In her lecture Alia Farid will talk about her artistic practice as well as her recent exhibition at Portikus, In Lieu of What Was (20.07.–15.09.2019). The exhibition is a new body of work that examines the use of water as a political tool specifically in the Mesopotamian Marshes at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Featuring a series of sculptures which follow the forms of various vessels that have been used to carry and store water, ranging from a traditional clay pot to the now-ubiquitous plastic bottle. The vessels were chosen by the artist in thinking about one’s relationship to water in the desert, and the shifting ideas surrounding its scarcity that have accompanied the development of the oil-centered industry. The exhibition In Lieu of What Was marked the starting point of a long-term investigation between Alia Farid, Portikus, and the Städelschule that examines life in the Anthropocene and the economic determinants for the exploitation of natural resources.
Alia Farid works across the arts, architecture, and urban anthropology. Her research-driven practice investigates experiences, institutions, and landscapes, often with a view to examining the impact of modernization, urbanization, and in many cases colonization upon a milieu, as well as upon the ecology of the land itself. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from La Escuela de Arts Plasticas de Puerto Rico (San Juan), a Master of Science in Visual Studies from the Visual Arts Program at MIT (Cambridge, MA), and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies and Critical Theory from the Programa d’Estudis Independents at MACBA (Barcelona). Recent and upcoming group shows include the 14th Sharjah Biennial, 2nd Lahore Biennale, and Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991–2011 at MoMA PS1; solo exhibitions include Galerie Imane Farès (Paris), Witte de With (Rotterdam), and Swiss Institute (New York).