Solmaz is a research creation group that turns to a form of discursive collective methodology to understand processes active within the colonised subject that support White supremacy. Solmaz Collective works within the fields of visual art, research and education. We are informed by post-colonial scholarship and our research is an enactment decolonising practices. We formed as an act of resistence to experiences of aggressive exclusionary racism in the visual arts and education.
It is hard to define how an idea or phenomenon develops to take on its own potential. It is most easily defined as a reflective process engaging in repeated artistic, theoretical and methodological discussion that optimises transparency and accountability for an inquiry.( c.f. Pardee et al 2017)
Solmaz allows for an understanding of togetherness (Illeris) An example of one concept emerging during collective work is “proximity of the Other” (Eriksen et al 2020 and Ulrichsen et al. 2021). This concept could not have come to light in our embodied practice without acknowledging that assumptions and thoughts in our individual learning processes needed to be porous so that they could be challenged in order to move out of stabile racialised positions. In this instance, who can truly claim ownership of a concept that emerged during a collective embodied spacial experience.
The, sometimes confusing, aspect of polyphony or difference emerges in these processes where different individual perspectives are brought into the conversation to develop a direction for it. This also means that collectivity and plurality also lead to zones of conflict or tensions that are useful spaces to discuss an overarching will to discuss what collectivity is. The text in appendix 1 is collective text written by Tenthaus collective for an exhibition they were invited to participate in (Tenthaus 2021).(ref) The text is a 13 person contribution polyphony of different voices designed to disrupt notions of a singular institutional voice which is often how the a collective with a signature is experienced. Notice the function of the design of the text to facilitate the binary of institution/individual voice and thus the creation of a text in which the individual voice is given a place in the institution.
Zahra Bayati (PhD) from Gothenburg University is a senior lecturer in education science and advanced study programme for higher education art teachers, and gender studies. She has lectured extensively, contributing at Nordic universities and international conferences. Her thesis The Other in Teacher Education – A study of the racialized Swedish Student Conditions in the Epoch of Globalisation (2014) has been the focus of her most recent lectures, contextualizing it in discussions of anti-racism, feminism, socio-economic relations and environmental issues. She has been a guest speaker at Swedish networks of Somalian academics, Feminist Forum and Feminist Research Network as well student unions focusing on how to address challenges of change in questions and discourses of integration, recruitment and representation in educational systems, and the role of cultural expression in the (de)colonization of knowledge production.
Helen Eriksen is PhD research candidate investigating aesthetic decision making in participatory art practices at the University of Agder . She activates New Materialist and post qualitative thought to examine the intra-relations in processes of decolonisation in artistic and teaching/learning practices. She studied at the National Academy of Fine Art, Oslo,(MFA) and as a researcher for art in public space at the Oslo School of Architecture. Eriksen is a founder member of and now curator and project developer for Tenthaus. As an artist/educator, she focuses on the emancipatory and utopian potentialities within participatory art. Eriksen also writes narrative texts as in her recent artist book Knock Knock. She has presented with her own “signature” practice as well as collaborative practices with Tenthaus and Germain Ngoma in Europe and Scandinavia.
Gry O. Ulrichsen studied at Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, (MFA) Norwegian University of Science and Technology and (MA Education) where she is currently a PhD research associate. She explores productive entanglements between new materialisms and postcolonialisms and how they present through collaborative, participatory and socially engaged practices in the fields of art and education. She uses biographical accounts from her Norwegian/Kurdish family as a research methodology. Gry has published articles in journals such as InFormation and JASED and presented at Rethinking Nordic Colonialism in Nuuk, LARM festival in Stockholm, Fritt Forum in Gothenburg, Manifesta 4/Research room in Frankfurt, Lofoten Internasjonal Artfestival, Fotogalleriet and Kunstnernes Hus in Oslo, NRK ULYD and Svensk radio SRC.