Online residencies

Every two months, a curator or writer is invited to share his or her in-progress research in the form of a blog: reflections on, assessments of, and reactions to a specific subject. The online residency is an extension of how the editorial team wishes to reflect upon current practices of reading, researching, publishing and curating that have been enabled by the internet and its social technologies, all the while exploring new formats and advocating the open circulation of knowledge.

Profane Joy
Miguel A. López

How to write the history of subjects that have been continually erased from history? Is it possible to recover certain episodes of subaltern visibility, feminist activism, women’s art practices, sexual and gender dissidence for art history without turning them into exotic figures within the dominant narratives? When we think of so-called sexual and gender minorities, we find ourselves before an ensemble of bodies whose deprivation of their condition as citizens has historically persisted not as a result of control and surveillance, but through the silencing and general erasure of their traces from official records –that is, when the few existing traces have not been used to pathologize, exclude, or normalize difference. Manifesta Journal’s online residency will be a platform to publish ongoing research on some women’s art, feminist and queer practices in Latin America, from interviews and statements to various documents that present a critical reading of politics of body, gender and sexuality.

Miguel A. López (Lima, 1983) is writer, artist and researcher. He was a scholarship holder of the MACBA’s Independent Study Program (PEI) during 2008-2009. He has recently co-curated (with Red Conceptualismos del Sur) “Losing the Human Form. A seismic image of the 1980s in Latin America” at the MNCARS, Madrid (2012), an exhibition about the transformation of the understanding and engagement with Latin American politics in the 1980s. Among his recent publications are: A wandering body. Sergio Zevallos in the Grupo Chaclacayo, 1982-1994 (MALI, 2014); and a collection of writings of drag queen and philosopher Giuseppe Campuzano, Saturday Night Thriller, 1998-2013 (Estruendomudo, 2013). López and works in Lima.

The Motherland of Electricity
Maria Chehonadskih

In 1920 Vladimir Lenin proposed a new plan of electrification for the young Soviet country. His formula Communism is Soviet Power Plus the Electrification of The Whole Country became a popular political slogan for the whole post-revolutionary generation. In 1939 Soviet writer, engineer and enthusiast of the electrification plan Andrei Platonov published short story The Motherland of Electricity, where electrification is seen in the light of violent collectivization and the failed revolutionary utopias of his generation. In early 1990s, the Lenin’s formula was turned upside down again. The new neoliberals discovered destructive side of electricity, a so-called economic ‘shock therapy’, which brought post-soviet Russia to the barbaric capitalism. If Platonov reflected the tragic history of the socialist primitive accumulation under Stalin, the story about the post-Soviet primitive accumulation has to be still told. During the last four years I have been working with the problem of ‘declassification’, precarization and casualization of labour. My project has started as an attempt to understand the class relations in the post-shock Russian society, but continues as a broader theorization of the post-Soviet in relation to the global capitalism. For the Manifesta Journal blog I would like to bring together my philosophical, political and historical reflections about the problem of class. The basis of this research is three-year study in the field of philosophy, sociology, literature and art history, which resulted in several exhibitions, various articles and public discussions.

Maria Chehonadskih is writer, activist and curator. She received MA from the Russian State University for the Humanities in 2009. PhD student at Kingston University, CRMEP (London), member of Moscow Art Magazine editorial board. Her last exhibition Shadow of a Doubt (curated together with Ilya Budraitskis) was dedicated to the problem of conspiracy (Moscow, 2014). Her texts were published in Moscow Art Magazine, Radical Philosophy, Medication, Alfabeta2. Lives and works in London and Moscow.

Ten thousand wiles and a hundred thousand tricks
WHW - Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Rajkamal Khalon

