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Deeper Down | Lecture and Round-table discussion


Mudam Foyer
Within the framework of the exhibition

Mudam Collection. Deep Deep Down



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Introduction | Deeper Down
An introduction to the working premises which have led Deep Deep Down to the proposal at hand by the guest curators Shirana Shahbazi et Tirdad Zolghadr. What are the institutional politics at play? What does the experiment reveal about curating-at-large in today’s context? The event will also address options of curation beyond traditional premises such as heritage or quality. As we look for institutional precedents, we also look to speculative scenarios for the near future. With contributions by the curatorial team, a keynote lecture by Bassam El Baroni and a response by Suhail Malik.

With contributions by the curatorial team, a keynote lecture by Bassam El Baroni and a response by Suhail Malik.

Lecture | Deep Deep Down and Through Algorithmic Realism | with El Baroni
The history of curating has been shaped by language games and curatorial statements as much as it has been shaped by selection procedures, exhibition design, tourism, and a slew of other contingent factors. In Deep Deep Down’s delegation of meaning-making to data, there is a banking on something, a staking of something, and this something is not a poiesisthrough the traditional language games associated with curating. Rather, it suggests a techné (a creative tool) that can be applied to the curating of other collections. With this, are we witnessing how algorithmic and computational logic can be adopted into the fold of human curating in a kind of meta-awareness of its implications? With the important caveat, of course, that curating has always been augmented by the machinic, Deep Deep Down could be proposing a type of curatorial practice that acknowledges an algorithmic realism as the infrastructural basis for curating. To unpick all this, the talk will engage with the recent work of thinkers such as Suhail Malik, Luciana Parisi, Antoinette Rouvroy and others.

The Effect of the Paranuss Effect: Man Ray, Edward Steichen | Round-table discussion
An event curated in strict adherence to the above logistical parameters and thus addressing the artwork which has emerged as the smallest exhibitionary option: Man Ray’s portrait of Edward Steichen. The method that led to this choice is obviously an unorthodox one. Traditionally, a curatorial theme is selected that is expanded upon in the public programme. Deep Deep Down, however, strenuously avoids a theme, to the benefit of a selection based on numeric and logistical parameters. How to translate these parameters into a public discussion – not only in terms of a talking point, but in terms of the very structure of the discussion itself?

The roundtable will include a contribution by Emmanuelle de L’Ecotais on the photography of Man Ray in general, and his portrait of Steichen in particular. Tirdad Zolghadr will base his contribution on research as co-curator of the 2011 conference ‘The Human Snapshot’, which addressed Steichen’s seminal exhibition The Family of Man.

Bassam El Baroni is a curator, writer, and associate professor of curating and art mediation at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Finland. His most recent work engages with issues such as financialization in relation to artistic practices, AI and curating, artists’ engagement with infrastructural futures and histories, and new forms of artist-led activism. He is the author of various essays on artists, art and curating, and editor of Between the Material and the Possible: Infrastructural Re-examination and Speculation in Art (Sternberg Press, 2022). His recent curatorial projects include Infrahauntologies at the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art, Oldenburg, Germany and La Box ENSA, Bourges, France (2021 - 2022).

Suhail Malik is Director of the MFA Fine Art, Goldsmiths, London, where he holds a Readership in Critical Studies. He has written widely on contemporary art and philosophy, and is co-editor of Realism Materialism Art (Sternberg, 2015) and Genealogies of Speculation (Bloomsbury, 2016).

Emmanuelle de l’Ecotais is curator of photography at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, with a doctorate in Art History. A specialist of the works of Man Ray, she has curated the exhibitions Man Ray. La photographie à l'envers(Grand Palais, 1998), Alexandre Rodtchenko (Musée d’Art Moderne, 2007), Objectivités. La photographie à Düsseldorf (ARC, 2008), Henri Cartier-Bresson(Musée d’Art Moderne, 2009), Ana & Bernhard Blume (MEP, 2010), and Linder. Femme/Objet (ARC, 2013). She served as artistic advisor for the Prix HSHC pour la photographie in 2013, is on the selection committee for the Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière photography prize (Académie des Beaux-Arts), and is jury member for the Prix Pictet.

Shirana Shahbazi first studied photography at the Fachhochschule, Dortmund before joining the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst in Zürich. Her work has been the subject of monographic exhibitions in numerous institutions, notably Kunsthaus Hamburg (2018); Istituto Svizzero, Milan (2018); Museum Fotogalleriet, Oslo (2017); KINDL, Berlin (2017), and Kunsthalle Bern (2014). In 2005, she participated in the 51st Venice Bienniale. Her work is part of the collections of Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Museum, New York; MoMA, New York, and Migros Museum, Zürich, among others. In 2019, Shahbazi was awarded the Meret Oppenheim Prize.

Tirdad Zolghadr is a curator and writer. He teaches at the Graduate School, Universität der Künste Berlin. His writing includes fiction as well as publications based on extensive curatorial research, such as REALTY: Beyond the TraditionalBlueprintsof Art & Gentrification (Hatje Cantz, 2022). Recent curatorial work includes an associate curatorship at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2017–20), but also biennals, as well as long-term collective initiatives.

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© Photo : Studio Rémi Villaggi | Mudam Luxembourg