Sat
27Jul
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Sat
14Sep

Summer programme | Foretold Now

From food trends and financial forecasting, to predicting election results and end-of-the-world scenarios, we have never been more consumed with trying to know what the future holds. Rather than trying to grasp what this future is, Foretold Now examines what drives us to predict in the first place. Of course, the age-old image of the soothsayer has given way to algorithm-powered, high-precision tools. But the desire to speculate seems to be a human constant. What drives this need to prophesy, and what is the fallout of our need to foresee? What are the dangers of speculation, not just economically, but emotionally and mentally? How does our perceived image of future outcomes place unreasonable demands on the present? And in spite of all our clamouring to forecast everything from the weather to the apocalypse—rooted perhaps in a (misguided?) will to control our destinies—to what degree is the future itself 'over-hyped’? Our summer programme will feature debate, music, and dialogue, and runs every Saturday over the summer starting 27 July.

Foretold Now is curated by Kevin Jones.

 

Join us on Saturday, 27 July at 4PM in the Cinema Room (A4 Space)  for the opening event as we launch the Alserkal Avenue summer programme 'Foretold Now' where Kevin will begin with an introduction to the summer programme, followed by an overview of Roadside Picnic, showing excerpts from the film it inspired, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979).

 

Dialogue | Foretold Now opening event with curator Kevin Jones

Saturday, 27 July | 4PM

Cinema Room, A4 Space 

 

Join us on Saturday, 27 July as we launch Alserkal Avenue's summer programme Foretold Now, curated by arts writer Kevin Jones, a respected voice on contemporary art and thought in the region. As a preamble to revealing this season’s reading group book—the 1972 novel Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, to be explored in sessions throughout the summer—Kevin will raise questions on the human tendency to predict and forecast. How does the will to foretell haunt our present, and what are its manifestations in literature, visual arts and film?

Kevin will begin with an introduction to the summer programme, followed by an overview of Roadside Picnic, showing excerpts from the film it inspired, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979). This talk is free to attend, however registration is essential.  Click here to register. For more information about the reading group, click here.

Foretold Now is Alserkal Avenue’s summer programme and is curated by Kevin Jones. 

From food trends and financial forecasting, to predicting election results and end-of-the-world scenarios, we have never been more consumed with trying to know what the future holds. Rather than attempting to grasp what this future is, Foretold Now, Alserkal Avenue’s summer programme, examines what drives us to predict in the first place. 

 

Reading group | Worlds within Worlds in Speculative Fiction: Stalker and Roadside Picnic

Launch | Saturday, 27 July | 4PM

Reading groups | 7 & 21 August, 4 September | 6.30PM

Cinema Room, A4 Space 

  

Imagine a world contained within ours. The world-within-a-world construct constitutes a veritable sub-genre in speculative fiction. In these strange, almost supernatural realms, reality has been suspended. The eerie spaces—whose insertion into ‘our’ world is sometimes never understood—are almost always rife with threat. Taking the ‘Zone’ in Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker as a starting point, the reading group will focus on the book on which the film is (very loosely) based—Roadside Picnic (1972) by brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. 

Both works will be taken on their own terms: the point is not to generate any comparative analysis between book and film. Rather, the discussions should foreground formal issues (the works as secularised ‘grail’ narrative) and conceptual themes (estrangement from reality, trans-generational angst, the future as promise etc.)

RSVP is essential via email rsvp@alserkalavenue.ae.  Participants are encouraged to attend all sessions to complete the full novel.

 

 

Dialogue | A New Architectural Utopia

Saturday, 3 August | 4PM

Location | Concrete, Alserkal Avenue

   

The 500th anniversary of the foundation of the Château de Chambord in France, widely believed to be influenced by Leonardo da Vinci, was the catalyst for this project by architecture students in the American University of Sharjah’s College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD). Examining the Renaissance gem in the context of its utopian worldview, the students’ proposal, entitled Ecotopos, imagines a new kind of utopia that considers the environmental and ecological challenges we face today. The young architects’ intriguing and at times mysterious drawings, models, and videos are complemented by an equally compelling essay, hinging utopian yearning to a dystopian calamity.

A performative reading of this essay, set to a soundtrack, will be accompanied by a video and selected Ecotopos imagery.

Organised by The College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS).

 

Performance | Utopics by Isaac Sullivan

Saturday, 17 August | 8PM

Location | Warehouse 82

Free and open to all however RSVP is essential via the following link.

  

What does apocalypse sound like? How do the affective intensities that accompany such speculations converse with other dreams of timelessness such as utopia and cosmogony? 

Isaac Sullivan’s recursive performance, Utopics, employs text projections, sampled music, and live noise as progressively accumulating layers, splicing in fragments of its previous recordings to lean into sonic and pictorial decay. 

First performed at the European Cultural Centre’s Venice Biennale collateral exhibition at Palazzo Mora in May 2019, this work embraces the physicality of recorded sound as a pressure wave that alters the materials through which it passes, while tracing its architectural provenance through accruing layers of reverberation.

 

Debate | The Invisible End: Artists and the Apocalypse

Saturday, 24 August | 4PM

Concrete

Free and open to all however RSVP is essential via the following link.

Visions of the end of history have always tended towards the sublime—the apocalyptic moment in all its fiery, cataclysmic awe. While the act of seeing and bearing witness has always been fundamental to experiencing the 'end times', we are increasingly faced with the possibility of a more insidious apocalypse, one that almost escapes visualisation. Data and measurement seem to have replaced visual invention. The scientist is perhaps more apt at depicting the conditions of this new apocalypse than the artist. Where do thinkers, artists and futurologists stand on this supposed bankruptcy of artists’ predictive vision?    

Participating speakers: Associate Professor and head of the Games Programme at ITU Copenhagen Dr. Martin Pichlmair, Editor of Palestine +100 Basma Ghalayini, contemporary artist Rohini Devasher, and Dubai-based artist and writer Isaac Sullivan.

 

Music | The Pursuit of Expression

Saturday, 7 September | 4PM

The Fridge (Warehouse 5)

Free and open to all however RSVP is essential via the following link.
 

A bilingual public performance where the flavour and flair of Hindustani classical music illustrated by acclaimed flautist Haider Rahman will be in dialogue with a poetry performance. Joy of Urdu presents three literary masterpieces penned by Sanaullah Sani Dar ‘Miraji’, a bohemian, modern Urdu poet from the early 20th century, who championed Urdu free verse.
A classical flute player, Haider Rahman is a student of Pandit Harri Prasad Churrasiya and enthralled the audiences earlier this summer at the Lahore Literature Festival in New York. 
Joy of Urdu is a bilingual organisation that aims to facilitate and enable the ongoing revitalisation of the Urdu language, in order to reclaim its literary heritage.

 

PechaKucha Night | Food for Thought

Saturday, 14 September | 4PM

INKED, Warehouse 57 

Free and open to all however RSVP is essential via the following link.

  

For the latest edition of PechaKucha, Alserkal Avenue, in partnership with INKED, will host diverse speakers who aim to explore traditions and investigate practices that shape our experience of food in the UAE and beyond. From sustainability in farming, to the health benefits of fasting, join the conversation dedicated to foodies of all kinds.

 

Speakers include:

Hanan Sayed Worrel - Author of Table Tales 

Ming Zhu - Crop One

Yazen Al Kodman - Emirates Bio Farm

Mohamed Somji - Gulf Photo Plus and Seeing Things Photography

Shabnum Stumpf - BB Social Dining

Courtney Brandt - A to Za'atar