Alserkal Residency announces Rhodiola commission

18 March 2019

Alserkal Residency appoints 3 137 to create intervention-based commission Rhodiola. Athens-based collective 3 137 will present new Alserkal Avenue commission, Rhodiola, which will run from 18 March - 30 April 2019


Alserkal Residency has selected 3 137 to curate Rhodiola, the first commission under Alserkal Avenue’s not-for-profit Alserkal Residency. Rhodiola, a project by Athens-based collective 3 137— made up of artists Chrysanthi Koumianaki, former Alserkal Residency artist-in-residence Kosmas Nikolaou, and Paky Vlassopoulou— will launch on 18 March 2019 during Art Week at Alserkal Avenue. The programme- based commission will serve as an intervention in Nadi Al Quoz in The Yard, and will act as an informal group portrait of participants, visitors, and hosts. This will mark the 19th artist commission by Alserkal Avenue.

Alserkal Residency was founded by Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal and the Alserkal family as a not-for-profit platform for artistic and discursive exchange, seeking to support cultural practitioners as they realise projects pertinent to their respective practices. Designed to be immersive, the Residency focuses on research-based and socially-engaged practices, and engages the local interdisciplinary community through a series of public events and conversations.

Rhodiola, curated by 3 137, explores the idea of maintenance in everyday life. Borrowing its title from the rhodiola rosea flower, a perennial golden root which grows in wild Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America, the commission is inspired by rhodiola’s healing properties and its ability to help combat stress, anxiety and fatigue.

Rhodiola is a time-based and people-oriented project, with the objective of creating a temporary community, a group of people who are engaged in new encounters and shared experiences,” says 3 137. “The collaborative aspect of the project reflects the ethos of 3 137, intending to generate a value-system where diverse voices act independently, but also interact within the shared responsibility of creating a tool for a common imaginary space.”

3 137, an artist run space founded in 2012, endeavours to create meeting points for exchange, discussion, and research. Its practices, which focus on artistic production, collaboration, and hospitality, are engaged with the environment in which they are presented—as they will be throughout the duration of Rhodiola. “A first programme- based commission, it demarcates spatial geography and challenges our perceptions around the commodification of public space through numerous immersive interventions within the built environment of Alserkal Avenue,” says Vilma Jurkute, Alserkal Avenue Director. “The collective will closely engage with the many publics of Dubai through its six-week programme, shaping new patterns of social production here.”

For six weeks, Rhodiola will unfold through talks and interviews, exhibitions, performances, screenings, and community activities. It will run sporadically, at variable tempos, acting as an amplifier at times and as an ambiance at others. Looking at hybrid forms of communication, Rhodiola takes its inspiration from radio frequencies, and will come to life across five ‘Waves’.

Wave 1: AC/Scaffold
Staging your well-being: domesticity / infrastructure / support / urbanist / futurology / ruin / artificial / setting / programme / communication / transport / handle / zero carbon / haunt / process / decoration

Wave 2: Cookies
An invisible statistical map: comfort / biscuit / language / geography / immaterial / tube / high performance / queue / contract / start up / franchise / labour / convention / customer / demands

Wave 3: Dentist
For the making of the perfect Avatar: profit / cleaning / care / stereotypes / normal vs casual / duties / internship / coaching / rescue / post human / cabinet / mechanics / hucksterism / spectacular

Wave 4: Snooze
Be ready to be cured and listen to your personalised divination: oracle / cosmism / benefit / concentration / treatment / beautician / meditation / transit / school / degrowth / divination / preemptive / superheroes

Wave 5: Sunscreen
A casual service: tourism / dog walker / slow food / happiness / psychoanalysis / upbringing / trainer / online banking / service / state / customer / pen friend / love affair / handle / transmission

Rhodiola challenges ordinary perceptions of domestic life and public affairs, and offers a place for moments of active pause.


About Alserkal Arts Foundation

The Alserkal Arts Foundation is a non-profit that extends Alserkal’s mission to support cultural production. The Foundation offers opportunities for research and artistic production to cultural practitioners and researchers with strong regional or contemporary relevance who challenge conventional disciplinary boundaries. Through its initiatives, which include support for artistic projects, research grants, alternative learning, and artist residencies at purpose-built studios located in the heart of Alserkal Avenue, the Foundation seeks to incubate creative thinking that contributes to the region’s cultural sphere, leading to new forms of knowledge. Alserkal Arts Foundation is supported by Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Ahmad Bin Eisa Alserkal and the Alserkal family.

About Alserkal Avenue

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 500,000sqft 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 2007 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.

About 3 137

3 137 is an artist run space based in Athens. It was founded in 2012 (by Chrysanthi Koumianaki, Kosmas Nikolaou, and Paky Vlassopoulou). The space is an independent initiative run by artists, having as aim to create a meeting point for exchange, discussion and research. Its projects place emphasis on artistic production, collaboration and hospitality, and explore hybrid forms of being together. 3 137 also runs an ad hoc publishing house, called Polar Bear, that commissions new artists’ books.

Since 2016, 3 137 is developing a research, together with the art historian and curator Klea Charitou, regarding the greek art scene of the 70s, presented through public talks, lectures, screenings, educational workshops and a publication which is going to be released next year.

In the meantime, the space has frozen its indoors program for a while and has established an immaterial institution named Gabriela, inspired by the first intern who worked at 3 137. Gabriela sets up a discussion on labor issues in the art world while looking for different, parallel and possible communities. She is triggered by institutional critique together with the need to make a living and be sustainable.