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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

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 studied comparative literature at the American university in Cairo, and aural and visual cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her first solo exhibition Virgin with a Memory was presented at HOME, Manchester in 2014. Al-Maria has also shown at the Whitney Museum NY, USA (2016); New Museum, NY (2015); Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2013). Al-Maria participated in the 2016 Biennale of moving images (BIM), organized by the centre d’art contemporain in Geneva. In 2015 she guest edited issue 8 of The Happy Hypocrite (Fresh Hell). Her memoir, The Girl Who Fell to Earth (2012), was published by Harper Perennial. Her writing has also appeared in Harper’s Magazine, Triple Canopy and Bidoun.



All lectures are open to members of the public, staff and students unless otherwise stated.


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