The Space Between Classrooms, Swiss Institute Annual Architecture and Design Series, Curated by Alia Farid

Jan 20 - Apr 18 2021

Swiss Institute Annual Architecture and Design Exhibition Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms

Including works by Atelier Aziz Alqatami, Mohamed Bourouissa, Olga Casellas and Marco Abarca, Khalid al Gharaballi, Jumana Manna and Haig Aivazian, Nuria Montiel, Abdullah Al-Mutairi, Oscar Murillo, Gala Porras-Kim, Alfred Roth, Cecilia Vicuña

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Swiss Institute is proud to present the 5th edition of its Annual Architecture and Design Series, curated by artist Alia Farid (b. 1985; lives/works in Kuwait and Puerto Rico). The works in this exhibition, entitled The Space Between Classrooms, respond to the limitations of learning within the prescribed architectural and structural parameters of an archetypal school setting. Farid takes as a starting point the prototype for schools that Alfred Roth designed for Kuwait’s Ministry of Public Works during the late 1960s, a period of rapid modernization for the newly flourishing oil state. Roth, a celebrated Swiss modernist architect, developed prefabricated schools that were to be replicated in each district across the country. From his initial report on the existing provision of schools, which opens the exhibition, The Space Between Classrooms compares the uniformity of Roth’s architecture and the introduction of a modern education system in Kuwait with expanded art practices from Latin America, Southwest Asia and North Africa. These works draw on radical forms of pedagogy and communication as tools for unlearning, exploring how institutionally engineered values might govern imagination.

The exhibition opens with Roth’s specific architectural prototype and its influence on the Gulf state. Works by Abdullah Al Mutairi, Khalid al Gharaballi and Atelier Aziz Alqatami reconstruct elements and scenes from the Roth schools to examine the use and afterlife of these modernist buildings. Placing this architectural case study in dialogue with theories of alternative learning, the exhibition concurrently draws from an expanded notion of education and pedagogical practice as seen through the prism of ideas of philosopher Ivan Illich (1926-2002), most notably in his 1971 treatise Deschooling Society, a critical discourse on education as practiced in modern economies and a critique of mandatory schooling. In Illich’s view, formal education is a means of production, and as such, it is imbricated within a fundamentally circular and capitalist logic. Works in The Space Between Classrooms by Mohamed Bourouissa, Olga Casellas and Marco Abarca, Cecilia Vicuña, Jumana Manna and Haig Avazian, Oscar Murillo, Gala Porras-Kim, and Nuria Montiel explore the potential of art as an alternative mode of learning, situated at the intersection of education and self-exploration, to challenge existing power structures and consider systems of knowledge, language and meaning outside the walls of modern institutions. Concurrent and integral to the show is a public program series that brings together activists, artists, architects and historians including Marco di Nallo, Sophie Hochhäusl, Amal Khalaf, Sofía Olascoaga and Michy Marxuach to discuss and activate alternative modes of schooling.

Driven by inquiry, the works here demonstrate how understandings of knowledge or what constitutes valuable information cannot be prescribed or confined. With its title taken from a caption that Roth inscribed beneath a photo of a hallway in a school in Kuwait, The Space Between Classrooms explores the capacity that we each have to make meaning from the in-between or the outside. Set against our current moment, in which traditional sites of education have been radically reconfigured for many, it makes visible the potential in everyday spaces for moments of thought and learning.

Additional programming for The Space Between Classrooms will be held in collaboration with M7, Qatar Museums and The World Around Summit 2021. A second, abridged iteration of the exhibition curated by Farid and Abdullah Al-Mutairi, Artifacts of Education, opened at The Sultan Gallery, Kuwait, in July 2021.

Alia Farid (b.1985) lives and works in Kuwait and Puerto Rico. She has had recent solo exhibitions at Portikus, Frankfurt and Kunstinstituut Melly (formerly known as Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art), Rotterdam. Recent and upcoming group shows include participation in the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, the 12th Gwangju Biennale, Sharjah Biennial 14, the 2nd Lahore Biennale, Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991-2001 at MoMA PS1, and Yokohama Triennale 2020. She has forthcoming solo exhibitions at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAMSTL), St. Louis in 2022 and The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto in 2023.

This exhibition is organized by Alison Coplan, Curator.

SI gratefully acknowledges the support of the VIA Art Foundation, the Barjeel Art Foundation, David Zwirner, the SI Architecture & Design Council, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Production support for The Space Between Classrooms is kindly provided in part by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture. Special thanks to Media Partner PIN–UP. SI wishes to thank the lenders to the exhibition: the Archive of the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta) at ETH Zürich; Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center, National Museum of Women in the Arts; Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles; Frequencies Project Foundation; kamel mennour, Paris/London; and the artists. Alia Farid wishes to thank Alison Coplan, Huda Abdulmughni, Soleil Gharbeih, Clara Dublanc, Jess Clifford, Hunter Gilliland and Simon Castets.

