13. April 2021
a unique partnership with 11 international institutions from seven countries, the Octopus Programme has selected 10 outstanding
artists to take part in the programme during the academic years 2021/2022.
a rigorous, multi-institutional application process with five interconnected evaluation committees, the winning candidates’
research-based proposals were selected from a pool of applicants from Austria, Finland, Tunisia, Palestine, South Africa,
Sweden and Turkey.
The participating artists selected and appointed to the programme are Alina
Rentsch (DE/SE), Bengü Karadumann (TR), Bochra Taboubi (TU), Els
van Houtert (NL/AT), Jannis Neumann (DE/AT), Kim M. Reynolds (US/SA), Maarit
Mustonen (FI), Nondumiso Lwazi Msimanga (SA), Noor Abed (PS),
and Sofia Priftis (SE).
Octopus Programme is a guided, research-based educational
programme which encourages artistic research and production-based collaborations between academies, art institutions, students
and professionals and includes diverse presentation modes, processes of research and documentation taking form within and
from different geographies. By merging the viewpoints of academic entities and contemporary art institutions and utilizing
their facilities and activities, the programme aims to develop an autonomous and progressive educational methodology.
programme intends to bridge and acknowledge social and cultural diversity in the targeted geographical regions—Europe, the
Mediterranean, and Africa—and values the ambiguity between or among: socio-political realities and perspectives; interdisciplinary
approaches; academic and non-academic intellectual models; forms of artistic research and practices; divergent perspectives
on artistic production methodologies; individual and community-based approaches; top-down and grass-root organisation models;
accessed and distributed resources and facilities; strategies of environmental sustainability; artistic challenges and opportunities;
different funding possibilities; institutional and alternative curatorial practices; forms of engagement of artists, audiences
and institutions; forms of innovative and technology-driven mindsets; and diverse knowledge production models.
Octopus Programme was initiated in 2019 by University of Applied Arts Vienna
and Kamel Lazaar Foundation
with a pilot phase linking Vienna and Tunis.
The current phase will be defined collectively by University of Applied Arts
; Kamel Lazaar Foundation
, Tunis; Konstfack
University of Arts, Crafts and Design
, Stockholm; Index – The Swedish Contemporary
; The University of Pretoria
Centre for The Less Good Idea
, Johannesburg; Birzeit University, the Palestinian
, Birzeit; Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center
, Ramallah; SAHA
, Istanbul; Publics
, Helsinki; and Saastamoinen
The programme was designed as a two-semester course “Spectral Encounters”
that includes seminars, peer-to-peer educational sessions, online and class discussions, research fieldtrips, collaborative
production-based workshops, and lectures. The course also incorporates guest lecturers and curated presentations, exhibitions
and activities. The course is led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Basak Senova, Visiting Professor at Art and Communication
Practices, the University of Applied Arts Vienna and its dynamic content and design are generated collaboratively with all
the curators and partners involved: Lina Lazaar, Moez Brabet, and Karim
Sultan (curator) in Tunis; Barbara Putz-Plecko and Basak Senova (curator)
in Vienna; Maria Lantz, Magnus Bärtås, Marti Manen (curator)
and Anne Klontz (curator) in Stockholm; William Kentridge, Phala
Ookeditse Phala, and Bronwyn Lace (curator) in Johannesburg; Johan Thom in
Pretoria; Tina Sherwell (curator), Sandy Rishmawi, Inas Yassin in Birzeit; Renad
Shqeirat in Ramallah; Çelenk Bafra (curator) in Istanbul; Paul O’Neill (curator)
and Saastamoinen Foundation in Helsinki.
Throughout the spring and fall of 2021, the programme
will focus on presentations, activities and exhibitions and will execute a diverse and intense practise-based agenda until
the end of June 2022 which concludes with an extensive publication. Participating artists from the 2019 pilot phase, Férielle
Doulain-Zouari (FR/TU), Julia Stern (AT), Marwa Manai (TU), Sophia
Bellouhassi (DE/AT), and Younes Ben Slimane (TU) will also be integrated in the programme
through different formats. The sister project, “Research of Doing,” initiated by the University of Pretoria
and University of Applied Arts Vienna in collaboration with the Centre for the Less Good Idea in Johannesburg, is funded by
OeAD Africa-UniNet and BMBWF, will provide further input to the Octopus Programme.