That’s Why You Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties

That’s Why You Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties


February 26, 2007
That’s Why You Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties
That’s Why You Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties

The unitednationsplaza seeks to elaborate models for art institutions that transcend the traditional boundaries between research, education and display. In this context, rather than offer a conventional course, Tirdad Zolghadr intends to pursue this possibility of new forms of discussion as rigorously as possible. In other terms, the aim is to apply the analytical rigor customarily reserved for ideological, infrastructural or art-critical concerns to the very material format in which these discussions are embedded. Why is it that the visual arts, rather punctilious in form, format, genre, media- and site-specificity, perpetuate discursive rituals steeped in medieval university traditions. The models here are limited to the seminar and the lecture hall, or to formulaic “panel discussions” flanked by Evian bottles and Powerpoint presentations. Can one expect new answers to older questions regarding form and content, quality and innovation, aesthetics and politics, if our modes of discussing them remain so fossilized? A serious consideration of untapped possibilities may help reevaluate age-old conventions, perhaps even allow a heightened sense of specificity. In which ways, for example, do certain formats overly predefine the reflection on certain themes. In the light of these questions, we shall reconsider issues of rhetorics, populism, symposium economics, artworld divisions of labor, postcolonialism and inclusivity, as well as helpful curatorial initiatives, teaching projects and artist interventions.

The seminar is based on an open structure allowing not only for theory, discussion and the odd Powerpoint presentation, but also surprise guests, historical digressions, entertainment, and the constant threat of genuine audience participation.

Topics include:

Symposia Tourism

The Aesthetics of Circulation

The Deictics of Knowledge

Artworld Divisions of Labor

Direct Democracy

The Odor of Discourse

University Heroics

Speaking Techniques

Gentle Condescension Gracefully Staged

Guests will include Boris Buden, Joerg Heiser, Nikolaus Hirsch, Hito Steyerl, Stefanie Wenner and others.

Tirdad Zolghadr works as a freelance curator, writes for Frieze magazine and has also contributed to Parkett, Bidoun, Cabinet, afterall, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Straits Times Singapore and other publications. Since 2004, Zolghadr has curated events at Cubitt London, IASPIS Stockholm, Kunsthalle Geneva, various Tehran artspaces and other venues. He was co-curator of the International Sharjah Biennial 2005, and is currently preparing a long-term exhibition and research project addressing social class in the art world that shall take place at Gasworks London, Platform Istanbul and Tensta Konsthall. Zolghadr is also a founding member of the SHAHRZAD art & design collective and will shortly publish his novel Softcore with Telegram Books, London.

unitednationsplaza is exhibition as school. Structured as a seminar/residency program in the city of Berlin, it involves collaboration with approximately 60 artists, writers, theorists and a wide range of audiences for a period of one year. In the tradition of Free Universities, most of its events are open to all those interested to take part.

unitednationsplaza is organized by Anton Vidokle in collaboration with Liam Gillick, Boris Groys, Martha Rosler, Walid Raad, Jalal Toufic, Nikolaus Hirsch, Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Tirdad Zolghadr.

Admission is free but space is limited, please register by email to:


Platz der Vereinten Nationen 14a

Berlin 10249 Germany

T. 49 (0)30 700 89 0 90

F. 49 (0)30 700 89 0 85

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February 26, 2007

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