This March is going to be very rich in art events around the world: starting from VOLTA NY, The Miami Home Design and Remodeling Show and the 52nd Annual Rotary Key Biscayne Art Festival in USA, TEFAF Maastricht in the Netherlands, Art Ankara in Turkey, Art Basel in Hong Kong, Biennale Of Sydney in Australia, Art Paris in France and the tenth edition of Art Dubai in the UAE.
So, now that it is time to confirm the schedule for art fairs, I would like to share with you some news on Art Dubai that has already announced the full March 2016 programme and list of contributors for the tenth edition of the Global Art Forum – the annual five-day arts conference known internationally as a particularly innovative platform for contemporary cultural debate.
After the “All the world’s futures” of Biennale of Venice 2015, the 2016 Global Art Forum goes on to explore the ways in which artists, writers, technologists, historians, musicians and thinkers have imagined – and are shaping – the future, with its customary series of live talks, panels, performances and commissioned projects. In fact the title of the Art Forum is ‘The Future Was’, which is quite an interesting way of speculation on the relatvity of the notion of time.
It is important to mention that Art Dubai’s Global Art Forum is presented by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and supported by Dubai Design District (d3).
By the way, despite Dubai is often criticized for being the concrete jungle and poor on art and design, the situation is changing fast, and a good example to that is the Dubai Design District, better known as d3, as a dedicated creative destination, answers a growing need for the regional design industry, ensuring that this important sector is able to develop and thrive. And as we are talking about the future, by 2018, d3 will feature a one million square foot Creative Community, which will act as the site’s cultural epicentre, inspiring emerging designers and artists, and attracting tourists to the area. By 2019, d3 will also boast a bustling Waterfront, a 1.8km esplanade running alongside the Dubai Creek, with international and design-led hotels, boutique retail concept stores and an outdoor events space, as well as a host of hospitality and leisure facilities.
Of the Forum’s theme, Commissioner Shumon Basar said, “The future isn’t what it used to be, which is why the tenth edition of the Global Art Forum is called ‘The Future Was’. How did different parts of the world imagine their future fates? Technologically? Culturally? Creatively? Ideas can be time machines – so we’re inviting some of the brightest minds to share their ideas and take us backwards and forwards through time and place.”
And it actually an interesting point to see the “future” as seen by Brothers Wachovsky in their “Matrix” or by Steven Spielberg in “Terminator” or Robert Lee Zemeckis in his “Back to the Future. It is really an endless playground for artistic expression.
So, as a visionary person, I would put forward an assumption that walking through the Madinat Jumeirah’s newly expanded Fort Island during Art Dubai, it would be quite a challenge to guess what will be the answers for the subjects of the examination, how museums and artists are working with “the future of the past”; why deserts are the typical landscapes of fictional futures; what is the archaeology of space; and what is the relationship between the futures and art markets; what is in the Brazilian architectural legend Oscar Niemeyer’s forgotten masterplan for Dubai; what is our relationship with technology and the cloud; and much more.
Antonia Carver, director of Art Dubai, said, “Over the past decade, the Global Art Forum has gained a reputation for a particular warm, innovative and investigative spirit, and it’s certainly one of liveliest and broadest of talks programmes. This year’s speakers range from space scientists to world-renowned artists, and the presentations take in performance, sound, film, as well as ideas. To debate the future, and what it means to us, through past and present, seems particularly appropriate here in the UAE.”
And that is so true, as I would remind you that the Dubai’s World Expo is going to be held in 2020 under the theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, which is going to showcase the future from now, that will become the future of the past to our children, perhaps.
But let us go back into our nearest future, March 2016, Art Dubai, where the artists will play a particular role in the tenth Global Art Forum, and the programme features new commissions, including short films by Qatari writer and artist Sophia Al Maria that speculate on the future of our environment, and a new performance work by Monira Al Qadiri dwelling on the role of oil in all of our futures.
Held under the Patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Art Dubai 2016 includes 94 galleries, presented across three programmes – Contemporary, Modern and Marker. Art Dubai’s extensive not-for-profit programme includes Art Dubai Projects; an exhibition of works by winners of the annual Abraaj Group Art Prize; a range of educational programmes including the Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program and the community school Campus Art Dubai; and the Global Art Forum.