Tag Archives: Videos

Sustainable Art Communities: Creativity and Policy in the Transnational Caribbean

Marlon Griffith, 2012, Kawa no ji, japanese washi, dimensions variable, installed at Mino, Gifu, Japan.

Marlon Griffith, 2012, Kawa no ji, japanese washi, dimensions variable, installed at Mino, Gifu, Japan.

‘Sustainable Art Communities: Creativity and Policy in the Transnational Caribbean’ explores how the understanding and formation of sustainable community for the Caribbean and its global diaspora may be supported by art practice, curating and museums. It fosters networks of exchange and collaboration among academics, artists, curators and policymakers from the UK and the Netherlands, as well as various countries in the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean and their diasporas.

The second conference in this series will be held this week (3-4th December 2013) at InIVA, London – to see the full conference programme click here

Confirmed speakers include:
Alessio Antoniolli (UK), Marielle Barrow (Trinidad),
Charles Campbell (Jamaica/UK), Annalee Davis (Barbados),
Joy Gregory (UK), Therese Hadchity (Barbados),
Glenda Heyliger (Aruba), Rosemarijn Hoefte (Netherlands),
Yudhishthir Raj Isar (France/India), Tessa Jackson (UK),
Nancy Jouwe (Netherlands), Charl Landvreugd (Netherlands),
Wayne Modest (Netherlands),
Petrona Morrison (Jamaica), Jynell Osborne (Guyana),
Marcel Pinas (Suriname),
Dhiradj Ramsamoedj (Suriname), Leon Wainwright (UK), and Kitty Zijlmans (Netherlands)

Sustainable Art Communities is a two-year international research project led by Dr Leon Wainwright (The Open University, UK), with Co-Investigator Professor Dr Kitty Zijlmans (Leiden University), funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC, UK), in partnership with the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam and Iniva, the Institute of International Visual Arts, London.

The First Conference in this series was held earlier this year (5-6th  February 2013) at the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam.

Speakers included:

Petrina Dacres (Jamaica), Marlon Griffith (Japan/Trinidad), Rosemarijn Höfte (Netherlands), Tessa Jackson (UK), Erica James (US/Bahamas), Roshini Kempadoo (UK), Tirzo Martha (Curaçao), Wayne Modest (Netherlands), Nicholas Morris (Germany/Jamaica), Alex van Stipriaan (Netherlands), Leon Wainwright (UK) and Kitty Zijlmans (Netherlands).

Marlon Griffith, Location and Actions, Panel 4 Paper 2, 5 February 2013, Tropenmuseum

Marlon Griffith, Location and Actions, Panel 4 Paper 2, 5 February 2013, Tropenmuseum

Video footage of the conference is now available online at the Open Arts Archive.

To find out more about the project, the theme underpinning it and the resources generated from it click here.

Ole Time Carnival in Trinidad

This week’s video feature is a series of three clips called Ole Time Carnival, 1959.

The colour footage is accompanied by the somewhat suspect ‘Ole time’ ‘authoritative’ voice of the ethnographer-journalist akin to that heard over the posthumously completed documentary footage of Maya Deren’s Divine Horsemen: the Living Gods of Haiti which similarly ends with a look at Haitian carnival from 1947-1951.

Part one opens with a trio of devilish looking masks grinning out at us who give way to footage of preparations for carnival in 1950s Trinidad – we are told that participants delve into the archives to research their annual creations inspired by cultures, histories and more recent characters as disparate as the Ancient Egyptians, Ivan the Terrible of Russia and Charlie Chaplin.  Contemporary political comment too is visible not least through a large group of participants dressed as a “complete naval taskforce U.S. style” pointing guns at the crowd or hobbling around in drunken groups – the commentator prefers to see this as part of a “theatre of much-happiness” rather than a biting satire on U.S. Imperialism.

Throughout the wealth of costumes and performances shown also present the endless interweaving of histories that Trinidad and the Caribbean region as a whole embodies. Characters and dress inspired by African, European, Asian and (Native) American cultures remind us of historical migrations – forced and otherwise – the cultural clashes, and commodity flows of the transatlantic slave trade and indentured eras of the Atlantic World.  The at times problematic commentary reminds us of the discursive legacies of these systems, while the fluidity of their inter-mingling in the crowd anticipate the continuation of movements across the globe into our contemporary era and the proliferating scholarship of hybridity, diasporas, creolisation and relation.

