New Eelam Christopher Kulendran Thomas. Tensta Konsthall. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Beranger 2017


Description of the exhibition

New Eelam, by Christopher Kulendran Thomas (London) in collaboration with Annika Kuhlmann (Berlin), is a long-term artwork in the form of a start-up—a real-estate technology company founded by the artist to develop a flexible, global housing subscription that aims to make homes as streamable as music or movies. Based on collective co-ownership rather than private property, it aims to rewire property relations through the luxury of communalism rather than of individual ownership.

Kulendran Thomas’s work deals with the structures for the production and distribution of art. In New Eelam, Kulendran Thomas reflects particularly on the issue of citizenship, the right to belong somewhere which is linked to specific nations and, in his case, specifically to the Tamil Tigers' (unsuccessful) struggle for a separate nation in Sri Lanka. What would happen if technology instead allowed a more liquid form of citizenship, regardless of frontiers? Such a state would work primarily through contemporary art’s transnational networks and art’s ability to develop prototypes for new lifestyles. New Eelam thus imagines a future citizenship in an accelerated technological era, where companies can operate as states and brands communicate like artists.


Biography of the participants in the exhibition

Christopher Kulendran Thomas (London)

Christopher Kulendran Thomas is an artist whose work manipulates the processes of circulation and distribution by which art produces reality. Thomas’s work has been included in the 11th Gwangju Biennale (2016), the 9th Berlin Biennale (2016), “moving is in every direction”, Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2017), "Bread and Roses", Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (2016), "Co-Workers: Network As Artist", Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2015) and "Art Turning Left: How Values Changed Making", Tate Liverpool (2013).


Annika Kuhlmann (Berlin)

Annika Kuhlmann is a curator who works predominantly through long term collaborations. As Artistic Director at New Eelam, she has been collaborating with artist Christopher Kulendran Thomas on exhibitions for the 9th Berlin Biennale, the 11th Gwangju Biennale and Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart. Together with curator Anna Frost she established the curatorial project; and as an artist and founder of Brace Brace she has exhibited at MoMA Warsaw, Auto Italia in London, KM Temporär and for DIS magazine. She is currently working with Tino Sehgal on an upcoming exhibition as part of the ‘Immersion’ programme at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin.


Wednesday 15.11, 14:00–21:00
Symposium: Citizenship, the Nation State and Universal Basic Income: Scenarios in Art, Architecture, Anthropology and Sociology with Christopher Kulendran Thomas & Annika Kuhlmann, James Holston, Jennifer Mack, Roland Paulsen, and Maria Lind


The symposium Citizenship, the Nation State and Universal Basic Income: Scenarios in Art, Architecture, Anthropology and Sociology is developed and produced as a collaboration between Tensta Konsthall and KTH School of Architecture as part of the exhibition New Eelam: Tensta and the public event series Researching Architecture.

RESEARCHING ARCHITECTURE is a public program of events highlighting and discussing the role of research and its relation to architecture practice and society. Through various forms of dialogue the program aims at presenting ongoing research and connecting academia and architecture practice as well as other fields, issues and contexts. Researching Architecture is presented as part of the KTH School of Architecture Events Series 2017


Symposium Handout


Wednesday 22.11, 15:00–17:00
Standardization, Systems, and the Citizen in Global and Globalized Housing with Erik Stenberg and Helena Westerlind (KTH School of Architecture), and Hugo Palmarola (Universidad Católica de Chile).

13:00–13:15 Introduction to Welfare Panels by Erik Stenberg and Helena Westerlind
13:20–13:45 Screening of 60 million Americans can’t be wrong HD, 25 min by Christopher Kulendroan Thomas (New Eelam)
13:50–14:15 Presentation by Hugo Palmarola
14:15–14:40 Pause
14:45–16:00 Conversation moderated by Maria Lind

The exhibition Welfare Panels: The Pre-Fabricated Structural Systems of the Swedish Million Program Era in an International Context at Tensta konsthall will link the growing body of work on the Million Program Era being produced by Erik Stenberg and Helena Westerlind at the KTH School of Architecture with the internationally renowned work of Pedro Ignacio Alonso and Hugo Palmarola. "Structural Systems of the Million Program Era" is an ongoing study of the multifamily housing units from the 1960's and 70's that investigates their historical context, technology, flexibility, and contemporary potential.


Exhibition Handout