NAFAS: Screening & Dialogue

Press release

Nafas - Screening and Dialogue
Contemporary art from the Maghreb to Southeast Asia, from Central Asia to the Middle East within the international art context

Presentation by Pat Binder and Dr. Gerhard Haupt (Berlin, Germany),
editors of Nafas Art Magazine and publishers of Universes in Universe - Worlds of Art

Date: 12th December 2008 (Friday)
Time: 3.00 pm
Venue: Auditorium, National Art Gallery
2, Jalan Temerloh, off Jalan Tun Razak,
53200 Kuala Lumpur

Date: 13th December 2008 (Saturday)
Time: 8.00 pm
Venue: Rumah YKP,
32, Laluan Tasek Timur 12
Taman Seri Dermawan
31400 Ipoh, Perak

The online art magazine Nafas is published since March 2003 by the Institut für Auslandsbe¬ziehun¬gen (ifa – Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations) in Germany. Commissioned by the ifa, Dr. Gerhard Haupt and Pat Binder developed the concept and are editorially and technically responsible for Nafas. They host the online magazine on their own website, Universes in Universe - Worlds of Art (started in 1997).

The ifa initiated the Nafas Art Magazine with the aim to counter the "West's" reservations, hostilities, and prejudices against a supposed "Islamic world", which had increased after September 11, 2001. One primary task of Nafas is to confront the widespread homogeneous view of countries and regions in which Muslims are a majority of the population with a wide variety of individual artistic positions, behind which extremely divergent personal, cultural, religious, social, and other contexts become visible. The title Nafas was especially chosen because the word is etymologically closely tied to the existence of the individual and some of its derivations can be directly applied to creative work. Beyond that, it is important that the word nafas is present with similar meanings in so many of the cultural realms included in the magazine.

In the almost six years of its existence, Nafas Art Magazine has become the most extensive and most frequently visited online publication with such a focus. The pages, published in English, German, and Arabic, are consulted about 120,000 times each month. The magazine is used for instruction at art schools, universities, and schools in many countries. It serves curators and art institutions as an important source for selecting artists for the major biennials and other international exhibitions. Furthermore, Nafas plays a big role in networking among art creators world wide.

In their presentation, Binder and Haupt will explain the concept, goals and effects of the Nafas Art Magazine. Sharing also their experience as curators of a "real" Nafas exhibition in Germany they will show - in photos and videos - significant examples of artworks and artistic strategies featured in the Nafas project. They will introduce interesting developments in several countries and regions, for example: art and ecology initiatives in Morocco, the committed alternative art scene in Egypt, international exhibitions and workshops in the Middle East and in Central Asia, the gigantic cultural projects and museums planned in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Explaining some mechanisms of the international art system, specially Biennials, Haupt and Binder will refer to working strategies and effects of Universes in Universe since almost 12 years, and in particular of the Nafas Art Magazine since early 2003.

Haupt and Binder propose their presentation as a point of departure for a dialogue and exchange with the audience.

For more information, please see the Nafas Art Magazine:

Gerhard Haupt and Pat Binder

Dr. Gerhard Haupt and Pat Binder are the publishers of "Universes in Universe - Worlds of Art"´. This independent website for the visual arts of Asia, Latin America, Africa in the international art context startet in February 1997.

Since March 2003, they are also the editors-in-chief of the online art magazine Nafas, dedicated to contemporary art from the Maghreb to Southeast Asia, from Central Asia to the Middle East. Nafas is published by the ifa, the German Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations.

In collaboration with the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), Binder & Haupt publish CulturE-ASEF since 2002, an extensive web information system for the Asia-Europe cultural exchange.

Dr. Gerhard Haupt

Art historian, curator, art critic. Born in 1952 in Germany. First specialized in contemporary art from Latin America. Since the 1990's, he focuses his work on international developments in art, art mediation and cultural exchange. In 1995, he conceived and co-organized the symposium "The Marco Polo Syndrome - Problems of intercultural communication in art theory and curatorial practice", at the House of World Cultures, Berlin. Since 1996, realization of cultural projects on the Internet, and specialization in conceptual and practical issues of web-publishing and web-marketing in the art field.

Pat Binder

Artist, curator and net-worker. Born in 1960 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Lives in Berlin, Germany, since 1996. Has exhibited in several countries and participated in numerous international exhibitions. She is particularly interested in exploring issues and developing strategies of art mediation and cultural exchange. In 1997, she won a competition in Berlin with her project of an art gallery in the public space, which she then directed until 2006. Since 1996, realization of art and cultural projects on the Internet.


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