The comments for each of these videos on Youtube also make for some interesting reading as many commenters respond strongly to the costume and performance presented, harking back to carnival of the 50s to 80s which resembled “street theatre” before the event “deteriorated into a ‘masquerade mockery’ of Brazil”. Whatever your opinion of contemporary Trinidadian carnival though, the beauty and creativity of costume and performance in these videos of “the greatest show on earth” is worth a watch.

Haitilab Co-Directors Speak

A beautiful work created by Edouard Duval-Carrié collaboratively with researchers involved in Haitilab. Click here to find out more about this artwork: http://fhi.duke.edu/haitiamber/

This week’s video post features two interviews each with one of the co-directors of Haitilab: professors Laurent Dubois (History and Romance Studies) and Deborah Jenson (French and Romance Studies). Haitilab is the first humanities laboratory at John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute of Duke University and is an exciting model for the development and integration of humanities research at universities across all levels from undergraduate upwards. “The lab merges research, education, and practical applications of innovative thinking for Haiti’s disaster recovery and for the expansion of Haitian studies in the U.S. and Haiti … and is also a resource for media outlets seeking to gain knowledge of Haiti.”

Laurent Dubois on “Left of Black”

Mark Anthony Neal (African and African-American Studies, Duke) recently hosted Laurent Dubois on his popular web series Left of Black. The occasion is the recent publication of Dubois’s latest book, Haiti: The Aftershocks of History. Among other things, Dubois talked about the rich – and ambivalent – history of African American-Haitian cultural and political connections, from Frederick Douglass’s ambassadorship onward. The Haiti Lab was also on the agenda!”

Office Hours with Deborah Jenson on ‘Recovering Haiti’

In the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti Deborah Jenson was interviewed as part of one of Duke University’s regular online features: Office Hours.

Click here to view a rich variety of other great resources produced through Haitilab – including, essays, additional videos and related media coverage.

Both co-directors have recently published new books to find out more click the links below:

Laurent Dubois, Haiti: The Aftershocks of History

Deborah Jenson, Beyond the Slave Narrative: Politics, Sex and Manuscripts in the Haitian Revolution

Open Arts Archive Publish Video and Audio Online

New audio and video files on a wide variety of themes have been added to the Open Arts Archive recently to join with an established archive of resources. These include:

Contemporary Art: World Currents – Panel Discussion

“This panel discussion, in collaboration with the Open University, explores Terry Smith’s book Contemporary Art: World Currents (Laurence King, 2011).

It was part of a launch for the book given by Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery.

Speakers include: art historians Terry Smith, Anthony Downey and Leon Wainwright, and Tessa Jackson, OBE, Director of the Institute for International Visual Arts (inIVA).”

Leon Wainwright offering some thoughts on ‘Hymn to the Sun IV’

“This recording was made on the occasion of the exhibition Aubrey Williams: Atlantic Fire, at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, from 15 January to 11 April, 2010, and played on an audio loop for visitors alongside the display. Aubrey Williams: Atlantic Fire was curated by Reyahn King (Director of Art Galleries, National Museums Liverpool) and Leon Wainwright (Dept. of Art History, The Open University). It was the first nationally-funded, major retrospective exhibition of the Guyana-born painter (1926-1990). In the recording Leon Wainwright offers some thoughts on a painting by Aubrey Williams, his ‘Hymn to the Sun IV’ of 1984, one of the artist’s Olmec-Maya series (oil on canvas, 119 x 178 cm).”

Click here to read Leon Wainwright’s 2010 catalogue contribution for this exhibition, Aubrey Williams: Atlantic fire.

Rashid Rana and David Elliot in Conversation

“On Saturday 1st October 2011, as part of ‘Rashid Rana: Everything Is Happening At Once’ exhibition at The Cornerhouse, Manchester artist Rashid Rana was joined in conversation with David Elliott, a freelance international curator based in Hong Kong and Berlin.

A small audience heard a presentation by the artist of his practice. The event was presented as part of the Asia Triennial Manchester 2011 with the support of the Lisson Gallery.”

Jack White and the Blues

This week’s video feature begins with Jack White’s mention of Cab Calloway and improvisational performance of St. James’ Infirmary Blues on BBC2’s Later with Jools Holland:

Before doing his northern Detroit version of St. James’ Infirmary Blues, White mentions that he first heard it performed by Cab Calloway as part of a Betty Boop cartoon. This great version of the song along with the original cartoon is also available online and posted below. Calloway’s performance comes about 4 minutes 20 into the cartoon and it’s not only Calloway’s voice you can hear but also his dance moves you can see too, as performed by Koko the clown. Calloway’s performance was in fact recorded and then transferred into the animation using the rotoscoping method so that frame-by-frame Koko would mimic Calloway’s unique moves. This method was also used to transfer Calloway’s move onto the screen in the Betty Boop cartoon Minnie the Moocher that we used as our first video of the week post.

