52 *The Total Work of the Cultural Institution : yazan khalili

*The Total Work of the Cultural Institution
A conversation with Rayya Badran
Makhzin Issue #3

you can read the whole conversation here

The Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center (KSCC) in Ramallah, Occupied Palestine, is a non-profit organization that was created in 1996. It is named after Khalil Sakakini (1878-1953), a Palestinian scholar and poet from Jerusalem. Housed in a renovated, early twentieth century house, the KSCC fosters Palestinian cultural work through its various programs of exhibitions, readings, screenings, and workshops. Not unlike the region’s non-profit cultural and art organizations, the Center has not benefited from (the already strangled) public cultural or funding institutions in Palestine. Its recourse to international grants to secure funding for its running expenses and programs therefore meant that the longevity and sustainability of the Center was at the mercy of foreign aid, or private funding entities whose interests in Palestine ebbed and flowed, or more recently, came to a complete halt. In June 2019, I interviewed Yazan Khalili, artist and director of the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center between 2015 and 2019. More specifically, the conversation revolved around how the KSCC is currently reorienting its mission as a cultural institution in light of the Palestinian political and economic situation, under a new paradigm, which Khalili calls the Total Work of the Cultural Institution. Here, Khalili fleshes out the details of this new proposition at the heart of the KSCC in Ramallah, which he hopes will extend across certain art and cultural organizations.