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

E-05++
Fall/Winter 2022-23


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

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

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

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

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



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


E-04++ 
Spring/Summer 2022


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Curator Interview March 21st, 2022

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

E-03++
Fall/Winter 2021-22


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

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

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

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

Exhibition Review February 11th, 2022
AUH Woman as a Noun, and a Practice: “As We Gaze Upon Her” at Warehouse421
Curator Interview October 15th, 2021
IST “Once Upon a Time Inconceivable”: A Review and a Conversation

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

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

Exhibition October 5th, 2021
DXB
Engage101 Presents “Connected, Collected” at Sotheby’s Dubai

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

E-02++
Spring/Summer 2021


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

E-01++
Fall/Winter 2020-21


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

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

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

Exhibition Review
November 23rd, 2020


AUH SEAF Cohort 7 at Warehouse 421 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Map August 16th, 2020
BEY GAD Map: Arts & Culture Relief for Beirut

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There Is A You In The Cloud You Can’t Delete: A Review of “Age of You” at Jameel Arts Centre


By Anna Bernice

Published on May 20th, 2021

        As I walked through Age of You, my brain flashes through snippets of the Black Mirror episode, “The Entire History of You”. Set in the near future, its characters possessed an implant that recorded their audiovisual senses, allowing them to rewatch their memories. Immersing in the latest exhibition of the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, I wondered if I exist in a real-life Black Mirror episode. Except, instead of a memory implant, I have my devices and the Internet recording and archiving my behaviors into replayable memories.

1. ‘Age of You,’ Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista

Curated by contemporary art and literature powerhouses Shumon Basar, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Douglas Coupland, Age of You: a kaleidoscopic exploration of the self is a preview of the contents of their forthcoming book, The Extreme Self. A commentary on our rapidly changing identities in a technology-driven world, Age of You intersperses magnified book pages with audio deep fakes, video art, sculptures and installations. The curators amassed work from 70 different artists, filmmakers, musicians, and technologists who responded to curatorial prompts with works that ultimately supported the book’s written text. Continuing the conversation of digital futurism from their preceding co-authored book, The Age of Earthquakes, this iteration of Age of You succeeds its 2019 debut at the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto.

Age of You poses a journey of reckoning and reconciliation with our parallel digital selves. The exhibition acknowledges that the publics with privileged access to the digital realm have their behaviors and information algorithmically stored and processed on “the cloud.” As we explored the two-storey, thirteen-chapter exhibition, co-curator Shumon Basar further contextualized the exhibition for me. “In The Age of Earthquakes, we had this term called proceleration, which is the acceleration of acceleration,” alluding to the deep and rapid embedment of technology in our daily lives. “What this leads to is a psychological and emotional feeling I call change vertigo; things seem to be moving faster than my ability to keep up. Hence, I’m in this vertigo, a sense of disorientation, a lag.” He poses the question: “Are humans really built for this much change this quickly?”

2. ‘Age of You,’ Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista


“In The Age of Earthquakes, we had this term called proceleration, which is the acceleration of acceleration. What this leads to is a psychological and emotional feeling I call change vertigo; things seem to be moving faster than my ability to keep up.”


- Shumon Basar


As I weaved through the pages of the book, as curatorially intended, the words on the pages printed on vinyl board serve as curatorial text that guide me in an existential, introspective journey. “We’re not built for so much change so quickly. Technology has outrun our ability to absorb it,” reads one of them: the curators’ words overlaid on Pamela RosenkranzWork In Progress (2019). Another board asks me to imagine what my data looks like — how does one materialize something intangible, even in my imagination?

3. ‘Age of You,’ Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista

4. Words: Shumon Basar/Douglas Coupland/Hans Ulrich Obrist; Image: Peter Saville by Yoso Mouri, 2016; Design: Daly & Lyon


Another board asks me to imagine what my data looks like — how does one materialize something intangible, even in my imagination?



Across the pages, I notice that the supporting images are often taken out of context, form, or color. For example, Stephanie Comilang’s film, Lumapit Ka Sa Akin, Paraiso is reduced to a screen grab of a Filipino woman on her knees in prayer, and one of Farah Al Qasimi’s photographs, usually aesthetically identifiable through its fluorescent hues, is reprinted in black and white. Perhaps unintentionally, the loss of identity of these artworks functions as a critique on our loss of self and identity in the evolution of the virtual realm.

5. ‘Age of You,’ Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista

Thus, the curators' words take the forefront of the visitor’s experience, with the artworks being in support of rather than the conduit of their message. The relationship between the text and the art within the context of an exhibition journey is thus shifted, with the attention of the visitor being drawn initially to the text rather than the (reprinted) artworks. This depiction of text, rather than image, as the main medium of their message hints at the curators’ influence by Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Message, one of the known catalysts for their collective inquisition into our digital realities. The curators’ voices resound through the exhibition, and in the foregrounding of the text, the voices of the artists feel faint. Thus, the exhibition largely functions as a conceptual immersion rather than that of an aesthetic experience, however serving as a potent catalyst and starting point for conversations around our digital beings.


This depiction of text, rather than image, as the main medium of their message hints at the curators’ influence by Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Message.



6. ‘Age of You,’ Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista


The exhibition largely functions as a conceptual immersion rather than that of an aesthetic experience.



