E-Issue 07 –– AUH
Winter 2023-24

January 29th, 2024

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in Abu Dhabi/Dubai
  3. Cover Interview: Shaikha Al Ketbi on Darawan
  4. Rapport: Public Art in the Gulf and a Case Study of Manar Abu Dhabi
  5. Hashel Al Lamki’s Survey Exhibition Maqam Reflects on a Decade of Practice in Abu Dhabi
  6. “You Can’t Stand on a Movement”: Michelangelo Pistoletto Interviews Benton Interviewing Pistoletto

Winter/Spring 2024

Curators Interview May 14, 2024
AUH Embracing Change through an Open System: Maya Allison and Duygu Demir on “In Real Time” at NYUAD Art Gallery

About ––

    What We Do
    Editorial Board

Interviews ––

    Selected Archive

Open Call ––

    E-08 Seoul

Newsletter ––

Chronological Archive ––

    Selected Archive

Artist Interview November 18th, 2016
AUH Raed Yassin in Abu Dhabi

Editorial March 1st, 2018
AUH Abu Dhabi Is The New Calabasas

Exhibition Listing May 22nd, 2018
DXB Christopher Benton: If We Don't Reclaim Our History, The Sand Will

Artist Interview June 15th, 2018
TYO An Interview with BIEN, a Rising Japanese Artist

Artist Interview July 17th, 2018
TYO Rintaro Fuse on Selfies and Cave Painting

Artist Interview August 28th, 2018
BER Slavs and Tatars: “Pulling a Thread to Undo The Sweater”

Artist Interview September 1st, 2018
NYC Shirin Neshat In Conversation with Sophie Arni and Ev Zverev

Artist Interview September 1st, 2018
PAR Hottest Spices: Michèle Lamy

E-Issue 01 –– AUH/DXB
Summer 2020

August 1st, 2020

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in the UAE
  3. Pop(Corn): Hashel Al Lamki
  4. Tailoring in Abu Dhabi
  5. Rapport: Dubai
  6. Michael Rakowitz From the Diaspora

Fall/Winter 2020-21

Artist Interview August 23rd, 2020
LHR/MCT Hanan Sultan Rhymes Frankincense with Minimalism

Artist Interview August 24th, 2020
DXB Augustine Paredes Taking Up Space

Artist Interview August 26th, 2020
AUH Sarah Almehairi Initiates Conversations

Market Interview August 28th, 2020
AUH/DXB 101 Pioneers Ethical and Curious Art Collecting

Exhibition September 1st, 2020
DXB Alserkal Arts Foundation Presents Mohamed Melehi

Market Interview September 4th, 2020
DXB Meet Tamila Kochkarova Behind ‘No Boys Allowed’

Artist Interview September 7th, 2020
DXB Taaboogah Infuses Comedy Into Khaleeji Menswear

Artist Interview September 10th, 2020
LHR/CAI Alaa Hindia’s Jewelry Revives Egyptian Nostalgia

Curator Interview September 14th, 2020
UAE Tawahadna Introduces MENA Artists to a Global Community

Exhibition Review September 24th, 2020
MIA a_part Gives Artists 36 Hours to React

Artist Interview September 27th, 2020
AUH BAIT 15 Welcomes New Member Zuhoor Al Sayegh

Market Interview October 14th, 2021
DXB Thaely Kicks Off Sustainable Sneakers

Exhibition Review October 19th, 2020
DXB Do You See Me How I See You?

Exhibition October 22nd, 2020
TYO James Jarvis Presents Latest Collages at 3110NZ

Exhibition Review October 22nd, 2020
AUH Ogamdo: Crossing a Cultural Highway between Korea and the UAE

Book Review October 28th, 2020
DAM Investigating the Catalogues of the National Museum of Damascus

Exhibition Review November 13th, 2020
Kanye Says Listen to the Kids: Youth Takeover at Jameel Arts Centre

Exhibition Review November 16th, 2021
DXB Melehi’s Waves Complicate Waving Goodbye

Exhibition Review November 19th, 2020
DXB Spotlight on Dubai Design Week 2020

Exhibition Review November 21st, 2020
DXB 101 Strikes Again with Second Sale at Alserkal Avenue

Exhibition Review
November 23rd, 2020

AUH SEAF Cohort 7 at Warehouse 421

Exhibition Review December 9th, 2020
SHJ Sharjah Art Foundation Jets Ahead on the Flying Saucer

Curator Interview January 25th, 2021
DXB Sa Tahanan Collective Redefines Home for Filipino Artists

