“Here as the Centre of the World” Project
Here as the Centre of the World a transnational artistic research project that took place in Damascus, Taipei, Diyarbakir, Khartoum , Beirut and Enschede in 2006 and 2007. The project consisted primarily of a series of ten-day workshops in each city, in which one street became the site and subject of research. Artists from each of the six locations worked collaboratively in small groups, carrying out an open-ended process of visual research and creating site specific projects and short interventions in public space. Each artist participated in workshops in their country of residence as well as at least one of the other five locations, creating a situation in which the relational nature of difference could be experienced.
The workshops were an invitation for artists to 'de-centre' their practices - both to engage with a new 'centre' and to look differently at their usual artistic context. They were invited to consider how one's perception and conception of art is culturally and socially informed and to reflect on the real conditions in which cultural differences are articulated in the day-to-day activities of artists and art workers. Operating in the contact zone between cultures, the project raised issues surrounding the translatability of art.
By making space for competing artistic paradigms, it problematized the notion that contemporary art has an international language shared by artists worldwide. Eighteen artists from Europe, The Middle East, Asia and Africa collaborated in a common project in Abu Hamamah Street in the El Duem quarter, a very lively popular area in Khartoum with markets and schools and sandy football fields as well as herds of sheep crossing the street. With it's ever changing population the quarter is a true mirror for the recent developments in the region. The project was launched in the spring of 2006 and consisted of 6 workshops, a conference and the publication of a book. Finally around 70 artists have been involved in the collaboration.