Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, Lebanon | Website
Ashkal Alwan is pleased to announce the 8th edition of Home Works: A Forum on Cultural Practices, a multidisciplinary forum taking place across Beirut every three years and featuring group exhibitions and artist projects and commissions; talks, panels, and readings; music, dance, and theatre performances; film and video screenings; and publications.
Following a presumed conclusion of the civil war in Syria, global management consultancies have urged Lebanon and other regional actors to invest in the country’s industrial and urban reconstruction through their private sectors, inviting architecture studios, businesses, tech startups, and public policy think tanks to design, bid in, and scramble for its people’s futures. The human, material, and cultural devastation in Syria is being framed as a ground zero for transnational firms and necropolitical regimes to experiment in market maximization schemes—a violent disavowal of the hope to build another world, envisioned from Daraa to Rojava, and all the way to the Notre-Dame-des-Landes. These endeavors manifest amidst a global conjuncture characterized by decades of neoliberal austerity measures, rampant financialization, accelerated processes of ecological erosion, and a surge in right-wing identitarianism, prompting us to ask ourselves and one another: How do we safeguard the radical imagination from vanquishing discourses and economies of reconstruction? Where do we nourish spheres of interdependence and autonomy in this sterile night?
The 8th edition of Home Works summons artists, curators, filmmakers, scholars, and writers to partake in worldbuilding. In worldbuilding processes, fabricated elements are woven into authoritative realities, forging the perceptible with the imagined, and reconfiguring dominant models of being-in-the-world. When set against the backdrop of modernity and its failed utopian propositions and legacies of cultural infrastructures, worldbuilding offers an infinite set of configurations for ways to feel, make sense of, and render the world. Communities have long confronted lived temporalities and material realities with the construction of fantastical frameworks, designing speculative paradigms for the future, and drawing blueprints for alternative modes of doing. By convoking the radical imagination and exploring imaginary worlds as forms of knowledge, we break from systematic cycles of injury, precarity, and attrition, and participate in acts of re-enchanting the social relations and “natural” taxonomies that compose our world.
We do not regret to inform you that Ashkal Alwan is indefinitely postponing all programmes and events scheduled to take place from October 17-27, 2019 as part of the 8th edition of Home Works: A Forum on Cultural Practices.
The launch of this edition of Home Works has once again been overwhelmed by the very forces that had initially led to its inception in 2001. Lebanon is witnessing spontaneous popular uprisings, bent on targeting our current regime and its security apparatuses, as well as toppling sectarian discourses and their hold on public life.
Artistic and cultural institutions and initiatives are in no way isolated from broader civic, political, economic, and ideological contexts, but rather shaped as a result of and in response to historical events and their repercussions. This edition of Home Works initially called on participants to partake in acts of collective world-building, suggesting pathways to re-imagine social relations as they currently stand. Then, it seemed pertinent to echo the region’s manyfold attempts at dismantling inherited structures of the past and designing alternative blueprints for the future, from Sudan to Syria, and from Algeria to Iraq. Today, it is our turn.
In the past week, we have actively participated in mass protests and general strikes, closely monitored the situation as it was unfolding, and consulted with friends and colleagues from the legal, academic, journalistic, and artistic-cultural sectors to decide on the best way forward. Our conclusion: there shouldn’t be any reason to regret or apologize for the indefinite postponement of our programmes and events. Our artistic, intellectual, and organizational energy will be redirected towards the achievement of our hopes and aspirations, the possibility of which is being granted to us by a momentum that should be seized at any cost.
See you on the streets.
Program Pamphlet 1 MB