Of course White has always been influenced by earlier blues artists and this continues on his first solo album, Blunderbuss, which was released last week.  Track 8 – I’m Shakin’ – features a great guitar riff and sees White covering “The Prince of the Blues” Little Willie John.

Earlier in his career as one part of the duo The White Stripes live performances often included covers of various Delta Blues artists including: Blind Willie McTell, Robert Johnson and as shown here below the fierce voice and guitar bashing sounds of Son House.

The First Black Britons DVD

Thanks to Tony T for passing on the information about this resource:

“The First Black Britons” is a DVD resource on the West India Regiment (made for BBC TV in 2005)

A link to the trailer is posted below (and is available to view on Vimeo.com via: http://vimeo.com/37661768)

‘The First Black Britons’ can be purchased on Amazon.co.uk or from our
distributor’s website www.beckmanndirect.com.

“Originally broadcast on BBC Television, “The First Black Britons” presents a
wealth of information and historical discovery, delivered (to-camera) in a
warm and ‘to-the-point’ style. Our film reveals the incredible hidden
history of thousands of African men (11,000 by the year 1800), lifted from
slavery to lead a journey to citizenship in the New World – as equals of
white comrades in arms. They fought in the Napoleonic Wars as the West
India Regiment (1795-1927).

“One of Britain’s leading TV comedy actors, Gary Beadle presents our story
as a journey of discovery in Barbados, Jamaica, Liverpool, London and
Windsor. Illustrated by a wealth of photographs and pictures, this dramatic
and compelling story is ‘brought to life’ by actors in scenes based on the
actual quotes of Prime Minister William Pitt (the younger), his friend,
William Wilberforce, Queen Victoria, and, the very soldiers who shaped
attitudes to race and identity at each turn of the infamous triangular
Slave Trade – involving Britain, West Africa and the Americas.

“The viewer discovers tourist attractions, social and political history,
culture and heritage. 59-minutes are divided into 3 x 18-minute stories,
structured as follows:

Story 1. ‘Slaves in Redcoats':
How the government of abolitionist Prime Minister, William Pitt (the
younger) secretly purchased a slave-army to defeat French and Napoleonic
forces in the Americas.

Story 2. ‘The Queen’s Gentlemen':
How Britain’s first African army won the personal favour of Queen
Victoria, and carved a unique status as a new class of citizen – ‘Black
British’.

Story 3. ‘The Prodigals’ Return':
How West India Regiment soldiers – ‘the sons of slaves’ – exacted bloody
revenge on the ‘Chiefdoms’ that sold them into captivity, returning to the
infamous slave forts of West Africa to win 2 Victoria Cross medals, in a
‘Action Adventure’ of imperial conquest.

For further details of the programme do please have a look at our website:
www.sweetpatootee.co.uk
Tony T and Rebecca Goldstone
Sweet Patootee Ltd”

Arcade Fire in Haiti and Kanaval in Jacmel

The stimulus for this week’s video feature was a montage of clips made into a short video by the world-renowned band Arcade Fire from a couple of trips they made to Haiti.

These clips were filmed during a number of trips Arcade Fire made to Haiti in March 2011 and February 2012 and played to one of the best tracks – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) – from their latest album The Suburbs. There are some great shots of the mountainous landscape that gave Haiti its name but also a lot of great clips showing Haitian carnival masks and costumes being used in performance in the Southern Haitian town of Jacmel.

These clips reminded me of the arresting images of Haitian carnival revealers by photographer Leah Gordon in the book Kanaval: Vodou, Politics and Revolution of the Streets of Haiti published in 2010. These extraordinarily potent images are surrounded by a number of compelling essays by scholars working in a variety of disciplines and an array of oral testimonies from contemporary carnival participants who discuss: their costume, their performance, and its meaning for them.

More images of Kanaval – with some short descriptions of stock characters – can be seen on Leah Gordon’s homepage. The Guardian also posted a review of the publication in 2010 that provoked a heated online debate with some though-provoking comments. This is still available to view online, click here to see it in full.

Showing the vast preparations for this annual event is another film created by Haitian youth working with Ciné Institute who are based in Jacmel. They began by creating Film Festival Jakmèl which screened international films to thousands of Haitians annually. This event was held for three years before Ciné Institute expanded to provide film education and edutainment, technical training, and media related micro enterprise opportunities to local youth.

