Sumac Space

Dialogues Exhibitions About Artists' rooms

Frames Cracked by Lines of Doubt–A Trialogue

Anahita Razmi / Jaroslava Tomanová / Fabrizio Ajello

[Scroll down for the Italian Version]

In the Greek language, dialogue comes from διά-through and λογος-speech, it is a conversation, a movement through an open space between distant dimensions of feeling, thinking, acting, where everything could happen. We developed another space and dynamic seeking our own format: a trialogue, a meeting of us three, who were in a continuous conversation without a specific goal known beforehand. Holding space and time together in regular online convenings, we tested how we can take and give space to each other in exchange free from assigned roles, expectations and structures. 

Through the following map, we, Anahita Razmi (artist), Jaroslava Tomanová (curator/researcher) and Fabrizio Ajello (writer/artist) set up a confrontation, triangulating our research and processes of thought and artistic experiences about stereotypes, deconstruction, decolonisation, translation and the figure of a Trickster, completed by a series of stringent questions on the topics addressed. Including links to resources such as articles and books, the presented map can be seen as a curated library visualising the relations between topics we discussed. We hope it will be a starting point for further growth, an ever-changing creature of thought which can hopefully take the form of a tetralogue, pentalogue, and so on.

Link to the Map

The following questions can be understood as flexible nodes prompting a discussion when needed. They do not determine any structure or form; they can be left alone and invited back when we forage for thoughts and intuitions together. 

  • What relations do we see between practices of deconstruction and decolonisation today? What possibilities does the notion of deconstruction hold regarding present-day cultural stereotypes? 
  • How do sites of power (institutional, economic, academic…) operate and choose today?
  • What are figures that can propose alternatives and subvert systems of representation and power?
  • The Meme? The Trickster? The Fool? The Fake Account?
  • Trickster as an alter-ego: how can she confuse, destabilise, shake the ground of white privilege and Western modern, patriarchal gaze?
  • How can appropriation be deployed to dismantle cultural stereotypes and ideological constructs?
  • What relationships exist between tradition, translation and originality in contemporary art and aesthetic languages?
  • Can irony form a kind of ‘critical intimacy’? (see Spivak on map)
  • Is cynicism/nihilism the opposite of ‘critical intimacy’?
  • What is a misunderstanding? 
  • What does “lost in translation” mean? How can accidental slippages of one’s unconscious bias reveal an ideological grip?
  • What happens when grammar, the system of rules of one language, is applied in another language? 
  • Can it tell a story of past trauma? Can it give a testimony of a colonised mind?

Link to the Map

Fabrizio Ajello graduated from the Faculty of Literature and Philosophy in Palermo with a thesis on Contemporary Art History.
In the past, he has actively collaborated with the magazines Music Line and Succoacido.net. Since 2005 he has been working on the public art project, Progetto Isole. In 2008, together with the artist Christian Costa, he founded the public art project Spazi Docili, based in Florence, which in recent years has produced explorations of the territory, interventions, workshops and lectures in public and private institutions, exhibitions and artistic residencies.
He has also exhibited in Italian and international galleries and museums and participated in various events such as: Berlin Biennale 7, Break 2.4 Festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Synthetic Zero at BronxArtSpace in New York, Moving Sculpture In The Public Realm in Cardiff, Hosted in Athens in Athens, The Entropy of Art in Wroclaw, Poland. He teaches Literature at the Liceo Artistico di Porta Romana in Florence.

Anahita Razmi studied Media Art and Sculpture at the Bauhaus-University Weimar and the Pratt Institute New York before studying Fine Arts at the State Academy of Art and Design Stuttgart under Rainer Ganahl and Christian Jankowski.
Working with installation, moving image and performance, her practice is exploring contextual and geographical shifts – with a focus on shifts between an ‘East’ and a ‘West’. Using her own Iranian-German heritage as a reference, Razmi’s works are testing grounds for possibilities of import/export, hybrid identities and in the constructions and ambiguities of cultural representation.

Jaroslava Tomanová is a researcher and a writer currently based in Kassel, Germany. Alongside ongoing voluntary and informal art-related activities, her professional background is a combination of working in the visual arts, contemporary dance and performance, academic research and writing. In the past she worked as Curatorial Assistant at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) and as International Collaborations Coordinator at Tanec Praha. Her commitment to art and politics of solidarity, equality and justice drives her motivation to develop curatorial research, writing and practice alongside an overarching long-term research interest in the connection between language and power. Her university education has primarily focused on the relation between the arts and the state, and her PhD research at the University of Leeds is a critical study of neoliberal cultural policy discourse. As a writer and art critic she has contributed with reviews and essays to Corridor8, This Is Tomorrow and Freedom News.

