Global Cultural Districts Unite to Highlight Climate Change | Arts & Hobbies

Alserkal Advisory, based in Dubai, has announced “A Feral Commons”, a new co-sponsored art project bringing together cultural districts from the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN) on four continents, each showcasing a public art installation in response to the climate change theme.

The first cycle of the series of co-commissions will feature multi-city public art interventions to be unveiled in fall 2023, including Alserkal Avenue, (Dubai, United Arab Emirates); Kingston Creative (Kingston, Jamaica); the Onassis Stegi (Athens, Greece); and Victoria Yards (Johannesburg, South Africa).

The intention of the co-commissioning project is to harness the power of networked cultural districts to collectively respond to pressing global topics and invite participants to renew their current perspectives and learnings. This first cycle (2022-23) will explore how cultural districts can engage in knowledge sharing and collective action, an ongoing effort for the GCDN and its members.

A Feral Commons will explore how artists in these places can take on new challenges and rethink ways of working, creating new models of commons and new ways of living. Each project will stand on its own as a site-specific exhibition and will be accompanied by a program that engages local communities to further explore the theme and issues. The inaugural initiative of Alserkal Advisory is developed in collaboration with GCDN, an international network of members that promotes cooperation and knowledge sharing between organizations responsible for a cultural district and clusters at the intersection of creative activity and culture, urban planning and community engagement.


Supported by the UAP, A Feral Commons will self-audit the environmental impact of the project, trying to create public works of art on four continents in the most responsible and conscious way possible. Utilizing UAP’s proprietary tools, specifically Artwork Ingredient List and Public Art 360, these tools will guide the project team on sustainable practices and measure the quantitative and qualitative environmental impact and value of public art .

Vilma Jurkute, Executive Director of Alserkal Initiatives and Alserkal Advisory, said: “Today, more than ever, we need places of growth, meaning and community that are inclusive and accessible. Alserkal Advisory’s Global Co-commission project relocates our public art commissioning efforts. It acts as an attempt to harmonize and repair our relationship with our ecology as well as recalibrate the social and economic dimensions through collective reflection with fellow arts organizations around the world in times of climate change. We hope this will not only lead to more sustainable practices and the formulation of overarching structures within today’s global arts ecosystem, but will also shed light on the imperative role cultural districts play in their communities globally. .


Alserkal Advisory has appointed Tairone Bastien as undergraduate curator. Bastien, co-curator of the first two editions of the Toronto Art Biennale, developed the theme alongside the participating districts. Under the title A Feral Commons, the curatorial theme offers an alternative vision of the commons, which are generally defined as lands or resources shared by all people within a community. Instead, this project invites artists to illuminate human and non-human entanglements and explore a more radical understanding of what the commons might mean in a multi-species world. The theme is inspired by the scholarship and writings of visionary American anthropologist Anna Tsing on open interspecies gatherings and nonhuman participants in human projects who are described as wild because they participate independently, resistant to human control.

“For this project, we invite each artist to create a work for public space that draws on their individual beliefs, ways of knowing and being, and unique ways of working to explore non-human relationships, even the worlds, which cover theirs. .” Curator Tairone Bastien explained. “I want to dream with others of radical horizontality, a vast common ground shared by humans and their more than human relatives. And seek out the non-human protagonists of stories that have yet to be told.

Over the next few months, Bastien will work with the co-curators within each cultural district to review, shortlist and finalize artist proposals. The responding public artworks will be specific to the context and locality of each district, exploring critical issues related to the curatorial theme in different geographic settings.

The full list of participating artists will be announced in early 2023.

Courtesy of Alserkal Advisory via Kingston Creative

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