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Exchange September 1, 2021 – March 30, 2022 Offsite

Waiting Upon speaks to a particular mode of waiting. It is not a suspenseful waiting, but that of potential. It knows something will happen, but precisely what will be determined by the conditions of possibility and what is brought to the communal table. Following a brief residency at A4 in November 2019 (exploring forms, conditions and architectures of gathering in the service of continuing and evoking embodied archives of place through rituals and practices) architect Sumayya Vally chose Waiting Upon as the title for her Course of Enquiry, speaking to the programme’s interest in process as form. Holding space for routine conversation and creative exchange twice a month, Waiting Upon enables the suspension of the pace of usual work, allowing the practitioner and her interlocutors to step into an informal space demarcated for relational and reciprocal wandering and wondering. Some questions asked include, “What kind of engine is a gallery or institution to a project?” and “What is its utility?” coupled with a search for autonomous (self-possessed, self-correcting) structures and objects. Vally’s iteration of COE will conclude with a public presentation at A4 in 2022, conceived of as an “assembly of critical friends”; where new work by the integrated practitioner will be presented in the company of other works as part of a constellation of meaningful associations that emerge from, and reflect on, a process of nascent ideation and things taking shape.

Sumayya Vally joined A4 as an integrated practitioner through the foundation’s Course of Enquiry, to develop a six-month programme centred on making public their modes of investigation. Course of Enquiry offers insight into research as process, with all the attendant segues and obstacles necessary to the curatorial form. Curators’ engagements with their guiding questions are observed and documented through a programme that considers the journey of ideas, from experimentation to expression. Where are the meanderings, the dead-ends, the points at which thoughts coalesce? How might this unfolding be made apparent? In the spirit of “elastic rigour” (to use Carlo Ginzberg’s term), the accompanying translations of curatorial process – be they aural, written, visual or tactile – are guided by the individual enquiries, their outcomes anticipated but as yet unknown. The resulting research and its traces may culminate in an exhibition, performance, or other public facing offering, or may be shared and shown in quieter ways, becoming resources toward further discussion and engagement.


Customs Wayfinder