SI Programming is made possible in part with public funds from Pro Helvetia, Swiss Arts Council; the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Main sponsors include LUMA Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Friends of SI. The Space Between Classrooms is made possible in part by the Swiss Institute Annual Exhibition Fund with leadership support provided by the LUMA Foundation, Max and Monique Burger, the Garcia Family Foundation, the Kevin Wendle Foundation, and the Freedman Family Foundation. SI gratefully acknowledges Swiss Re as SI ONSITE Partner, Vitra as Design Partner, Crozier Fine Arts as Preferred Shipping Art Logistics Partner, and SWISS as Travel Partner.

 







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Press

The Space Between Classrooms, installation view.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Abdullah al Mutairi
Abdullah Al-Mutairi, جهال. Brick, cement. Courtesy of the artist. 2019.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Abdullah al Mutairi
Abdullah Al-Mutairi, جهال, detail. Brick, cement. Courtesy of the artist. 2019.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Atelier Aziz al Qatami
ATELIER AZIZ ALQATAMI, Spring Opthalmia 1988, 2020-2021. India ink on vellum paper, clay sourced locally in Kuwait. Courtesy of the artist.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Atelier Aziz al Quatami
ATELIER AZIZ ALQATAMI, Spring Opthalmia 1988, 2020-2021. India ink on vellum paper, clay sourced locally in Kuwait. Courtesy of the artist.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Atelier Aziz Al Qatami
ATELIER AZIZ ALQATAMI, Spring Opthalmia 1988, 2020-2021. India ink on vellum paper, clay sourced locally in Kuwait. Courtesy of the artist.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Atelier Aziz al Qatami
ATELIER AZIZ ALQATAMI, Spring Opthalmia 1988, 2020-2021, detail. India ink on vellum paper, clay sourced locally in Kuwait. Courtesy of the artist.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Abdullah al Mutairi Aziz Al Qatami
The Space Between Classrooms, installation view.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Alfred Roth
Alfred Roth, The School Buildings of Kuwait, 1965. 23 page booklet, typescript on paper, ring binding. Courtesy of gta Archives / ETH Zurich, Alfred Roth.
Alia Farid the Space Between Classrooms Credit System in Education System Why?
Credit System in Education… Why? Original year unknown (c. 1975), subtitles added in 2019, still. Found footage, 34 min 26 sec. Courtesy of Huda Abdulmughni, subtitles by Alia Farid.
Alia Farid the Space Between Classrooms Credit System in Education System Why?
Credit System in Education… Why? Original year unknown (c. 1975), subtitles added in 2019, still. Found footage, 34 min 26 sec. Courtesy of Huda Abdulmughni, subtitles by Alia Farid.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Nuria Montiel
Nuria Montiel, Wxnder Wxrds / Imprenta Móvil, 2014/2021. Monoprint with ink on rice paper, wall painting. Courtesy of the artist.
Alia Farid the Space Between Classrooms Nuria Montiel
Nuria Montiel, Wxnder Wxrds / Imprenta Móvil, 2014/2021, detail. Monoprint with ink on rice paper, wall painting. Courtesy of the artist.
Alia Farid the Space Between Classrooms
The Space Between Classrooms, installation view.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Gala Porras-Kim
From left: Gala Porras-Kim, Whistling and Language Transfiguration, 2012. Vinyl LP record, unique cyanotype print album cover. Notes after G. M. Cowan #1 , 2012. Graphite on paper, post it, wood. Notes after G. M. Cowan #2, 2012. Graphite on paper, post it, wood. Notes after G. M. Cowan #3, 2012. Graphite on paper, post it, wood. All works courtesy of the artist and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Gala Porras-Kim
Gala Porras-Kim, Mapping tones (all documented Zapotec dialects in Oaxaca), 2012. Graphite, ink, tape, pins, Post-it, paper, wood Courtesy of the artist and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Gala Porras-Kim
Gala Porras-Kim, Mapping tones (all documented Zapotec dialects in Oaxaca), 2012. Graphite, ink, tape, pins, Post-it, paper, wood Courtesy of the artist and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Gala Porras-Kim
Gala Porras-Kim, For Learning Zapotec Verbs, 2012. Wood, pencil, paper, wire, found rocks. Courtesy of the artist and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Gala Porras-Kim
Gala Porras-Kim, For Learning Zapotec Verbs, 2012. Wood, pencil, paper, wire, found rocks. Courtesy of the artist and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles.
Alia Farid the Space Between Classrooms Olga Casellas and Marco Abarca
