Alserkal Spring Programme | Corrective Maintenance

The new season of Alserkal Programming continues to build on our previous thematic, which explored artistic work and the mechanics of art production through industry. Cultural practitioners and arts organisations are increasingly called on to investigate ways through which technology and innovation will shape our future. How do we plan to adapt to the changing landscape? Is it necessary to innovate in order to thrive? Could shifting our focus instead to discourses around ‘maintenance’, within and beyond the realm of infrastructure, urge us to reconsider our present moment? Over the 2018-2019 Fall, Spring, and Summer seasons, Alserkal Programming will invite a multi-disciplinary selection of practices and voices to explore three definitions of maintenance taken from the technical realm; preventative, corrective and predictive.

The Maintenance thematic will be explored throughout the 2018-2019 Fall, Spring, and Summer seasons through a series of workshops, lectures, performances, and seminars. All events are open to the public. Prior registration is necessary, as spaces are limited.

To register, email rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae with the name of the event you’d like to take part in in the subject.


Talk | ‘One Hundred Years Later’

Date: 16 January 2019

Time: 6.30 PM

Location: Majlis, Alserkal Avenue

Robert Kilroy, History of Art and Museum Studies lecturer at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, discusses his new book Marcel Duchamp's Fountain: One Hundred Years Later with Kevin Jones. Organised by Jean-Paul Najar Foundation.


Workshop | Diaries as Maintenance with Kevin Jones

Date: 19 January & 2 February 2019

Time: 4-6PM

Locations: A4 Space and Warehouse 48

Diaries are therapeutic. They help us manage anger, overcome grief, articulate insight or re-frame issues. As such, they are largely private, rarely shared and adhere to purely personal stylistic rules. But what if the diary were a site of purposeful stylistic construction? What if it were intended to be public without diminishing its private therapeutic merit? This workshop examines participants’ experience of the diary as a cathartic or introspective tool. We then move to generating ‘public’ diaries to explore the dynamics of a private text and how it is modified when intended to be shared.

It is recommended to attend both sessions, as the workshop is split into two parts. Limited to 15 people. Email rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae to register.


Lecture | Designing Towards Planetary Colonisation by American University of Sharjah professor Camilo Cerro

Date: 16 February 2019

Time: 4PM

Location: Hosted by Techarc (Warehouse 25)

With the United Nations projecting that the world population will likely reach 10.9 billion by the end of the century on a planet ill-prepared to provide shelter, healthcare, food, and water for its inhabitants, humanity needs to become a multi-planetary species. Yet, design is rarely included as an important aspect of the development of government-funded space programmes all around the world.

Developing design parameters based on psychological factors will be of paramount importance to help humans deal with long journeys through space, and to create relaxing habitats to help decrease the psychological stress that planetary explorers will be subjected to. AUS Professor Camilo Cerro explores the psychological design factors, sustainability issues, botany, ergonomics, and new construction technologies that designers will use to help humanity transition into space exploration.

Email rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae to register.

Workshop | How to upcycle an old bicycle

Date: 23 February

Time: 11AM - 1PM

Locations: Kave (Warehouse 20)

Upcycle old bicycles with Charicycles by learning the basics of parts, sanding, and colour mixing.

Limited to 10 participants. Email rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae to register.


Reading Group | Trouble in Paradise by Slavoj Žižek, with Kevin Jones

February - April 2019

“Socrates on steroids.” “The most dangerous philosopher in the West.” “The Elvis of cultural theory.” Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek has become a cult figure due to both his intellectual showmanship and radical political stance. Boisterously juggling Marx and Hitchcock, Hegel and Hollywood schlock, psychoanalysis and the Batman franchise, Žižek is an idiosyncratic guide through the current state of late capitalism.

Through its many twists and turns, Trouble in Paradise (2014) analyses a variety of recent political and economic crises (Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia among others), which Žižek links back to the accelerating transformation of the global Capitalist system. The ideal text for Žižek newcomers, Trouble in Paradise works as an introduction to the philosopher-celebrity’s critique of modern capitalism, and his exploration of how popular culture plays its part in the system. But beware: this influential thinker’s brand of revolutionary dreaming is not for everyone.

The Reading Group is designed to be a forum of open conversation and debate, a collective means of supporting readers through books that might be too daunting to tackle alone.

Limited to 10 participants. Email rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae to register.


Session 1: Contextualising Trouble in Paradise

Date: 20 February 2019

Time: 6.30-8.30PM

Location: Cinema Room, A4 Space

This introductory session will place the book within the context of Žižek’s wider oeuvre. Without dwelling too much on the hype around the author, we will nonetheless try to assess his appeal (or rejection), and highlight some of the fundamental concepts at work in the text.


Session 2: Structure (or lack of it)

Date: 6 March 2019

Time: 6.30-8.30PM

Location: Meeting point A4 Space

The five-part structure of Trouble in Paradise is drawn from the flow of a joke, and the text proclaims to adhere to these five chapters. Yet the work is jumpy, restless; ideas recoil back on themselves, leaving no real linear development. Tantalising though this interdisciplinary romp may be, we’ll discuss what lies behind Žižek’s apparent structural mayhem.


Session 3: The absurdities of capitalism and the role of popular culture

Date: 3 April 2019

Time: 6.30-8.30PM

Location: Meeting point A4 Space

Instances of the vagaries of capitalism abound in Trouble in Paradise, and we’ll use this session to highlight a few examples, pinpointing specific connections to popular culture.


Session 4: The Master

Date: 17 April 2019

Time: 6.30-8.30PM

Location: Meeting point A4 Space

Much of the latter part of the book concerns the figure of the Master, a figure required in moments of crisis to galvanise those who believe in revolutionary change—a sort of “Thatcher of the left.” This final session will also try to articulate Žižek’s ultimate recommendation: what is he actually proposing, and can we take him seriously?


