Columbia Alumni and Professors to Present Work at Okayama Art Summit

From September 30  to November 27, 2022, fifty-one days in all, the Okayama Art Summit will ask the public to wonder: do we dream under the same sky. 

Mădălina Telea Borteș
October 10, 2022

From September 30 to November 27, 2022, 51 days in all, the Okayama Art Summit will ask the public to wonder: do we dream under the same sky. 

The question is presented without a question mark, for to close the curiosity off with a question mark would create an end, whereas Rirkrit Tiravanija, School of the Arts Professor of Professional Practice and the Summit’s artistic director, would like the grammar to reflect “an opening to an idea” instead. 

The Summit's structure will emphasize this state of directed wonder by encouraging viewers "to experience the thought processes of the artists" and foregrounding "peripheral practices" of art making.

Among the 23 artists presenting work at this year’s Summit are three Columbia alumni, Aki Sasamoto ’07, Asif Mian ’21, Rasel Ahmed ’21, and faculty members Precious Okoyomon and Rirkrit Tiravanija

Sasamoto will present two installations: Past in a future tense (2019) and Weather Bar (2021), a site-specific work. Tension, velocity, and unconventional forms of suspense are elements that run through Sasamoto’s works. In Past in a future tense, a viewer is brought into contact with an interactive sculpture. There are cocktail glasses set inside larger glasses, there are retrofitted HVAC machines hooked to whiskey bottles, and there is a sort of internal weather system to observe, for the small glass inside the domed glass is set into a literal spin by the forced air. The installation consciously teeters the line between submission and control, exactness and chance. 

Mian will present two works: Smokeless Fire (2022) and Nothingness and Spectre (2022). Mian’s work incorporates subtle clashes between the visible and the invisible, the body as a site of knowledge alongside the body as a site of duplicity, a resistance to surefooted knowledge. “I wanted to make a body that was there and not there,” Mian told us about Smokeless Fire, a piece wherein Mian repurposes thermal drone cameras to expand conceptions of the individual body rather than to pinpoint a person to a time, identity, and place.        

Ahmed will display two films, Who Killed Taniya (2020) and Goodbye, Snowball (2020). It was during his time in Columbia’s Visual Arts program that Ahmed developed a research-based filmmaking practice. In Ahmed’s work, research leaps into the fictional, making for poignantly tumultuous films that actively engage the viewer and refuse to let go even after the screen goes dark. 

Okoyomon will present four installations, each of which directly invoke the organic materiality of artistic practice and experience, whereas Tiravanija will present his 2017 work, Untitled (Oil, Drum, Stage) which is part installation and part performance. 

Community, process, resistance, and exchange: these are some of the elements running through this year’s Okayama Summit. In some form or other, each of the works create a physical space wherein to dream and to consider if and how we do, indeed, dream under the same sky.