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Global Art Forum 06: The Medium of Media

Each year, the Global Art Forum brings together a diverse line-up of artists, curators, musicians, writers and thought leaders. The Forum is recognised for its collaborative, innovative approach to the art world and draws on other disciplines and experiences to take a broad ‘helicopter view’. It includes performance, music, commissioned research and projects alongside live talks.

Over the years, the Forum has toured to Qatar, Kuwait, France and the UK, and grown to include publications, workshops and other educational initiatives.

In 2012 the Global Art Forum expanded to six days and featured commissioned projects and research, as well as live debates and presentations. Global Art Forum 6 was directed by writer Shumon Basar and characterised by a particularly innovative and dynamic approach.

Entitled ‘The Medium of Media’, the Forum is re-inventing itself this year. Along with the familiar array of lectures, conversations, discussions, and workshops, it includes a new roster of commissioned projects that precede and succeed the live days. Thematically, the Global Art Forum 6 looks at the double meaning of the term ‘media’, both within the art world and referring to the world of publishing and reportage. Underpinning this is a look back at the past year in the Arab world, and how fundamental events have been both produced and consumed as media. The Forum is, effectively, a media production about media.

The Forum Forum was a new multi-media repository, located in the Ballroom Foyer of Madinat Jumeirah during Art Dubai 2012, that assembled an alphabet of chairs and tables with an array of content. These included commissioned publications, curated projects, and new research, as well as art-works shown in Dubai for the first time. Each element painted its own idiosyncratic portrait of ‘The Medium of Media.’



Arabic Art Glossary Project

Curator Lara Khaldi leads a new collaboration between Art Dubai and Mathaf: an interactive Arabic Art Glossary platform. Over the course of a year, a database of art terms and definitions in Arabic will be built up, providing arts practitioners, institutions, students and translators with an unparalleled resource.


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PowerPointingTM Your Creative Medium Potential (CMP)

PowerPoint is omnipresent — from bored boardrooms and continuing education seminars to military briefings at the Pentagon and in Kabul, with art fairs in between. Editor/art historian Victoria Camblin has curated a special series of PowerPoints, created collaboratively by contemporary artists, writers, creative entities and duos, which celebrate, critique and creatively exploit the medium’s strange, story-telling familiarity. Featuring Douglas Coupland, Ayshay + Kari Altmann, Goldin & Senneby, LuckyPDF and Alexander Provan (Triple Canopy).



Arshafa E3lamiya: Middle East Archive

In this archive of the present, writer and researcher Mariam Wissam Al Dabbagh collects, compares and critiques the different way in which current events in the Arab world are narrated by Arabic and English speaking news media. A project commissioned by Global Art Forum_6.


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Mass Medium: Emirati TV on Home Video

Blogger Hind Mezaina presents highlights from Aqeel al Showab’s 10,000-hour VHS/Betamax archive of Emirati TV from the 1970s to the 1990s. A private individual’s passion becomes de facto national archive.



Dubai Art World Cartography

Brusselssprouts have produced a dynamic, cartographic visual exploration of the Dubai art world, distilling more than 2500 entries spanning from galleries, exhibitions, fairs, artists, curators, patrons and any art event produced in U.A.E. since 2005. They explain to Shumon Basar how the map came about and what it reveals.


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Isak Berbic presents The Battle for Petra, a video piece that investigates cinematic aesthetics through montage of appropriated material, form the streaming news footage of the Cairo march, 2011 protests. The color bars open into an epic battle between the north and south. As the crowds roar, our gladiators take on even more daring risks in quest for victory.





Banu Cennetoglu’s 02.11.2011 is a collection of hard copies of arabic newspapers, printed on the day of 02.11.2011, in twenty arabic speaking countries.



549 OUT OF 250,000 CABLES


Hala Ali presents US Diplomatic Cables organized into piles according to correspondence about each Arab/Muslim state. They are stacked in order of the largest to smallest, sculpturally signifying the weight of political discourse per country.





A part of The Unimaginable Things We Build project Haig Aivazian uses found material to retrace the evolution of the rhetoric surrounding the tallest building in the world. Burj Khalifa’s own incessant utterances, suggest that it existed well before its inauguration and that this inauguration was in fact its public suicide. Through artistic and literary references this work seeks to reconcile notions of globalisation and site-specificity or the idea of architectural landmarks as nodes in an abstract global economy.





In October 2011, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art launched a new series of talks aimed to amplify the voice of Qatari artists featured in the exhibition ‘Swalif: Qatari Art Between Memory and Modernity’ by placing them in dialogue with local leaders on topics ranging from art education to urban planning.




Shumon Basar


HG Masters


Georgina Adam
Haig Aivazian
Hala Ali
Fatima Al Qadiri
Kari Altmann
Negar Azimi
Rayya Badran
Isak Berbic
Josephine Bosma
Ignacio Gomez
Victoria Camblin
Banu Cennetoglu
Aaron Cezar
Douglas Coupland
Mariam Wissam Al Dabbagh
Shezad Dawood
Emily Dische-Becker
Constant Dullaart

Ghida Fakhry Khane
Yasmine El Rashidi
Sophie Fiennes
Tom Francis
Kai Friese
Mishaal Al Gergawi
Michael Govan
Shahira Issa
Lara Khaldi
Parag Khanna
Kristine Khouri
Huda Lutfi
Amin Maalouf
Sophia Al-Maria
Hind Mezaina
Nat Muller

Turi Munthe
Hans Ulrich Obrist
Hussein Omar
Jack Persekian
Alexander Provan
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi
Michael Rakowitz
Rijin Sahakian
Sukhdev Sandhu
Nicholas Sautin
Wael Shawky
Murtaza Vali
Anna Lena Vaney
Michael C. Vazquez
William Wells
Kaelen Wilson-Goldie


Global Art Forum is an annual, transdisciplinary summit, based in Dubai, which combines original thinking and contemporary themes in an intimate, live environment. Since 2007, the Forum has been a key part of Art Dubai’s extensive cultural programming. Featuring live talks guided by a curated theme, Global Art Forum has brought together over 500 global minds from pop culture to renowned academia: artists, curators, museum directors, filmmakers, novelists, historians, philosophers, technologists, entrepreneurs, musicians and performers. Central to Global Art Forum’s continuing success is the dialogue the platform fosters across disciplines, reporting from every part of the world to paint a truly 21st century portrait of how the globalised world thinks. Recently, the Forum has been invited to present special editions at the Royal Academy of Arts, London; and the ArtScience Museum, Singapore. Global Art Forum is supported by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.