1-54 Forum Marrakech 2020 at LE 18, Disguised as a Dancefloor by Joe Namy. ©Michael Huard /say-who

Crafting wor[l]ds: for a vernacular economy of art

1-54 Forum will be accompanying the unique Paris edition of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair. Curated by LE 18 and taking place online over the evenings of the fair, and then throughout February, 1-54 Forum is entitled Crafting wor[l]ds: for a vernacular economy of art. The programme will consist of a variety of formats, all accessible online in English and French.

Lire le programme en français ici

To read the full curatorial statement and learn more about LE 18 click here

Studio tour with Emo de Medeiros and discussion led by Jeanne Mercier, January 2021

The Undisciplined #1: the Art of Crafting ‘Contextures’
Online Studio Visit and Discussion | Emo de Medeiros and Jeanne Mercier

Thursday, 21 January

English and French

Developed in dialogue with curator JEANNE MERCIER, co-founder of Afrique in Visu, the inaugural event of this 1-54 Forum opens a line of investigation into ‘undisciplined’ artistic practices that alternatively define themselves as digital shamanism, futuristic, mythological, and participatory.

To do so, join artist EMO DE MEDEIROS and Jeanne Mercier as they tour his studio and discuss his most recent work. De Medeiros’ practice fuses virtual reality and both tangible and intangible material to explore the hybridisation, interconnections and circulation of forms, technologies, myths and goods. By making ‘contextures’, his work offers a unique insight into our post-colonial, globalised and digitised 21st century world.

As a concluding step in this first journey, a unique screening of Emo de Medeiros’ recently work Handroid City (2020) was shown on Sunday, 21 February on our YouTube channel.


Webinar | SMILE!

Friday, 22 January

English and French

Vernacular photography and the family album: a history of chosen moments, or performing the social.

Vernacular photography is a kind of amateur photography whose subject is everyday life, without aesthetic or artistic intent. For several decades, many artists have been interested in poor images, found photos, recovered albums, which do not belong to them and which tell stories, intimate, anonymous, constituting a raw material to be re-sculpted, fictionalized, in order to reinvent and re-present its function as an object of memory. A three-way conversation between LAILA HIDA, artist photographer and founder of LE 18, ANNE DELREZ, photographer and founder of Conservatoire Nationale de l’Album de Famille and CAROLLE BÉNITAH, photographer, whose practices converge towards the family album that they have in different ways, reactivated, manipulated, exhibited to explore.

Abdellah Hassak, Untitled, A Symphony of Cities, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.


Instagram Live Performance | Sonic Archaeologies

Friday, 19 February

A live radio performance by ABDELLAH HASSAK in conversation with artist-performer GHASSAN EL HAKIM, initiator of Cabaret Cheikhat, and artist OTHMANE EL KHELOUFI, composer, saxophonist and theater director.

Turning to a history of sound allows one to “de-center” history. While political history draws us to the formal places of power (capitals, royal courts, parliaments, palaces), sound history takes us to much more varied places, both strange and wonderful. Political history is centripetal; sound history is centrifugal.
– David Hendy, author of the BBC Radio documentary series entitled Noise, a Human History of Sound and Listening

Sonic Archaeologies is an invitation to experiment the multiple capacities of sound recording to re-construct and re-compose the historical narratives of territories, experiences, or policies. Proposed and animated by Abdellah Hassak, this spontaneous conversation, activated by a listening session of sound archives proposes to restitute the past, through an unconventional approach.

A record, a voice, a song, a rhythm, or a sound archive can be listened to and discussed, from their socio-political context and through their sound practice, their production, and the recording context. What do recordings from the past tell us? How do they shed light on some important events of Moroccan history?
The conversation, live streamed from LE 18 in Marrakech, further reflected on the reciprocal influences between the recordings and the sociological, historical or anthropological evolution of Morocco.

Listen and read the full transcript in English


Emo de Medeiros, Handroid City. Courtesy the artist.

Screening | Handroid City

Sunday, 21 February

Filmed in Nigeria, Benin, Tanzania, Brazil and China, Handroid City, by artist EMO DE MEDEIROS, investigates how mobile phone technology choreographs contemporary life via a series of close-ups of human hands using, fixing or selling mobile phones, déambulations in “digital districts”, as well as drone shots pointing at the homogenization of urban space triggered by technological capitalism. Originally a triptych, this unique presentation and screening is a mixing of the 500 video clips that make up the original work.

Watch on our YouTube Channel


Matson Collection, Library of Congress. Courtesy of Rachel Dedman, Radio Earth Waves.

Webinar | Resounding Waves: on the making of sonic solidarities through radio

Wednesday, 24 February

Departing from their respective research projects Radio Earth Hold and we dreamt of utopia and we woke up screaming, in this conversation RACHEL DEDMAN and YASMINA REGGAD explore the formation of sonic solidarities across different regions and liberation struggles, carried out by and through radio, sounds, acoustics and acousmatics in Palestine, Algeria, and beyond.


Ahmed Bouanani, Stills from “Les quatre sources”, 1977. Courtesy of artist and LE 18.

Webinar | An Oral Gaze: Between Bouanani and Sembene

Friday, 26 February

English and French

Led by NADIR BOUHMOUCH and bringing together artist TOUDA BOUANANI and filmmaker/film scholar SAMBA GADJIGO, this conversation situates itself at the intersection between African cinema and the popular oral arts which have sometimes inspired it. With a focus on Ousmane Sembene and Ahmed Bouanani, the discussion will revolve around how the oral arts have inspired or informed the works of African film pioneers looking to “Decolonise the Gaze.” Indeed, if Sembene saw in the cineaste a “Griot,” Bouanani saw an “Amdiaz.” As such, we will take the recent release of the book “The Seventh Gate: A History of Cinema in Morocco” as a starting point to this conversation which will address how indigenous cultures, stories and arts have contributed to create an African cinema which questions western codes and aesthetics.


Aude Mgba, My Learning is Affected by the Condition of my life. Courtesy the artist.

Webinar | Making and Unmaking Art Schools from The Nineteenth Century to the Present

Saturday, 27 February

English and French

In this conversation led by FRANCESCA MASOERO and guided by the research of curators and art historians AUDE MGBA and NADINE ATALLAH, we will explore histories of the making, unmaking, and remaking of artistic learnings and schooling institutes across the African continent. Through a historically-informed journey moving from pre-colonial forms of transmission, to colonial and post-colonial infrastructures of knowledge and artistic production, the conversation will examine on the one hand, the ways in which artists, collectives, and movements navigated dominant, institutional educational sites. On the other, by investigating the ways in which some of these actors attempted to recraft learning modes anew, grounding them on vernacular processes and spaces of knowledge-making, we will try to reflect on the situated futures of artistic education ahead.

To listen to previous 1-54 Forum events, head to any major podcast platform of your choice or below.