“As you go… roads under your feet, towards the new future”

“As you go… roads under your feet, towards the new future”

What Could/Should Curating Do? / Moderna galerija

Design: Toby Tam.

March 20, 2021
“As you go… roads under your feet, towards the new future”
March 22–31, 2021, 11am

Live stream via WCSCD / Moderna galerija / Artcom platform / Rockbund Art Museum / Times Museum / Public Library Bor

“As you go… roads under your feet, towards the new future” symposium is the first public moment of sharing not only our research but also our mode of working based on relationality and interdependence that we bring with us as we move forward.

“As you go… roads under your feet, towards the new future” is a long-term project and research inquiry that reflects on the Belt and Road Initiative and how it will alter the aesthetics and practices of everyday life in different local contexts of Ethiopia, Serbia, Slovenia, Uzbekistan, China, Kazakhstan.

Many of these localities situated on the margins of the global economy regained a momentum of visibility through geopolitical conflicts when the BRI entered a sphere of interest of other global powers. Could new visibility and a new set of geopolitics create alternatives to our existence, or will it uphold the extractivist capital logic done for so many years by Western European modernity are some of the questions that we try to unpack through research case studies

Being in project for a year, together we have experienced civil unrest in most of the localities, researchers falling ill due to Covid-19 (and thankfully, recovering), a civil war in Ethiopia that escalated in November 2020, our colleagues losing their positions, and our partners’ funding being taken away.  

This project stretches out our emotional capacity, and our endurance is challenged on a daily basis. Still, we continue to walk together. Research quietly continues, acknowledging the importance of being together and creating some things during this separation being imposed on us.

Since April 2020, due to the pandemic, we have employed the strategy “dig where you stand,” and have been working with 15 researchers across Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Ethiopia, Serbia, Slovenia, and China. The research inquiry has been developed trying to listen to local urgencies and learn from them. From there a number of case studies had been formulated and research conducted.

This symposium will share thinking with and walking with partners cells, researchers, and is available through live stream.


Day 1: March 22, 2021, 11am–1:30pm CET

Introduction to the project and its mode of working during the pandemic as a proposition towards interdependence by Biljana Ciric and Zdenka Badovinac

Screening of the film Awra Amba E(u)thopia by Salem Mekuria

Robel Temesgen: “The Addis Newspaper”
Marija Glavaš: “The Cultural Interweaving of China and the Balkans”
Q&A and discussion

Day 2: March 23, 2021, 11am–1pm CET

Disjointed images from Afar and Fragmented Stories in Proximity
Moderator: Nikita Yingqian Cai

Alex Ulko: “Seeing the Invisible: Documenting and Interpreting China’s Cultural Presence in Uzbekistan”
Hu Yun
Salem Mekuria: “Special and Other Memories: Maskal Square’s contribution”
Q&A and discussion

Day 3: March 25, 2021, 11am–1pm CET

Alternatives to new forms of geopolitical and economical administration of localities and people: archiving, reacting, creating.
Moderator: Larys Frogier

Jelica Jovanović“Infrastructuring the Region. Materiality and Intangibility of the New Silk Road in Serbia”
Sinkneh Eshetu, Berhanu, Aziza Abdul Fetah: “The Danger of Ambition and Neglect: The Case of Beautifying Sheger Project” 
Aigerim Kapar: “The many secret scapes of Balkhash Lake: a travelogue of the crossboundary contexts, communities and ecosystem”
Q&A and discussion 

Day 4: March 26, 2021, 11am–1pm CET

Situated Research, Situated Practices
Moderator: Aigerim Kapar

Robert Bobnič and Kaja Kraner: “Bor is burning: From mining to data mining in socialist Yugoslavia”
Yabebal Fantaye: Astrobus-Ethiopia: “A dynamic response to fast-changing challenges and opportunities”
Jasphy Zheng: “Stories from the Room”
Q&A and discussion

Day 5: March 30, 2021, 11am–1pm CET

The importance of Ports
Moderator: Sinkneh Eshetu

Nikita Yingqian Cai: “Performativity of a Guarded Globalization—How is the Maritime Silk Road represented in China’s Public Museums?”
Brett Neilson: “Logistical Worlds, or, Research before the Pandemic”
Ash Moniz
Q&A and discussion

Day 6: March 31, 2021, 11am–1pm CET

How we work together: a round table discussion of partner cells:
Zdenka Badovinac, Aigerim Kapar, Robel Temesgen, Sinkneh Eshetu, Biljana Ciric, Dragan Stojmenović, Larys Frogier, Nikita Yingqian Cai 

“As you go… roads under your feet, towards the new future” is initiated and conceived by Biljana Ciric. The inquiry and research cells include What Could Should Curating Do (Belgrade), Moderna galerija (Ljubljana), Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai), Guangdong Times Museum (Guangzhou), ArtCom (Astana), Robel Temesgen and Sinkneh Eshetu (Addis Ababa), and The Public Library (Bor).

The first stage of the project has been supported by the Foundation for Arts Initiatives, CURTAIN (Rockbund Art Museum), Austrian Cultural Forum, Curatorial Practice (Monash University Art, Design and Architecture), and the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.

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What Could/Should Curating Do?  / Moderna galerija
March 20, 2021

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