Exhibition Review February 21st, 2021
GRV MIA Anywhere Hosts First Virtual Exhibition of Female Chechen Artists  

🎙️GAD Talk Series –– Season 1 2020

November 1st, 2020
1. What is Global Art Daily? 2015 to Now

November 16th, 2020
2. Where is Global Art Daily? An Open Coversation on Migration as Art Practitioners

November 29th, 2020
3. When the Youth Takes Over: Reflecting on the 2020 Jameel Arts Centre Youth Takeover

December 20th, 2020
4. Young Curators in Tokyo: The Making of The 5th Floor

January 27th, 2021
5. How To Create Digital Networks in The Art World?

E-Issue 02 –– NYC
Spring 2021

February 21st, 2021

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in NYC
  3. Pop(Corn): Zeid Jaouni
  4. You Can Take The Girl Out Of The City
  5. Rapport: NYC
  6. Kindergarten Records Discuss The Future of Electronic Music
  7. Sole DXB Brings NY Hip-Hop To Abu Dhabi
  8. Wei Han Finds ‘Home’ In New York
  9. Vikram Divecha: Encounters and Negotiations

Spring/Summer 2021

Exhibition Review March 3rd, 2021
DXB There’s a Hurricane at the Foundry

Exhibition Review March 7th, 2021
AUH Re-viewing Contrasts: Hyphenated Spaces at Warehouse421

Curator Interview March 21st, 2021
DXB Permeability and Regional Nodes: Sohrab Hura on Curating Growing Like a Tree at Ishara Art Foundation

Exhibition March 28th, 2021
DXB Alserkal Art Week Top Picks

Exhibition Review April 1st, 2021
DXB A ‘Menu Poem’ and All That Follows

Exhibition Review April 5th, 2021
DXB A Riot Towards Landscapes

Exhibition April 16th, 2021
RUH Noor Riyadh Shines Light on Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Art Strategy

Artist Interview April 26th, 2021
CTU/AUH/YYZ Sabrina Zhao: Between Abu Dhabi, Sichuan, and Toronto

Exhibition Review April 27th, 2021
TYO BIEN Opens Two Solo Exhibitions in Island Japan and Parcel

Artist Interview April 28th, 2021
DXB Ana Escobar: Objects Revisited

Exhibition May 9th, 2021
LDN Fulfilment Services Ltd. Questions Techno-Capitalism on Billboards in London

Artist Interview May 11th, 2021
BAH Mihrab: Mysticism, Devotion, and Geo-Identity

Curator Interview May 20th, 2021
DXB There Is A You In The Cloud You Can’t Delete: A Review of “Age of You” at Jameel Arts Centre

Market Interview May 26th, 2021
TYO Startbahn, Japan’s Leading Art Blockchain Company, Builds a New Art Infrastructure for the Digital Age

Exhibition June 11th, 2021
TYO “Mimicry of Hollows” Opens at The 5th Floor

Exhibiton Review June 20th, 2021
AUH “Total Landscaping”at Warehouse 421

Artist Interview June 30th, 2021
OSA Rintaro Fuse Curates “Silent Category” at Creative Center Osaka

Exhibition Review August 9th, 2021
DXB “After The Beep”: A Review and Some Reflections

E-Issue 03 ––TYO
Fall 2021

October 1st, 2022

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in TYO
  3. Pop(Corn): Nimyu
  4. Ahmad The Japanese: Bady Dalloul on Japan and Belonging
  5. Rapport: Tokyo
  6. Alexandre Taalba Redefines Virtuality at The 5th Floor
  7. Imagining Distant Ecologies in Hypersonic Tokyo: A Review of “Floating Between the Tropical and Glacial Zones”
  8. Ruba Al-Sweel Curates “Garden of e-arthly Delights” at SUMAC Space
  9. Salwa Mikdadi Reflects on the Opening of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Arab Center for the Study of Art

Fall/Winter 2021-22

Market Interview October 6th, 2021
RUH HH Prince Fahad Al Saud Discusses Saudi Arabia’s Artistic Renaissance

Exhibition October 7th, 2021
RUH Misk Art Institute’s Annual Flagship Exhibition Explores the Universality of Identity

Curator Interview October 15th, 2021
IST “Once Upon a Time Inconceivable”: A Review and a Conversation

Exhibition Review October 16th, 2021
AUH Woman as a Noun, and a Practice: “As We Gaze Upon Her” at Warehouse421

Exhibition Review February 11th, 2022

Artist Interview February 26th, 2022
TYO Akira Takayama on McDonald’s Radio University, Heterotopia, and Wagner Project

Artist Interview March 10th, 2022
DXB Prepare The Ingredients and Let The Rest Flow: Miramar and Zaid’s “Pure Data” Premieres at Satellite for Quoz Arts Fest 2022

Exhibition March 11th, 2022
DXB Must-See Exhibitions in Dubai - Art Week Edition 2022

Exhibition Review March 14th, 2022
DXB Art Dubai Digital, An Alternative Art World?

