Since the 1990s, art residencies — as places offering temporary living and
working space for artists and researchers outside of their usual environments —
have expanded exponentially on a global scale. In line with this unprecedented
development, a comprehensive process of self-assessment has simultaneously taken
place within the field. The organization of multiple seminars and conferences as
well as the publication of numerous monographs attest to the widespread interest
in critically thinking about art residencies’ assets and, most importantly, their
Even as these timely discussions take place, there is an important area of inquiry
that remains under-researched. That is the invisibility of other than Eurocentered
approaches in the narrative that currently frames the history of art residencies.
Indeed, the lack of a coherent body of work in this field demonstrates that the
genealogical co-relation between knowledge and the journey hasn’t yet been
critically approached from a cross-cultural perspective. As a result, the
discourse that currently frames the history of art residencies continues to place
Europe at the center while narrowly grounding relatively facile approaches.
An example of the lack of complexity in the history of art residencies can be
found in the omission of the rich tradition intertwining mobility and knowledge
within Islamic and Arab cultures and the multiple hybrid heritages they enhanced.
The primary aim of this research is precisely to address, challenge and remediate
this absence while imagining art residencies’ alternative pasts and suggest
possible futures. To this end, through Artistic Research, post-representational
cartography, collaborative and intimate curating and experimental genealogy are
adopted as methodological groundings from which a speculative Arab art residency
proto-history is proposed. The aim of this endeavour is to discover unexpected
lineages, to reside in the movement of knowledge and to rethink the assumptions
embedded in a history that we believed was already written.