Sulaïman Majali

19th Jul 2018

Hi Sulaïman, thanks so much for participating - we hope you’re enjoying the coffee!

Hey! Thanks for the coffee – it’s going down nicely.


1. Can you give us an introduction to your practice, interests and experiences?

Intros to practices are v difficult probably because there’s something really fluid and disparate about this practice, I have to say I’m lowkey loyal to the language of Sculpture, or at least the works positioning in relation to languages of Sculpture (this encompasses space/ place etc) means it’s from there that it ruptures through to other territories and modes of confrontation. There’s something about the peripheries of making or “borderzone” processes that accommodates questions about the ‘diasporic’. But in these peripheries, image and word also come into play as anchors to the work. I’m interested in what these dis/locations can tell us about disruption(s). Rupture, collapse and virtuality are all pretty integral to the work – in one way or another I think the work is questioning our relative position(s) to narrations (and distributions) of futures (and their histories).

So many potential tangents right now .. !!!

– if we consider the diasporic as multiplicity then how can languages of the quantum also be used to think about the v.real conflicts, breaches and tears in narrations? This is something I’m always thinking about in the studio – whether that’s on the material level – using the lens to hold and suspend object or space, multiplying and rendering simultaneous – or between work with some web of conversations that happen over space and time/ fragmenting ideas/texts across years and works –. Between all of this playing or treating “studio” as “laboratory” there are some reflections on how the diasporan/persons existing peripherally/simultaneously – the racialised other, might deploy these modes as apparatus/weapon/archive. Like, what does all of this mean when thinking about ways WE can survive, disrupt, support, nurture. This probably means this is a research-led practice to some? I dunno – maybe all practice is research? How do we define that whole thing (– AND do we want to draw those borders??) “weapon”, “deploy” and other militaristic ways of talking about this seems to get some people a little wound up – if we can’t see the contexts and why there are mobilisations across the spectrum in loads of fields – then there’s a serious issue.


2. Talk us through your working processes, what are you working on at the moment?

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6. Your practice comes across as very confident, are you able to embrace errors or slippages, are these important to work through?

Processes seem to mostly revolve around thinking, playing using the screen and lens (a lot) and interrogation - I think interrogating is the best word for my own relationship with work before it reaches that point of slowing or pause. Perhaps it’s some kind of coping mechanism for a sometimes crippling self-doubt but seems to put ideas to the test.

INTERROGATION ISN’T TORTURE - interrogation serves the purpose of gleaning answers or info - so in this way I’m saying I have to spend a lot time listening to the work. Things don’t always make sense. Error, failure and collapse are also V important - interesting that you describe my practice as coming across confidently, I’m not sure I’ve ever considered this. Maybe the work needs to present itself confidently in the same way that often confidence is weaponised by the individual who needs to survive/strive through structures that aren’t supportive or that work against them? But I also think that “confidence” and the way we use this word seems to be tied to representation, the social, the external etc - in this context reading “confidence” as belief/ faith/ conviction has more clarity to it - ?

So - error/ failure are essential to processes of faith. I am not confident in my work // I have faith in my work - are the same sentence but have V diff weight to them. I think i’ve made only one work without failure being part of the process. Sometimes failure is not being able to open your cracked copy of photoshop or not noticing something within a work that is limiting it, sometimes failure is emotional and you’re just not feeling the work - ALWAYS important. Important bc there’s no option but to accept failure but also this is where answers grow!


5. DO YOU FEEL AN URGENCY AS AN ARTIST, WRITER AND EDUCATOR TO SPEAK OUT IN THE CURRENT POLITICAL (?) CLIMATE, WITH THE REFUGEE CRISIS, DISPLACEMENT OF PEOPLE AND ENFORCEMENT OF BORDERS DOMINATING HEADLINES?

  • as an individual, as person and collective and community there is an unavoidable politicality - as a human. The “political” should be separated from “politics”.

I can’t (or won’t?) answer that question clearly but I definitely would say that to call this era an era of CRISES is not a matter of opinion. We can certainly choose to sideline, ignore even attempt to erase/eradicate those crises from our communities, minds + feeds but that still happens within an age of crises. Nicholas Mirzoeff says it nicely + Jesse Darlings articulation and paraphrasing even more so - that ‘Post-’ shouldn’t be considered as “successor to-” but as “crises of-” - varying accounts and forms of privilege interact with whatever urgency there might be (whether there is any urgency at all). From here though I see peers, researchers, artists, professors, musicians, people! not simply speaking out (there’s something about that idea that relies on a premise of comfort) but committing, generating and building. There’s a lot of work to do we could frame the second half of the question and distill it down further - As whether it’s domination of headlines renders it “actual” or more real - or disruptive to the comfort of the European myth or not - it isn’t new and a whole string of movements are dealing with the causes of these symptoms in so many beautiful ways (and have been doing so for centuries).

So - I’m not speaking out as such but I consider the work I’m doing alongside others as important for tasks at hand - a friend kinda summed it up recently when referring to “Canon building” for many people (in this field + others) this is (can be) a form of resistance to Supremacist forms of knowledge production + their racist social imaginaries (as signifiers through which people imagine their social whole) both historic and of the future.

Sometimes I’m a little thrown back by the realisation that many people see the rise of neo-nationalism, fascist ideologies and the weaponising of the internet as having little to 0 connection in anyway to the life they lead.

Multiplicity is sometimes challenging to grasp tho. (I can’t remember the last time I used a pen and paper by the way - I’m enjoying it but sorry for all the strikethroughs).

(NEW PEN, NEW DAY)

/ time and time again. (I’m deviating from the question again -) I keep coming back to Bifo (Franco Berardi), to whiteness and to the failure of white marxist thinkers to go beyond the European context. Thinking about what we can understand if we read Bifo’s ‘After the future’ through a critique of whiteness? Thinking about how he (later in 2017-e-flux) acknowledges directly ‘The supremacy of the white imperialists of the past’ and still manages to derail. Like, what about further than diagnosis? If the ‘white -majority era is over’ - for ‘cultural and technical reasons‘ - if the future is dead\ exhausted/ cancelled - what is this implication of other futures being defunct.

Thinking also about Kodwo Eshun’s comments on competing futures and their varying degrees of impact or manifestation in the present. How we can perform/inform disruptions and complications. Also thinking about quantum thought experiments and retrocausality and how within the cause ↔ effect in philosophy of science, effect could precede the cause. Thinking too about how this isn’t really a thing but an important disruption. Damn disruptions - like it’s JULY now.


10. If you had unlimited access to resources and funding, is there a piece or project that you would like to realise?

UNLIMITED ACCESS TO RESOURCES & FUNDING!(?)

Can’t comprehend this fully but I really want to make a feature length film using unreal Engine to generate photo realistic landscapes and spaces and objects etc - entirely virtual i should. But, dreams.

Love

Sulaïman Majali


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Sulaïman Majali is an artist and writer based in Glasgow. You can find them on Instagram at @solomon_3.0 and at smajali.co.uk.