What is an Institution?


Instrumentalizing J.F.L. Ver. 0.0

Talk by curator and critic

Bassam el Baroni

“The only responsibility of artists, writers, or philosophers as such is a responsibility toward the question What is painting, writing, thought? Their addressee is not the public and, I would say, is not even the “community” of artists, writers, and so forth. To tell the truth, they do not know who their addressee is, and this is what it is to be an artist, a writer, and so forth: to throw a “message” out into the void.”

–Jean Francois Lyotard, The Tomb of the Intellectual (1983)

The early beginnings of a relationship of words and ideas between two mortals, the first a French philosopher (b.1924, Versailles - d. 1998, Paris), an often underrated and sometimes politically clairvoyant thinker who became popular and fell out of popularity within the expanded field of art because of a report he once wrote on knowledge. The second a curator and writer from Alexandria, Egypt. The latter attempts to unhinge and recast some of the first’s ideas and melt them into the vicissitudes of the current political, institutional, and creative period. As a result, questions on time, the intellectual, the exhibition, and funding applications collide with the political upheavals of a place seemingly ungoverned but unable to un-rule itself from the markings of epochs past.