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Safina Radio Project: Venice Edition 2015

The Venice Biennale 2015 edition of Safina Radio Project was sponsored by Alserkal Avenue.

For the Venice edition, a combination of travelogues (conversations) and performative pieces were prompted by ideas of utopia and oppression, borders and surveillance, accelerationism and trade, and involved a broad spectrum of artists drawing from a variety of social and political contexts. Transitory communities were created with each journey, bringing focus to collective experience and targeting an investigation into how we locate ourselves and how we mediate our human and historic commonality.


The edition included various streams of content from written interviews to audio projects, playlists and sets. At the end of each live event in May, podcasts were uploaded to the website within 24 hours, with the intention of creating a platform for a multiplicity of access points and possible audience engagement, broadening the conversations and widening interactions, from playful through to more critical discourse.

The Venice edition of Safina Radio Project took place on a boat transformed into a recording studio that navigated the waterways of Venice, transporting passengers from one place to another, acting as a roving platform for conversation.

Adel Abidin and Ali Macgilp in conversation

Adel Abidin in conversation with Alexandra Macgilp, discussing humour and identity in relation to the artist’s work, along with pieces on show at the 56th Venice Biennale.

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige in conversation with Tairone Bastien
Curator Adelina Cüberyan v. Fürstenberg in conversation with film makers Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci

In honour of the one hundred year commemoration of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, the Pavilion of the Republic of Armenia at the 56th Biennale di Venezia provided an occasion to rethink the notion of Armenianess and broaden this reflection to the concepts of identity type and memory, justice and reconciliation, in the name of which many contemporary struggles are still taking place. Here curator Adelina Cüberyan v. Fürstenberg, film makers Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi and Hrair Sarkissian give a brief introduction to the curatorial premise and their works showing as part of the pavilion: Armenity.

No permanence is ours; we are a wave – Part 2, Victoria Harbour – Ian Alden Russell

Part 2 | Victoria Harbour – 5 May 2015


A conversation with curator Oscar Ho about the Umbrella Movement and the history of public demonstrations in Hong Kong while waiting to board the Star Ferry to cross Victoria Harbour from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui. 

അറബിക്കഥ / oru arabikatha –
Rahel Aima 

What happens when you Gulf Return not as an NRI, but as the Gulf itself? Here, soundscrapes from the second Kochi-Muziris Biennale—velveted nights, a Pandi Melam to welcome the art crowd parachuting in, corporate lecture-performances, autos that have learned to reconfigure themselves as tuk-tuks—are spliced with Tamil, Hindi, and Malayalam songs of aspiration, longing, loss. Ishy Bilady appears more than once to remind us of the failures of disarticulating Gulfyness and the impossibility of return.

Originally commissioned as part of the Campus Art Dubai programme

Rabab Ghazoul and Ramez Ghazoul in a performative conversation

Rabab Ghazoul will combine performative readings with conversation, in a collaborative piece with her father Ramez Ghazoul. The ‘travelogue’ takes excerpts from Ramez Ghazoul’s ...

Block Universe

Louise O’Kelly, Ben Roberts, Rose Lejeune and Fatos Ustek in conversation, discussing legacies of performance, the body as archive, reenactment and the commodification of ‘now’.

John Akomfrah in conversation with Coline Milliard

"It is not down on any map, true places never are."

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale




John Akomfrah in conversation with Coline Milliard discussing notions of the sublime, the conceit of historicity and history’s impact on the current, fictional and invented spaces along with his film ‘Vertigo Sea’ on show at the 56th Venice Biennale.

Wafaa Bilal and Sara Raza in conversation

Wafaa Bilal and Sara Raza discuss the artist’s practice over the last 10 years through to his piece as part of the Iranian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale.

Raqs Media Collective performance

Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta created a spoken word piece for the Safina Radio Project, performed on the boat for an intimate audience, weaving together narratives and references core to their work and overlaid with sounds collated and edited by the artists.

No permanence is ours; we are a wave – Part 1, The Bosphorus – Ian Alden Russell

Part 1 | The Bosphorus


A phone call with artist Fiona Hallinan about Heterodyne, her series of site-specific audio pieces that are scored to accompany journeys, and a presentation of Heterodyne: Bosphorus, an original score created for a Bosphorus ferry crossing from Eminönü to Kadıköy in Istanbul, Turkey. 

Hassan Sharif - Re-making / Re-imagining

In this conversation between Hassan Sharif and Anabelle de Gersigny, the artist discusses his approach to new works for his recent exhibition at Isabelle van den Eynde; his participation in the UAE Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale; along with an exploration of the artist’s thoughts on consumerism, art as a social practice, notions of identity and national identity and the role of artists in the UAE.

Sadik Kwaish Alfraji - Happiness is a kind of sorrow

For Safina Radio Project’s first ‘travelogue’, Happiness is a kind of sorrow, Sadik Kwaish Alfraji in conversation with Wael Hattar, discusses his practice before and after escaping from Iraq in the early 1990s.

Gulf Radio – Places – Ahmed Makia

Gulf Radio is a podcast series featuring stories and sounds from the Gulf. Here, writer Deepak Unnikrishnan reads an essay, selecting a piece from writings that address and discuss the Gulf.

Originally commissioned as part of the Campus Art Dubai programme

Gulf Radio – Places –
Ahmed Makia

Gulf Radio is a podcast series featuring stories and sounds from the Gulf. Here, writer Tanaz Bathena reads an essay, selecting a piece from writings that address and discuss the Gulf.

Originally commissioned as part of the Campus Art Dubai programme

The Freedom of Speech Itself – Lawrence Abu Hamdan

The Freedom Of Speech Itself (2012) was the title of Abu Hamdan’s first solo exhibition at The Showroom in London. The central work of this exhibition was a 30 minute audio documentary/ composition ...

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