For the inaugural edition of Orbitals, four curators travelled together to Mexico City from June 7 to 17, visiting artists and curators as well as museums and other art institutions. Organized in collaboration with the Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City, the program included visits to: Aeromoto, Alumnos47, Bikini Wax EPS, Calpulli Tecalco, Casa Gallina, House of Gaga, Kurimanzutto, LABOR, Ladrón, LIGA Space for Architecture, Lodos, Lulu, MUAC, Museo Experimental El Eco, Museo Jumex, Museo Universitario del Chopo, National Museum of Anthropology, Prras! @ Pandeo, Sala de Arte Publico Siqueiros, SOMA, and Terremoto; encounters with the collectives AM, Cráter Invertido, Los 14, Punto Gozadera, and Radio Tropiezo; and studio visits with artists Eduardo Abaroa, Balam Bartolomé, Victor Costales and Julia Rometti, Minerva Cuevas, Mario García-Torres, Francesco Pedraglio, Tania Pérez Cordoba, and Ariel Schlesinger.
Alia B. Al-Sabi (Palestine, b. 1983) is a Brooklyn-based writer and researcher. Currently a Helena Rubenstein Critical Studies Fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program, her research focuses on the politics of space and the intersection of art, architecture, and urban studies. Prior to moving to the US, Alia was based in the UAE, where she worked at the Sharjah Art Foundation and Bidoun magazine. She has contributed writings to Lifta Volumes, Daily Serving, Al Manakh: Gulf Continued, Canvas Magazine, and Bidoun.
Hicham Bouzid (Morocco, b. 1992) is a curator and cultural practitioner living in Tangier. He started his career as sales manager and cultural programmer at Les Insolites, a bookstore and photography gallery in his hometown. In 2013, Hicham moved to Marrakech, where he was part of the team that launched Le18, Derb El Ferrane, a multidisciplinary cultural riad and artist residency in the old medina. Currently, he is artistic director of Think Tanger, a cultural platform exploring the urban space of Tangier, and of Atelier Kissaria, a workshop for visual arts production.
Kamila Metwaly (Egypt/Poland, b. 1984) is a music journalist, electronic musician, and curator between Cairo and Berlin. Kamila co-founded The Art Review in 2004, has worked in radio and independent film, and began writing on music for Egyptian and Arab publications in 2014. In 2017, she joined SAVVY Contemporary, curating the Untraining the Ear Listening Sessions and working on sound-based projects such as the exhibition We have Delivered Ourselves from the Tonal – Of, with, towards, on Julius Eastman. She is co-curator with Bonaventure Ndikung of an exhibition for the 2018 DAK’ART in Senegal.
Ahmed Refaat (Egypt, b. 1987) is a researcher and film programmer at the Contemporary Image Collective (CiC) in Cairo. He also writes about film and art for various cultural and media outlets. Over the course of the past three years, Ahmed was working with CiC’s team on a long-term artistic project titled If Not For That Wall. Through four thematic chapters, If Not For That Wall engaged with different forms of imprisonment and social exclusion. He has also been part of multiple selection committees for local short documentary and fiction film festivals.
The participants were selected from a very competitive pool of over 80 applicants with the advisory support of Lara Khaldi (independent curator, Ramallah) and Manuela Moscoso (senior curator at Museo Tamayo, Mexico City).