E-Issue 04 –– IST
Spring 2022

March 15th, 2022

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in IST
  3. Pop(Corn): Refik Anadol
  4. Rapport: Istanbul
  5. Independent Spaces in Istanbul: Sarp Özer on Operating AVTO

Spring/Summer 2022

Curator Interview March 21st, 2022

Market Interview March 28th, 2022
DXB Dubai's Postmodern Architecture: Constructing the Future with 3dr Models

Exhibition April 23rd, 2022
HK Startbahn Presents “Made in Japan 3.0: Defining a New Phy-gital Reality”, an NFT Pop-Up at K11 Art Mall

Exhibition May 6th, 2022
Istanbul’s 5533 Presents Nazlı Khoshkhabar’s “Around and Round”

Artist Interview May 13th, 2022
“We Are Witnessing History”: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian On Their Retrospective Exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery

Artist Interview June 13th, 2022
DXB “Geometry is Everywhere”: An Interview and Walking Tour of Order of Magnitude, Jitish Kallat’s Solo Exhibition at Dubai’s Ishara Art Foundation

Exhibition June 21st, 2022
DXB Art Jameel Joins The World Weather Network in a Groundbreaking Response to Global Climate Crisis

Exhibition June 27th, 2022
What’s On in the UAE: Our Top Summer Picks

Curator Interview July 9th, 2022
IST Creating an Artist Books Library in Istanbul: Aslı Özdoyuran on BAS

E-Issue 05 –– VCE
Fall 2022

September 5th, 2022

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in VCE
  3. Pop(Corn): UAE National Pavilion
  4. Rapport: Venice
  5. Zeitgeist of our Time: Füsun Onur for the Turkish Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale
  6. GAD’s Top Picks: National Pavilions
  7. Strangers to the Museum Wall: Kehinde Wiley’s Venice Exhibition Speaks of Violence and Portraiture
  8. Questioning Everyday Life: Alluvium by Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian at OGR Torino in Venice

Fall/Winter 2022-23

Market Interview June 28th, 2022
How Pearl Lam Built Her Gallery Between China and Europe

Exhibition November 11th, 2022
“Atami Blues” Brings Together UAE-Based and Japanese Artists in HOTEL ACAO ANNEX

Exhibition December 2nd, 2022
TYO Wetland Lab Proposes Sustainable Cement Alternative in Tokyo

Artist Interview December 9th, 2022
DXB Navjot Altaf Unpacks Eco-Feminism and Post-Pandemic Reality at Ishara Art Foundation

Artist Interview January 8th, 2023
TYO Shu Yonezawa and the Art of Animation

Artist Interview January 19th, 2023
NYC Reflecting on Her Southwestern Chinese Bai Roots, Peishan Huang Captures Human Traces on Objects and Spaces

Exhibition Review February 9th, 2023
DXB Augustine Paredes Builds His Paradise Home at Gulf Photo Plus

Artist Interview February 22nd, 2023
DXB Persia Beheshti Shares Thoughts on Virtual Worlds and the State of Video Art in Dubai Ahead of Her Screening at Bayt Al Mamzar

E-Issue 06 –– DXB/SHJ
Spring 2023

April 12th, 2023

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in the UAE
  3. Pop(Corn): Jumairy
  4. Rapport: Art Dubai 2023
  5. Highlights from Sharjah Biennial 15
  6. Is Time Just an Illusion? A Review of "Notations on Time" at Ishara Art Foundation
  7. Saif Mhaisen and His Community at Bayt AlMamzar

DXB Christopher Joshua Benton to Debut Mubeen, City as Archive at The Third Line Shop in Collaboration with Global Art Daily

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6. Alexandre Taalba Redefines Virtuality at The 5th Floor

By Global Art Daily Editorial Board
Interview: Sophie Arni
Editing: Niccolò Acram Cappelletto

Published on October 1st, 2021

        Earlier in spring 2021, Tokyo’s independent curatorial space The 5th Floor presented “The Virtual Concreteness”, a group exhibition curated by Alexandre Taalba, a brilliant curator currently finishing his PhD studies between the University of Paris 8 and the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. This exhibition has been years in the making and delves into one of Taalba’s favorite subject matters: the material consequences of virtuality. Taalba’s doctoral thesis centers on the fear of nuclear energy in postwar Japan and its visual representations – and this angle makes for a unique segway into the much-talked-about ecological imprint of our digital era. Many exhibitions have tackled themes of digital identity, but few have delved deep into the ecological impact of the electronic manufacturing and energy-heavy data systems necessary to keep our digital economy afloat.

