Category Archives: English

International Innovation Summits as Indicative Assemblages of Agents, Opportunities and Networks

On September 17, 2019, the yearly DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival has kicked off with an opening that brought together delegates from around the world to an off-the-beach reception venue overlooking the seashore, walking paths and those basking in the evening glow of the summer season.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.


However, what has brought the attendants of this event to this spot of the Mediterranean metropolitan landscape was the complex, and ever-shifting, arrangements of entrepreneurial networks at the heart of which the DLD Conference positions itself internationally. Despite their looseness, these networks can be argued to act as agile systems comprising hyper-mobile agents, bundles of inter-personal connections and down-the-road opportunities that interactions at this event, as well as similar ones, can help activate.

In this respect, the dynamic geography of DLD conferences, currently encompassing Singapore, Brisbane, Munich, Brussels and Tel Aviv, as well as occasionally other locations, such as Bayreuth, Karlsruhe, and Belgrade, can be argued to be responsive to tectonic shifts in the global economy. The addition of Singapore to this conference circuit from 2018 is a case in point, since this compact, one-day event, hosted at a posh hotel, situated in Sentosa Island, is aimed at capturing global trends in relation to location-relevant opportunities.

More specifically, the 2018 panel discussions at the Singapore event have comprised overviews of the changes in the global venture capital landscape, smart cities, of which Singapore is one of prime examples, the business opportunities in India and South-East Asia, cashless transactions, innovative manufacturing, blockchain-related digital disruptions, South-East Asian fashion trends, the Indonesian consumer market, Berlin-Singapore blockchain-based cooperation and Asia Pacific economic prospects.

What links all of these are the conference participants and attendants that make it possible for deterritorialized innovation-related networks, such as those attracted by the DLD Conference, to access anchor points in diverse localities to which urban centers act as gateways.

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: Daniel Rowing Center, Tel-Aviv, Israel, March 15, 2014 | © Courtesy of Amir Appel/Flickr.


Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "International Innovation Summits as Indicative Assemblages of Agents, Opportunities and Networks," in Society, Media, Art, October 8, 2019, https://sma.hypotheses.org/208.

Jerusalem Design Week, 2018, Bridges Historical Architecture and Environmental Topics

Between June 7th and 14th, 2018, Jerusalem Design Week, the seventh yearly highlight on the local cultural circuit, takes place at the Hansen House, as it primary venue, while extending to satellite locations, sporting international presence and featuring nature’s conservation as its overarching theme.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin


This week-long event explores the social, environmental and cultural aspects of design, as it straddles the former leprosy hospital built in the mid-19th century, which currently hosts cultural events and art exhibitions as the Ottoman-style Hansen House, the Bezek Building, the lobby and outer façade of Jerusalem Theatre and the outlying Alliance House. Anat Safran, artistic director of the Jerusalem Design Week, and Tal Erez, its chief curator, have managed to cluster the contributions from over 150 designers from Israel and around the world around the topics of the Garden, Library and Market as both conceptual and spatial focal points in what amounts to a maze of open-air, in-between and air-conditioned locations in which performances, projections, installations and exhibitions have been staged.

This event manages to raise questions related to environmental protection, conservation practices and their cultural representation via team and individual projects involving Israeli designers and their international counterparts, such as Liat Segal’s “Plate Recorder” project that combines audio recording and ceramic materials, to explore the boundaries between retro and experimental media. As part of this event, the France-Israel Season of Culture will include French-Israeli encounters across the domains of arts, design and cuisine, to probe into the meanings and implications of this event’s thematic foci. For instance, the architects and designers Guy Mishaly and Guy Konigstein have explored the cultural symbolism and aesthetic possibilities of libraries in relation granaries and their preservation practices.

This is echoed by the innovative, but somewhat nostalgic site-specific installations by the Polish design studio Syphon, the designer Zespol Wespol and the team Traffic in the Bezeq building, formerly used by the national phone company of Israel. In important ways, this event thus reaches out across not only geographic boundaries but also across domains of activity that have design relevance to house student exhibitions, artisanal-academic collaborations and interdisciplinary screenings, such as those organized in collaboration with the Milan Design Film Festival.

This event, therefore, opens up its spaces as much for aesthetic contemplation as for engagement, discourse and experience, such as the lectures and workshops hosted by Galit Gaon from the Shenkar School of Engineering and Design that, among other topics, probed the issues of memory, forgetting and reflection. Likewise, one of the highlights of this event was the demonstration of traditional food preservation techniques via fish tasting, culinary performances and salt installations that Michal Evyatar and Carmel Bar have staged in the backyard of the Hansen House.

Facing the front entrance of the Jerusalem Theatre, the Israeli design studio Magenta have combined video projections, earphone-based sound art and ping-pong equipment to create a hybrid space of dynamic experience that evokes seashore practices, has DJ-ed soundtracks in the background and affords a moment of rest for the visitors to this celebration of design. This is part of the reasons for which Jerusalem-related heritage preservation and development agencies have picked this off-center location, as it explores the relations between historical memory and design as a representational practice, such as the show by Pro Jerusalem Society concerned with the preservation of urban memory over the last century.

This event also addressed the presence of the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem via a group exhibition “Haredy-made” as the meeting of tradition and modernity has prompted an anthropological examination of everyday life. Likewise, Paris Design Forum has been present at this event via performances and talks dealing with various dimensions of Jerusalem’s history, cuisine, and culture. By contrast, the main exhibition of this event titled the “Human Conservation Project” drew attention to the social construction of the practices and categories through which the human existence becomes structured and transformed over time.

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: The 2018 Jerusalem Design Week, Jerusalem, Israel, June 7-14, 2018 | © Courtesy of Dor Kedmi.

This post is based on an article that originally appeared in medium.com, 26/5/2019, https://medium.com/@pablomarkin/jerusalem-design-week-2018-bridges-historical-architecture-and-environmental-topics-264db8ee67f1.

The Globalization of Cultural Policy in the Middle East

Only recently, De Gruyter has announced that two of its authors have won Sheikh Zayed Book Awards for translation and original research. Namely, these were Ziad Bou Akl’s French translation of Averroes and David Wirmer’s German-language disquisition on the Andalusian-Arab thinker Ibn Bāǧǧa. The latter work not only discusses the mediating role that the Arab culture has played in the transmission of the Aristotelian thought to the West, but, similar to the former publication, demonstrates the global reach that cultural policies originating in the United Arab Emirates presently have.

It is difficult to overlook the larger context in which the activity of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation that supports the book prize takes place, such as the rapid transportation of Dubai into a global city and transportation hub. Nearby Abu Dhabi puts finishing touches on its cultural complex including a local branch of the Louvre Museum to open its doors in 2017. While these urban development policies placing a prime on spectacular architecture also have an academic component in the form of the presence of Western universities at local campuses, such as the New York University Abu Dhabi, they are yet to be reconsidered from cultural policy perspective.

As literary and academic prizes from asset-rich Middle Eastern states confirm the academic quality and relevance of latest scholarship from Europe-based research institutions, the balance of cultural influence also appears to be shifting eastward following the cultural policy priorities of global foundations.


Featured Image Credits: Entrance to the Manarat Al Saadiyat, Art Dubai 21–24 March 2012 | © Courtesy of latitudes-flickr.


Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "The Globalization of Cultural Policy in the Middle East," in Society, Media, Art, April 7, 2017, https://sma.hypotheses.org/111.

Cross-Border Migrations as Inter-Cultural Movements of Translation

Bangkok International Film Festival on Ending Violence against Women and Girls 26-29 November 2015, SF World Cinema, Central World Bangkok | © UN Women
Bangkok International Film Festival on Ending Violence against Women and Girls 26-29 November 2015, SF World Cinema, Central World Bangkok | © UN Women

Especially in recent years, migrations have reclaimed headlines. This applies to migrant movements from Eastern to Western Europe, from the Middle East to Southern Europe and from Asian hinterlands to global metropolises. Without changing the physical geography subtending ever volatile global flows, these movements problematize cultural hierarchies, question modes of place-bound belonging, and destabilize cultural sensibilities.

The primary, even epistemologically privileged, avenue of in-depth encounter with these processes remains literature as a specifically modern genre of dealing with conflicts and contradictions that the global moment of modernity has introduced around the world from its dawn in the 16th century. As late capitalism is apparently succeeded by late modernity, the problems of translation, the geographical territorializations of culture and the renegotiations of territorial distinctions in social, cultural and economic terms, migration  can be reclaimed as a global phenomenon.

Yet, reflection on it needs to be shared transversally, rather than restricted to discursive communities balkanized into separate disciplines. One can see this taking place via calls for papers dealing with the migration-related translations of dislocated cultural experience, the jumbling of contrasting cultural narratives and translocal inscriptions of diasporic, migrant literatures in their host cultures and languages. Similarly, open access to related scholarship can be expected to stimulate germane discussions across area study boundaries.


Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "Cross-Border Migrations as Inter-Cultural Movements of Translation," in Society, Media, Art, March 30, 2017, https://sma.hypotheses.org/106.