CULTURUNNERS // conversation + kith

Taking  the form of a 34ft 1996 Gulf Stream vehicle, CULTURUNNERS is a mobile high tech artist studio and broadcast vehicle that will host more than 100 artists and curators from across the world, over the multi year road trip. 

A cross-cultural artistic expedition in search of common concerns and interconnected histories across borders,  CULTURUNNERS has embarked on Part 2 of its epic cross- country journey across the United States. The project presents an unconventional model of cultural exchange, which combines the localized rituals of an artist road trip with the far-reaching power of communication and cultural technologies. From New York to San  Diego, artists will collaborate with diverse communities to explore interconnected stories between the Middle East and the United  States. Developed  in collaboration with an international network of artists and  institutions from the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, CULTURUNNERS is a core component of Edge of Arabia's on-going US Tour in partnership with Art Jameel

While traveling with CULTURUNNERS, artists will take part in talks and workshops with partner  institutions;  have  full  use  of  a state  of  the  art  studio  featuring  digital and traditional materials and equipment; and will  broadcast Artists ‘Dispatches’ from the road via CULTURUNNERS’ Freeway channel and interactive website

The Union for Contemporary Art will be hosting the CULTURUNNERS RV during it’s stop in Omaha from August 6th through August 8th. 

Please join us for a special kith community dinner on Thursday, August 6th at 6pm* which will welcome artists, Stephen Stapleton, Matthew Mazzotta and Faisal Samra to our community and provide you with an opportunity to learn more about their work + the 
CULTURUNNERS project. 

The evening will kick off with a panel discussion with the artists, moderated by curator + critic, Yasmeen Siddiqui. This will be followed up with a potluck picnic edition of kith on The Union’s grounds with the artists.

This event is free and open to the public, but we ask that you take a moment to RSVP so that we can get an accurate count of how many will be attending. Please bring a dish to share with fellow guests and lawn chairs or a blanket to sit on. The Union will provide wine, lemonade and water – but you should feel free to bring beverages, if you’d like. And – as always – families with children are welcome to join us.

Can’t join us on Thursday? 
The CULTURUNNERS RV will be open to the public on Friday, August 7th from 5pm to 7pm so that you can come by, meet the artists and learn more about their creative practice + projects.

ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS

Matthew Mazzotta is an artist, inventor, and alumna of and lecturer at the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology. Mazzotta’s work evolves from an interest in exploring the relationship between people and their environments, as well as between each other. His practice is conceptual and manifests as participatory public interventions that aim at bringing criticality and a sense of openness to the places we live. These socially engaged interventions allow for a re-entry of the physical and metaphorical landscapes of our lives by provoking conversations around exploring the local, questions of ecology, public involvement, community building, artist sensibilities, science, and dissecting the systems that make up our ‘everyday’. His work is about reversing the top down one-way exchange of ideas and allowing people to contribute in a more tangible way to their own environment. Often times these projects include working with community members, laborers, academics, engineers, builders, city governments, activists, artists, poets, and anyone else that is willing to be involved in something experiential and participatory. >> matthewmazzotta.com

Faisal Samra is a Bahraini-born Saudi national. After graduating from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Samra worked as an art and graphic design consultant for the Institut du Monde Arabe (Paris), was a stage designer for Saudi television, taught in the Fine Arts department of the Amman University in Jordan and obtained his first artist residency in Paris, at the Cite International des Arts (2005). Having lived and worked in Paris, New York, Beirut, and spent considerable time in Marrakesh and the far-east, Samra describes himself as a ‘nomad wandering through time’. This cultural amalgam of experiences is reflected in his artistic practice; Samra combines elements of digital photography, painting, sculpture, video and performance to tackle issues of visual culture and imagery. His work denounces the visual culture systems of mass media, advertisements or political communication, incorporating references to historical and contemporary realities, and is opposed to their large-scale manipulation. Samra has taken part in numerous group shows, including at the British Museum (London and Dubai), as well as institutions in Abu Dhabi, Paris, Bonn, Cairo, and Rabat. He has had many solo exhibitions across the Middle-Eastern and Europe, and is in the collections of The British Museum (London) National Museum (Mexico City), Modern Art Museum (Cairo), Enrico Navarra (Paris), Saeb Eigner (London), Sheikha Paula Al Sabah (Kuwait), among others. Samra has participated in Biennial’s in Singapore and Cairo, and is a jury member of the Alexandria Biennale, Egypt. >> edgeofarabia.com/artists/faisal-samra1

Yasmeen M. Siddiqui is an independent curator and essayist. Her writing has appeared on www.hyperallergic.com and in the Cairo Times, Medina Magazine, Flash Art, Modern Painters, NKA and The Brooklyn Rail and in books including: Fault Lines Contemporary African Art and Shifting Landscapes. inIVA, London, 2003; A Contingent Object of Research. Storefront Books, New York, 2010; Do Ho Suh: Home Within Home. Leeum: Samsung Museum of Art, 2012; “Do Ho Suh” in If you were to live here: The 5th Auckland Triennial, 2013; On Architecture. Melvin Charney a Critical Anthology. Edited by Louis Martin. Montreal: McGill — Queen’s University Press, 2013.  She has curated exhibitions by: Matt Lynch and Chris Vorhees, Stranger Than Function, Zephyr Gallery, 2014; Consuelo Castañeda, For Rent, Americas Society, 2011; Do Ho Suh, A Perfect Home: The Bridge Project, Storefront for Art and Architecture, 2010; Pia Lindman, FASCIA, Storefront for Art and Architecture, 2006; and Linda Ganjian, Portable, Storefront for Art and Architecture, 2006. She is a co-curator of the upcoming project After the Moment: Reflections on Robert Mapplethorpe. Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, Ohio. Awards include the Monique Beaudert Award and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Curatorial Research Fellowship. She holds a Masters in Medieval Islamic Art History from the University of Toronto (1997) and a Masters in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in New York (2005).

Stephen Stapleton is an artist, traveler and cultural producer. After an artist's journey across the Middle East in 2003, he founded Edge of Arabia and The Crossway Foundation as platforms for creative collaboration and cultural activism between the Middle East, Europe and the U.S. Since 2008, he has produced landmark international exhibitions including Never Never Land, EOA London Gallery (2014), Rhizoma, 55th Venice Biennale (2013); #COMETOGETHER, East London (2012); We Need to Talk, Jeddah (2012); The Future of a Promise, 54th Venice Biennale (2011); Terminal, Dubai (2011); and Edge of Arabia, University of London (2008). He has also published several artists' books including "Offscreen: Four Young Artists in the Middle East" (Booth- Clibborn Editions, 2004) and "Edge of Arabia" (Booth-Clibborn Editions, 2010). He has a degree in fine art and philosophy from the University of Brighton, a PGCE in art education from the University of London. As an artist, he has exhibited in Tehran, Amman, London, Oslo and New York.  

* rain date // Friday, August 7th at 6pm