Multaka is Arabic for Meeting Point. Multaka is the link between the past, the present and the future.

A project called Multaka, initiated by the Museum for Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin in 2015 - at the height of the migration crisis in Europe - has turned the Museum into a magnet for bringing diverse groups together to reinterpret collections through their own stories and experiences.
This new way of being in a museum, of looking at collections, creates an opportunity to rethink the museum as a structure of tolerance.

Photo: Teilnehmer einer Führung des Projekt “Multaka: Treffpunkt Museum“ im Museum für Islamische Kunst. © René Zieger

Read More
When the Painterly meets the Political

Working with a nexus of concepts – identity, cultural connection, vernacular culture and nationhood - Shiraz Bayjoo explores personal and public archives to expose hidden or marginalized stories in order to interrogate and challenge dominant narratives. Here, in conversation with Denise Clarke, he discusses the role of contemporary art biennials, the importance of stepping into “the real world” and the processes his work goes through as he builds up his own aesthetics of place.

Image: Series En Famille, 2015 - Courtesy of the Artist

Read More
Changing Perspectives on the World

Arts Cabinet interviews artist Abigail Reynolds on the relationship between books, libraries and her multidisciplinary artistic practice. 

The Lost Libraries of the Silk Road project made me question my assumptions of the world and my own identity. The whole journey changed my perspective on the world. My work is always bound up with different perspectives and modes of understanding…it addresses the restructuring and contingency of knowledge, of dominant narratives.

Image: The Maidens, 2012 - Courtesy of the Artist

Read More
'Culture cannot be dissociated from development in any society'

If we recognise that in most policy discourses, such as those produced by UNESCO and the United Nations, capacity building is seen as a critical element to social cohesion, we can thus begin to understand the connection between artistic research and social cohesion, as, in sharing their knowledge and skills locally, artists become the capacity builders. This model of capacity building also offers a chance to redefine and challenge traditional top down approaches to capacity building, offering the chance to evaluate the benefits of a bottom up approach, as a key quality of artistic research is that the artistic research process is democratic, and artist-led.

Read More
Book burning, past and present

Denise Clarke explores the long history of book burning and how three artists have responded to these acts of destruction. Books like visual art, are the locus for powerful ideas. They bring with them the notion of speculation, they are restless creatures carrying with them the potential for change. Artists have responded to their destruction in a multitude of ways. This essay represents just one line of flight sparked by a single exhibition Ashurbanipal, King of the World, King of Assyria currently at the British Museum. It is intended as a provocation for further inquiry into “the book” – the nature of the relationship between contemporary artists, books and their research practices, the synergies between word and image and the creation and circulation of artists books.

Read More
EssayArtists Respond
Chisenhale Interviews: Lawrence Abu Hamdan 

Chisenhale Interviews: Lawrence Abu Hamdan 
Interviewed by Ellen Greig, Curator: Commissions, Chisenhale Gallery on Wednesday 12 September 2018 at Chisenhale Gallery, London. Chisenhale Interviews series editor, Polly Staple, Director, Chisenhale Gallery. 

Arts Cabinet is very grateful to Chisenhale Gallery for sharing this interview in our Editorial, a valuable contribution to the expansion of knowledge on artistic research.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Earwitness Inventory (2018). Commissioned and produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London in partnership with: Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; and Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate.

Read More
Conference review: Axis of solidarity: Landmarks, Platforms, Futures // Tate Modern 23-25 FEBRUARY 2019

Utopian as all this might sound, Tate’s conference was not all about hazy reminiscence and vague hagiography. Amidst a street demonstration protesting the Bank of England’s refusal to hand over billions of dollars belonging to Venezuela until a new government is installed, a central concern of the conference became about the merits or otherwise of large conferences as representing state/institutional voices vis-a vis grassroots organisations, non-institutional voices.

Read More
Soufiane Ababri in conversation with Cécile Bourne-Farrell

On the eve of his exhibition Here is a Strange and Bitter Crop at Space Gallery in London, curator Cécile Bourne-Farrell spoke to artist Soufiane Ababri about the issues motivating his work. Engaging with subjects as wide-ranging as the global banana trade to football, Ababri tackles issues of social injustice, colonial exploitation and the history of representation. Mobilising the words of Malcolm X and A Strange and Bitter Fruit - Billie Halliday’s plangent anthem to racial injustice - Ababri aims to dislodge tropes, give voice to marginalised peoples thus positioning his art as a vessel for potential change.

Arts Cabinet is very grateful to Something We Africans Got for co-sharing the publication of this conversation.

Image: Peuples Erotiques, Peuples Exotiques, 2017 - Soufiane Ababri

Read More
Abu-Dhabi Art 2018: Thoughts on the invisible and the intangible

Editor-Researcher Denise Clarke explores the role and nature of artistic research practices in the extra-commercial exhibitions and activities at Abu-Dhabi Art 2018. Inherent in the artworks discussed in this essay, is the imperative to question, to probe to challenge knowledge and to partake in the negotiations between the representable and the intangible, the visible and the invisible. They engage with knowledge in a variety of ways to focus on its production and its loss, it’s retrieval and documentation and its multifarious mutations.

Photographs from the ongoing project Odysseus, by the artist Tarek al-Ghoussein, Courtesy of the artist.

Read More
Investigating Cultural Civil Society

Klara Kostal’s research describes the cultural policy context through which Arts Cabinet identifies alternative modes of transaction, exchange and collaboration. ‘Rather than revealing a straightforward reasoning behind governance, this research project highlights the complexities of ‘governmentality’ that originate from the context of the EU. Taking this angle, the findings show how the 2016 Structured Dialogue worked as a ‘practical feature of government’’, incorporating two distinct ‘families of governmentality’: democracy and neoliberalism’.

Read More
The Agency of Art. When will we take art seriously?

As part of our ongoing commitment to the MENA region, we are developing an interview series with Art Historians and Curators who chose to devote their career to the promotion of Middle-Eastern and North African art. Our aim is to give their work more visibility and to create links between them as part of a growing network.

Image: The Arab Nude: The Artist as Awakener @Kirsten Scheid

Read More
Living in Exile: Far From Home by Paphonsak La-or

Far From Home connects and compares the two sensations of being away from home, one of the ruling elite of the early twentieth century, another of the commoners who currently struggle to survive. A writing of an unnamed exile individual that appears on the art book Far From Home 2017 encapsulates the difficult situation in which most of them have confronted when fleeing from Thailand.

Image: Paphonsak La-or, Far From Home, exhibition view at ARTIST + RUN in Bangkok, Thailand, 2017 @Thanavi Chotpradit

Read More
Fieldwork as a convivial and undisciplinary practice

In this interview for Arts Cabinet, Bernard explores the uniqueness of an original practice, which goes beyond traditional research frameworks. Based on is personal experience, he provides an overview of situations that may lead researchers to open their practices to art and describes the obstacles they face inside the academy, their traditional space of action.

Image: Azé Kokovina, The clown, Lomé, 2013. @Gaétan Noussouglo

Read More