Alserkal Avenue Programming launches Site-specific commissions by six artists during Art Week in Alserkal Avenue

3 March 2016

Alserkal Avenue Programming (AAP) announces thelaunch the work of six artists commissioned this year as part of Art Week 2016 across various locations in Alserkal Avenue. The artists have been invited to examine the built environment of the Avenue, dissolve borders, reveal hidden spaces and view-points, highlight the incoherence of the neighbourhood, and challenge notions of permanence and place.


14 -19 March 2016

Dubai – United Arab Emirates. Alserkal Avenue Programming (AAP) announces thelaunch the work of six artists commissioned this year as part of Art Week 2016 across various locations in Alserkal Avenue. The artists have been invited to examine the built environment of the Avenue, dissolve borders, reveal hidden spaces and view-points, highlight the incoherence of the neighbourhood, and challenge notions of permanence and place.

Tairone Bastien, Alserkal Avenue Programming Director comments, “I’m thrilled that we can support the research, development and creation of new commissions by Dubai-based and international artists. The commissions present opportunities for further dialogue on public art in this city, and help us imagine a more nuanced and elastic sense of where we belong.

Tracing the Chora is a sound- walk through Al Quoz conceived of and created by sound artists Fari Bradley and Chris Weaver. The chora is a space through which to decipher the reality of our surroundings. The walk observes Al Quoz's vastly different terrains through the eyes of those who have worked in the area for years. Narration and sound direct listeners on a one-hour journey that dissolves our experience of a boundary between the Avenue and its neighbourhood. The chora is a space of potentiality that promises more to come, and is traced here by the voices and sounds
of a neighbourhood, markers of life amidst industry.

A similar potentiality is conjured in Mohammed Kazem’s site-specific installation My Neighbours, consisting of images from his 2006 photograph series of the same name. The photographs were taken over the course of several days looking outside from the artist’s window, in Al Quoz. A clothesline hangs at the bottom of each image, his neighbour’s clothes hung out to dry, changing with every passing day. The only constant among the photos is a wide expanse of clear blue sky. In a city like Dubai
with very little public space, the sky holds-out the promise of a shared space, a commons that encompasses us all.

Marks of public life in Dubai, such as clothes on a line, are often hidden, subtle and varied. Topologies,by Jessica Mein is a work that seeks to index, categorize and map these occurrences. Since January the artist has set out to capture surfaces and impressions of the neighbourhood through processes of rubbing, scanning, drawing, and photography. More than a thousand collected rubbings will be exhibited in her temporary studio on the Avenue. Displayed together, they give the impression of a
map, as imagined by Jorge Luis Borges that could continue to reveal itself until its edges are coextensive with the territory it depicts. The works will only be presented during Art Week, after which the artist’s process continues. Eventually all rubbings will be scanned, animated and compiled into a work of encyclopedic proportions. This is an abstract simulation, a double of the real that preserves in raw, yet exacting,
impressions the nuances of place and time.

Vikram Divecha’s Warehouse project conflates art, commerce and commodities. He has bartered the exhibition space given to him with a General Trading Company (LLC) requiring storage facilities, in exchange for the goods to be exhibited. The flow of goods in and out will create fluctuating sculptural structures shaped by the market’s hand. By diverting capital flows through this warehouse a multivalent situation is born. The commodities get transformed into art objects during their brief time in the space, whilst registering Alserkal Avenue’s own transition from industrial area towards
culture, an elevated form of commerce.

The Circle Game is a major new multi-form work by conceptual artist Mary Ellen Carroll that invites the public to interrogate the history, present and future of Dubai. Two LED signs are installed high overhead asking, ‘When did you arrive?’ and ‘When will you return?’ These are familiar questions asked of people who live in Dubai. And they are questions that could also be asked of the city itself.

A 15-metre high tower erected in the central Yard gives visitors a unique vantage point, a view across the low-lying industrial buildings of Al Quoz towards “old” Dubai and further towards Deira, the original city-centre. The platform connects these two areas of the city and will serve as a space for public programming during and after Art Week, including talks on urbanism, music, poetry and storytelling that open up a dialogue with Dubai and its citizens.

Mary Ellen comments “The commission from Alserkal Avenue has provided the possibility to imagine the future conditional in the city of Dubai, wherein the city, or more importantly the inhabitants are the subject. The city is re-imprinting itself through the realm of culture and its production as directed in The Circle Game---where Alserkal Avenue is itself an example of the social effects of material culture.”