This film is an assembly of stories filmed by Ciné Lekol students during the 2009 Jacmel Carnival under the instruction of Jonathan Stack in a workshop on Documentary Production and posted on Vimeo. This video follows a few individuals and groups who take part in carnival every year in the run up to the 2009 event. Its features a brilliant set of short interviews with participants who explain how they prepare for carnival each year revealing a mix of motivations behind carnival performance. Even such esteemed politicians as René Preval and Abraham Lincoln makes appearances among more familiar carnival characters like Charles Oscar and the lansekod.  Click here to find out more about Ciné Institute – whose latest film Stones in the Sun had its world premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this weekend.

Video of the Week: Curating in Africa Symposium

After last weeks break we are getting back on track this week with some in-depth talks from the Curating in Africa Symposium which was held at Tate Modern in October 2010. “This symposium brought together leading curators involved in some of the most active areas of artistic production in Africa to address the state of curatorial practice in this region.”

There are four videos from the symposium available online. To access these click on the video image link below which will take you directly to the page on Tate’s site where you can watch these. If you have a problem accessing the videos when you first press play – try refreshing the page and then clicking play again.

Below is some more detailed information about the symposium and the speakers who took part in the first day’s open symposium:

“The Curating in Africa symposium, organised by Kerryn Greenberg (Curatorial Department, Tate Modern) in collaboration with Tate National, and funded by the World Collections Programme (WCP), brought together seven leading curators involved in some of the most active areas of artistic production in Africa to address the achievements of and challenges facing curators working in Africa today.

The participants were Meskerem Assegued (Zoma Contemporary Art Center, Ethiopia); Raphael Chikukwa (National Gallery of Zimbabwe); Marilyn Douala Bell (Doul’art, Cameroon); N´Goné Fall (Independent Curator, Senegal); Abdellah Karroum (L’appartement 22, Morocco); Riason Naidoo (South African National Gallery) and Bisi Silva (CCA Lagos, Nigeria).

Day One – Open Symposium

The first day was attended by approximately 100 invited curators, artists, graduate students, art historians and collectors and consisted of 30 minute presentations by each of the speakers on the context they are working in and a recent curatorial project.

N’Gone Fall, an independent curator who works between Dakar and Paris emphasized the importance of exhibitions that deal with history, geography and politics. She also talked about the benefits of collaboration, particularly with regards to Contact Zone an exhibition at the National Museum in Mali.

Raphael Chikukwa, the curator at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe focused on the history of his organization and its resilience during times of political instability. He talked about the challenges of fundraising and developing new audiences, as well as the importance of opening the debate and increasing the visibility of Zimbabwean artists internationally. The Harare Festival of Arts will take place from 26 April – 2 May 2011.

Marilyn Douala Bell spoke about the importance of site-specific projects, especially in a city without museums. She talked about some of the ways Doual’art has supported artists and engaged the local community over the past two decades. The next edition of SUD, organized by Doual’art, will open on 4 December 2010.

Bisi Silva, founding director of CCA Lagos spoke about Nigeria’s recent history and the infrastructural, physical and intellectual deficit Nigeria was left with after the dictatorship. She talked about the importance of professional development opportunities and the limited number of exhibition catalogues and monographs published in Africa. She also presented several exhibitions she has curated atCCA Lagos, including the inaugural exhibition DemocrazyLike a Virgin, and Art, Fashion and Identity. She also talked about J.D. Okhai Ojeikere’s exhibition which opened at CCA, Lagos on 1 October 2010. A mini retrospective of Ojeikere’s photographs will open at Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki in April 2011.

Riason Naidoo, Director of the South African National Gallery (SANG), gave an overview of his institution’s history and stressed the importance of resisting the pressure to produce exhibitions that may have popular appeal, but little gravitas. He talked in detail about 1910–2010 From Pierneef to Gugulective, the first exhibition he curated at the SANG, and the importance of creating discursive spaces.

Meskerem Assegued, founder of Zoma Contemporary Art Center in Ethiopia, discussed the impact of the military government on the Ethiopian art scene in the 1970s and 1980s. She presented Temporary, a public art happening she organized in Meskel Square and Green Flame, an exhibition in Vienna which included Julie Mehretu, Stephan Vitiello, and Elias Sime. Assegued is currently working on a major exhibition of Elias Sime’s work and a seminar Where do we go from here that will take place in Addis Ababa in January 2011.

Abdellah Karroum talked about studying abroad and not knowing one’s home on returning. He introduced various projects that he organized which enabled him to reconnect with Morocco. He discussed the genesis of Apartment 22 and the challenges of financing independent spaces.

