Today, yesterday’s LEFT has collapsed into what is referred to as “progressivism,” which aspires toward a MIDDLE, and today’s right has evolved into a neoliberalist faction and an ever more powerful faction in the form of an aggressive populism characterized by irrationalism, racism, xenophobia and misogyny. This reality is not limited to the United States but extends internationally as confirmed by the Brexit referendum of the UK, the political dynamics currently in place in Brazil, in the policies of prime Minister Narendra Modi in India, and in the upcoming referendum in Italy later this fall, which, if supported, may well lead to the dissolution of the European Union. Within this international and networked landscape looms the deepening influence of “revanchism,” or the politics of revenge, with its rhetoric of retribution, a rhetoric that once arose in Germany in response to the Versailles Treaty and was central to building the Nazi appeal.
Marta Kuzma is Dean and Professor at the Yale School of Art and is a visiting professor at IUAV in Venice & Bocconi University in Milan. Previously, she held positions as Vice Chancellor of the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, Director of the Office for Contemporary Art in Oslo, and Director of the Soros Center for Contemporary Art in Kyiv. As a cultural producer, she has curated many research-driven exhibition and book projects, including among others: Whatever Happened to Sex in Scandinavia?; The State of Things; and Sol Lewitt’s Sentences on Conceptual Art: Manuscript & Draft Materials 1968–69. She has curated numerous academic programmes and symposia including On Negritude: Politics of Art Production in Africa; Recuperating Political Radicality in Contemporary Art/Part 1 & 2; Film as Critical Practice, and The Domain of the Great Bear. Past engagements include co-curating Manifesta 5 in San Sebastian and serving on the curatorial team of Documenta 13.
Respondent Hashim Sarkis is Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT. Prior to that he was at Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) as the The Aga Khan Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism. In addition to professorships at Harvard University and MIT, Dean Sarkis has held numerous visiting appointments around the world including the American University of Beirut and the Metropolis Program in Barcelona.
In addition to his academic work, Dean Sarkis is principal architect in the Cambridge and Beirut based firm, HashimSarkis Studios, founded in 1998. His architectural and planning projects include affordable housing, institutional buildings, and town planning throughout the globe. His current projects include the Byblos Town Hall and the Courtowers, both under construction.
ACT’s fall 2016 lecture series is conceived by Gediminas Urbonas, ACT director, and coordinated by Ashley Rizzo Moss, ACT Communications & Public Programs Coordinator and Lucas Freeman, ACT Writer in Residence, in conversation with ACT graduate students.