Olga Casellas, Marco Abarca, The Axis of Modern Violence Reminds, 2021. Web-based visualizations. Courtesy of the artists.
Alia Farid the Space Between Classrooms Olga Casellas and Marco Abarca
Olga Casellas, Marco Abarca, The Axis of Modern Violence Reminds, 2021. Web-based visualizations. Courtesy of the artists.
Alia Farid the Space Between Classrooms Olga Casellas Marco Abarca
Olga Casellas, Marco Abarca, The Axis of Modern Violence Reminds, 2021. Web-based visualizations. Courtesy of the artists.
Alia Farid the Space Between Classrooms Mohamed Bourouissa
Mohamed Bourouissa, The Whispering of Ghosts, 2018, still. Video, 13 min 15 sec. Co-commissioned by FACT and Liverpool Biennial © ADAGP Mohamed Bourouissa. Courtesy of the artist and kamel mennour, Paris/London.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Mohamed Bourouissa
Mohamed Bourouissa, The Whispering of Ghosts, 2018, still. Video, 13 min 15 sec. Co-commissioned by FACT and Liverpool Biennial © ADAGP Mohamed Bourouissa. Courtesy of the artist and kamel mennour, Paris/London.
Alia Farid the Space Between Classrooms Cecilia Vicuña
Cecilia Vicuña, Caleu está soñando, 1999, still. Video, 12 min 9 sec. Produced by The Touchstone Center. Translation by Angelina Jaffe. Courtesy of the artist.
Alia Farid the Space Between Classrooms Cecilia Vicuña
Cecilia Vicuña, Caleu está soñando, 1999, still. Video, 12 min 9 sec. Produced by The Touchstone Center. Translation by Angelina Jaffe. Courtesy of the artist.
Alia Farid the Space Between Classrooms Khalid al Gharaballi
The Space Between Classrooms, installation view.
Alia Farid the Space Between Classrooms Khalid Al Gharaballi
Khalid al Gharaballi, The Garden of Earthly Delights, 2020. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.
Alia Farid the Space Between Classrooms Khalid Al Gharaballi Abdullah al Mutairi
The Space Between Classrooms, installation view.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Cecilia Vicuña
Cecilia Vicuña, Sabor a Mi, 1973. Printed book. Courtesy of Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center, National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Jumana Manna and Haig Aivazian the Space Between Classrooms
Haig Aivazian and Jumana Manna, The Setting of Noon, 2019. Installation. All works courtesy of the artists.
Haig Aivazian and Jumana Manna The Space Between Classrooms
Haig Aivazian and Jumana Manna, The Setting of Noon, 2019. Installation. All works courtesy of the artists.
Jumana Manna and Haig Aivazian The Space Between Classrooms
Haig Aivazian and Jumana Manna, The Setting of Noon, 2019. Installation. All works courtesy of the artists.
Jumana Manna and Haig Aivazian The Space Between Classrooms
Haig Aivazian and Jumana Manna, The Setting of Noon, 2019. Installation. All works courtesy of the artists.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Oscar Murillo
Oscar Murillo, Frequencies, 2013-ongoing, installation view. Ballpoint pen, fountain pen, graphite, felt tip pen, highlighter pen, permanent marker, paint, crayon, staples, natural pigments, debris and other mixed media on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Frequencies Projects Foundation.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Oscar Murillo
Oscar Murillo, Frequencies, 2013-ongoing, installation view. Ballpoint pen, fountain pen, graphite, felt tip pen, highlighter pen, permanent marker, paint, crayon, staples, natural pigments, debris and other mixed media on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Frequencies Projects Foundation.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Oscar Murillo
Oscar Murillo, Frequencies, 2013-ongoing, installation view. Ballpoint pen, fountain pen, graphite, felt tip pen, highlighter pen, permanent marker, paint, crayon, staples, natural pigments, debris and other mixed media on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Frequencies Projects Foundation.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Oscar Murillo
Oscar Murillo, Frequencies, 2013-ongoing. Ballpoint pen, fountain pen, graphite, felt tip pen, highlighter pen, permanent marker, paint, crayon, staples, natural pigments, debris and other mixed media on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Frequencies Projects Foundation.
Alia Farid The Space Between Classrooms Swiss Institute Oscar Murillo
Oscar Murillo, Frequencies, 2013-ongoing. Ballpoint pen, fountain pen, graphite, felt tip pen, highlighter pen, permanent marker, paint, crayon, staples, natural pigments, debris and other mixed media on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Frequencies Projects Foundation.