The series of conversations on the Messeplatz was free, open to the public, and organized by Creative Time in collaboration with Basilea artists Lara Almarcegui, Isabel Lewis, and Santiago Cirugeda.


In Conversation: The Basic Income film director, Daniel Häni, and Isabel Lewis
Wednesday – June 13 – 1:00 pm – Messeplatz

Daniel HäniThe Basic Income film director, entrepreneur, co-founder of the Basel culture and coffee house unternehmen mitte

Isabel LewisBasilea Artist


Born 1966 in Bern, Häni is an entrepreneur, co-founder of the Basel culture and coffee house «unternehmen mitte» and co-initiator of the Swiss popular initiative «For an unconditional basic income» which launched a referendum in 2016 and triggered a worldwide media response. His artistic work appears under the label “First World Development.” Häni joined artist Isabel Lewis to discuss his work and film The Basic Income.


The New Story: Creative Practices In Journalism
Thursday – June 14 – 1:00 pm – Messeplatz

Ingrid Burrington – Writer, artist, author of Networks of New York: An Illustrated Field Guide to Urban Internet Infrastructure.

Serena Danna – Managing editor in chief for the Italian edition of Vanity Fair.

Marisa Mazria Katz – Journalist, Eyebeam Editorial Producer and Kickstarter Fellow.


With the slow erosion of boundaries and the opening of opportunities for journalists and artists to blend information practices and aesthetics, we are seeing new forms of what constitutes a story, as well as new applications, both responding to and helping to build local and global communities. This hybridized form of art practice has led to a cross-pollination of methods, creating more robust and necessary new forms of investigation and reporting. This is particularly true when it comes to networks representing connections between physical infrastructure or information sources or institutions. These complex objects are not only products of human design, but sources of real power that can be questioned.


Eyebeam ensures artists are at the center of the invention and design of our shared future.


The Brown Institute for Media Innovation is a collaboration between Columbia University and Stanford University, designed to encourage and support new endeavors in media innovation.


In Conversation: Smell-researcher Sissel Tolaas and Isabel Lewis
Thursday – June 14 – 3:00 pm – Messeplatz


Lewis and Tolaas spoke about Tolaas’s work with urban space. Tolaas has often worked with the likes of architects, environmentalists, and even commercial companies to create “smellscapes” of different cities, including Berlin, Paris, Shanghai, Mexico City, Singapore, Stockholm. She’s been doing this since the early 2000s and already has smell profiles of 52 cities in her library. Altogether, she has a collection of more than 7,000 scents from various projects in her Berlin laboratory. When asked if it would be possible with eyes closed to navigate one’s city Tolaas responded, “Yes and in a very sophisticated way. We are equipped with amazing software that helps us navigate, understand, and communicate with the world.”


Conversations on Messeplatz

During the final week of Basilea (June 11-17), Lara Almarcegui, Isabel Lewis, and Santiago Cirugeda were joined by a lineup of architects, curators, scholars, and other artists to explore Basilea‘s themes of what cities and communities can be.


This series was free, open to the public, and organized by Creative Time and Art Basel.


Basilea invites us to reflect on a city’s possibilities through a series of immersive projects connecting the City of Basel, its residents and the 95,000+ fairgoers anticipated to attend Art Basel. The project is conceived by artists Lara Almarcegui, Isabel Lewis and architecture studio Recetas Urbanas led by Santiago Cirugeda, and curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose.


Self-Construction, Self-Governance
Friday – June 15 – 1:00 pm – Messeplatz

David Juarez – David Juarez is an architect and founding member of Straddle3, a multidisciplinary collective that works on urban-related projects based on an open source philosophy. His work include the transformation of vacant lots and buildings into community spaces, houses built out of recycled materials, public parks co-designed and built with their future users and digital platforms and software tools for collaborative urban development. He is the co-founder of the Arquitecturas Colectivas network.

Patti Anahory – Patti Anahory is an architect and designer with a Masters in Architecture degree from Princeton University. Between 2009 and 2012, she served as Founding Director of CIDLOT, a multidisciplinary applied research center at the University of Cabo Verde addressing the dynamics of settlement, urban growth and development. In 2011 she co-founded XU: Collective, an interdisciplinary collective, proposing a critical understanding of urban dynamics, architecture, environmental and inter-media studies.

Santiago Cirugeda – Santiago Cirugeda is the founder of Recetas Urbanas, a design and advocacy collective of architects, lawyers and social workers. The collective, known for self-built projects that rely on local participation to complete mobile structures using locally sourced, second and third-hand materials. Activating different areas of urban reality, their projects are at the same time highly functional, legally provocative, and exploit the legalities surrounding the occupation of public space.

Moderator: Baharak Tajbakhsh – Baharak Tajbakhsh is a Basel-based architect and cultural policy maker. From 2014 to 2016, Tajbakhsh represented the Department of Cultural Affairs in Basel, coordinating numeral architectural projects, such as the new Natural History Museum and City Archive and the renovation and conversion of the Kaserne building to a cultural center. Following her training in architecture at TU Kaiserslautern, she relocated to Basel in 2009 where she developed urban development and building projects with Bachelard Wagner Architekten, Philippe Cabane Urban Strategien Basel, IBA Basel and Pedrocchi Meier Architekten, among others.


Can we formulate architecture as a platform for a public inquiry? And, if so, how would this question be defined collectively? Baharak Tajbakhsh led a conversation in which architects Patti Anahory and David Juarez together with architect Santiago Cirugeda discussed the active role we have as citizens to intervene, reflect upon and transform a given environment.


