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At the crossroads of different pasts, presents and futures

21 November 2018 @ 18:30 - 21:00

At the crossroads of different pasts, presents and futures
Simon O’Sullivan | Mohamed Abdelkarim | Nicoline van Harskamp

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
via Modane, 16 Turin

h. 6:30 – 9:00 pm

The Institute of Things to Come inaugurates its 2018-19 programme entitled TERRA INCOGNITA on 21 of November with “At the crossroads of different pasts, presents and futures” a night of talks, performances and screenings at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin. The term “Terra Incognita” was used in ancient cartography to indicate the existence of unexplored places and lands. Along the 2018-19 The Institute takes this reference as a starting point to speculate about fictional territories, places and landscapes invented by artists, that have served as literal and metaphorical sites of subversion, anti-authoritarianism, utopia and fantasy.

The opening event of the 2018-19 programme At the crossroads of different pasts, presents and futures reasons on the standardized representation of historical narration, the intertwining of different time frames, and the act of transmission as a form of resistance to power structures. Invited artists Simon O’Sullivan, Mohamed Abdelkarim and Nicoline Van Harskamp inhabit and construct worlds of their own logic where imaginary communities, invented characters, and historical figures interlace their existences and produce counter narrations that recognizes the existence of different times and landscapes. Artist and thinker Simon O’Sullivan gives a talk about mythopoesis, myth-science, mythotechnesis addressing fictioning as a ‘counter-strategy’ against today’s post-truth and post-fact political terrain; Nicoline Van Harskamp presents her film PDGN that portrays a future no longer controlled by national governments or global corporations, and where a new linking language is seen to develop between people through voluntary self-instruction; to conclude artist Mohamed Abdelkarim performs When it comes to truth I wouldn’t dare to tell it, a narrative fictional anthology consisting of anecdotes, poems, songs and radio drama that revisits History and its impacts on complex social issues.

Fictioning: Mythopoesis, Myth-science and Mythotechnesis
30 minutes talk in English

The talk will address the performance of fictions. In particular Simon O’Sullivan will be interested in how such practices (of what I call fictioning) can open up other worlds from within this one and how this might constitute a ‘counter-strategy’ against todays post-truth and post-fact political terrain. O’Sullivan will also introduce his wider collaborative research project (carried out with David Burrows) on mythopoesis/myth-science/mythotechnesis, attending to a historical sequencing between these but also, more importantly, to the idea of temporal loops operating between different pasts, presents and futures.

2016, Single Channel Video, 16’ 53’’, with italian subtitles

PDGN is a fiction video that portrays a future in which the world is no longer run by national govern- ments or global corporations, and that is neither utopian nor dystopian. A new link language is devel-oping between people across this world through voluntary self-instruction. The script for PDGN wasconstructed from actually spoken, non-native English in a series of workshops. Some aspects of lan-guage and narrative were borrowed from feminist fiction that proposes systems of language-change, such as Marge Piercy’s Women on the Edge of Time (1976) and Suzette Haden Elgin’s Native Tongue (1984). The language of the script was further developed by applying common and expected factorsof language evolution in the areas of syntax, lexicon, and phonetics. These ‘distorting factors’ wereconceptualized with the help of academics in fields such as creole studies, computational linguisticsand language acquisition as well as Esperantists, recreational language inventors, and the lead ac-tresses Ariane Barnes, Mouna Albakry and Paula So Man Siu.

When it comes to truth I wouldn’t dare to tell it
A narrative anthology consists of anecdotes, poems, songs and radio drama.

Performance with italian subtitles, 40 minutes

The performance is a sub-episode from the series project Dramatic episodes about Locomotion (2014–2017). In this episode, the project revisits a number of stories through the performer Haroun Kanshour whom the artist imagined and he encounter with. Stories float over characters are marginalised from what known as History.
Dramatic episodes about Locomotion is a long-term project, conceptually in a position of re-reading and re-examining the disaster through the dichotomy of Means of production vs. Cultural genealogy and its impacts on different social phenomena such as religion, gender and nationalism. Utilise stories from the Middle Ages era as a paradigm to understand contemporary issues.

Simon O’Sullivan is Professor of Art Theory and Practice in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He has published two monographs with Palgrave, Art Encounters Deleuze and Guattari: Thought Beyond Representation (2005) and On the Production of Subjectivity: Five Diagrams of the Finite-Infinite Relation (2012), and is co-editor (with Henriette Gunkel and Ayesha Hameed) of Futures and Fictions (Repeater, 2017) and (with Stephen Zepke) of both Deleuze, Guattari and the Production of the New (Continuum, 2008) and Deleuze and Contemporary Art (Edinburgh University Press, 2009). He also makes art, with David Burrows and others, under the name Plastique Fantastique – and is currently working on a collaborative volume of writings, with Burrows, Fictioning: The Myth-Function of Contemporary Art and Philosophy.

Nicoline van Harskamp studied at the Royal Academy of Visual Arts, KABK, in The Hague, and the Chelsea College of Art and Design, in London. Her works have been presented at BAK Utrecht; KunstWerke Berlin; Kunstraum London; and BMW Tate Live Performance Room. She took part in Sydney Biennale; Eva International Limerick; Manifesta 9 Genk; Gothenburg Biennale; Bucharest Biennale; and exhibitions at Witte de With; CAAC Sevilla; Kadist Paris; Rotor Graz; FRAC Lorraine; and Clark House Bombay. She received the 2009 Prix de Rome award. Currently she holds teaching positions at Sandberg Institute Amsterdam and Kunstakademie Münster.

Mohamed Abdelkarim was born in Minya (Egypt) in 1983. After he had written his Master’s thesis of knowledge engagement at ECAV, Switzerland 2014, Abdelkarim turned toward producing text-based performances, and become committed to performative practices across multidisciplinary research, concerning the perception of narrating, singing, dancing, detecting and doing.
His practice engages with these actions through the focus on travel, locomotion, renegades history and picaresque literature, where a series of non-linear, serendipitous encounters with concepts, fictions, almost truth and what is known as historical facts, are gathered to form a script and an archive of events and stories. In this context, his practice aims at producing narratives and expose the way narratives are produced. As part of his performative practices, Abdelkarim established a project “Tadbikat” as a performative project that brings together (and synthesises across) lectures, debates, group readings, critical responses, and creative quests, alongside with organising performance nights under the title of “Live Praxes.”


21 November 2018
18:30 - 21:00