Rhodiola is a conversation piece, taking place in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai—an informal group portrait of the participants, the visitors, and the hosts.

It borrows its title from the rhodiola flower, a golden root which grows in harsh weather conditions in the Arctic mountains of Europe, Asia, and North America. Used as a supplement to help improve physical and mental performance in the Western world, rhodiola is said to combat stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairment. Inspired by such properties, this project explores ideas of maintenance in everyday life.

Rhodiola unravels through radio shows, performances, screenings, and community activities. It runs sporadically and its tempo varies, sometimes operating as an amplifier and sometimes as ambiance. It provokes a hybrid form of communication, inspired by radio frequencies, and proposes five Waves—different conceptual units which function as ways of transmission and connectivity. Every wave represents a communication tool between participants, as well as a guide for audiences.

For six weeks, Rhodiola hosts temporary gatherings, a radio booth, an exhibition space, and screenings, and challenges ordinary perceptions of domestic life and public affairs, offering a place for moments of active pause. Visitors are encouraged to tune in to different ideas and concepts and to co-exist with the space, the waves, the producers, the invited guests, and the audience.

AC/Scaffold (W1)

Staging your well-being

 #process #decoration

A temporary meeting point is created to host an ephemeral pavilion; AC/Scaffold is about infrastructure, and the requirements needed to create a basic dwelling. It’s a structure that reflects on how human needs are fulfilled, how we inhabit spaces, and how we consume resources. It is a revisited skeleton which functions both as a stage and a display strategy. This Wave is a reference to the process of building, to the labour needed to make something happen, and the required energy to keep it alive.

AC/Scaffold hosts OROBORO, an installation by Greek artist Anastasia Douka inspired by the mythical ouroboros, a serpent which swallows its tail. In Warehouse 90 in Alserkal Avenue, Douka intervenes in the warehouse’s current liminal, in-construction state, and shows a process rather than something static to reference the logistics around materials and everyday objects. An intervention on the façade of the warehouse, meanwhile, amplifies its transitory condition. This Wave also hosts the Rhodiola Radio Booth and a Jukebox Service.

Cookies (W2)

An invisible statistical map

 #tube #high performance
 #customer #demands

The word cookie, in the UK refers to a softer and bigger version of a biscuit, which is thinner and crispier. In the US, ‘cookie’ covers both what the British would call a biscuit and a cookie. Cookie, in another even more global language, is a term that describes a message sent from a website to a web server while a user is browsing the internet, in order to record activity, identify users, and possibly, to prepare customised web pages. In other words, web cookies operate as transmitters, disseminating private information from an individual to another, serving as a means of creating exclusive comfort zones within a wide, public, and impersonal pool of information.

Cookies hosts radio shows by artist-run spaces, collectives, and other professionals reflecting on sustainability and maintenance in their practices. Collaborators include: Enterprise Projects (artist-run space, Greece), VASL (artists’ association, Pakistan),
New Media Society (project space/archive/library,Iran), Apart Collective (art collective, Slovenia),
Metasitu (art collective/current Alserkal Residency Residents), Daphne Dragona (media theorist, Greece), Riwaq (architects, Palestine), Madhursee Dutta (filmmaker, India), Bedouin in Furs (filmmaker, UAE), Nima Nabavi (artist, UAE).

Stay tuned for surprise
Open Mic hours!

Dentist (W3)

For the making of the perfect avatar

#profit #cleaning #care #stereotypes #normal_vs_casual_duties #internship #coaching #rescue #posthuman #cabinet #mechanics #hucksterism #spectacular

Today, bodies exist in between a physical and an augmented reality. In Hinduism, an avatar reflects a ‘descent’ and refers to the incarnation of a deity or supernatural being on earth. An avatar, today, is an alter ego, a graphic representation of a particular person in a video game, internet forum, or on social media. Combining these two interpretations suggest that we are embodying supernatural beings, and our bodies are transforming into that of an avatar’s. By caring for the body, we fulfill hygiene needs, beauty stereotypes, and lifestyle trends, and polish the expressions of global image-making.

Dentist hosts a Vitamin service, offering cocktails for Happiness, Stress, and High Performance, available for visitors to sample at random times throughout the duration of the commission. Dentist also hosts a fashion display by sustainable brand it’s a shirt, and a radio show with Dubai-based naturopath Heather Eade.

Snooze (W4)

Be ready to be cured and listen to your personalised divination


Snooze functions as a form of sabbatical. Deriving from cosmic theories, imaginary personas, and superheroes, it suggests a personalised channel for therapy and rejuvenation, a self-customised treatment for the body and soul. During Snooze mode, various time zones of the day, such as working time, sleeping time, and free time, are merged. This elaborate temporal territory brings to the fore one’s need for quality time—offering the opportunity to concentrate, meditate, and prepare to go back online.

Snooze hosts a six-week film programme by curator and writer Filipa Ramos (Portugal), with selected films by artists Karrabing Film Collective (Australia), Ben Russell (USA), Basim Magdy (Egypt), and Gerard Holthuis (Netherlands). Snooze also hosts a collective performance/workshop by Eduardo Navarro (Argentina) and a sound piece by Raja’a Khalid (UAE).

Sunscreen (W5)

A casual service

#pen_friend #love_affair

Public workers clean dustbins on the streets in order to prevent offensive smells and rat invasions. Corporations automate their services to avoid high operational costs, while continuing to be competitive and provide services 24/7. Even if these two practices are different, they both derive from the same need: to keep something from happening. They are rarely noticed when they occur, but their role in maintaining a system is crucial. They could even be understood as actions of care towards the individual body, the socialised body, and capital.

Sunscreen hosts a live archive of Rhodiola’s activities through a website (rhodiola.ae), and this printed manual created by art director Panos Papanagiotou (Greece). The web page hosts the podcasts that have been curated as part of the programme, as well visual material and commissioned texts about Sunscreen by Tom Clark (writer/curator, United Kingdom), Miss Dialectic (curatorial collective,Greece), and Rahel Aima (writer, UAE).