The Back Room Workshop

How do public spaces become politicised, privatised, inscribed with new meanings? How might artists, writers, and educators intervene in various spaces, and engage with new publics? How does the scale, location, and permanence of a space — be it public or private, based in or outside of Iran — affect the projects that artists propose, devise, and develop? What performances and interventions might we enact within and also between sites? How might such projects initiate questions related to the larger implications of societal participation and democracy?

This six-session workshop included readings, discussions, and experiments that explored the relationships between contemporary visual and performance practices and our understanding of space—as both a physical location and an abstract concept. Sessions were facilitated from New York City by Ava Ansari and Molly Kleiman of the Back Room, in collaboration with Culture Hub in New York with guest lectures and workshops by artists, scholars, and curators.

WORKSHOP SYLLABUS

Session 1:
Friday, May 2
6-8:30 PM (Iran)
Session facilitators: Ava Ansari and Molly Kleiman

Session 2:
Friday, May 9
6p-8:30 PM (Iran)
Guest Artist: Lisi Raskin
Reading and discussion: The Aesthetic of Equity: Notes on Race, Space, Architecture, and Music, by architect and scholar Craig L Wilkins, pages 91–115. Translated by Saleh Najafi.
Session facilitators: Ava Ansari and Molly Kleiman

Session 3:
Thursday, May 15
6-8:30 PM (Iran)
“The Social Turn: Collaboration and Its Discontents,” Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, by art historian Claire Bishop, pages 11–40. Translated by Ali Moazzami
Session facilitators: Ava Ansari and Molly Kleiman

Session 4:
Thursday, May 22
6-8:30 PM (Iran)
Guest Artist: Lisi Raskin
Session facilitators: Ava Ansari and Molly Kleiman

Session 5:
Thursday, May 29
6p-8:30 PM (Iran)
Guest Artist: Jeannine Tang
Session facilitators: Ava Ansari and Molly Kleiman

Session 6, with an invited public
TENTATIVE DATE: Thursday, June 12
6-8:30 PM (Iran)
We also plan to hold a final session with an invited public of artists, curators, and writers from NYC. We will speak in more detail as to what this session might entail—we see it as an excellent way for expanding the connections between artists in Iran and those in NYC.

Venue:
Culture Hub (New York), Sazmanab (Tehran), and Mani’s Studio (Isfahan)


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