Thuistezien 284 — 02.06.2021

Jack Segbars
Interview: Mohammad Salemy

With one foot in the material realm and the other foot in fiction, The New Centre for Research and Practice is regarded as a classic case of hyperstition. Instead of trying to critique or deconstruct the already established truth, there is a place in the New Centre for extending the realm of truth and blurring the line between fiction of reality. It gives a space for adding histories and, thereby, adding truth and, as has been proved many times before, fiction can function as a precursor to reality.

In the video above the artist, critic and curator Mohammad Salemy is interviewed by Jack Segbars who in 2020 investigated the current formations of artistic practices through questioning the authorship within contemporary art production. With his presentation Author, Platform and Spectator at West, Segbars sought answers to this discourse by interviewing various artists, curators, theorists and organizers through questions related to their own practices and how they position themselves between aesthetics, curating and art. Salemy’s practice and research is one of the examples of the art fields’ interconnectedness and he occupies a hybrid form that engages in arts production as well as in its discourse.

Initially, Salemy studied fine art and received his Bachelor in fine arts. However, soon after graduating, he undertook an office job as a publishing coordinator which, on one hand, would provide him with the financial safety-net he sought and, on the other, would teach him about the structure of institutions and the good as well as the bad sides that comes with it. Later, he initiated an artist-run space in Vancouver called Database which for a couple of years functioned as a centre for the arts society but also for arts in society. At the peak of the financial crisis in 2008, Database ended, and Salemy went back to The University of British Columbia to do a master in Critical Curatorial Studies. Salemy sees where he stands today in a total relation with the combination of what he has done in the past. Through the network he created in the last year of his studies, he started to put plans in place for materializing his ideas for The New Center which started in 2014.

With an interest in cybernetics and aesthetics at its core but rather neutral name, The New Centre embodies radical and new theories which can be regarded as unproven and even crazy to some. It is, however, important for The New Centre to incorporate these new ideas as it gives space for the participants to actually add new content and crucial changes in the way history and art history is perceived. Rather than going the normative way of rewriting history, typically critiquing or deconstruction, The New Centre starts new stories where technology, science and nature is intertwined which will eventually add layers and complexity to the existing his-stories, not only in art but also in technology, science, and nature.

Text: Rosa Zangenberg