Platform for discussion003
Can Artistic Practices Negotiate the Demands of Cultural Institutions, Public Space, and Civil Society?
A recent project led by Walid Raad attempted to draw attention to, and improve the treatment of, migrant workers on Saadiyat Island by Guggenheim and its Abu Dhabi partner, the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC). Tactics were initially conducted privately but when it was clear to those involved that changes were not being made, Raad, along with a slew of prominent artists from the Middle East and beyond launched a public letter calling for a boycott of the Guggenheim until the labour practices are resolved.
In this instance, political action cannot be divorced from artistic practice; by escalating the protest to the public domain, the project operates at the register of performance replete with public audience and set on an international stage. Although it is unclear what the effects will be and whether labour practices will shift sufficiently to satisfy the petitioners, the action opens up the potential for change, and creates an alternate avenue for showcasing art and art history.
What is a platform?
A platform is a space for speaking in public. It is an opportunity to express ideas and thoughts. It also suggests the formal declaration of a stance or position on any given subject.
Unique to Ibraaz is a 'platform', a question put to writers, thinkers and artists about an issue relevant to the MENA region. This platform is sent to respondents both within and beyond the MENA region and contributions will be archived every 12 months.