1. Installation view. “The Virtual Concreteness” at The 5th Floor, Tokyo, Japan Spring 2021. Photo: Masaharu Futoyu. Image courtesy of the curator.

Ending with a metaphorical suggestion that virtuality should be understood as a natural human sensation, the exhibition includes works by heavyweight names of modern Japanese art, including the pioneer avant-garde, Yutaka Matsuzawa. Also on view were works from emerging artists working across digital media and drawing, such as Jean-Baptiste Lenglet and Zoé Schellenbaum. We had the chance to talk to Taalba about his views of virtuality versus materiality, his curatorial process, and his views on the future of digital art.

GAD: The exhibition foreword starts with a categorization of reality into the “virtual” and the “actual”. Could you walk us through this dichotomy and how it became the starting point of this exhibition?

Alexandre Taalba: I wanted to look into the engine behind virtuality. In a way, virtuality and concreteness go hand-in-hand, they represent two sides of the same coin. Hardware is needed to make software. Hardware acts as a medium to visualize the virtual, but beyond its function, it is a material and concrete device that allows us to explore the immaterial and the abstract. This exhibition aims to look at how artists viewed virtuality as a medium, in its ecological impact but also as an alternative to materiality. 

 Virtuality and concreteness go hand-in-hand, they represent two sides of the same coin.

GAD: The 5th Floor gallery is divided into three rooms and an outdoor terrace, which dictates the structure of the four sub-themes of the exhibition: “Physical Ramifications”, “La Zone”, “Memory”, and “Dreams”.

A.T.: Yes, we start with the first room. “Physical Ramifications” looks at hardware as a medium, and the energy needed to fuel virtuality. In the center of the room is the work of Japanese artist Raita Ishikawa. He is well-known for his multimedia installations and activist stance on post 3/11 Japan. After Fukushima’s nuclear accident, he has carried radioactive waste bins around sites in Japan as part of a performance project. One of them is exhibited in this room. We do not know if there is actual nuclear waste inside the bin, but that silent suggestion is enough for the artist’s desired effect.

2. Ishikawa Raita, Fundamental Principles of Nuclear and Nuclear Plants, installation; Landscape after 3.11 / Subway, photograph; Landscape after 3.11 / In front of the National Diet, photography; Landscape after 3.11 / Tokai Nuclear Power Plant No. 2, photography. Photo: Masaharu Futoyu. Image courtesy of the curator.

As part of the anti-nuclear theme is also the work of Masaharu Futoyu entitled Bright Future. This neon-light scroll, which reads “Atomic power is the energy of the bright future” is a direct reference to the slogan used in Fukushima before its nuclear accident. Placing that banner at the beginning of the exhibition acts as a prelude or a warning to visitors: is our all-virtual world a “bright future” we should also be concerned about?

3. Futoyu Masaharu, Bright Future, installation. Photo: Masaharu Futoyu. Image courtesy of the curator.

Finally, the photographs by Chinese artist Xing Danwen show computer chip waste near factories in Guangdong Province, the electronic manufacturing capital of the world. These large-scale photographs have an abstract quality to them, highlighting the uranium metal needed for microchip processors production and hiding the workforce behind the tech economy. I like to think of these images as landscapes of our capitalocene era, which we cannot escape from. Virtuality is the engine of capitalocene

4. Xing Danwen, disCONNEXION, 2002-3. Photographs. Photo: Masaharu Futoyu. Image courtesy of the curator.

GAD: The second room opens to Jean-Baptiste Lenglet’s major work, entitled La Zone. It is a video game set in a post-apocalyptic landscape accompanied by a full audiovisual experience. The artist has designed every single frame of this game from scratch. It is seven years in the making, and from the artist’s point of view, still unfinished?

