On the idea of 'international' in arts - talks and conversations

14:30–18:00 Norma T

Extended program Seminar

With Shahram Khosravi, Vali Mahlouji, Fariba Vafi, Sarah Lookofsky, Jörg Sternagel and Armin Hokmi

Join us this day where we dedicate some time to think together, take on questions and converse over the notion of 'international' in arts.

'International' is a prominent convention of exchange, production, displaying and circulation in the arts. Respectively, it has gained attention and value in regard to artistic collaborations and representation. However, in spite of all, the idea of international remains as a precarious construct, formed out of different interpretations of various interest groups, such as government, public, and institutions. International, has perhaps seen some of the light of its historical grounding fade, and has instead turned into much of an operational mechanism within the cultural and artistic sphere.

This makes it imperative to look at its coordinates for us here and now. What frames, concepts and models inform how the idea of ‘international’ is practiced in our fields? How are artists and artworks exhibited, contextualized and looked at across borders? How are structures – education, exhibitions, festivals etc. – that generate the possibility of exchange beyond the European borders advocated for?

Join us on this day of talks, conversations and debates on this topic.


Shahram Khosravi is a Professor of Anthropology at the Stockholm University with research focusing on mobility, border studies, migration, precarity, and waithood. He is the author of many academic books and articles such as After Deportation: Ethnographic Perspectives, Precarious Lives: Waiting and Hope in Iran, the “Illegal” Traveller: An Auto-ethnography of Borders, and Young and Defiant in Tehran. Aside from academic writings, he prefers to write stories and he has been an active writer in the international press. The past year he has been working on an art book on Waiting. He also started the Critical Border Studies, a network for scholars, artists and activists to interact.

Vali Mahlouji is an art curator, founder of the non-profit platform Archaeology of the Final Decade (AOTFD), advisor to the British Museum, and director of Kaveh Golestan Estate. Mahlouji is a member of the Art Dubai Modern Advisory Committee, and a board member of Bahman Mohassess Estate.Founded in 2010, the non-profit curatorial platform AOTFD recovers erased histories. It excavates and recirculates artists, artworks, and accounts of culture, which have otherwise remained obscure, been subjected to censorship, lost, banned, endangered or deliberately destroyed. Mahlouji is a frequent guest lecturer at international institutions, which have included: Goldsmiths University, Central St. Martin’s School of Art, Stanford University, The British Museum, Courtauld Institute, Yale University, Asia House, Asia Society Museum, Aalto University, Kulturforum Berlin and National College of Arts Lahore.

Fariba Vafi was born in Tabriz in 1963 and currently lives in Berlin. As a teenager she wrote short stories that were published in literary magazines. Her first short story collection was published in 1986. Her debut novel Kellervogel became an instant bestseller in 2002, as did all of her subsequent books. Since then she has published eight novels and three collections of stories, for which she has received the country's most prestigious literary awards, including the Golschiri Prize and the Yalda Prize. In 2017 she was awarded the LiBeraturpreis at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Her works have been translated into numerous languages, including German, French, English, Spanish, Turkish and Kurdish. The novels are in German translation Kellervogel (2012), Tarlan (2016) and The Dream of Tibet (2018) and the stories In the rain (2021).Her novel The secret in the Alleys was published in 2008 and was translated also into Norwegian.

Sarah Lookofsky is a curator, writer and art historian who was recently appointed director of Kunstnernes Hus in Oslo. Prior to this, she was dean of the Academy of Fine Art at Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO). Before coming to Norway in 2020, she was Associate Director of MoMA’s International Program, working on programs relating to modern and contemporary art in global context. From 2010 to 2014, she was faculty member and instructor for curatorial studies at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. A regular contributor to a variety of periodicals and books, she served as the arts editor of DIS Magazine and was the general advisor for the 9th Berlin Biennale organized by the DIS collective. She has curated exhibitions for numerous international venues, including Kunsthal Aarhus, apexart, Art in General, Smack Mellon, Stacion Center for Contemporary Art, and Gallery Miroslav Kraljević, and has taught at the University of California, San Diego and the New School. She holds a BA in Film and Media Studies from the University of Copenhagen and a MA and Ph.D. in Art History, Theory and Criticism from the University of California, San Diego.

Armin Hokmi is an artist working with live performance between theater and dance. He began his artistic works in 2009 as a performer with independent theater in Rasht, Iran. He later continued to work and study abroad toward experiences with multiple performative practices, mediums and expressions. He holds a B.A. in acting from Norwegian Theatre Academy (2015-2018) and has received his M.A. in Solo/Dance/Authorship at HZT Berlin (2019-2021). Working through text, dances and choreographies, recent works include Passages (2019), Public Dance, Permutable Stage (2021) and International Dance (2022) which premiered at Uferstudios in Berlin. As a dancer he has worked with artists such as Mette Ingvartsen, Kasper Ravnhøj, Hooman Sharifi and Phillip Zarrilli among others. Armin currently lives and works in Berlin.

Jörg Sternagel is scholar in media studies with a focus on media philosophy and questions of ethics, alterity, and existence. In 2021, he was guest professor in media theory at Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg. From 2018 to 2020, he was interim professor for media theory at Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule. In 2019, he obtained the Habilitation at Universität Konstanz. He serves on the advisory board of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ästhetik and the Internationales Jahrbuch für Medienphilosophie and has been co-speaker of the work group Medienphilosopie in the Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft from 2021 to 2022. He is author of Ethics of Alterity. Aisthetics of Existence (Lanham 2023) and core convener of the Performance Philosophy network.

Free entrance
No registration
The event will be in English