VCUARTS Qatar Art and Design Biennial March 7-10
Tasmeem Doha 2022 is an interactive and informative international, biennial art and design conference hosted and organized by VCUarts Qatar. The diverse program includes talks, masterclasses, performances, panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions, soundscapes, a studio spotlight, and a film festival. An engaging public event that spans over four days, bringing together international designers, artists, academics, students, and industry professionals with the local community.
Since 2004, each edition of Tasmeem Doha has highlighted a unique and contemporary theme within art and design, exploring novel concepts, methods, and applications, and engaging in critical discussions. Creatives from across the world are invited to connect, learn, share ideas, and be inspired, offering a great opportunity for individuals from diverse backgrounds to network, gain knowledge and sharpen their skill sets.
The 2022 conference is designed around the theme of Radical Futures and is set to address the role of design in shaping the future. It promises an inclusive, multi-faceted view of the times ahead, one that not only speculates on technological advancements—but on future threats and changes whether environmental, geographical, cultural, or social. A timely affair as now more than ever, we must ask pertinent questions, raise critical dialogues, and respond with clarity.
Four axes constitute the foundational themes of Tasmeem Doha 2022: Radical Futures. The names of the axes are inspired by human-constructed organizing entities such as governments, nations, and ministries. The clever combination of dogmatic labels with playful concepts creates unexpected amalgamations, with the play on words serving as a bridge between the past and the future.
The program is tightly packed with discussions, talks, and panels with some of the world’s best creative minds offering inspiring insight and plenty of wisdom. “Futurisms” by Ingrid LaFleur is one of the free and open to public events that address the question of what new trajectories are created when future visions from different worlds connect, converse, and influence each other. This exhibition brings together artists Jasmine Murrell, Saba Taj, Alisha Wormsley, Saks Afridi, and the artist collective, Hyphen Labs, initiating a conversation between Afrofuturism, Sci-fi Sufism, and Muslim Futures.
Among the impressive lineup of speakers is Liam Young, a speculative architect and director who operates in the spaces between design, fiction, and futures. Described by the BBC as ‘the man designing our futures,' his visionary films and speculative worlds are both extraordinary images of tomorrow and urgent examinations of the environmental questions facing us today.
The exciting masterclass schedule includes one on merging culture studies, in which anthropology intertwines with artifacts’ social life, with reflections around natural ecosystems. This masterclass is at the crossing between the four Tasmeem axes touching on critical elements such as design utopias, vernacular knowledge, post-colonialism, and new ecologies.
Coming in as the conference's film festival is Gulf Metaverse 2.0, a short program featuring 10 artist films from the Gulf that explore cultural shifts, digital transmission, and speculative futures, curated by Róisín Tapponi and sponsored by the independent SWANA streaming platform Shasha Movies. The films will be screened at VCUarts Qatar and online for the duration of the festival. There will also be a retail space curated by the Qatar-based design concept store Studio 7 showcasing the work of talented designers from the region including those of Cairo-based design brand Cairopolitan.
Tasmeem Doha: Radical Futures promises to be radical in all the ways that matter and different from any past iteration. There will be several in-person events, open to students and alumni and select guests from the community, along with virtual events accessible to the public. All the main programs including talks and keynotes will be live-streamed along with some performances, while some of the workshops and a few masterclasses will be conducted virtually.
Words by: Saira Malik
Images courtesy of Tasmeem Doha