Shumon Basar and Sophia Al Maria

Self FORMAT 1

Series: FORMAT Issue 8, organised and hosted by Shumon Basar
Date: Wednesday 4 July 2018
Time: 18:30
Venue: AA Gallery
Running time: 73 mins

FORMAT is a ‘live magazine’ looking at the shapes that discourse takes. The eighth issue takes place at the AA in Summer 2018, and runs from July 4 to July 13. Open to the public, and free of charge, FORMAT No.8 focuses on ‘Self Format.’ Is the ‘individual’ being reinvented and redefined in our age of data capitalism? How much intimacy can be surrendered to surveillance? Is the opposite of the individual still the ‘crowd,’ or, something else? And, would you mind being cloned? Invited guests share their Self Formats from the worlds of art, design, literature, theory, media and more.


Shumon Basar presents the predicaments posed by increased automation, AI and robotic reality, where the boundary between a person, the network and being human becomes no boundary at all. Sophia Al Maria describes the eerie and paradoxical impacts on our physical bodies today, from ubiquitous presence to alarming new levels of body dysmorphia: a self turned into multiple selves of several (im)material consistencies.  


Shumon Basar is a writer, curator and cultural critic. Co-author of The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present with Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist, he is also Commissioner of the Global Art Forum in Dubai; Editor-at-large of Tank magazine and Contributing Editor at Bidoun magazine; Director of the Format program at the AA School; a member of Fondazione Prada’s Thought Council and Art Jameel’s Curatorial Council.


Sophia Al-Maria is a Qatari-American artist and screenwriter. She is currently writer in residence at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. A collection of Al-Maria’s writing, Sad Sack, will be released later this year with Bookworks UK. Her first book was The Girl Who Fell to Earth (2012).



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