seeing studies workshops and book release

19–22 January 2011 / Casco HQ
Language: English and Farsi (translations provided) 
Location: Casco (Nieuwekade 213-215) and the nearby Casco GDR apartment (Bemuurde Weerd oz 18 b, Utrecht) 
In order to attend, please make a reservation with Cindy.

seeing studies

Natascha Sadr Haghighian & Ashkan Sepahvand for the institute for incongruous translation 

Casco invites you to four days of presentations, discussions and screenings as part of the project seeing studies. The sessions accompany the release of the publication seeing studies, edited by Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Ashkan Sepahvand for the institute for incongruous translation and produced by dOCUMENTA (13) with Casco and published by Hatje Cantz. These four days are seen as a communal gathering in which discussions and fields of inquiry explored in the publication will be extended and reflected upon, with interlocutors from seeing studies coming together at Casco to present their work and converse with one another and guests.  

Workshop Programme 

Wednesday 19 January 2011  

18:00 soup kitchen 
20:00 book presentation: conversation between seeing studies editors Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Ashkan Sepahvand with Binna Choi, director of Casco; presentations by seeing studies designers Farhad Fozouni and image-shift 

Thursday 20 January 2011  

16:00 closed workshop with students from the creative lab of HKU and Publishing Class of Dutch Art Institute (DAI) 
19:00 workshop kitchen with students from the creative lab of HKU and DAI 
20:00 screening of two short films by Mohsen Makhmalbaf: The School that Blew Away and Selection of Images from the Qajar Dynasty; presentation by seeing studies interlocutor Shahab Fotouhi  

Friday 21 January 2011  

16:00 introductory presentation and screenings by Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Ashkan Sepahvand for Oya Pancaroglu 
17:00 skype presentation by seeing studies interlocutor Oya Pancaroglu 
18:00 kimchi kitchen  
20:00 screening of two films by seeing studies interlocutor Reza Haeri: Final Fitting and All Restrictions End, followed by Q&A with Reza Haeri 

Saturday 22 January 2011  

15:00 interlude by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, artistic director of dOCUMENTA (13)  
16:00 conversation with guest contributor Eric de Bruyn, Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Ashkan Sepahvand 
17:00 screening of Tree Dance by Gordon Matta-Clark 
17:10 presentation by seeing studies interlocutor Molly Nesbit 
20:00 party kitchen 

If you are interested in this publication, do feel free to send an email to to check availability.

More on the seeing studies project 

seeing studies is a long-term research project developed by Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Ashkan Sepahvand for the institute for incongruous translation. The project started from a schoolbook published by the Iranian Ministry of Education, used to teach art in the first year of Iranian public middle school. As the institute embarked on translating this schoolbook from Farsi into English, the process necessitated an engagement with multiple viewpoints and discordant voices, taking into account that understanding can only be partial. Interlocutors practicing in cultural and educational fields were invited to extend the translation process into a debate on the conditions of seeing, examining ways in which we learn to see, conventions by which we perceive, conditions through which we participate in education and pathways in which meanings find themselves transmitted, received and reapplied.  

Throughout the project, “schools of seeing” are encountered in various places and at various times in history: developments in optics in Abbasid Baghdad intersect with educational reforms and mechanical drawing in fin de siècle France; the “period eye” of Renaissance Florence converses with the common sense exhibited by treatises on image-making from Seljuk Khorasan; the ways in which photography and printmaking were explored in Qajar Iran expands the implications of a rupture in “tradition” posed by such an event as the 1912 Salon d’Automne in Paris. As George Kubler would describe in his influential book The Shape of Time, sequential and serial commonalities as well as differences arise between things as problems are examined beyond the cultural systems to which they belong – “East” or “West.” These cross-sections in time and place link up to form dynamic chains of concepts, practices and forms.  

seeing studies is an investigation of seeing as a problem: as a fundamental “sense” whose commonality is biologically assumed but whose difference is culturally inevitable. Applying in its immediate context to art, visuality and depiction, “seeing” is approached as a problem that affects the expanded realm of social reality: how modes of communication, methods for instruction, shaping worldviews, processes by which we learn (and unlearn) are affected by what we consider to be “visible” and what “invisible.” seeing studies presents the scope of this process as a book, a spatial arrangement at Casco and an ongoing series of conversations.  


De workshop wordt georganiseerd in samenwerking met Dutch Art Institute en Extra City.

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