E-Issue 02 –– NYC Spring 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
TYO “Mimicry of Hollows” Opens at The 5th Floor
TYO Startbahn, Japan’s Leading Art Blockchain Company, Builds a New Art Infrastructure for the Digital Age
DXB There Is A You In The Cloud You Can’t Delete: A Review of “Age of You” at Jameel Arts Centre
BAH Mihrab: Mysticism, Devotion, and Geo-Identity
LDN Fulfilment Services Ltd. Questions Techno-Capitalism on Billboards in London
DXB Ana Escobar: Objects Revisited
TYO BIEN Opens Two Solo Exhibitions in Island Japan and Parcel
CTU/AUH/YYZ Sabrina Zhao: Between Abu Dhabi, Sichuan, and Toronto
RUH Noor Riyadh Shines Light on Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Art Strategy
DXB A Riot Towards Landscapes
DXB A ‘Menu Poem’ and All That Follows
DXB Alserkal Art Week Top Picks 
DXB Permeability and Regional Nodes: Sohrab Hura on Curating Growing Like a Tree at Ishara Art Foundation
AUH Re-viewing Contrasts: Hyphenated Spaces at Warehouse421
DXB There’s a Hurricane at the Foundry

E-Issue 01 –– AUH/DXB Summer 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
GRV MIA Anywhere Hosts First Virtual Exhibition of Female Chechen Artists    
DXB Sa Tahanan Collective Redefines Home for Filipino Artists
SHJ Sharjah Art Foundation Jets Ahead on the Flying Saucer
AUH SEAF Cohort 7 at Warehouse 421 
DXB 101 Strikes Again with Second Sale at Alserkal Avenue
DXB Spotlight on Dubai Design Week 2020
DXB Melehi’s Waves Complicate Waving Goodbye
DXB Kanye Says Listen to the Kids: Youth Takeover at Jameel Arts Centre
DAM Investigating the Catalogues of the National Museum of Damascus
AUH Ogamdo: Crossing a Cultural Highway between Korea and the UAE
TYO James Jarvis Presents Latest Collages at 3110NZ
DXB Do You See Me How I See You?
DXB Thaely Kicks Off Sustainable Sneakers
AUH BAIT 15 Welcomes New Member Zuhoor Al Sayegh
MIA a_part Gives Artists 36 Hours to React

UAE Tawahadna Introduces MENA Artists to a Global Community
LHR/CAI Alaa Hindia’s Jewelry Revives Egyptian Nostalgia
DXB Taaboogah Infuses Comedy Into Khaleeji Menswear
DXB Meet Tamila Kochkarova Behind ‘No Boys Allowed’
DXB Alserkal Arts Foundation Presents Mohamed Melehi
AUH/DXB 101 Pioneers Ethical and Curious Art Collecting
AUH Sarah Almehairi Initiates Conversations
DXB Augustine Paredes Taking Up Space
LHR/MCT Hanan Sultan Rhymes Frankincense with Minimalism
BEY GAD Map: Arts & Culture Relief for Beirut

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§§ Year 2018
    NYC Shirin Neshat In Conversation with Sophie Arni and Ev Zverev
    PAR Hottest Spices: Michèle Lamy
    BER Slavs and Tatars: “Pulling a Thread to Undo The Sweater”
   AUH Abu Dhabi Is The New Calabasas

GAD Talk Series ––
    1. What is GAD? 2015 to Now

    2. Where is GAD? An Open Coversation on Migration as Art Practitioners

    3. When the Youth Takes Over: Reflecting on the 2020 Jameel Arts Centre Youth Takeover
   4. Young Curators in Tokyo: The Making of The 5th Floor
    5. How To Create Digital Networks in The Art World?

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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.

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. 
Watch a live discussion with Shumon Basar and artists Heman Chong, Stephanie Comilang, and Sin Wai Kin fka Victoria Sinpresent hosted by Art Basel Hong Kong Conversations here.

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