The day ended with a roundtable discussion which touched on the following topics: arts education, censorship, the development of local audiences, and the internationalisation of exhibition programmes.”

There is also some information available on Tate’s site about a closed workshop involving 30 curators which took place on the following day. The themes addressed in this workshop included:

The Current State and Future of Art Museums in Africa

Alternatives to the Museum: Independent Spaces in Africa

The History and Sustainability of Biennials in Africa

How to Shape the Future

To read more about any of these discussion or to find out about the outcomes of the symposium click here.

Video of the Week: The (S) Files

Janelle Iglesias’ “Bridge and Tunnel” (found objects)

This week’s video feature is a bumper package of 9 short videos each relating to El Museo del Barrio’s 2011 Bienal: The (S) Files. The exhibition ran from June 2011 – January 2012 in numerous venues across New York. Although the exhibition has now ended it leaves behind this great online resource of interviews with the curators and artists involved – and a bit of funky music thrown in too.

The first video introduces the concepts and rationale behind the 2011 bienal theme of the street and features short interviews with curators: Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, Trinidad Fombella, and Elvis Fuentes.

“El Museo’s Bienal: The (S) Files 2011 is El Museo del Barrio’s sixth biennial of the most innovative, cutting-edge art created by Latino, Caribbean, and Latin American artists currently working in the greater New York area. This year’s edition spreads all over the city, showcasing a record 75 emerging artists in seven different venues.

Among the themes developed in The (S) Files 2011 are the influence of early New York street art movements, text and urban styles, and the creation of art works from urban debris. The variety of issues addressed by the artists range from daily life situations, to social behaviors, to economic distress.”

The 8 following videos each feature interviews with artists whose work was exhibited as part of the (S) Files:

The (S) files 2011: Meet Sol Aramendi

The (S) files 2011: Meet Juan Betancurth

The (S) files 2011: Meet Daniel Bejar

The (S) files 2011: Meet Firelei Báez

The (S) files 2011: Meet Edwin González-Ojeda

The (S) files 2011: Meet Marela Zacarías

The (S) files 2011: Meet COPE 2

The (S) files 2011: Meet NyK

Click here to find out more about the (S) Files exhibition on El Museo’s website

Video of the Week: After Hot-En-Tot: Two conversations with Artist Renée Cox

Following on from the popularity of an earlier post – If you don’t ask, you don’t get, and then you get kicked to the curb – focusing on the work of Renée Cox this week’s video feature includes two clips, each containing an interview with artist Renée Cox recorded at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art on 22 October 2009. The first is a conversation with an audience led by former Spelman Cosby chair Lisa E. Farrington, Ph.D., John Jay College, CUNY. The second is a one-on-one conversation that appears to have been filmed on the same day inside the Museum’s gallery space.

Each clip presents Cox ruminating on themes and driving forces behind her work including Race, Gender, Womanhood, Representation and Femininity. There are some overlaps in the conversation of each clip but also some interesting divergences.

The first conversation is pinned around specific works of Cox’s. It takes as its starting point the motivation for Cox’s work Hot-en-tot (1994) based on research she conducted which led her to find out about the “extraordinarily shocking histories” of human exhibition. Cox’s photographic work Hot-en-tot is inspired by the life and experiences of a Khosian woman, Saartje Baartman, who was objectified as a physiognomic curiosity and exhibited in Europe in the 19th century, as the ‘Hottentot Venus’. In Cox’s nude self-portrait her breasts and buttocks are covered with oversized prosthetic versions found for sale in a fancy dress shop. Cox discusses the power of the objectifying gaze and the importance for her in this, and other works, of revising history and creating a space to defy and return that gaze. Through revisiting Baartman’s body and the exploitative narrative that surrounded it – which became a potent symbol projected outwards onto the black female body as an abstract idea – Cox recreates, revises, and represents: A process that she employs through(out) her body (of work).

The second clip offers a more intimate and provocative discussion with Cox. She talks about the resonance of her work Queen Nanny of the Maroons (2004) which appeared in the exhibition Afro Modern: Journeys through the Black Atlantic at Tate Liverpool in 2010.  Generally though, this conversation explores more broadly the social issues that “inspire and impact” her work as a whole. Here Cox discusses specific issues surrounding: education and intergration in the contemporary context of the United States and; the comparative importance of race and skin tone as identity in Jamaica and the United States. Cox encapsulates her bold and assured approach to creating as she winds up the interview stating: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get, and then you get kicked to the curb.”

To read more about Cox’s work click here.

To view Renée Cox’s website click here

Click here to view some images of Cox’s work online via tumblr.