Film Screening | Instant Dreams

Date: 26 February 2019

Time: 7PM

Location: The Yard, Alserkal Avenue

Instant Dreams by director Willem Baptist explores how we use photographic images to capture our desires and memories through the story of the rise, fall and rebirth of the Polaroid company.  

INSTANT DREAMS International Trailer from Pieter van Huystee Film on Vimeo.

Free and open to the public. In partnership with Cinema Akil and Gulf Photo Plus.

Interactive book presentation | Take a Closer Look by Daniel Arasse, presented by Kevin Jones

Date: 13 March 2019

Time: 6.30PM

Location: Alserkal Avenue

As Art Week approaches, it might be time to take another look at how we look (at art). Rethink and interpret visual art through ‘Take a Closer Look’ by the late French art historian Daniel Arasse, who proposes a journey through six major paintings, including Bruegel’s ‘Adoration of the Magi’ and Velázquez’s ‘Las Meninas’. The outcome? You will not see them the same way again.

Email rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae to register.


Talk | The Arabian Gulf – A Sea in Decline by Dr. Henrik Stahl, Associate Professor, Zayed University

Date: 2 March  2019

Time: 4PM

Location: Alserkal Avenue

Despite the Arabian Gulf’s high summer temperatures and high salinity, it harbours unique coral reefs and marine life that cope under extreme conditions. However, due to climate change and overfishing, the reefs in the Gulf are under severe threat. Dr. Henrik Stahl investigates what can be done to mitigate the declining health of these unique marine ecosystems.

Email rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae to register.


Running Club

Date: Every Saturday until April

Time: 8-9AM

Location: Alserkal Avenue

Alserkal Avenue invites runners and joggers of all speeds to join on runs around the Avenue. Join marathon runner and one of the youngest members of the renowned running club, Dubai Creek Striders, Partha Hegde for sessions where you will learn the right way to run and how to put off the fear of encountering it. How it works: 10-minute warm up session and a 30-minute jogging session around the Avenue. 

The running club is free and open to everyone.
Email rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae with the name of the event in the subject to register.


Talk | Less is More: Photography in Everyday Life

Date: 30 March 2019

Time: 5.30-6.30PM

Location: Gulf Photo Plus (Warehouse 36)

In today’s modern age, we are compelled to take thousands of photos just because we can—especially when the perception is that it costs us nothing. In fact, it is an expensive exercise that results in a loss of time, increased anxiety, and sometimes costly storage solutions. This talk by Caleb Arias offers insights on how to maintain a healthy workflow for your image and video collection - whether you are a casual photographer or a serious enthusiast.

Email rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae to register.


Talk | Design-Construction Feedback Loop: Hilltop School, an experiential school born of adaptive design processes

Date: 30 March 2019

Time: 5PM

Location: The Yard, Alserkal Avenue

DesignAware’s Takbir Fatima, the lead architect on the Hilltop School project in Hyderabad, presents the case of a challenging project that transformed a not-for-profit educational trust into an award-winning building that respects the heritage of its surroundings. She explores how experimentation, trial and error, and decision-making go hand-in-hand with architectural expertise and education in the face of challenging projects.

Free and open to all. Email rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae to register.


Talk & Performance | Recycling Traditional Voices

Date: 6 April 2019

Time: 4PM

Location: Alserkal Avenue

Syrian musician duo Sami Abo Louh and Munsef Turkmani, known as 2 Witnesses, play a live demo from their debut album Polarity, then open the floor for a conversation about recycling traditional voices, tunes, and lyrics, and reproducing them in a contemporary musical style—while still maintaining authenticity.  Email rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae to register.

Talk| Dubai Happiness Agenda: Engineering the Happiest City on Earth

Date: 10 April 2019

Time: 6.30PM

Location: Alserkal Avenue

This talk by Dr. Ali Alazzawi, City Experience Advisor at Smart Dubai, will explore how Smart Dubai is using the science of happiness and well-being to systematically raise happiness and the quality of life in Dubai.

Email rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae to register.


Talk | Invisible Geographies: Interactive Documentary and Post-Colonial Historiographies 

Date: 20 April 2019

Time: 4PM

Location: Alserkal Avenue

This talk by Dale Hudson, Associate Professor, Film and New Media Programme, New York University Abu Dhabi, and Digital Curator of Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival examines the capacity for interactive documentaries, loosely defined as non-fiction media that run on web or mobile platforms, to activate ‘invisible geographies’. Using digital technologies to locate unmarked and unmapped relationships, they allows users to recombine data into useful information. In part, they reject the viability of singular messages and advocate for contingency and comparison as a means of finding common cause, respect for difference, and empathy.

Explore projects such as The Green Book of South Carolina (2017), iNakba (2014), and Anti-Eviction Mapping Project (2013) which reclaim histories, such as African American contributions often whitewashed from US history, the violent dispossession of Palestinians by European militia during the Nakba, and recent dispossession of immigrant communities through gentrification of the Silicon Valley. More than a fun gimmick, these projects allow for a more nuanced and accurate understanding of contemporary conflicts and misunderstanding.


TALK | 2030 Agenda: Inclusivity and Human Rights, Refugees and the Sustainable Development Goals

Date: 24 April 2019

Time: 6.30PM

Location: Alserkal Avenue

In a world increasingly shaped by climate change, poverty and conflict, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved without taking into account the rights and needs of refugees. 2030 Agenda for SDGs—underpinned by two principles, leaving no one behind, and human rights for all—hence provide a powerful basis for inclusion and the participation of refugees in these transformative goals. Omer Elnaiem from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, surveys how refugees are a showcase of the transformative, inclusive, and global vision of SDGs for a better world, in action.

Email rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae to register.