Throughout our research for Meeting Points 7, the three issues of Manifesta Journal co-edited by Nataša Petrešin, Virginie Bobin and Rasha Salti have proven to be a source of knowledge and inspiration. We are delighted to accept the invitation to introduce this blog residency. The 7th edition of Meeting Points is a series of successive exhibitions entitled 'Ten thousand wiles and a hundred thousand tricks', which take place in Zagreb, Antwerp, Cairo, Hong Kong, Beirut, Vienna and Moscow from September 2013 to July 2014. Meeting Points 7 was prompted by the unfinished social and political processes of the Arab revolutions and the reconfiguration of capitalism throughout the world. Borrowing its title from the revolutionary philosopher Frantz Fanon’s book 'Wretched of the Earth' (1961), and reflecting on Algeria’s liberation from French colonial rule, 'Ten thousand wiles and a hundred thousand tricks' forays into interlaced subjects: the role of the middle classes in revolts across different geographies today, forms of neo-colonialism, counter-revolution and co-optation, as well as various strategies for countering oppression. Conceived as an exhibition in time, in each iteration it reappears anew, realigning the topics with a particular place and its specific geopolitical and historical horizon. We asked two MP7 artists Rajkamal Khalon and Lawrence Abu Hamdan to share their current research and ways of thinking over the weeks to come.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan (London) is one of the four artists comprising the group Model Court and is a Phd candidate and lecturer at Goldsmiths College. His recent solo shows include The Freedom Of Speech Itself (2012) at Showroom, London, The Whole Truth (2012) at Casco, Utrecht and Tape Echo 2013 at Beirut in Cairo.

Rajkamal Kahlon (USA) is an artist and educator who received her MFA from the California College of Art and is a past participant of the Whitney Independent Study Program and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Kahlon has exhibited in North America, Europe and Asia, including the 2012 Taipei Biennial, MHKA, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Wilhelm Hack Museum, NGBK, Queens Museum of Art, Artists' Space, White Box and Apex Art.

The Itinerant: When Exhibiting Turns Its Back Against Itself
Doreen Mende

How does geopolitics in the era of globalization affect the way we think about exhibition making? This question is informed by the need to understand what such a geopolitical exigency, which actually is not new at all, produces in practical terms with regard to that which we do as producers of images, sounds, words, and spaces for public presence.

After years of research into the practices of display, as unfolded in the collaborative publication project Displayer, I am currently processing the possibilities to imagine how we can think the space of the exhibition through a geopolitical condition, i.e., a spatiality that may be as porous and dispersed in the same way that images, sounds and words are displaced from one place to the other.

In order to process an approach towards such expanded exhibiting, I suggest to introduce the figure of The Itinerant as a possibility to suspend the term ‘exhibition’ for a moment, in order to potentially make use of that space for our needs today, when artistic practice and theoretical reflection compose the framework to produce the conditions we want to live in and work with in the era of globalization.

I plan to specify the trains of thoughts, as the editorial project for this blog, through re-reading one sentence by Jean Genet for each entry anew: On the manuscript of the final proofs of Un captif amoureux [Prisoner of Love] (1986), Jean Genet’s last book, he wrote: ‘Put all the images in language in a place of safety and make use of them, for they are in the desert, and it’s in the desert we must go and look for them.’

Doreen Mende is a curator who works internationally, and teaches at the Dutch Art Institute.

Incidental Economies
Clark House Initiative - Zasha Colah and Sumesh Sharma

Strategies of equality have informed our work from the time we first began Clark House, in the metropolis of Bombay. Re-reading histories, concerns of representation and visibility, and experiments with what an alternative economy could be - these became part of how we could imagine things differently, to gauge the extent to which we might be free. Invited to contribute to Manifesta's blog during our residency at the Kadist Art Foundation in Paris, we found ourselves in the throes of discussion with an artist collective that was questioning institutional curatorial practices which often managed to alienate francophone West Africa from its contemporary art discourse. We felt that they were mirroring similar situations of “vernacular inequality” in Bombay that have arisen from caste and class biases embedded in the city's cosmopolitan culture.

In these blogs we intend to actively recall political and artistic figures into contemporaneity, and to question the recent rise of fascism in India based on exaggerated rumours of economic prosperity and nationalist pride. From this point of view, the imagination of an alternative economy in art becomes a political act. Statistical assumptions are often compounded into facts that come to define the economy. We tend to ignore that the economy is a cultural phenomenon, which interacts on a personal level with people; and that emotions are never removed from decisions in policy and changes in the economy. The failure of derivative economics has led to drastic changes in society. Subsequently, we have witnessed a reorganisation of politics that has begun to produce neo-Nazism as an alternative in places such as Greece. Furthermore, in China and in India, a new arrogance, derived from assumed positive growth indices, is ushering in a change that is making our societies more conservative and inward-looking.

Clark House Initiative, Bombay, is a curatorial practice about a place, which in sharing a junction with two museums and a cinema, mirrors the fiction of what these spaces could be. It was established in 2010 by Zasha Colah and Sumesh Sharma as a curatorial collaborative concerned with ideas of freedom. Sumesh Sharma's practice is informed by cultural perspectives on political and economic history. Histories of communities in India, language religion and politics in francophone Africa, and immigrant identities in Europe, form part of his research. Zasha Colah is interested in cultural sovereignty, and in the way that art addresses injustice and legal frameworks. Her curatorial work focuses on instances of collective imagination under situations of political exigency, political and philosophical motivations for choreography, and under-represented art historical narratives.

