The Octopus Programme



In partnership with 10 international institutions from seven countries, SAHA Studio participates in the Octopus Programme. SAHA Studio artist Bengü Karaduman is amongst the participating artists and SAHA’s director Çelenk Bafra acts both as one of the curators and lecturers of the Octopus Programme, led by curator and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Başak Şenova, visiting professor at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna.  

The Octopus Programme is a guided, research-based educational programme, which encourages artistic research and production-based collaborations between academies, art institutions, students and professionals and includes diverse presentation modes, processes of research and documentation taking form within and from different geographies. By merging the viewpoints of academic entities and contemporary art institutions and utilizing their facilities and activities, the programme aims to develop an autonomous and progressive educational methodology.

9 international curators have developed and designed a collaborative content for 30 weeks: Anne Klontz, Başak Şenova, Bronwyn Lace, Çelenk Bafra, Johan Thom, Karim Sultan, Marti Manen, Tina Sherwell, and Paul O’NeillThroughout the spring and fall of 2021, the programme will focus on presentations, activities and exhibitions and will execute a diverse and intense practise-based agenda until the end of June 2022 which concludes with an extensive publication. The participating artists selected and appointed to the programme are Alina Rentsch (DE/SE), Bengü Karaduman (TR), Bochra Taboubi (TU), Els van Houtert (NL/AT), Jannis Neumann (DE/AT), Kim M. Reynolds (US/SA), Maarit Mustonen (FI), Nondumiso Lwazi Msimanga (SA), Noor Abed (PS), and Sofia Priftis (SE).

The programme intends to bridge and acknowledge social and cultural diversity in the targeted geographical regions—Europe, the Mediterranean, and Africa—and values the ambiguity between or among: socio-political realities and perspectives; interdisciplinary approaches; academic and non-academic intellectual models; forms of artistic research and practices; divergent perspectives on artistic production methodologies; individual and community-based approaches; top-down and grass-root organisation models; accessed and distributed resources and facilities; strategies of environmental sustainability; artistic challenges and opportunities; different funding possibilities; institutional and alternative curatorial practices; forms of engagement of artists, audiences and institutions; forms of innovative and technology-driven mindsets; and diverse knowledge production models.

The programme was designed as a two-semester course “Spectral Encounters” that includes seminars, peer-to-peer educational sessions, online and class discussions, research fieldtrips, collaborative production-based workshops, and lectures. The course also incorporates guest lecturers and curated presentations, exhibitions and activities. The programme is defined collectively by University of Applied Arts ViennaKamel Lazaar Foundation, Tunis; Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design, StockholmIndex – The Swedish Contemporary Art FoundationThe University of PretoriaThe Centre for The Less Good Idea, Johannesburg; Birzeit University, the Palestinian Museum, Birzeit; Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, Ramallah; SAHA Association, Istanbul; PublicsHelsinki; and Saastamoinen Foundation, Helsinki.


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