Cultural Production During BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel)

Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor

Free admission; space is limited and registration required at Participants are strongly encouraged to make use of the event Resource Guide.
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Cultural Production During BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel)
Teach-in and Discussion, with Lecture by Adam Marillo

4:00–6:00 pm Teach-in, with select New School faculty and students
6:30–7:30 pm Adam Marillo, Don't Say Yes When You Want to Say No
8:00–9:00 pm Discussion, with respondents and audiences

Cultural production opens avenues for new ways of thinking. But how can withdrawal and boycott be productive or conducive to politically oriented artistic practices? This series of seminars poses an alternative view: to consider boycott and withdrawal as special conditions for discourse and artmaking. The seminars address timely questions of the agency of artists in the social and political sphere, and how culture can enact and perform change within a politics of disengagement.

Cultural Production During BDS
In the face of the intractable conflict and inequity between Israel and Palestine, Palestinian civil society called for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel in 2005, and has recently renewed the call. There has been passionate and profound debate in the United States and internationally about what this boycott stands for, particularly as it pertains to cultural boycott, and how individuals and organizations might respond to it. While these debates continue, this seminar proposes to open another front in the discourse as it relates to artists and cultural producers. Too often the discussion of boycott is a proxy for the underlying political issues and does not address what the contours of artistic production within boycott looks like. What do we actually mean when we talk about cultural production within a boycott? How might culture do what it does best—provide new lenses through which to see matters at hand? What role might culture play in this context?

A teach-in by New School faculty and students wrestling with the contours of both cultural and academic boycott in the afternoon is followed by a talk featuring Ramallah-based curator and writer Adam Marillo. His presentation opens into a public discussion led by invited respondents.

In his presentation, Adam Marillo argues that boycott initiatives in contemporary art are surprisingly common, but are yet to be theorized. It also challenges the notion of boycotts as bringing dialogue to an end; the notion of restrictive, silencing mechanisms has little to do with historical experience, or any particular cause célèbre, and more to do with the self-understanding of contemporary art as something inherently indeterminate, open-ended, and dialogical. It is this notion of dialogue in particular that makes boycotts seem antithetical to dialogue in general. It is why boycotts are often held, but rarely acknowledged in any broader fashion. To be sure, a boycott is not an automatic departure from indeterminate, open-ended orthodoxy. But in the best case, it shows how art can shape the discourse as a hegemonic phenomenon in its own right.

Riham Barghouti is a New York City teacher, a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and a co-founder of Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel.

Reem Fadda is Associate Curator, Middle Eastern Art, Abu Dhabi Project at the Guggenheim. From 2005 to 2007, Fadda was Director of the Palestinian Association for Contemporary Art (PACA) and worked as Academic Director for the International Academy of Art Palestine, which she helped found in 2006. She has been involved in many international exhibitions, including Liminal Spaces, a four-year artistic and political project consisting of conferences, tours, art residencies, and exhibitions in Palestine, Israel, and Germany; Ramallah Syndrome, and Tarjama/Translation, organized by ArteEast, which featured 30 artists from the Middle East and Central Asia at the Queens Museum of Art, New York. In 2009, she organized the 3d Riwaq Biennale, Ramallah, with Charles Esche. Fadda is on the general assembly of the International Academy of Art and Kamandjati Association, the selection jury of the Young Arab Theatre Fund, and the steering committee of Decolonizing Architecture.

Mariam Ghani is an artist, writer, teacher, and member of the Gulf Labor working group. Her exhibitions and screenings include the Rotterdam and CPH:DOX film festivals, dOCUMENTA (13) in Kabul and Kassel, MoMA in New York, the CCCB in Barcelona, Secession in Vienna, and the Sharjah Biennial 10. Recent texts have been published by Creative Time Reports, Foreign Policy, Ibraaz, and Triple Canopy. Ghani collaborates with artist Chitra Ganesh as the experimental archive Index of the Disappeared; with choreographer Erin Kelly on the video series Performed Places; and with media archive collective on the Afghan Films online archive. Ghani holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from NYU and an MFA from SVA. She is currently the Freund Teaching Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis and a Visiting Scholar at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.

Suhail Malik is Co-Director of MFA Fine Art, Goldsmiths, London, and 2012-15 Visiting Faculty at CCS Bard, New York. Malik writes on political economy, theory, and art's axioms.

Adam Marillo is a curator and writer, currently affiliated with Al Quds Bard College and the International Academy of Art in Ramallah. His writing includes novels, essays and criticism. The working title of his third novel is "Headbanger." Curatorial work includes a large number of discreet durational projects and several biennial settings. Marillo is curator of the 5th Riwaq Biennale.
    • Cultural Production During BDS (Boycott Divestment And Sanctions Against Israel)
      • K Resource Guide Boycott 2 Bds Download - pdf (121 kB)
      • K Event Program Download - pdf (269 kB)
Cultural Production During BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel) is seminar IV of the series Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency and Cultural Production. Other seminars in this series are

The Legacy of the Cultural Boycott in South Africa
Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Cultural Production During BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel)
Monday, October 20th, 2014

Going the Distance: Cultural Work in Far-flung Political and Geographical Spheres
Monday, December 1, 2014

Considering Palestine/Israel. What Does the Boycott Mean?
Saturday, February 7, 2015

Who is Silencing Whom? Censorship, Self-Censorship, and Charlie Hebdo
Monday, February 23, 2015

Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production
Saturday, April 11, 2015

The program is organized by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics as part of the center's 2013–2015 curatorial focus on Alignment. It is curated by Carin Kuoni, director/curator, Vera List Center, and Laura Raicovich, President and Executive Director, Queens Museum.