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The Global Art Forum 2018 will focus on the power, paranoia and potentials of automation. Entitled “I Am Not a Robot”, the 12th edition of the transdisciplinary summit will be programmed by Commissioner Shumon Basar, with Chief Operating Officer and Futurist-in-Chief of the Dubai Future Foundation Noah Raford, and Curator of Digital Culture & Design Collection at the MAK, Vienna, Marlies Wirth, as Co-Directors.

The implications of automation run through our lives today and tomorrow: from machine learning, to algorithmic policy-making, social credit scores and gene editing. It is said that automation, more than any other factor, will fundamentally alter our working lives (leading Bill Gates to suggest robots pay taxes). This brings about the ambient fear of automation. We’ve already heard the first AI composed pop song and can read the first AI authored short story. Where does this all leave the fate of the human? And what exactly are machines saying about us behind our backs? “I Am Not a Robot” becomes a natural sequel to previous editions that dealt with technology, the future and trade.

After the debut at the Serpentine Gallery’s Marathon, the Forum’s programme will unfold over the course of the following year, including a special evening at Dubai Design District in February 2018, followed by the renowned three-day event at Art Dubai, during March 21-23 2018. The Forum’s full programme will be announced in the coming months.

Art Dubai’s Global Art Forum is presented by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and supported by Dubai Design District (d3).



Shumon Basar is a writer, curator and cultural critic. He is Commissioner of the Global Art Forum in Dubai; Editor-at-large of Tank magazine; Contributing Editor at Bidoun magazine; Director of the Format programme at the AA School; and a member of Fondazione Prada’s Thought Council. His most recent book, co-authored with Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist, is “The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present.” @shumonbasar


Noah Raford is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Futurist-in-Chief of the Dubai Future Foundation. He was also a former advisor on futures, foresight, and innovation for the UAE Prime Minister’s Office. As part of a team that identifies emerging opportunities and future initiatives for the Government of Dubai, his work helps frame the UAE as a global test-bed for 21st Century technologies and ideas. His is currently leading the construction and curation of the Museum of the Future (opening in 2019), as well as various public sector transformation initiatives. He lives in Dubai and is a semi-retired techno DJ. @nraford

Marlies Wirth is a curator and art historian based in Vienna, Austria. With a background in contemporary art she has been active at the MAK – the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art in Vienna, since 2006, where she has worked closely with MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles and was appointed curator in 2009. She was recently named Curator of Digital Culture & Design Collection at the MAK. She curates exhibitions, programmes and discursive events in the fields of art, design, architecture, media and technology, and has had a key role in the programming of VIENNA BIENNALE 2017. Next to her institutional practice, she develops independent exhibition projects with international artists, and writes essays and texts for artists and publications. Recent exhibitions include the themed group show “Artificial Tears” and “ich weiß nicht [I don’t know] – Growing Relations between Things” (Vienna Biennale 2017), the group show “24/7: the Human Condition” (Vienna Biennale 2015). She is also part of the curatorial team for the international travelling exhibition “Hello, Robot. Design between Human and Machine” (2017, MAK in cooperation with Vitra Design Museum and Design Museum Gent). @marlieswirth


The 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. It has brought together over 400 global minds from pop culture to renowned academia:  artists, curators, museum directors, filmmakers, novelists, historians, philosophers, technologists, entrepreneurs, musicians and performers, dialogue with one another across disciplines, reporting from every part of the world, painting a truly 21st century portrait of how the globalized world thinks.