‘seeing studies’: spatial, printed and spoken

‘seeing studies’: spatial, printed and spoken

Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons

January 4, 2011

‘seeing studies’: spatial, printed and spokena

Natascha Sadr Haghighian & Ashkan Sepahvand for the institute for incongruous translation

Taking shape in three chapters:
Spoken workshop sessions: 19-22 January 2011
Printed book release: 19-22 January 2011
Spatial through 13 February 2011

Casco invites you to four days of presentations, discussions and screenings as part of the project ‘seeing studies’. The sessions accompany the release of the publication ‘seeing studies’, edited by Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Ashkan Sepahvand for the institute for incongruous translation and produced by dOCUMENTA (13) with Casco and published by Hatje Cantz. These four days are seen as a communal gathering in which discussions and fields of inquiry explored in the publication will be extended and reflected upon, with interlocutors from ‘seeing studies’ coming together at Casco to present their work and converse with one another and guests (see the programme below).

‘seeing studies’ is a long-term research project developed by Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Ashkan Sepahvand for the institute for incongruous translation. The project started from a schoolbook published by the Iranian Ministry of Education, used to teach art in the first year of Iranian public middle school. As the institute embarked on translating this schoolbook from Farsi into English, the process necessitated an engagement with multiple viewpoints and discordant voices, taking into account that understanding can only be partial. Interlocutors practicing in cultural and educational fields were invited to extend the translation process into a debate on the conditions of seeing, examining ways in which we learn to see and conventions by which we perceive, conditions through which we participate in education, and pathways in which meanings find themselves transmitted, received and reapplied.

Throughout the project, ‘schools of seeing’ are encountered in various places and at various times in history: developments in optics in Abbasid Baghdad intersect with educational reforms and mechanical drawing in fin de siècle France; the ‘period eye’ of Renaissance Florence converses with the common sense exhibited by treatises on image-making from Seljuk Khorasan; the ways in which photography and printmaking were explored in Qajar Iran expands the implications of a rupture in ‘tradition’ posed by such an event as the 1912 Salon d’Automne in Paris. As George Kubler would describe in his influential book The Shape of Time, sequential and serial commonalities as well as differences arise between things as problems are examined beyond the cultural systems to which they belong – ‘East’ or ‘West’. These cross-sections in time and place link up to form dynamic chains of concepts, practices and forms.

‘seeing studies’ is an investigation of seeing as a problem: as a fundamental ‘sense’ whose commonality is biologically assumed but whose difference is culturally inevitable. Applying in its immediate context to art, visuality and depiction, ‘seeing’ is approached as a problem that affects the expanded realm of social reality: how modes of communication, methods for instruction, shaping worldviews, processes by which we learn (and unlearn) are affected by what we consider to be ‘visible’ and what ‘invisible’. ‘seeing studies’ presents the scope of this process as a book, a spatial arrangement at Casco and an ongoing series of conversations.

The book release and workshop sessions will take place at Casco and its apartment from 19 January to 22 January 2011. In order to attend, please make a reservation by 14 January to cindy@cascoprojects.org.

Workshop Programme

Wednesday 19 January 2011
18.00 soup kitchen
20.00 book presentation: conversation between ‘seeing studies’ editors Ashkan Sepahvand and Natascha Sadr Haghighian with Binna Choi, director of Casco; presentations by ‘seeing studies’ designers Farhad Fozouni and image-shift

Thursday 20 January 2011
16.00 closed workshop with students from the creative lab of HKU and ‘Publishing Class’ of Dutch Art Institute (DAI)
19.00 workshop kitchen with students from the creative lab of HKU and DAI
20.00 screening of two short films by Mohsen Makhmalbaf: The School that Blew Away and Selection of Images from the Qajar Dynasty; presentation by ‘seeing studies’ interlocutor Shahab Fotouhi

Friday 21 January 2011
16.00 presentation by ‘seeing studies’ interlocutor Oya Pancaroglu; presentation by guest contributor (t.b.a.)
18.00 kimchi kitchen
20.00 screening of two films by ‘seeing studies’ interlocutor Reza Haeri: Final Fitting and All Restrictions End, followed by Q&A with Reza Haeri

Saturday 22 January 2011
15.00 an interlude by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, artistic director of dOCUMENTA (13)
16.30 screening of Tree Dance by Gordon Matta-Clark
17.00 presentation by ‘seeing studies’ interlocutor Molly Nesbit
20.00 party kitchen

Location: Casco (Nieuwekade 213-215) and Casco GDR apartment (Bemuurde Weerd oz 18 b, Utrecht)
Language: English and Farsi (translations provided)
Free entrance. Reservation is required. Please email: Cindy van Rooijen at cindy@cascoprojects.org. For programme updates and more detailed information, please check our website.

Edited by Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Ashkan Sepahvand for the institute for incongruous translation

Designed by image-shift and Farhad Fozouni

With contributions by: Nazgol Ansarinia, Homayoun Askari Sirizi, Mehraneh Atashi, Mahmoud Bakhshi, Daniel Berndt, Binna Choi, Media Farzin, Shahab Fotouhi, Farhad Fozouni, Reza Haeri, Zoya Honarmand, image-shift, Hatem Imam, Sohrab Mohebbi, Mehdi Navid, Molly Nesbit, Oya Pancaroglu, Tina Rahimi, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Ashkan Sepahvand, Setareh Shahbazi, Zeinab Shahidi with Reza Abedini, Jana Traboulsi and William Wheeler.

Produced by dOCUMENTA (13) with Casco – Office for Art, Design, and Theory and the institute for incongruous translation and published by Hatje Cantz.

ISBN 978-3-7757-2972-7

Price: 39,80 euros
304 pp., 21 x 26 cm.

The book will be available for purchase at Casco.

The publication is made possible with the additional financial support of Fonds BKVB for Electric Palm Tree, Hessische Kulturstiftung and Extra City Kunsthal Antwerpen.

The Casco programme is generously supported by the Mondriaan Foundation and the City Council Utrecht.

Casco, Office for Art, Design and Theory, established in 1990 in Utrecht, is committed to the production and presentation of cross-disciplinary projects and participatory activities initiated with artists, designers and writers. Its primary focus is on the areas where art, design and theory intersect to form critical, imaginative and collaborative inquiries into our social and physical environment.

Office for Art, Design and Theory

Nieuwekade 213-215
3511RW Utrecht
The Netherlands
T/F: +31 (0)30 231 9995

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Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons
January 4, 2011

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