News

Introducing Bassam El Baroni, Assistant Professor in Curating and Mediating Art

Bassam came to Aalto in May 2018 from the Dutch Art Institute MA program at ArtEZ University of the Arts in Arnhem, the Netherlands.
Bassam-El-Baroni-photo-by-Lucas-Millheim

Would you tell a bit about your work?

I have been curating projects and exhibitions for about fifteen years and teaching for about ten, five of those at the Dutch Art Institute.  My research happens where art, philosophy, political theory and the sciences meet. I am interested in how these different disciplines, when combined, can influence how we face the social, environmental, and technological issues challenging us. I understand curating as a process of transdisciplinarity and how it can affect and change the world. Recently, I curated some projects that engage with prominent scientific and philosophical concepts. An example would be Nemocentric, a small exhibition that examined how neuroscience approaches subjectivity, and compared it to how that topic is addressed within artistic practice. I wonder if there is a way to examine these subjects without falling into the trap of l’art pour l’art? Can art take scientific research into the political realm in a constructive manner?  My teaching will tackle such questions and look at how art and curating can be used to weave together fragments of scientific, sociopolitical, and philosophical perspectives.

 

What enticed you to come to Aalto and what are you planning to do here?

The Aalto School of Arts, Design and Architecture is part of a multidisciplinary university intent on building bridges between the schools’ various disciplines. I think there is so much work to be done at this crossroads. This is work that is theoretical, practical, aesthetic and political all at the same time. One reason I applied to work here was because I wish to engage and develop discourses and events that can be helpful in thinking through the nature of transdisciplinarity as a contemporary condition, this is a current project of mine, but beyond this I think the university’s research environment and general affordances would be enticing for most scholars. As far as my goals while I am here, I would argue that long term success as a teacher – helping others achieve their goals – is probably as big as it gets. However, I do not want to leave Helsinki without having produced a series of events, publications, and perhaps exhibitions that would contribute to enriching and diversifying the discourse around curating and artistic research at Aalto, in Helsinki, and beyond.

I am quite excited about the potential to explore transdisciplinarity, which – despite its frequent usage – remains one of the least explored termini overall. Unpacking the concept will help move art research forward by putting a spotlight on objects we already encounter that are already transdisciplinary. It is everywhere we turn. Think of the enormous number of disciplines necessary to truly understand everyday objects in our lives. Take the produce we eat for instance: understanding a tomato we buy at the local grocery store in Helsinki involves agriculture, the history of Colonialism, molecular biology, chemistry, logistics, international law and market economics for starters.

From this vantage point, I think artistic research has an important role to play, it can de-enchant the world in the most engaging of modes. It makes facts visible in an interesting way, rather than in a dry manner.

How can people at Aalto get to know you?

I am very approachable and like to engage with people’s plans, ideas and think together through things. Write me an email and we can meet anywhere in the vicinity of Väre.

What new thing are you looking forward to doing or exploring in Helsinki?

Helsinki has been great so far, it’s been a wonderful place to explore: exhibitions, museums and music events galore as well as some mushroom and berry picking! I want to be more of a bookworm – an extroverted one at that - in upcoming months and the Helsinki metropolitan area has some great libraries and archives that I think will help me in acquiring more knowledge while living here.

  • Published:
  • Updated:
Share
URL copied!

Read more news

Jarkko Koskinen, Vuoden alumni 2021
Appointments Published:

Geoinformatics and space technology expert Jarkko Koskinen, Alumnus of the Year 2021

"Spatial data is in the middle of some massive developments and geoinformatics experts are more sought-after than ever. Some of the largest companies in the world, such as Google, Microsoft, Apple and Huawei currently count spatial data among their fields of business. With the advances in robotisation and digitalisation, accurate and high-quality real-time spatial and position data are needed everywhere", says Koskinen.
PoP Sami Itani, Aalto BIZ. Kuva: Ilari Lahtinen
Appointments Published:

Sami Itani joins the Department of Management Studies at the School of Business as Professor of Practice

His focus areas are socio-cultural sustainability, especially diversity and inclusion.
Marcela looking straight into the camera wearing a pink t-shirt and a patterned scarf, red lipstick and glasses.
Appointments Published:

Marcela Acosta-Garcia appointed as new Program Manager for UNITE! at Aalto University

Marcela Acosta-Garcia is the new Program Manager at the Aalto University Summer School, joining the Unite! project, an alliance under the Erasmus+ Framework Program. She is working with EU partner universities to create learning opportunities at home or abroad.
Photo of Associate Professor Ewald Kibler, photo by Mikko Raskinen
Appointments, Research & Art Published:

Ewald Kibler joins the Editorial Review Board of Academy of Management Discoveries

AMD is a new, leading management journal in promoting phenomenon-driven empirical research that current theories inadequately explain