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Frames Cracked by Lines of Doubt–Un Trilogo

Anahita Razmi / Jaroslava Tomanová / Fabrizio Ajello


Nella lingua greca, dialogo viene da διά-attraverso e λογος-parola/pensiero, è una conversazione, un movimento attraverso uno spazio aperto tra differenti dimensioni di sentire, pensare, agire, dove tutto può accadere. Cercando un format adeguato, abbiamo sviluppato un’altra tipologia di spazio e un’altra dinamica di confronto: un trialogo, un incontro a tre,  una conversazione continua senza un obiettivo specifico predeterminato. Dialogando e lavorando insieme attraverso spazio e tempo in regolari sessioni online, abbiamo testato come sia possibile condividere ed collaborare insieme in uno scambio libero da ruoli assegnati, aspettative e strutture. 

Attraverso la seguente mappa, noi, Anahita Razmi (artista), Jaroslava Tomanová (curatrice/ricercatrice) e Fabrizio Ajello (scrittore/artista) abbiamo impostato un confronto, triangolando le nostre ricerche e i processi di pensiero ed esperienze artistiche su temi quali: stereotipi, decostruzione, decolonizzazione, traduzione e la figura del Trickster, il tutto corredato da una serie di domande stringenti sui temi trattati. Includendo link a risorse come articoli e libri, la mappa presentata può essere vista come una biblioteca che mostra in un unica visione le relazioni tra gli argomenti trattati. Questo progetto vuole essere così un punto di partenza per un’ulteriore crescita, una creatura di pensiero in continua evoluzione che presto prenderà la forma di un tetralogo, pentalogo, e così via.

Link alla Mappa

La mappa presentata serve come pietra angolare della nostra conversazione in evoluzione e continuerà a cambiare durante il processo collaborativo. Se vuoi unirti ai nostri incontri liberi, irregolari, informali e non moderati che ruotano liberamente intorno alle domande proposte, invia una richiesta di modifica della mappa o mettiti in contatto via email: editorial [at] sumac [dot] space.

Le seguenti domande possono essere intese come nodi flessibili, tese a stimolare una discussione e un confronto in fieri. Non determinano o precludono alcuna struttura o forma; possono essere affrontate singolarmente, o utilizzate come punto di partenza per focalizzare e processare insieme pensieri e intuizioni.

  • Quali relazioni vediamo oggi tra le pratiche di decostruzione e decolonizzazione? Quali possibilità ha la nozione di decostruzione rispetto agli stereotipi culturali attuali? 

  • Come operano e scelgono oggi i luoghi del potere (istituzionale, economico, accademico…)?

  • Quali sono le figure che possono proporre alternative e sovvertire i sistemi di rappresentazione e di potere?

  • Il Meme? Il Trickster? Il Matto? Il Fake Account?

  • Trickster come alter-ego: questa “figura” è in grado di confondere, destabilizzare, scuotere il terreno del privilegio bianco e dello sguardo occidentale moderno e patriarcale?

  • Come può l’appropriazione essere impiegata per smantellare stereotipi culturali e costrutti ideologici?

  • Quali relazioni esistono tra tradizione, traduzione e originalità nell’arte contemporanea e nei linguaggi estetici?

  • L’ironia può formare una sorta di “intimità critica”? (vedi Spivak sulla mappa)
  • Il cinismo/nichilismo è l’opposto dell'”intimità critica”?

  • Cos’è un malinteso? 

  • Cosa significa “lost in translation”? Come possono gli slittamenti accidentali del proprio pregiudizio inconscio rivelare una forzatura ideologica?

  • Cosa succede quando la grammatica, il sistema di regole di una lingua, viene applicata in un’altra lingua? 

  • Questo fenomeno può raccontare la storia di un trauma passato? Può dare una testimonianza di una mente colonizzata?

Link alla Mappa

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Sumac Space is a venue for raising questions and conversations. It is updated every Thursday with a new, fresh dialogue/text. Subscribe to the newsletter to be kept up to date.
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