Natasha Ginwala

Rhythm is that which exceeds a chronological telling—it is inherently gestural and ontologically disobedient.
Manifesta Journal's Online Residency will be used as a forum to publish ongoing research on The Museum of Rhythm. It is a collection of non-synchronous material, from artistic projects and scientific documents, to cultural histories that present associative readings of Modernity and its counterpoints.

Natasha Ginwala is a curator, researcher and writer based in the Netherlands and India. She is part of the artistic team of the 8th Berlin Biennale (2014). The Museum of Rhythm is realized as a segment of the Taipei Biennial 2012, Modern Monsters / Death and Life of Fiction.

Memos for Future Shanshui
Hu Fang

This is a short memo for future "Shanshui" (Mountain & Water) , within the constant destruction and rebuilding of humanbeing's environment, where history layering upon itself, eventually so vague it could never again grow clear.
"Who, like water, can become calm after turbulence? And after that calm produce new life? "[Lao Tse: Chapter 15]

Hu Fang is a fiction writer and curator based in Guangzhou and Beijing. He is the co-founder and artistic director of Vitamin Creative Space ( in Guangzhou and The Pavilion in Beijing. His published novels include Garden of Mirrored Flowers, New Arcade, Shopping Utopia ect.

Europa. Anno 2012.
Matteo Lucchetti

In 2012, a few weeks before Manifesta 9 will open, I have been asked to be a blogger for its journal, and I can’t help thinking that the European space towards which Manifesta started to address its cultural efforts, is now refolding itself onto new forms of nationalism, letting anti-European feelings grow and borders become stronger.
During my time as a blogger for Manifesta journal, I’d like to put together those analyses that consider the ongoing transformations, actual and media ones, currently occurring in that complex and unifying imagery that has been constructed around the continent since the end of the East-West dichotomy. Them being direct comments or interesting visual roundabouts on the socio-political life of Europe, I will try to embed in the storytelling of my blogging, unexpected perspectives and future scenarios from the “anno 2012”.
In this time span I will spend most of my time out of Europe, in the position of looking at it from distance, currently on a research trip in South Africa, where I've lived for the last two months. My posting activity will be unavoidably influenced by, and will also regard, the place where “national mood changes as the seasons change”, as Mandela said in 1994 in his inaugural speech to the new country.

Matteo Lucchetti (born 1984) is an art historian, independent curator and critic. Recently he has been curator in residency at Kadist Art Foundation, in Paris, where he curated “Enacting Populism in its Mediæscape” during the last two months of the French presidential election campaign. He is co-curator of the Visible award.

Monuments of Despair
Toleen Touq

On the 24th and 25th of March 2011, spurred by the events in Tunisia and Egypt, a significantly large reform demonstration took place on a central roundabout of Amman, Jordan (Duwwar Al-Dakhliyeh, or Interior Circle). Those two days started with hope and solidarity, but ended in violence and caused abrupt changes to local protest movements and the rhetoric around them. Subsequently, the space was restructured, prompting several imaginative scenarios and a sly description on my part called "Monuments of Despair". This two-month blogging residency with the Manifesta Journal attempts to construct a loose narrative around the events of last year and their reflections today. It presents my relationship to the space and selects disparate modes of perceiving and analyzing it through text, images, physical movement and online investigations.

Toleen Touq is a independent cultural operator based in Amman, Jordan. Floating between art and social activism, her work includes (but isn't limited to) the creation of performance, storytelling and audio-visual programs.

Future Audience Feuilleton
Adnan Yildiz

Responding to the -online residency- invitation -as a blogger- at the Manifesta Journal website, Future Audience proposes a form of publication, which is familiar for most of us from lazy Sunday mornings. Aiming to extend that particular mood or state of mind for the whole week, Future Audience is interested in designing a test drive for a sort of feuilleton in order to experiment on alternative ways of art publishing. The blog as a digital form of the periodical is hosting an open source research process of critical thinking with the idea of developing reflexive curatorial tools. As the artistic director of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Adnan Yildiz searches for possibilities of transparency and self-reflexivity in relation to his investigation of artistic methodologies via his exhibition program.