Summit One, 2023

Beyond the Horizon: Inventing the Reality

“We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind—mass merchandising, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the instant translation of science and technology into popular imagery, the increasing blurring and intermingling of identities within the realm of consumer goods, the preempting of any free or original imaginative response to experience by the television screen. We live inside an enormous novel. For the writer in particular it is less and less necessary for him to invent the fictional content of his novel. The fiction is already there. The writer’s task is to invent the reality.”

 J.G. Ballard, Crash

Reality is not made out of representations but is what makes representation possible. The mind-independent reality withdraws from any direct relation and remains unseen and untouched. Furthermore, the thing-in-itself adds to the mind-independent reality of what we may term conditions of knowability. Therefore, our understanding of the mind-independent reality is continuously conditioned. There can be no absolute knowledge of reality nor a concrete representation of it. Everything falls into the realm of what we may call distortion, like a mere symptom of the hidden reality. 

Beyond the Horizon: Inventing the Reality explores conditions of knowability and the relation between mind-independent reality and representation. 

“It investigates how artists utilize different approaches to challenge “that which is” in favor of “that which is not” or “that which could be possible” thru their artistic practices.”* How artists, thru dialectical relations, can disclose and elicit new potentialities from reality and challenge our understanding of the world’s haecceities? 


From Thought-Activism and The Poiesis of That Which is Not, Ali Ahadi*



Night 1, May 20th

Graham Harman is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Liberal Arts Program Coordinator at SCI-Arc. He was born in 1968 in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and earned his BA from St. John’s College (Maryland), his MA from Penn State University, and his PhD from DePaul University. He is the author of eighteen books, most recently Art and Objects (Polity, September 2019). Graham is the 2009 winner of the AUC Excellence in Research Award. In 2015 he was named by ArtReview as the #75 most powerful influence in the international art world, and in 2016 was named by The Best Schools to their alphabetical list of the 50 most influential living philosophers.

Night 2, May 21st

Michael Rakowitz is an Iraqi-American artist working at the intersection of problem-solving and troublemaking. His work has appeared in venues worldwide including dOCUMENTA (13), P.S.1, MoMA, MassMOCA, Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Palais de Tokyo, the 16th Biennale of Sydney, the 10th and 14th Istanbul Biennials, Sharjah Biennial 8, Tirana Biennale, National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt, Transmediale 05, FRONT Triennial in Cleveland, and CURRENT:LA Public Art Triennial. He has had solo projects and exhibitions with Creative Time, Tate Modern in London, The Wellin Museum of Art, MCA Chicago, Lombard Freid Gallery and Jane Lombard Gallery in New York, SITE Santa Fe, Galerie Barbara Wien in Berlin, Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago, Malmö Konsthall, Tensta Konsthall, and Kunstraum Innsbruck, and Waterfronts – England’s Creative Coast. He is the recipient of the 2020 Nasher Prize; the 2018 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts; a 2012 Tiffany Foundation Award; a 2008 Creative Capital Grant; a Sharjah Biennial Jury Award; a 2006 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Grant in Architecture and Environmental Structures; the 2003 Dena Foundation Award, and the 2002 Design 21 Grand Prix from UNESCO. He was awarded the 2018-2020 Fourth Plinth commission in London’s Trafalgar Square. From 2019-2020, a survey of Rakowitz’s work traveled from Whitechapel Gallery in London, to Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in Torino, to the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai. Rakowitz is represented by Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; Jane Lombard Gallery, New York; and Barbara Wien Galerie, Berlin; Pi Artworks, Istanbul; and Green Art Gallery, Dubai. He lives and works in Chicago. 

Night 3, May 22nd

Nato Thompson is an author, curator, and what he describes as “cultural infrastructure builder”. In 2021, he co-founded with Walid Raad and Josh Goldblum, the NFT art commissioning organization artwrldartwrld takes the opportunities afforded by NFTs to craft and distribute historic artworks with the world’s most visionary artists while also building an art world worth believing in. In 2020, he initiated and now directs The Alternative Art School, an online global art campus featuring faculty such as Janine Antoni, Trevor Paglen, Mark Dion, Yael Bartana and more. 

Previous to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Thompson worked as Artistic Director at Philadelphia Contemporary, Philadelphia Contemporary, and Creative Time as Artistic Director and as Curator at MASS MoCA. He has organized major Creative Time projects including The Creative Time Summit (2009–2015), Pedro Reyes’ Doomocracy (2016), Kara Walker’s A Subtlety (2014), Living as Form (2011), Trevor Paglen’s The Last Pictures (2012), Paul Ramírez Jonas’s Key to the City (2010), Jeremy Deller’s It is What it is (2009, with New Museum curators Laura Hoptman and Amy Mackie), Democracy in America: The National Campaign (2008), and Paul Chan’s Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007), among others.

He has written two books of cultural criticism, Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century (2015) and Culture as Weapon: The Art of Influence in Everyday Life (2017).

Night 4, May 23rd

For more than two decades, the Center for Tactical Magic has created a wide range of socially-engaged projects that mix art, activism, and diverse forms of magic. Although the collaborations take many different forms, the CTM is largely the result of creative partnerships with a wide array of individuals and organizations including: magicians, witches, ninjas, security experts, a military psychic, a former bank robber, a hypnotist, activists, nurses, and many others. This commitment to exploring disparate expressions of art and action has since led to the creation of numerous projects that consistently address public space, social politics, and community issues through the lens of magic. Drawing from a few examples of past projects, the Center for Tactical Magic will attempt to pull back the curtain and illuminate a creative and magical praxis aimed at constructing desired realities through meaningful interactions. CTM projects have been presented by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; Hayward Gallery, London; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Vigo, Spain; Deutsches Theater, Berlin; and a major public commission for the City of Toronto.


Night 5, May 24th

Alistair Hudson is an international curator and museum director who brings a contemporary curatorial expertise combined with an in-depth knowledge of media arts. From 2018 to 2022, he served as director of two museums in Manchester: the city’s Manchester Art Gallery and The Whitworth, the University of Manchester’s museum of art and cultural history collections across all genres. With his concept of the “useful museum,” Alistair Hudson understands art and cultural institutions as places for social responsibility and change, and defines artistic and curatorial practice as social practice. Together with artist Tania Bruguera, Hudson directs the Asociación de Arte Útil, a growing international network that includes other institutions, such as the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven and the FRAC Poitou-Charentes.Hudson is the scientific-artistic director of ZKM, and a member of a number of committees. Among other things, he was a jury member for the Turner Prize and a member of the selection committee for the British Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Biennale.


Nigh 6, May 25th

The Yes Men are a culture jamming activist duo and network of supporters created by Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos. Through various actions, the Yes Men primarily aim to raise awareness about problematic social and political issues. 


Born in 1989, Erfan Ghiasi is a Tactical Media Specialist, curator, researcher, and translator currently living in Tehran. In his projects he tackles socio-political issues by intersecting documentary photography, performance, installation, and socially engaged art to bring to light the hidden and withdrawn aspects of reality. In his research, Ghiasi creates new connections between the metaphysics of Object-oriented Ontology and various fields including social theory and aesthetics. 

He also has curated projects such as Within the Finitude (Pejman Foundation 2020) and disclosure (Louisiana State University 2018). Solo shows and projects including: Man-made Objects (Iran 2021), Slaughter (Iran 2020), Abject Object (USA 2019), and Sacred Man (USA 2018).