14 February, 2009, 2:00-7:00
WITH AN UNPRECEDENTED number of people living in displaced environments—whether because of choice, economic necessity, military conflict, or ecological reasons—contemporary artists have addressed the anxious social conditions of uprooted subjects in transnational environments. They have responded to the growing presence of politically excluded populations, the existential vulnerability of dislocation, and the alienation of the resulting social isolation. Yet while the discourse around socially-engaged art is now quite established (consider the energetic reception of Nicolas Bourriaud’s Relational Aesthetics), it has remained limited to the questions of the political and ethical character of community formation. This workshop will consider how socially-engaged art practices have confronted globalisation’s stateless subjects and transnational social relations.
Special pre-workshop screening: Anand Patwardhan's War and Peace, 2002 (130 minutes). Tate Britain Auditorium, Friday, 13 February, 6:15pm. The filmmaker Anand Patwardhan will introduce the film.
Filmed over three tumultuous years in India, Pakistan, Japan and the USA, following nuclear tests in the Indian sub-continent, War and Peace is a remarkable and award-winning documentary journey of peace activism in the face of global militarism and war. The screening is free, but seats must be booked in advance.
Advanced booking for the workshop and pre-workshop screening is required. Tickets can be purchased (and for the free screening, booked) here.
*Please note: The Victoria tube line will be disrupted on Saturday, February 14 due to engineering works. There will be replacement bus service.
JOHN AKOMFRAH (London)
John Akomfrah is a film-maker who has won critical acclaim internationally for his features and documentary work. In 1982 he helped found the Black Audio Film Collective, the seminal black film-making workshop, which for fifteen years produced a broad range of films, winning over thirty-five international awards, and which was recently the subject of a major retrospective exhibition and catalogue, “Ghost of Songs: Black Audio Film Collective,” organized by Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar of the Otolith Group. Akomfrah came to prominence in 1986 when he directed Handsworth Songs, which explores the contours of race and civil disorder in 1980s Britain. The film won seven international awards including the Grierson Award for Best Documentary. Akomfrah has lectured throughout the world on black British cinema in a range of institutions and has also written extensively on film theory and aesthetics.
AYREEN ANASTAS and RENE GABRI (New York)
Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri are frequent collaborators, making films and videos, and connecting cultural practice and political thinking. They are both involved in 16 Beaver (16beavergroup.org), a space in New York City initiated and run by artists to create and maintain an ongoing platform for the presentation, production, and discussion of a variety of artistic/cultural/economic/political projects. Recently they completed Camp Campaign (2007), entailing a 45-day journey across the United States in 2006 which attempted to address the internment camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by connecting it to various contemporary and historic sites of ‘juridical exception’ in the USA and elsewhere.
MP3 recording of Anastas, Gabri and Möntmann in conversation
CLAIRE BISHOP (New York)
Claire Bishop, Associate Professor of Art History, is an internationally acknowledged scholar of contemporary art. The author of Installation Art: A Critical History and the editor of Participation, Bishop has published art historical texts and criticism widely, including “Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics” (October, 2004) and “The Social Turn: Collaboration and its Discontents” (Artforum, 2006). Bishop curated the exhibition Double Agent at London’s ICA earlier this year, and is currently working on a book about socially-engaged art and spectatorship.
TANIA BRUGUERA (Chicago/Havana)
Tania Bruguera is a political and interdisciplinary artist whose works focus on the relationship between art, politics and life, and particularly the insertion of art into everyday political life. Bruguera has participated in exhibitions internationally, including Documenta 11 (2002), biennials in Venice, Sao Paolo, Istanbul, Moscow, Johannesburg, and Shangai, and in shows at The Kunsthalle Wien; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes; and The New Museum of Contemporary Art; The Whitechapel Art Gallery and the 2009 Tate Triennial, among many others. She has lectured extensively internationally, and was a Guggenheim fellow in 1998. Bruguera is the founder/director of Arte de Conducta (behavior art), the first performance studies program in Latin America, hosted by Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana and is on the faculty at the University IUAV in Venice, Italy and The University of Chicago, United States.
MP3 recording of Bruguera and Bishop in conversation
NINA MÖNTMANN (Stockholm)
Nina Möntmann is Professor and Head of Department of Art Theory and the History of Ideas at the Royal University College of Fine Arts in Stockholm. From 2003 to 2006 she was Curator at the Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art (NIFCA) in Helsinki and curated the Pavilion of the Republic of Armenia at the 52nd Biennial of Venice 2007. She has been curatorial advisor for Manifesta 7, 2008 and recently curated If We Can't Get It Together: Artists Rethinking the (Mal)Functions of Communities, a group exhibition for The Power Plant in Toronto (December 2008 - February 2009). Möntmann is also correspondent for Artforum, and contributes to Le Monde Diplomatique, Parachute, metropolis m, Frieze and others.
ANAND PATWARDHAN (Mumbai)
Anand Patwardhan has been making political documentaries for nearly three decades, pursuing diverse and controversial issues that are at the crux of social and political life in India. Many of his films—which include War and Peace (2002); Fishing: In the Sea of Greed (1998); Father, Son and Holy War (1995); and In the Name of God (1992)—were at one time or another banned by state television channels in India, the censorship of which Patwardhan successfully challenged in court. Patwardhan has been an activist ever since he was a student, having participated in the anti-Vietnam War movement, volunteering in Caesar Chavez's United Farm Worker's Union, working in Kishore Bharati, a rural development and education project in central India, and participating in the Bihar anti-corruption movement in 1974-75 and in the civil liberties and democratic rights movement during and after the 1975-77 Emergency. Since then he has been active in movements for housing rights of the urban poor, for communal harmony, and has participated in movements against unjust, unsustainable development, militarism and nuclear nationalism.
EMMA RIDGWAY (London)
Emma Ridgway is curator and producer at the Arts and Ecology Centre, Royal Society of Arts; she was previously at Serpentine Gallery, London. She edited the book Experiment Marathon (Serpentine Gallery and Reykjavik Art Museum, 2009) and curated Beings and Doings at the British Council (New Delhi, 2007) following her research into humour as form of aesthetics. She is currently researching engagements with ethics and ecology through the arts.
POOJA SOOD (New Delhi)
Pooja Sood is a founding member and Director/Curator of KHOJ International Artists' Association, an autonomous, artist-led registered society in Delhi aimed at promoting intercultural understanding through exchange. She works with artists' communities in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal, facilitating exchange through workshops and residencies in the region. Over the past seven years, she has promoted the development of a South Asian Network by building capacity and assisted with fundraising, communication and networking strategies. Sood is also the Director of Apeejay Media Gallery, the first new media gallery in India since 2002. She has curated/programmed several large Indian and international video art exhibitions over the past 5 years. More recently she curated India's first live art festival KHOJLive 08 and 48C. Public.Art.Ecology, an ambitious art project across 8 public sites in Delhi. Sood has been on the jury of the Transmediale Award 2009 and the Fukuoka Triennial 2009. She has spoken widely and is editor of several catalogues including the first publication of Indian video art, Video Art in India (2003).
Mp3 recording of Pooja Sood and Emma Ridgway in conversation (22.2MB)
The discussion will be moderated by organizer TJ Demos
* Image: Tania Bruguera, Delayed Patriotism, 2007 (Photography and live experience, including the following materials: eagle, photo of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista (deposed by Fidel Castro), frame, information on the involvement of the U.S. government and the CIA in the installation of dictators, photographer, photo card holder, sticker, ink, eagle trainer, audience). Photo: Bronx Museum / Performa 07
@Tania Bruguera, 2007