Adam Nasser Benmakhlouf

Communal Words: How can art institutions support non-normative art writing?

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Friendship forms the delicate shadow scaffolding of the art institution. My practice-based research draws from play and script formats in order to investigate and imagine in detail the interpersonal dynamics of de-professionalised working relationships. I explore the potential for queer, anarchic and decolonial ways of working and living with one another, whilst also acknowledging the hazards of renegotiating interpersonal boundaries.  

A process of ‘informalising’ is the thematic interest of the content of the works I’m scripting. Informalising is also the key motivation for experimentation with the writing’s format, which informs my decision to refer to them not as plays or scripts, but ‘verbals’. These are not intended for professional theatrical production, but more provisional setups. The first verbal was presented through a workshop and research rehearsal in Dundee Contemporary Arts in June 2021 with three friends who each have a personal bearing on the content of this verbal. The next of these takes place in Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts on Thursday 4 May 2023. 

This experimental shape of my research output problematises the surface categorisation of artwork as radical based on content alone. Instead, how can the emancipatory themes of artworks be enacted fully across experimentation with its methods, methodologies, format and circulation? My practice thus combines the production of experimentally formatted writing with an iterative process of putting these new works in public, situating them within the art institution, whilst resisting the prescribed shape of programme slot that makes the live event ancillary to a conventional static exhibition. 

Names of Supervisors: Professor Maria Fusco and Doctor Johanna Linsley