7. ‘Age of You,’ Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista

On the other hand, this exhibition sheds light on humans as the most abundant digital mines, with our feelings and emotions convertible to data points by way of emojis. Untitled (iOS emoji content aware fill) (2019) by Yuri Pattinson, confronts the viewer upon entrance as a large-scale wallpaper featuring eye emojis. A commentary on the constancy of our digital surveillance, the artist processed the emojis through the array function in Adobe Photoshop, a basic form of artificial intelligence, creating the non-repetitive pattern of the eye emojis. Critiquing the ever-watchful eye of digital surveillance, the utilization of emojis in this art piece signal its efficiency as a means of virtual communication and as a dataset for marketing and analytics companies to understand human emotion. “That's why it's a wall of eyes looking at you. There are all these companies, government bodies and security entities that are looking at [your data],” comments Basar.

8. Yuri Pattison, Untitled (iOS emoji content aware fill), 2021. Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista.


Critiquing the ever-watchful eye of digital surveillance, the utilization of emojis in this art piece signal its efficiency as a means of virtual communication.



9. Yuri Pattison, Untitled (iOS emoji content aware fill), 2021. Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista.


“That's why it's a wall of eyes looking at you. There are all these companies, government bodies and security entities that are looking at [your data].”


- Shumon Basar

In understanding the digital universe co-created by technological giants, artificial intelligence, and the Internet, Age of You interrogates the intricacies of technology’s involvement in our daily lives. However, in examining the existence of facial recognition, the mediation of dating apps in our non-platonic relationships, and the hypocrisy of virtue signaling in digital activism through the exhibition, I could not help but wonder if this resignation to a digital existence is generation-specific. As a millennial, I was born into a world of dial-up Internet connection, Limewire torrenting, and emo Tumblr posts. Though in my formative years I saw the Internet less as a data miner and more as a virtual escape void (in resonance with writer Jia Tolentino in her essay, “The I in the Internet”). I am not a stranger to the omnipresence of technology. While Gen X-ers worry about activating their Face IDs on their smartphones, Gen Z kids unabashedly TikTok their faces away in hopes of micro-stardom. Perhaps, then, our relationship with technology is more complicatedly stratified than this exhibition makes it seem.


I could not help but wonder if this resignation to a digital existence is generation-specific. As a millennial, I was born into a world of dial-up Internet connection, Limewire torrenting, and emo Tumblr posts.



Nevertheless, Age of You is an exposé of the inner workings of technological advancement for the unaware. In further reference to McLuhan and his study of media theory, Basar shares with me, “people create tools, [and] those tools create us. There is feedback. We don't just make things, the things recreate us. It's always listening,” acknowledging the bidirectional relationship we’ve now created with machines. As we entered Trevor Paglen’s 10-minute film Behold These Glorious Times! (2017) I am confronted by thousands of images, both of human faces and objects, that are used to teach machines visual recognition. The film acknowledges that machines learn to see through a pattern recognition process, fed to them by humans through data in visual patterns; a process foreign to many. In direct relation, and perhaps as a consequence of this machine learning technology, NVIDIA Research’s video, Progressive Growing of GANs for Improved Quality, Stability, and Variation (2017), shows thousands of AI-generated celebrity images developed by random number generators. Adjacent to this video piece is Vocal Synthesis’ audio installation of audio deepfakes, featuring persons of power, such as Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II, “singing” pop songs by way of AI speech synthesis. As if a confirmation that we now exist in the future, these three pieces signal that machines have now taken a life of their own from harvesting data from the humans that built them.

10. Trevor Paglen, Behold These Glorious Times!, 2017. Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista


People create tools, [and] those tools create us. There is feedback. We don't just make things, the things recreate us.



11. Tero Karras, Timo Aila, Samuli Laine and Jakko Lehtinen, One Hour of Imaginary Celebrities, 2017. Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista

Age of You is a public reckoning of our co-existence with our algorithmically-strung identities, at least for those who have full access to and utilization of the digital realm. In blurring the lines between technological and artistic production, the exhibition asks its audience to recognize, if they haven’t already done so, that we each have a parallel digital identity uploaded into the cloud, an amalgamation of our Amazon carts, our social media reach and impressions, emoji archive, autocorrect dictionaries, Spotify playlists and Face IDs. Though such is a privileged existence, it is one that is irreversible and unerasable; a deleted comment is never quite deleted. This awareness brings relevance in cities like Dubai, where cashless transactions are normalized, identities are stored in microchips, and network signalling via Instagram tags and mentions translate to social capital in real life. Age of You communicates that our co-existence with our digital identities is irreversible; there is a you in the Cloud you cannot delete or escape.

12. Basar/Coupland/Obrist/Daly&Lyon, Matroyshkemoji, 2021. Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista.


This awareness brings relevance in cities like Dubai, where cashless transactions are normalized, identities are stored in microchips, and network signalling via Instagram tags and mentions translate to social capital in real life.



13. Basar/Coupland/Obrist/Daly&Lyon, Matroyshkemoji, 2021. Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista.


“The Age of You” is on view until August 14th, 2021 at The Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The Extreme Self: Age of You will be published on May 27th, 2021 in the UK and Europe and in July (US/Rest of the World). Pre-order your copy here.

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Anna Bernice is an arts practitioner and communications & marketing strategist currently based in Dubai. Her current interests lie in diversity, inclusion, and representation in art spaces, specifically focusing on the representation of Filipino artistry and identity in the UAE. After receiving her double B.A. in Social Research Public Policy and Theater with a concentration in Art History from NYU Abu Dhabi in 2020, Bernice started her professional career in management and marketing consulting, developing marketing and branding strategy for key real estate and tourism development projects in the GCC region. Simultaneously, she’s pursuing her interest in arts and culture journalism as an independent arts & culture writer for VICE Arabia. Currently, she's working as a Communications Executive at Alserkal Avenue, and is the co-founder of Sa Tahanan Co, a Dubai-based global Filipino art collective.