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Online Forum: Maximum Humidity – A World Weather Network Closing Event

Join us for Maximum Humidity, an online forum exploring environmental futures in the region through the lens of humidity, sweat and water –featuring nadim choufi, Dalia Khalife, Nadine Khalil, Nadia Christidi, Michael Christopher Low and Natalie Koch.  Maximum Humidity will be livestreamed on Art Jameel’s Youtube channel.

Maximum Humidity is the closing event for Art Jameel’s weather station as part of the two year global project the World Weather Network, a platform gathering arts organisations from around the world to report on our changing climate.

Maximum Humidity builds on Art Jameel’s weather station, broadcasting from the Jameel Arts Centre and exploring atmospheric humidity-  a central climatic marker of the Arabian Gulf- through a specially commissioned five episode podcast titled Relative Humidity featuring Noush Anand, Nadim Choufi, Nadine Khalil and Isaac Sullivan, Nidhi Mahajan, and Deepak Unnikrishnan.

Programme:

5:30 pm  Introductions by Nora Razian and Daniel H. Rey

5:40 pm Lecture-Performance The View from Above Takes My Breath Away – Fully by artist Nadim Choufi, followed by a Q&A with the artist.

In this moving image project, there is little difference between real-life scientists and Disney protagonists, or between UNESCO-sponsored global environmental projects and theme parks—in both cases, the desire for idealised worlds hinges on total environmental control. This lecture examines how abstraction is used to produce global environmental thinking, all the while intentionally blurring the lines between possession and preservation, fertility and extraction, colonial growth and green technology. Through different yet entwined narratives, it traces how environmental concerns framed as universal become counter-intuitively hyperlocal, situating the Middle East as a crossroads region where global environmental decisions converge.

Screening in English with Arabic subtitles. Commissioned in 2023 by transmediale (Berlin), the screened version was performed at Ashkal Alwan (Beirut).

6:20 pm Talk and performative reading of I woke up a sweaty human by artist Dalia Khalife, in conversation with curator Nadine Khalil 

This reading and ensuing conversation looks at sweat, labour, and hydrofeminism, as well as new vocabularies of the body via the environmental, emotional and technological. In her work, Dalia Khalife sets her physical movements to the backdrop of her life size digital avatars, raising questions on the boundaries and the liminal spaces between the human form and technology, while questioning the relationship between sweat and the wider infrastructural and environmental conditions that generate it. 

6:45 pm – Talk and Publication Launch of Liquid Dreams by scholar Nadia Christidi in conversation with Professor and Director of the Middle East Center at the University of Utah Michael Christopher Low and Syracuse University Professor and political geographer Natalie Koch.

Liquid Dreams is the culmination of Nadia’s residency at the Jameel Arts Centre in 2019 as part of Art Jameel’s Arts Writing and Research commission. Liquid Dreams explores water imaginaries in the U.A.E, combining archival and historical research with speculative writing and includes four essays, each on Crops, Clouds, Icebergs and Genes, along with the author’s introduction and illustrations by Joseph Kai.

The conversation will focus on water infrastructures and imaginaries in the Gulf region, and how these play out across the transformation of the energy sector, the role of desalination and the construction of various hydrofutures. The publication can be downloaded on the following link.

Free and open to all. Fully online, accessible worldwide on Youtube

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Speaker Biographies

Through sculpture and film, nadim choufi explores how visions of progress attain their allure and at what cost to the people, lands, and objects subjected to their realisations. His work centres desire and hybridity as tools of power play to question the false equivalency between development and improvement, advancement and wellbeing. 

Dalia Khalife is a Beirut based artist and performer. Her practice examines psychophysiological happenings within power structures, social events, and rituals, that manifest as primitive moments of ambiguity and shared vulnerability. She looks at the pivotal moment of rupture, the liminal space in between, revealing themselves as paradoxes and satirical contradictions. She is currently researching sweat as a socio-political and paradoxical condition. She is a former professor at the Lebanese American University’s Performing Arts Department, a recipient of the HWP Fellowship of Ashkal Alwan in Beirut, and a former resident at SeMA NANJI, Seoul Museum of Art. She performs independently and with choreographers since 2021. Her work has been shown in BIPOD Festival, NIKA Project Space, Mediterranea Young Artists Biennale, Seoul Museum of Art, and the Manifesta 12 Biennale.

Nadine Khalil is an independent art critic, editor and curator. Her curatorial practice looks at the intersections between performativity and technology. She is currently researching the body as an expanded site of performance, labour and technological embodiment. She is the former editor of Dubai-based contemporary art magazine, Canvas (2017-2020) and Beirut-based urban culture magazines A mag and Bespoke (2010-2016). After a decade-long stint in art publishing, she advises art institutions and non-profits on editorial strategy, content development and publications.

Nadia Christidi is a researcher, writer, and arts practitioner based between Cambridge, MA and Beirut, Lebanon. Her work explores the political and economic dimensions of environmental imaginaries, earth sciences, and their representation in literature, art, and design. Nadia is currently a PhD candidate in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society at MIT, where she studies how cities that face water supply challenges, which are expected to intensify with climate change, are imagining, planning, and preparing for the future of water. The cites she focuses on are Los Angeles, Dubai, and Cape Town. Her work has been exhibited at Beirut Art Center, SALT Galata, Istanbul, and SALT Ulus, Ankara, and published by ArteEast and ArtAsiaPacific.

Michael Christopher Low is Assistant Professor of History, Environmental Humanities Research Professor, and the Director of the Middle East Center at the University of Utah. Low is the author of Imperial Mecca: Ottoman Arabia and the Indian Ocean Hajj (Columbia University Press, 2020). In 2021, Imperial Mecca received the Middle East Studies Association’s Albert Hourani Book Award and has since been translated into Arabic and Turkish. In 2020-2021, Low was a Senior Humanities Research Fellow at NYU Abu Dhabi. He is currently working on a new book, Saltwater Kingdoms: Fossil- Fueled Water and Climate Change in Arabia (forthcoming with the University of California Press).

Natalie Koch is Professor in the Department of Geography and the Environment at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. As a political geographer, her research focuses on nationalism, resource politics, and environmental geopolitics in the Arabian Peninsula. She is the author of Arid empire: The entangled fates of Arizona and Arabia (Verso 2022), The geopolitics of spectacle: Space, synecdoche, and the new capitals of Asia (Cornell University Press, 2018), and editor of several books.

About World Weather Network

Art Jameel is one of 28 arts organisations from around the world forming the World Weather Network, a global ‘weather reporting’ project running since June 2022.

‘World Weather’ amplifies our understanding of weather and connects the voices of artists and lived experience in a climate crisis without precedent. Mindful of complex atmospheric concerns and caring for our global co-habitants, the World Weather Network shares different weather realities – broadcast from each station in the network- to raise the voice of the arts in our times of crisis.Working with artists and engaging scientists, environmentalists and concerned communities, the World Weather Network brings together diverse world views and different knowledge systems, localities and languages.

As a member of the World Weather Network, Art Jameel’s weather station, broadcasting from the Jameel Arts Centre, explores atmospheric humidity-  a measure of water vapour in the air and a central climatic marker of the Arabian Gulf. As temperatures rise around the globe, so do humidity levels – with vast consequences for human and non-human life. 

To learn more visit https://worldweathernetwork.org/

Image banner: Illustration by Joseph Kai, for Liquid Dreams (2023)

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