Courtesy of DRAF and Hana Noorali. Photography: Yuki Shima

Hana Noorali and Lynton Talbot work collaboratively with artists to produce text, exhibitions and live events. Together they have started non-profit galleries in both London and Berlin and have curated exhibitions in public institutions, project spaces and commercial galleries across London and internationally. In 2019 they were selected to realise an exhibition at The David Roberts Foundation as part of DRAF’s annual curator’s series.

Hana Noorali curated Lisson Presents at Lisson Gallery, London from 2017-2018 and from 2017 -2019 she wrote, produced and presented the podcast series Lisson ON AIR. In 2018 Hana edited a monograph on the work of artist and Benedictine Monk, Dom Sylvester Houédard. Its release coincided with an exhibition of his work at Lisson Gallery, New York that she co-curated with Matt O’Dell. In 2020 she co-founded TRANSMISSIONS, an online TV show with Tai Shani and Anne Duffau.

Lynton Talbot is the founding director of Parrhesiades, a multi-platform project space for artists who work with language either written, spoken, or otherwise performed. Lynton also writes specifically with artists and for exhibitions as a form of curatorial practice. He holds academic posts at Chelsea College of Arts and Kings College London in their curatorial departments and works within Tate Public Programmes to deliver Museum Curating Now. He is also a sometime participant in OFFSHORE, an itinerant performance company and pedagogical structure, initiated by Cally Spooner in 2017.

Space not Territory: Language and temporary utopias

12/05 - 14/05/2020

For a very long time now it has been easy to believe (or at least accept) that our freedom of speech and freedom of expression are best exercised on technological platforms owned by corporations dedicated to making as much money as possible. With Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc., there is a heady feeling of instant gratification that comes with instant activism and instant response. While it may feel we are speaking up and speaking out into the world beyond our screens, what we are in fact doing is addressing a carefully and deliberately diminished sphere of influence. Rather than voicing our dissent in meaningful ways, we are instead creating content we don’t own for corporations in which we have no stake. Our anger, pleasure and creativity, our last fancy dinner or most recent meme (life in other words), fuels the algorithm that offers space to bespoke advertising and we are the unpaid labourers making it happen. In short, our ‘activism’ diverts capital to a handful of the world’s richest people directly (white male billionaires, weapons profiteers, tax dodgers and sociopaths who want to build new nation states on floating island platforms).

Now, quite rightly, we cannot leave our rooms. Our whole world is delivered to us via said technological platforms offered by google, Microsoft and others in more acute ways than ever. We have very little choice. This includes our entertainment, our politics, our communication, our family time, our exercise routines, our shopping, our teaching and learning, all our social interaction. From our private spaces, this is also the only way we might protest. The only way we might make our art meet a public. Or is it?

These platforms are territories. By working through some of the material suggested to students of WHW Akademija we will suggest that this conundrum is not entirely new and that these technologies are not neutral and certainly not impervious to our scrutiny. We will see the paradoxical status that many of our museums, institutions and other territories for art have already always held; as simultaneously open spaces to play out political dissent whilst also sustaining and upholding many of the problematics that art intends to critique - unpaid labour, precarious contracts, corporate sponsorship and worse.

We will argue it is in the language we choose that more discrepant forms of resistance can emerge. And that this, right now, is as urgent as ever. As artists and curators we must show the way in not lazily falling into techno-capitalist traps of exploitation. We will suggest that this can begin at home.

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