioning it as the premier luxury shopping experience in Kuwait offering shoppers and visitors 82,000 sq.m of exciting leisure and shopping experiences.

Amongst its stores are a mix of luxury brands, dining and entertainment which have been introduced for the first time in Kuwait. The mall’s elegant interiors include seven different experience zones. 360 MALL marks a milestone in the growth of the retail sector in Kuwait and is clearly setting benchmarks for the industry.

The Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah (DAI) was created to support the loan of objects from The al-Sabah Collection to the State of Kuwait and currently operates under the auspices of the National Council of Culture, Arts, and Letters. Over time the mission has grown to include promoting the fusion of people, cultures and ideas both in Kuwait and in countries hosting DAI exhibitions, which are drawn from the 30,000-piece al-Sabah Collection. The DAI’s cultural season programme, now in its 20th year, also foments the fusion of ideas, people and cultures. Throughout the cultural season, the DAI hosts activities and events that share aspects of the world around us, opening its doors to welcome all those who choose to enter and participate.

Sultan Gallery has played an important role over the last forty years in introducing Arab artists to broader audiences, and helping to establish a vital dialogue among artists and institutions working internationally. The Sultan Gallery was initially founded in Kuwait in 1969 by the late siblings Ghazi and Najat Sultan. Up until 1990 it operated thoroughly as a convergence point for not only artists and intellectuals exploring polemic issues on Arab society, but also the general public. The mission of Sultan Gallery has since been about propagating contemporary and secular movements through Arab art. Upon reopening its doors to the public in 2006, director of the space, Farida Sultan, has continued working avidly with a wide range of artists to advance a critical art discourse emerging in the country. The Gallery takes pride in supporting up-and-coming artists, and is highly receptive to experimental practices dealing with sound, video, performance, publications, as well as networks and the media.

Nuqat, first known as “Nuqat Ala Al Huroof,” started off with one objective in mind – to develop Arab creativity on all levels, encompassing design, advertising, architecture, fashion, production and all other pertinent social and cultural fields. Established out of frustration with the lack of spirited exchange in the Middle East, the Nuqat team is made up of like-minded cultural visionaries from Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Dubai who have a growing optimism about fueling creative dialogue in the region.

Nuqat’s mission as growing cultural force is to advance creativity and enrich society. It aims to establish Nuqat institutes in different cities across the Middle East and to develop a specialized educational curriculum, in addition to organizing the ongoing annual Nuqat conferences for tackling a variety of pressing topics in the creative realm.

Since 2009, Nuqat has hosted a yearly conference and a wide range of activities including workshops, exhibitions and design competitions.

Global Art Forum speakers
Global Art Forum 2015 features 50 contributors, including:
 Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Artist, London
 Georgina Adam, Author and art market Editor-at-Large, The Art Newspaper, art
market columnist, The Financial Times, London
 Sabih Ahmed, Senior Researcher, Asia Art Archive, New Delhi
 Sulaiman Al Askari, Writer and journalist, former Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabi
magazine and former Secretary General of the National Council for Culture and
Arts in Kuwait, Kuwait City
 May Al-Dabbagh, Assistant Professor of Social Research and Public Policy,
New York University Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi
 Manal Al Dowayan, Artist, Dubai
 Dr. Saoud Al Mulla, Director, Higher Colleges of Technology – Dubai Colleges,
 Mai Al-Nakib, Associate Professor, Department of English Language and
Literature, Kuwait University, Kuwait City
 Hessa Al Ossaily, General Supervisor of Programmes at Al Oula radio, Dubai
 Al Anoud Al Sharekh, Consultant Researcher on Gender and Citizenship,
SCPD, Kuwait
 Ayssar Arida, Urbatect and author, Co-Creator of urbacraft City Crafting
System, Beirut/Paris/London
 Alexander Asseily, Founder and Executive Chairman, Jawbone and State,
 Amar Bakshi, Founder and Lead Artist, Shared Studios, JD Candidate at Yale
University, New York
 Gala Berger, Artist and co-founder of Museo La Ene, Galería Inmigrante and
Urgente platform, Buenos Aires
 Christopher Bevans, Design Director for M3/Relativity, and Director’s Fellow at
MIT Media Lab, New York
 James Bridle, Writer and artist, London
 Simon Castets, Director and curator, Swiss Institute / Contemporary Art (SI),
New York Sebastian Cwilich, President and COO, Artsy, New York
 Cécile B. Evans, Artist, Berlin/London
 Thomas Galbraith, Managing Director, Paddle8, New York
 GCC, artist collective, Beirut/Dubai/Kuwait/London/New York
 Joseph Grima, Architect, writer, Director of Ideas City New York and partner at
Space Caviar, Genoa
 Lara Khaldi, Independent curator and 2015 Curator of Art Dubai Projects and
A.i.R Dubai, Dubai, Amsterdam/Jerusalem
 Ayesha Khanna, CEO, Technology Quotient, Singapore
 Parag Khanna, Managing Partner, Hybrid Reality Pte Ltd, Singapore
 Omar Kholeif, Writer, curator and editor, London
 Kristine Khouri, Researcher and writer, Beirut
 Nuqat, non-profit organization for the development of art, culture and society,
Kuwait City
 Hans Ulrich Obrist, Curator, co-director of exhibitions and programmes and
director of international projects, Serpentine Gallery, London
 Dan O’Hara, Senior Lecturer in English Literature, New College of the
Humanities, London
 The Otolith Group, Co-founders Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar, London
 Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, Director and Chief Curator, Colección Patricia Phelps
de Cisneros, New York/Caracas
 Jack Persekian, Director and Head Curator, Palestinian Museum, Jerusalem
 Anders Petterson, Founder and Managing Director, ArtTactic, London
 Noah Raford, Advisor, Special Projects, UAE Prime Minister’s Office, Dubai
 Lana Shamma, Events and Outreach Executive, Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation
Publishing (BQFP), Doha
 Amit Sood, Director of Cultural Institute, Google UK LT Google, London
 Troy Therrien, Curator, Architecture and Digital Initiatives Solomon R.
Guggenheim Foundation and Museum, New York
 Murtaza Vali, Critic, curator, editor and Visiting Instructor at Pratt Institute,
Click here for Further information about Global Art Forum 9 and the participants’ biographies.