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At the 15th edition of the fair, we explored the concept of communities and how they come together. One of the ways this was explored, was through a curated programme that looked to combine visions of the past, present and future of Dubai. The artist and collective, Fernando Garcia-Dory x INLAND created a new multi-site installation at the fair and in a variety of locations across Dubai. Sand Flow manifested in a range of places and moments, combining visions of Dubai’s past, present and future and examining the ways in which the multiplicity of cultures and communities inhabit the city and their contributions to it. The artwork incorporated archaeology, hydrology, urbanism and transport as well as the Middle East’s rich oral storytelling traditions, heritage and crafts.

Fernando Garcia-Dory x Inland Collective

Q&A with Artist Fernando Garcia-Dory: Sand Flow

What is the Nature of your Artist Commission piece?

The commission responds to the space of the fair, the context of Dubai and an alternative perspective regarding the history of the city. The installation combines visions of the past, present and future of Dubai, referring to archeological unearthing, heritage and crafts, the hydrological system, urbanism and infrastructure, through a variety of diverse materials.

While visiting and studying the context of Dubai, I collected impressions to establish connections with the diverse people and places that bring Dubai together. Based on the impressions, and the economic socio-ecological flows, I was able to create a story taking place in different scenarios for the visitor to navigate and access.

What was/is your perception of Dubai?

Dubai is a city made of many worlds, in rapid change and contrast between the past, present and future. The present seems like an accelerated instant, where an optimistic future is constantly forged. It’s a free port channeling economy and trade flows, with an atmosphere of being a land of opportunities despite the contrasts in diversity. The mosaic of cultures and ways of living in Dubai make the city enriching, the solid economy of the state and private sector offer potential to confront the challenges of this century to ensure sustainability and equitable conditions, something that we as a Collective believe should be instilled in current and future plans.

How does this work link to your previous practices?

I often work with interactive installations, diverse materials and knowledge, combining high and low tech procedures, dialects and latest developments. This contrast allows me to take a critical position, to relativise possible narratives and question future events. In previous projects we have mixed reality and fiction, storytelling and existing political frictions.

What is the creative process behind your installation?

Our creative process is very intuitive and involves balancing the impressions of the research stage, ideas and readings that formulate during the fieldwork and the intended message.

For Art Dubai there were different conditions and criteria to take into consideration, such as the presence within the fair site, the audience´s attention, the interaction with the broader context of the city, and to propose a work that could be read at different levels, from entertaining to raising critical questions.

What is the greatest challenge when creating a piece of work on a place you’ve never been to before?

The greatest challenge is having to rely and work hand-to-hand with collaborators that are well established in the context of the subject, are able to offer guidance and contribute to the project in its different stages. This could be from the initial research, concept, to production and the final activations.

Each stage can be made very difficult if a complete picture is not easily gathered, within the given time to create an installation.

Fernando García-Dory

Fernando García-Dory ́s work engages the relationship between culture and nature, as manifested in multiple contexts, from landscape and the rural, to desires and expectations in relation to identity, crisis, utopia and social change.

Interested in the harmonic complexity of biological forms and processes, his work addresses connections and cooperation, from microorganisms to social systems, and from traditional art languages drawing to collaborative agro-ecological projects and actions. He studied Fine Arts and Rural Sociology, and is preparing his PhD on Art and Agroecology.

He was granted the Socially Engage Award by Creative Time New York, the Chamberlain Award and finalist of the Rolex Prize, He is a fellow of Council of Forms ( Paris) and board member of the World Alliance of Nomadic Pastoralists.

He has developed projects and shown his work at Tensta Konsthalle, Van Abbe Museum, Reina Sofia Museum, SFMOMA, Pompidou Museum, Documenta 12 and Biennales of Gwangju, Istanbul and Athens. Since 2010 he has been developing a project about a para-institution called INLAND, in which to dissolve his authorship. For 2021 is preparing exhibitions at BALTIC Newcastle, Serpentine Galleries London, Madre Napoli , Biennales of Istanbul, Kosovo and Urals, and for Documenta 15. He is also coordinator of the European network on Rural Arts called Confederacy of Villages, supported by Creative Europe program and Carasso Foundation.

Image credit - Cittadellarte: Fondazione Pistoletto


INLAND (various locations in Spain) is a collaborative agency started in 2009 by Fernando García Dory. It provides a platform for diverse actors engaged in agricultural, social, and cultural production.

During its first stage (2010 – 2013) and taking Spain as an initial case study, INLAND was engaged with artistic production in twenty-two villages across the country, nationwide exhibitions and presentations, and an international conference. This was followed by a period of reflection and evaluation, launching study groups on art and ecology, and a series of publications. Today INLAND functions as a collective focused on land-based collaborations and economies, and communities-of-practice as a substrate for post-contemporary art and cultural forms.

INLAND has a radio station, an academy, produces shows, and makes cheese. It is also a consultant for the European Union Commission on the use of art for rural development policies, while promoting a European Shepherds’ Network, a social movement to question those same policies.

INLAND is currently coordinating the Confederacy of Villages network and has exhibited and worked with institutions such as the Istanbul Biennial (2015); Casco Art Institute, Utrecht (2015); Maebashi Museum (2016); Serpentine Gallery, London 2020); Casa do Povo, São Paulo; Centre Pompidou, Paris (2015); SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin (2019) and documenta fifteen.

Past Commissions