A.T.: Yes, from 2016 to 2021, Lenglet has created a cyberpunk animated video game which guides users into different galleries and perspectives into digital art. It is also the first time the work is shown in Tokyo, which was a major accomplishment for the artist as he is very inspired by “Metabolism”, a key movement of Japanese postwar architecture. The artist wanted to explore the intricacies of virtual reality and how materiality inevitably accompanies virtuality. There are multiple layers and subworlds incorporated into La Zone, layers and levels that distort normal perspectives and stop the concept of time passing. In order to construct the game, the artist used his “analog” collages and through an intricate process of scanning and image-making, he built a 3D virtual space out of 2D compositions. He also curated mini-exhibitions within La Zone, showing archival works from the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (Tōbunken) within an artificial white cube space within the game. With an experimental process, Lenglet used the video game as the medium itself for the audience to feel the concept of virtuality. Exhibited in this room are his original scanned collages as well as a ceramic sculpture he constructed from a 3D printer, which appears virtually in La Zone too.

5. Jean-Baptiste Lenglet, La Zone, video game installation; Images de La Zone, collage; No Nukes, 3D printed ceramic. Photo: Masaharu Futoyu. Image courtesy of the curator.

We are at the core of the ambivalence between actuality and virtuality, between material and immaterial, between the sensorial flesh and the abstract, unattainable part of our reality.

GAD: The third and fourth subthemes deal with “Memory” and “Dreams”, which are more elusive interpretations of virtuality.

A.T.: I wanted to explore the poetic possibilities of virtuality. What did virtuality look like before the digital age? For me, two themes were necessary to mention: memories and dreams. In these liminal spaces, the conscious mind loses control over material reality. In the third room, we are showing a poem from Japanese conceptual artist Yutaka Matsuzawa. Written in 1964 on a flyer, this poem is constructed like a mandala, going counter-clock wise. Starting from the center, the reader is instructed to keep reading the poem outwards. The inspiration comes from Matsuzawa’s interests in quantum physics as well as esoteric Buddhism. The poem was found in one of his archives, and with the artist’s estate, it was reproduced here and printed on a large cloth, which we placed on the floor. Instead of presenting an academic survey of Matsuzawa’s work, we preferred this more experimental, poetic approach, leading to the inside of “you” (the last word of the poem).

I wanted to explore the poetic possibilities of virtuality.

6. Above: Zoé Schellenbaum, Artificial Horizon, multimedia installation. Below: Matsuzawa Yutaka, Psi Corpse, lithograph. Photo: Masaharu Futoyu. Images courtesy of the curator.

Accompanying Matsuzawa’s work is a multi-part installation by Zoé Schellenbaum. She made headphones with shells that we placed in front of her video installation. The combination provides a nod to childhood memories playing with seashells. She also created a special work for this exhibition with earth and ashes from Shimosuwa in Nagano Prefecture [Matsuzawa’s birthplace]. Dealing with memory, this installation highlights a nondigital form of virtuality, that is to say an analog virtuality. Schellenbaum provides us with a silent meditation on the spatial arrangement of this room. From the centerpiece, we invite visitors to move outwards following Matsuzawa’s mandala. Schellenbaum interpreted Matsuzawa’s work form and content, via several elements, to create a sanctuary of virtuality, out of the digital age.

Dreams represent the purest realms of virtuality, present long before the advent of the digital age.

7. Mio Hanaoka, Onirisme Collectif -Day Dream (The First Night), participative installation. Photo: Masaharu Futoyu. Images courtesy of the curator.

In the balcony, Mio Hanaoka presents dreaming vehicles. She turned her performative project, Onirisme Collectif, in which visitors are invited to a collective night experience framed around REM phase, into an installation. Inviting exhibition visitors to lay down on handmade wooden cradles arranged in greenhouses, this work reveals an organic virtuality. While the visitors rest and let their daydreams form and develop under lily flowers – a reference to Sōseki Natsume’s Ten Nights of Dreams – their experience becomes the medium of the work. I like to interpret the work in the light of Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition, because the visitors have the same but not the identical experience of the installation. It is not a matter of similarity. Their individual experiences merge into the collective and repetitive process provided by the work. The concepts of network and community are also apparent in the rope tying the small beds together. 

“The Virtual Concreteness” was on view from May 16 to June 3rd, 2021 at The 5th Floor, Tokyo, Japan.
Learn more about the exhibition here.

Alexandre Taalba is a researcher, curator, and antinuclear activist. His research deals with the representations of the atomic bomb in Japanese postwar art and cinema, postmodernity, and dystopian narratives in Japanese underground and pop culture. He focuses on the concept of nothingness and virtuality in the nuclear age.

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