Session #5: Swell
Anja Isabel Schneider

Online Lecture


Rib is pleased to present a lecture by writer, editor, and curator Anja Isabel Schneider, Swell. This talk is part of Taming the Horror Vacui, a long-term project (January 2020–June 2021) at Rib, cultivating a deeper engagement with Ahmed’s practice.

Anja Isabel Schneider’s current research explores the interactions of art with science and psychoanalysis with a special interest in performativity and ecologies of resistance, the relationship between spatial practices and writing, text and physicality. Schneider links Allan Sekula’s “staging [of] the wind” to Haseeb Ahmed’s ongoing wind tunnel experiment at Rib, and to questions of scale, liminality and human agency they both address.

Swell takes up the dialogue between Ahmed and Schneider, initiated in Antwerp on the occasion of his solo exhibition Haseeb Ahmed – The Wind Egg at M HKA (2018). The lecture’s title [from the German word “schwellen”] references Walter Benjamin’s definition of a threshold [Schwelle], significant to articulating space and time present in the way both Sekula thinks of the port and Ahmed the wind tunnel.

In keeping the spirit of Sekula’s critical engagement with the port of Rotterdam, her lecture will address the wind as an animating agent in Allan Sekula’s final work Ship of Fools/The Dockers’ Museum (2010–2013) and with it the space of reflection where the artist situates his project: the interstitial space of the harbor. Its relationality to other ports, to other docks, makes it a space of potential linkage points.

In part, this lecture inscribes itself into the larger research project Art Against the Grain of Collective Sisyphus: The Case of Allan Sekula’s Ship of Fools / The Dockers’ Museum (2010–2013), jointly developed by M HKA and the Lieven Gevaert Centre at KU Leuven and UCLouvain, with professor Hilde Van Gelder as promotor, and supported by the Research Fund KU Leuven, the Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO), M HKA and the Allan Sekula Studio.

Online Lecture
by Anja Isabel Schneider
17.12.2020, 18:30–21:30
Zoom Meeting

Followed by a Q&A
moderated by Haseeb Ahmed

Anja Isabel Schneider is a writer, editor, and curator. She holds an MA in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art and an MFA in Curating from Goldsmiths, University of London. From 2015 to 2020, she was a PhD fellow in Curatorial Research at the Lieven Gevaert Centre (LGC), KU Leuven / M HKA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp. In this position she worked towards the exhibition Mermaid Honeymoon. A curatorial reflection on Allan Sekula’s Ship of Fools / The Dockers’ Museum, M HKA, Antwerp (2020); Allan Sekula. Collective Sisyphus, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona / Koenig Books, London (2019) (co-curated / co-edited with Hilde Van Gelder and Carles Guerra). Schneider lectures internationally and has participated in research projects and curatorial residencies, among others Performing a Workshop, La Ene, Nuevo Museo Energía de Arte Contemporáneo, Buenos Aires (2013–2014); de uma língua para outra / from one language to another, JA.CA – Center of Art and Technology, Belo Horizonte (2014) and Rond-Point Projects, Marseille (2015). Her writing has appeared in magazines, exhibition catalogs and artist monographs. In 2011, she was the laureate of the 4th edition of MARCO / Frac Lorraine Award for Young Curators.