18 Jan 11

Second dOCUMENTA (13) artist book published in cooperation with Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory, Utrecht: `seeing studies´ by Natascha Sadr Haghighian & Ashkan Sepahvand for the institute for incongruous translation

Book presentation: Wednesday, January 19, 2011, 8 pm, Casco, Utrecht Workshop: January 19 - 22, 2011, including a talk by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Saturday, January 22, 2011, 3 pm, Casco, Utrecht

dOCUMENTA (13) is pleased to announce the publication of ‘seeing studies,’ part of a long-term research project developed by Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Ashkan Sepahvand for the institute for incongruous translation. It has been produced by dOCUMENTA (13) and Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory, and published by Hatje Cantz.

The project was inspired by a schoolbook published by the Iranian Ministry of Education that is 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 became engaged with multiple viewpoints and discordant voices. Interlocutors practicing in cultural and educational fields were invited to extend the translation process into a debate on the conditions of seeing. This involves examining the ways in which we learn to see, perceptual conventions, participation in education, and other pathways where meanings are transmitted, received and reapplied.

‘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 drawings 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 describes in his influential book, The Shape of Time, sequential and serial commonalities as well as differences arise between things when 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’ where commonality is biologically assumed but where difference is culturally inevitable. Applied to the context of art, visuality and depiction, ‘seeing’ is approached as a problem that affects the expanded realm of social reality: how are modes of communication, the worldviews that shape us, and the processes by which we learn (and unlearn) affected by what we consider to be ‘visible’ and ‘invisible’? ‘seeing studies’ presents the scope of this process as a book, published in parallel with a spatial arrangement, and a series of conversations in Utrecht.

On Saturday, January 22, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Artistic Director of dOCUMENTA (13) will participate in one of the daily workshops and will speak about seeing and storytelling.

The publication

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

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

ISBN 978-3-7757-2972-7
Price: 39,80 Euros
304 pp., 21 x 26 cm.

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

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