Laqlaq Sessions: Speculations on a Conversing Museum

Curated by Naz Cuguoglu, Laqlaq Sessions feature work by Joud Al-Tamimi, Heba Y Amin, Itamar Gov, Göksu Kunak, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Ashkan Sepahvand, and Ali Yass.

Location: ruruHaus, documenta fifteen, Kassel
Dates: September 1-2, 2022

Organized by Practice Institute at Asian Art Museum and Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco

The sessions take its title from a wordplay: translating as “stork” in Arabic, Laqlaq also has a double meaning in Turkish: the clacking noise made by storks, and talking rapidly, uttering meaningless sounds. This kind of babbling, chattering, gibbering can appear to be irrelevant for most. What makes the stork and its tongue so extraneous — an outsider and without any vital role? And what if this babbling is indeed fruitful for underrepresented communities? Is the act of making noise in fact a survival methodology to take up space?

More than half a million storks take to their 12,000-kilometer migration route between Europe and Africa via the “Middle East.” Ironically enough it is said that one of the best spots to view this spectacle is a garbage dump in the Jordan Valley. Storks are also mythologically significant — represented in Göbekli Tepe in Southern Anatolia (12,000 years ago), Egyptian papyrus, Roman wall paintings, Byzantine mosaics, and medieval friezes. As a silent bird, there are legends about storks not having any tongues, but also they are known to be carrying babies to parents, transmitting bad news such as enemy attacks and drought, attacking serpents. These are just a few of the items in their skillset according to the human imagination.

Inviting artists of S.W.A.N.A. diaspora, Laqlaq sessions focus on the experience of “migration” via various artistic practices, asking: How do we deal with loss of community and home and grieve? How do we challenge western categories of identity and stay fluid? What is the problem of Middle East as a concept and the issue of the “orientalist” approach in the aftermath of the so called Arab Spring? How can we approach the conflict between dominant language and mother tongue and the hierarchies and power relations involved? How can we use speculative fiction and mythologies for identity formation and alternative world-building? What are some challenges and opportunities of museums today? What are some prerequisites to imagine a museum that converses?


September 1, 2022, 1 – 4 PM
– Introduction by Naz Cuguoglu
The General’s Stork by Heba Y Amin
Seeing Studies by Ashkan Sepahvand + Natascha Sadr Haghighian
Anatolian Phantom-Limbs by Itamar Gov

September 2, 2022, 1 – 3 PM
– Introduction by Naz Cuguoglu
AN(A)KARA by Göksu Kunak
Singing out within the crash of passing sun – Ali Yass + Joud Al-Tamimi

September 2, 2022, 5 – 6:30 pm
– Final Laqlaq Session – Reading Group and Discussion (Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism by Trinh T. Minh-ha)

*This program is developed in response to Asian Art Museum’s Practice Institute fellowship program. During her fellowship, Cuguoglu examines the museum’s collection, doing research about women, queer, and immigrant artists, and developing alternative narrative development techniques for their practices. Organized in honor of Bernice Bing, who will be having a solo show at the museum this September, this fellowship used Bing’s oeuvre as a lens to look at the collection.

Image: Black and white mosaic with stork and snake from the Villa della Pisanella at Boscoreale, third quarter of 1st century AD.


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