Abdelmonem Bin eisa Alserkal, Founder of Alserkal Avenue states “These
commissions represent the growth of Alserkal Avenue this last year, both as a community and as an arts organization. They exemplify our commitment to new ideas and experimentation, and our support for projects that connect us with our community and engage the city itself. We look forward to continuing to provide such opportunities and to provoking further dialogue on art in the region.”

Alserkal Avenue Programming (AAP) is dedicated to incubating innovative ideas and creative projects that increase understanding and appreciation of communities and histories within the region and foster a productive dialogue with the general public. Working mainly with emerging and mid-career artists, AAP provides additional support for artists living and working in the MENASA region whose projects are collaborative,
participatory and ephemeral.

Alserkal Avenue is a vibrant cultural district in the Al Quoz industrial area of Dubai, and is home to a community of over 70 contemporary art galleries, visual and performing arts organisations, designers, home-grown and entrepreneur-led businesses, and community spaces across 500,000 sqft and 90 warehouses. Alserkal Avenue provides an essential platform for the development of the creative industries in the United Arab Emirates. As one of the region’s foremost destinations for contemporary art, and home to Dubai’s risk-takers, makers and wide-ranging creative communities, Alserkal Avenue provides cultural experiences for local, regional and international audiences through its extensive year-round programming. Alserkal Avenue is home to Concrete, a multi-disciplinary exhibitions space conceptualised and programmed by Alserkal, as well as the artist residency program of Alserkal’s non-profit, Alserkal Arts Foundation. Alserkal Avenue was established in 2008 by Alserkal following the visionary thinking of its founder, Emirati businessman and cultural patron Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, who sought to cultivate a vibrant creative community and support cultural production in Dubai.


Beirut-born, Mumbai-raised, Divecha has been residing in the UAE for a decade. Select exhibitions include: 'White Cube... Literally’, Curator - Amanda Abi Khalil, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai (2016), DUST, Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowsku Castle, Warsaw (2015); Accented, Curator - Murtaza Vali, Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah (2015); A Public Privacy, Curators - Mohammed Kazem & Cristiana De Marchi, DUCTAC, Dubai (2015); Grants: InVisible Public Art commission, The Arab
Fund For Arts and Culture (2014). Awards: The Middle East Emergent Artist Prize (2014)

Fari Bradley (Tehran) and Chris Weaver (London) are artists and composers focusing on sound and society, pushing the physical and architectural potential of sound and acoustics. Their practice encompasses experimental music, radio, performance, installation and sculpture. In a field of perception dominated by visual culture, the pair investigates listening as a means to establish and question new sets of social relations between subject and setting.

Mary Ellen Carroll’s career as an artist spans over twenty years across a range of disciplines including architecture, public policy, writing, performance and film. The foundation of her practice is the investigation of a single, fundamental question: what do we consider a work of art? Recent examples include Public Utility 2.0, commissioned for the biennial Prospect.3: New Orleans; and prototype 180, Carroll’s long-term opus that makes architecture perform as a work of art and employs landuse policy as its foundation. Carroll, who lives and works in Houston and New York, is
the recipient of numerous grants and honours, including a Graham Foundation Fellowship, AIA’s Artist of the Year Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, Pollack-Krasner Foundation Award, Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, MacDowell Colony Fellowship, and was recently awarded a Robert Rauschenberg Residency during which she completed the series My Struggle.

Mohammed Kazem (b. Dubai, 1969) has developed an artistic practice that
encompasses video, photography and performance to find new ways of
apprehending his environment and experiences. The foundations of his work are informed by his training as a musician, and Kazem is deeply engaged with developing processes that can render transient phenomena, such as sound and light, in tangible terms. Often positioning himself within his work, Kazem responds to geographicallocation, materiality and the elements as a means to assert his subjectivity, particularlyin relation to the rapid pace of modernisation in the Emirates since the country’s founding.

Jessica Mein was born in 1975 in São Paulo, Brazil. She received her MFA from Hunter College and currently lives and works in Dubai. Solo exhibitions include Simon Preston, New York; Galeria Leme, São Paulo; and The Pavilion Downtown, Dubai. She has also exhibited as part of The Julia Stoschek Foundation, Dusseldorf and Wellin Museum, Hamilton College, New York.