Moving knowledges: towards a speculative Arab art residency proto-history
Catà Marlès, Pau
Art residencies are initiatives offering temporary living and working space for artists and researchers outside of their usual environments. Since the 1990s these spaces have expanded exponentially on a global scale. This unprecedented development has been accompanied by a comprehensive process of self-assessment. The significant numbers of seminars and conferences organized as well as the multiple studies and monographs published attest to the widespread interest, shared by practitioners and researchers alike, in reflecting on art residencies’ assets and, most importantly, their challenges. Even as these timely discussions take place, there is an important area of inquiry that remains under-researched, that is the invisibility of non-Eurocentered approaches in the history of art residencies. Indeed, the lack of a coherent body of work in this field demonstrates that the genealogical co-relation between artistic practice and the journey hasn’t yet been critically approached from a cross-cultural perspective. As a result, the discourse that currently frames the history of art residencies continues to place Europe at the center. An example of the lack of complexity in the history of art residencies can be found in the omission of the rich tradition intertwining mobility and knowledge exchange within Islamic and Arab cultures. The primary aim of this research is precisely to address, challenge and remediate this absence. To this end, by adopting artistic research, post-representational cartography, collaborative and intimate curating and experimental genealogy as methodological groundings a chronographic account representing several practices linking knowledge and the journey throughout medieval Islam and modern Arab and Ottoman history has been created. The aim of this endeavour is to discover unexpected lineages, to reside in the movement of knowledge and to rethink the assumptions embedded in a history that we believed was already written.