A co-publication between the Samdani Art Foundation, Dhaka; Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Oslo; and Mousse Publishing, this 2-volume set is composed by two distinct but related books. A reader, edited by Katya García-Antón with Antonio Cataldo, addresses the themes that informed the Critical Writing Ensembles; an extended, illustrated compendium of the Dhaka Art Summit 2016, edited by Diana Campbell-Betancourt, offers an overview of all the projects that were developed for this unique initiative.
Art writing has for some time endured challenges that vary in nature according to geography. In some parts of the world there are fewer spaces in which to write critically and experimentally about art and art history, there is less and less financing, and increasing constraints on time; in other places, whilst platforms for writing may be on the rise, their value and impact has declined.
Writing is by nature a lonely endeavour, but under these conditions art writing is being pushed to the margins and alienated from the central and critical position that it should have in our societies, as will the immediate contact it should have with audiences.
Through expanded essays and contributions, this reader mirrors the Critical Writing Ensembles at the Dhaka Art Summit. The Summit brought together peers from the South Asia region and across the globe into different working constellations in order to share writing histories and knowledge with each other, experiment together, and produce new critical impulses regarding art writing. Such an endeavour is therefore positioned within a global framework as much as a local one, for not only is this a project of some urgency regionally, but it reminds us of a world-wide crisis.
The guide serves as a post-script to the Dhaka Art Summit 2016. While the Summit could only really be experienced in person (and many of the most dynamic discussions happened offline and informally in the many encounters between the roughly 300 artists, curators and writers involved, and the public), this book is a record of key exhibitions and moments of the Summit. It is meant to be used as a visual guide to place you within the context from where the Crit
ical Writing Ensembles reader texts were born.