On Wastelands and Mineral Rights
Saturday – June 16 – 1:00 pm – Messeplatz

Anna Minton – Anna Minton is a regular contributor to the Guardian and Reader in Architecture at the University of East London. She is the author of Big Capital: Who is London for? (Penguin 2017) and Ground Control: Fear and happiness in the 21st century city (Penguin 2009/12).

Emily Scott – Emily Eliza Scott is an interdisciplinary scholar, artist, and former park ranger whose work centers on art that engages pressing (political) ecological issues, often with the intent to actively transform real-world conditions. Currently a postdoc in the architecture department at ETH Zurich, she will begin a joint professorship in the history of art & architecture and environmental studies at the University of Oregon in fall 2018.

Manuel Herz – Manuel Herz is an architect based in Basel, Switzerland. His award winning projects include the Synagogue of Mainz, a museum extension in Ashdod, Israel, as well as housing and office buildings and art spaces in Germany, France and Switzerland. Herz was the curator and architect of the National Pavilion of the Western Sahara at the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2016, the first time that a refugee nation has been represented at the Venice Biennale.

Moderator: Lara Almarcegui – A champion of neglected and forgotten sites, Lara Almarcegui’s work carefully catalogues and highlights a particular location’s tendency towards entropy. Working at a time of widespread urban renewal in Europe, Almarcegui reflects upon the continent’s built histories and extractive relationship with the land, and has even worked towards these sites’ legal protection. As Spain’s representative to the 55th Venice Biennial, she filled the interior of the pavilion with massive piles of building rubble similar to those used during its construction.


What happens to an extraction site once it is no longer of use? And, who is responsible for its development and its return to the community? Experts Anna Minton, Emily Scott, and Manuel Herz joined artist Lara Almarcegui in a panel that invited us to reflect upon the decision-making and journey behind the transformation of a green area into a wasteland.


Techne Techno Tech
Sunday – June 17 – 1:00 pm – Messeplatz

Claire Tancons – Claire Tancons is a curator and scholar invested in the postcolonial discourse and practice of the politics of production and exhibition with a focus on performance. Tancons has charted a distinct curatorial and scholarly path in performance, inflecting global art historical genealogies with African diasporic aesthetics as well as decentring and othering curatorial methodologies as part of a wider reflection on global conditions of cultural production. Over the last decade, she has curated biennials such as Gwangju Biennale (2008), Prospect.1 New Orleans (2008), Cape Town Biennial (2009), Biennale Bénin (2012) and the Göteborg Biennial (2013). She is currently a curator for Sharjah Biennial 14 (2019).

Catherine Wood – Catherine Wood is Senior Curator of International Art (Performance) at Tate Modern. She is currently planning the next Hyundai commission for the Turbine Hall with the Cuban artist, Tania Bruguera (opening 2018). Wood was instrumental in planning and installing the opening displays for Tate Modern’s new Blavatnik Building, with a focus on performance and film in the Tanks, and, with Achim Borchardt-Hume, co-curated the Rauschenberg retrospective at Tate Modern in 2017. Wood initiated and co-curated, with Andrea Lissoni and Isabella Maidment, Tate Modern’s annual Live Exhibition in the Tanks, featuring Fujiko Nakaya and Isabel Lewis (in 2017) and Joan Jonas and Jumana Emil Abboud (2018).

Isabel Lewis – Trained in literary criticism, dance, and philosophy, Isabel Lewis’ work takes on many different formats: from lecture-performances and workshops to music sessions, parties, installations, and what she calls “hosted occasions.” She has created works around topics such as open source technology and dance improvisation, social dances as cultural storage systems, collaborative creative formats, future bodily techniques, and rapping as embodied speech acts. Lewis is Berlin-based, born in the Dominican Republic and raised on a man-made island off the coast of southwest Florida.

Moderator: Andrea Lissoni – Andrea Lissoni, PhD, is Senior Curator, International Art (Film) at Tate Modern, London, where he curated the Hyundai Turbine Hall Commission 2016 Anywhen, by Philippe Parreno and, more recently, the expanded exhibition Joan Jonas. He is the co-curator – with Andrea Bellini – of the Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement The Sound of Screens imploding, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, 2018.​


This panel brought together scholars and curators with artist Isabel Lewis in a discussion of her inquiry into the meaning of contemporary rituals of gathering. Lewis’ contribution to Basilea was series of public workshops that assemble and interweave a selection of techniques from contemporary dance, performance, moving meditation and Parkour, into a hybrid new bodily praxis.



Art World Talk: Activating Public Spaces
Saturday – June 16 – 3:00 pm – Art Basel Hall 1.1, Auditorium

Isabel Lewis – Artist, Dancer, Electronic Music Producer, Berlin

Enrique Fontanilles – Artist, Basel/Mulhouse/Cazalla de la Sierra, former professor HEAD, Geneva

Senam Okudzeto – Artist, Writer and Lecturer, Basel/London/New York/Accra

Moderator: Elvira Dyangani Ose – Senior Curator, Creative Time, and Lecturer in Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London, London

The city of Basel and its exhibition square has evolved around a constant influx of international visitors. 2018’s public art commission has, at its core, hybrid cultural identities, most of which live here, inviting us to rethink notions of ‘self’ and ‘community’ in a public space. Three artists addressed the ways in which their lives and practices create awareness of the active role we, as citizens, have to intervene and alter any given urban environment. What are possible survival strategies for being unnoticed or unrecognized? How are multiple viewpoints made visible? How can members of the public determine their own trajectories and levels of engagement?


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