Acts of Institution. Act 1: Alignments
6th of February 2018, 18.00
Museum of Impossible Forms,
Kontula Shopping Centre, Keinulaudankuja 4 E, 2nd floor, lk 21, Helsinki

Following the uprisings in Egypt in 2011, a new wave of cultural institutions was founded that characterized the scene of revolution: initiatives of art in public space, curatorial projects and spaces for independent cinema and music. These initiatives-come-institutions can be identified or mapped through their strong affinities to each other, their sensibility of self-organization, and how they are globally perceived as emblems of hope and change. Many of these institutions share similar sources of support and financial sustenance. This talk sets up the framework of the present to delve into the genealogy of this support, which dates back to the 1950s, examining the competing cultural and political alignments that emerged with “acts of institution”; national and international entities establishing themselves in (and through) Egypt during the early cold war period and in the wake of non-alignment, and which (speculatively) draft a blueprint of the present.



Sarah Rifky is a writer and curator. She is the co-founder of Beirut (2012-2015) an art initiative and exhibition space in Cairo. She is the author of numerous essays of art and other speculative fiction. She is pursuing her PhD in History, Theory and Criticism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she is a fellow of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture.