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Vocabulary of Multitudes 4

Reading Group

10/05/23 7pm


RSVP for this in person event below.

Join The Old Mountain Assembly with Akinsola Lawanson for the fourth iteration of their reading group Vocabulary of Multitudes; looking at ways to (re)position the Balkans, in relation to the Non-Aligned Movement. We will explore topics such as Yugocentrism in relation to the broad history of the movement, and open up critical ways to talk about big ideas, global dreams and counterfactual ‘unworlding’ through texts sourced by the Assembly and The Mosaic Room’s Bookshop.

The Old Mountain Assembly is a body assembled for the purpose of connecting speculative practices from the Balkans and Beyond. It was initiated by Bayryam Bayryamali and Jelena Viskovic at School of Kindness in Sofia, Bulgaria in the Summer of 2022. The assembly’s aim is to collect practices and artefacts informing a transnational/decolonial perspective across time and borders, while interrogating trans/nationalist narratives and speculating on potential counter-cultures in the region and its diasporas. We do not see the Balkans and beyond as a ‘periphery’ and devoid of agency, but as an integral part of futuring world-making/politics. What kind of worlds, some destructive, some uniquely innovative and collectivising, emerge through these geospatial/cultural intersections? The first collectivising unit of OMA is a reading group unit – Vocabulary of Multitudes. Continuously on the move, Vocabulary of Multitudes pops up in various spaces with diasporic traits and engages in a dialogue with its audiences in a loose, semi-formal manner through reading together: In our first three reading events, we explored topics around building and dismantling worlds in relation to the notion remembrance, political justice and geopolitics of the ‘periphery’, through the lens of historical cybernetic developments in the region, and pop-folk culture phenomena that transgress through borders. We questioned the emergence of “white enclosures”, looking at overlapping worlds where cultural encounters happen instead.

Bayr(y)am Mustafa Bayr(y)amali (1997) is a London based (Bulgarian)Turkish visual researcher, programmer and organiser. His practice deals with issues of new world (b)orders, il/legal identities in the Balkans and beyond. He is an Education Manager at Magnum Photos – a photography co-operative – and co-runs the Old Mountain Assembly – a programming space for worlding and futuring a transitional and decolonial perspectives in South/East Europe.

Akinsola Lawanson is a British-Nigerian multidisciplinary artist based in London. Using different mediums, such as moving image, video game engines and motorised sculptures, their practice examines a variety of themes, including relational systems, digital technologies and process philosophy.

Jelena Viskovic’s work focuses on games, leisure spaces, the narratives they produce through time and place, and their relationship to memory. She uses simulation and game mechanics as non-linear, narrative devices and ornamental systems built into sculptural and spatial works, responding to new and old technologies, social organisational platforms, and public spaces. Viskovic was born in Yugoslavia; along with her work with sculpture and digital media, she interrogates cultural and counter-cultural, transnational and multi-ethnic identity and memory in relation to the Balkans. She is a lecturer in digital media and game design at UCL.


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