Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas on The Swamp School at the Global Art Forum in Dubai

Swamp School. Hybrid Radio by Nicole L'Huillier. Photo: Gabriele Urbonaite

Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas are invited to speak at the 2019 edition of Global Art Forum, the most significant event of its kind in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. ACT affiliate Nomeda Urbonas, and Gediminas Urbonas, professor at ACT, are co-curators of the Swamp School, the future learning environment, which was realized in the Lithuanian National Pavilion as part of the 16th Venice International Architecture Exhibition in 2018. Supported by MIT SA+P, ACT, and CAST, the Swamp School brought together over 200 designers, scholars, and researchers from diverse disciplines including architecture, art, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, and others from more than 12 schools across the globe. In exploring the imaginary of a swamp—a living organism in which borders defined by social, political, and cultural factors are porous and permeable—participants focused on creating pedagogies and methodologies that support adaptation to meet the demands of a changing environment in light of climate change.

The Urbonases will discuss their experiments in design, pedagogy, and artistic intelligence, and how can the swamp, as a locus of imagination, possibility, and invisible symbiosis between life forms and between humanity and its constructions, foster our thinking today, in order to serve a future of possibility? How can we learn from the swamp to argue for conviviality (living together) and sympoiesis (making together) in imagining the future and adapting to imminent unknowns?

The Global Art Forum 2019 is organized by commissioner Shumon Basar, with editor and writer Victoria Camblin, and curator Fawz Kabra as co-directors and takes place March 20-21 during Art Dubai. The Forum unites a diverse cast of global minds – from renowned curators and critics to educationalists and entrepreneurs – under the theme of “School is a Factory?” to address some of the urgent challenges and opportunities facing education today.



The Global Art Forum 2019 brings selected group of speakers to address the pressing questions throughout the Forum’s lectures, presentations and conversations, such as: “What should education prioritize in the coming decade?” “How should humans be taught in the age of accelerated mechanization?” “Is the notion of ‘learning for life’ just an opportunistic tagline?” “Will higher education escape the ghetto of elitism?” “Do past experiments in education have something to teach today?” and “Will we need humans to teach humans anymore, anyway?”

In her lecture Where In The World Is The Bauhaus? the artistic director of bauhaus imaginista Marion Schmidt von Osten will revisit the movement‘s radical premise: to understand design as a social project, and to undertake a reform of art and design education as a step toward a reinvention of society. Curator Barbara Vanderlinden will discuss notion of a laboratory and experimentation as research and practice. Asking how do these tools facilitate artistic and scientific research – and how do such specialized work methodologies translate across disciplines, and traverse professional borders to access a general audience she will discuss how art and science work together to progress a public dialogue from a curatorial perspective.

In their panel the director of Art Jameel Antonia Carver and the director of The Showroom London Elvira Dyangani Ose with a curator of SculptureCenter Sohrab Mohebbi will raise question why does education continue to be an urgent topic (and department) within the art establishment? As art institutions, from private and public collecting museums to the Kunsthalle and the Biennale, continue to emphasize the importance of education, so what are the critical issues and challenges art institutions are responding to today?

Tirdad Zolghadr, associate curator of KW Berlin will unfold the notion of school as a factory in a backdrop of the high-speed global expansion of today’s art-education. Analyzing its singular discourse, and marking infrastructure called “Contemporary Art” Tirdad suggests we already have a factory on our hands. The only question is how to make use of it.

In their panel School Is The Commons? the designer Amir Berbić and curator Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez with Global Art Forum Co-Director Fawz Kabra will discuss the commons as a space of collectivity and community and possibilities to create new ways of learning and sharing of experience. The commons can also emerge out of states of emergency when the governing infrastructure is no longer viable. What does it look like when the space of the commons flourishes at times of chaos and consequently subverts accelerated industry?

Innovation Leader of GEMS Education Rohan Roberts will share his work on Artificial Intelligence And Real Education in the world of increased automation and ubiquitous A.I. and impact on society that smart agents and cognifying technologies continue to make. Thus how can we classify the Artificial Intelligence currently in existence with a view to transforming science and art education – and better preparing humanity for a future of accelerating change?

Artist Cécile B. Evans and Co-Founder of Mirai Christine Nasserghodsi with Global Art Forum Commissioner Shumon Basar will discuss Learning From Machine Learning. Our automated world – where we speak to digital assistants and maneuver through space while our faces are recognized by ubiquitous cameras – has been made possible because of millions of hours of machine learning, whereby large data sets of meaningful information are inputted to establish protocols that seem “human-like”. What kind of education is this? What does it, in turn, teach us about ourselves? And what can humans learn from the strange processes of teaching machines about the world as it is, or, as it should be?