How to Survive When Everything is the Culture War Today?

Saturday 27 January 2024 | 6:00 PM | Main Building

Unprecedented since the end of World War II, the European far-right is keen on dialing the clock back to suppress hard-earned gains against fascism, white supremacy, Islamophobia, antisemitism, apartheid, and the dignity of immigrants. We are also revisiting the cataclysmic outcome of Europe grafting its wounds onto the bodies of the South-Eastern Mediterranean. Autocrats are increasing worldwide; they learn from each other, employing tools of political repression, harassment, and economic retribution to suppress free speech. Fear of vindication results in self-censorship by individuals and institutions, contributing to the collapse of the public sphere. Meanwhile, there is another art world with extreme monetization and spectacles. We seem to be rushing toward the last wagon on a train heading for a crash, fooling ourselves into believing this too shall pass. But it's challenging to accept that the crash is already happening, and we are inside the disaster. This talk hopes to chart ways out of this stigma.

The talk will be in English. To register, please fill in the form here.

Vasif Kortun is a curator, writer, and teacher of visual art, its institutions, and spatial practices. Kortun co-curated the Taipei Biennale (2008) with ManRay Hsu, the 9th International Istanbul Biennial (2005) with Charles Esche, and was one of the co-curators of the 24th São Paulo Biennial (1998). He was the director and chief curator of the 3rd International Istanbul Biennial (1992). Kortun also curated the UAE Pavilion for the Venice Biennale (2011), the Turkish Pavilion for the São Paulo Biennale (1994 and 1998), and the Venice Biennale (2007). Kortun was the founding director of Research and Programs of SALT, an interdisciplinary cultural institution based in Turkey. A recipient of the "Award for Curatorial Excellence" from Bard College, Kortun was the founding director of the Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul, Proje4L-the Istanbul Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. Kortun has edited and written extensively on contemporary art and the cultural situation for books and other publications. He is a research and curatorial advisor to Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha and serves on the board of the Foundation for Art Initiatives, SALT, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp.