Titled “Meanwhile…History,” Global Art Forum 2014 features participants from the worlds of art, architecture, film, literature, history, theatre and commentary. Taking place over five days—March 15–16 in Doha and March 19–21 in Dubai—the Forum reflects on the philosophy and fiction of making history matter; each interview, discussion, presentation or commissioned project is a point on this imagined timeline. As a whole, the Forum becomes a journey through known and unknown histories, of critical change and seismic moments.
The Global Art Forum was launched by Art Dubai, the leading international art fair in the Middle East and South Asia, at its inaugural fair in 2007. The Forum includes live talks, presentations, commissioned projects and research, and is known as the leading regional platform for cultural debate, and one of the most innovative arts conferences worldwide.
In 2014, the Global Art Forum is programmed by writer Shumon Basar; curator-translator and co-director of Dar al-Ma’mûn in Marrakech Omar Berrada; and artist and curator Ala Younis. The forum sessions will tour through Ibn Khaldun’s medieval treatise, the Muqaddimah; Soviet Orientalism; American Cold War paranoia; a hundred years of the art exhibition Documenta; several millennia of the pearling industry of the Gulf; the “Short Seventies” in the UAE and across the world; cultural experiments in Kuwait; Iranian art collections in Dubai; Africa in 1966; and creative lapses in storytelling and Facebook timelines.
Presented by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Global Art Forum 2014 is held in partnership with the Office of Strategic Cultural Relations at Qatar Museums Authority through their Years of Culture annual initiative. The Doha days (March 15–16) take place during the Qatar Brazil 2014 Year of Culture at Katara Art Center, while in Dubai, the Forum is located next to Art Dubai Modern, at Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah (March 19–21).
The Global Art Forum 2014 features over 40 speakers and contributors including the Kuwait City/London-based writer and director Sulayman Al Bassam; filmmaker and artist John Akomfrah; curator Catherine David; Okwui Enwezor, Haus der Kunst director and director of the Visual Arts Sector of the 2015 Venice Biennale; curator and co-director of exhibitions and programmes and director of international projects, Serpentine Gallery, London Hans Ulrich Obrist; Amsterdam-based editor of Al Manakh and Portal 9 and visiting assistant professor, Yale University School of Architecture Todd Reisz; Raqs Media Collective artist and writer Shuddhabrata Sengupta; Architectural Association School of Architecture director Brett Steele; Kunsthalle Basel director and artistic director, Documenta 14 Adam Szymczyk; and writer and historian Marina Warner, among others.