The Octopus

On Diversities, Art Production, Educational Models, and Curatorial Trajectories



This book is the accumulation of the Octopus Programme (2019-2022), which was designed as a guided research-based educational program that encouraged artistic research and production-based collaborations in different geographical regions. The Octopus Programme developed new critical perspectives to process artistic research and practices while bridging and acknowledging: the diversity of socio-political realities, academic and non-academic intellectual models, institutional and alternative curatorial practices, accessed and distributed resources and facilities, and multiple knowledge production models. By merging the viewpoints of academic entities and contemporary art institutions, the program developed a generative research methodology by creating an autonomous network.

The Octopus Programme was initiated in 2019 by the University of Applied Arts Vienna and the Kamel Lazaar Foundation with a pilot phase linking Vienna and Tunis. In 2020, the program launched its main phase as a joint project by the University of Applied Arts Vienna; Kamel Lazaar Foundation, Tunis; Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design and Index, Stockholm; the University of Pretoria; The Centre for the Less Good Idea, Johannesburg; Birzeit University; the Palestinian Museum, Birzeit; Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, Ramallah; SAHA Association, Istanbul; PUBLICS and Saastamoinen Foundation, Helsinki.

Five interconnected evaluation committees selected participants from Austria, Finland, Tunisia, Palestine, South Africa, Sweden, and Turkey. The Octopus Programme offered peer-to-peer educational sessions, online and class discussions, research field trips and working groups, collaborative production-based workshops, and lectures in different European, Mediterranean, and African cities. In 2022, the program concluded with two exhibitions in Tunis and Vienna.

Edited by Basak Senova

The Octopus: On Diversities, Art Production, Educational Models, and Curatorial Trajectories was designed by Funda Senova Tunali and Basak Senova.

The book was printed with the financial support of the University of Applied Arts Vienna, along with support from Saastamoinen Foundation, Konstfack – University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Kamel Lazaar Foundation, and SAHA Association.


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