Category Archives: Curatorial Practice

NOCTAMBULES: the hidden transcripts

Noctambules(version française en bas)

We are very happy to invite you to join us for the opening of our exhibition “NOCTAMBULES: the hidden transcripts” on occasion of the 7th “Forum Transculturel d’Art Contemporain” in Port-au-Prince in Haiti on April 6th, 2015.

“NOCTAMBULES: the hidden transcripts”

photographs by Josué Azor
curated by David Frohnapfel

 

Vernissage

19h30, 6th April, 2015
Villa Kalewes, 99 Rue Gregoire, Petionvile, Port-au-Prince

 

Conference & Artist Talk “La deconstruction du genre”

Barbara Prezeau-Stephenson, Josué Azor, Maksaens Denis and David Frohnapfel in conversation
16h30-18h30, 7th April, 2015
FOKAL, 143 Avenue Christophe, Port-au-Prince

 

Concept Note

Haiti’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities have long kept a low profile because of a strong social stigma that sparks fear of physical violence or social isolation. The Caribbean in general was often labeled as one of the most homo- und transphobic regions in the world. In April 2015 theforum transculturel d’art contemporain will discuss the theme Creation & Counterpower. As part of this conceptual framework the exhibition project “NOCTAMBULES: the hidde transcripts” will ask which social processes mark the LGBT community in Port-au-Prince as deviant and how homosexuality can manifest itself as a powerful counter-culture in this hostile and heteronormative environment. Which are the hidden transcripts (James Scott) and communal bonds the LGBT community in Port-au-Prince creates to resist marginalization and heal the wounds of permanent sexual oppression? Can art be a mechanism to escape the heteronormative matrix of power by developing particular queer aesthetic sensibilities? Can we find certain aesthetic codes that resist against a hetero-centrist colonialization of the visual arts? Josué Azor’s photographs document how an engagement celebration of two men was violently interrupted by homophobic attacks and juxtaposes these disturbing images of violence with the joyful celebrations of gay youth in Port-au-Prince at night. These juxtapositions of violence and release create awareness of queer infrapolitics and reflect on the socio-political disobedience of men and women in Haiti who search for possibilities to escape social discrimination and oppression by a dominant hetero-patriarchy.

 Sincerely,
David Frohnapfel & Josué Azor

Je suis très heureux de vous inviter de nous joinder pour le vernissage de nôtre exposition « NOCTAMBULES: the hidden transcripts » dans le cadre du « 7e Forum Transculturel d’Art Contemporain » à Port-au-Prince en Haïti le 6e d’avril 2015.

 

“NOCTAMBULES: the hidden transcripts”

Photographies de Josué Azor
Commissaire d’exposition David Frohnapfel

 

Vernissage:

19h30, 6e d’avril 2015
Villa Kalewes, 99 Rue Gregoire, Petionvile, Port-au-Prince

 

Conférence & Artist Talk “La deconstruction du genre”

Barbara Prezeau-Stephenson, Josué Azor, Maksaens Denis et David Frohnapfel en conversation
16h30-18h30, 7e d’avril 2015
FOKAL, 143 Avenue Christophe, Port-au-Prince

 

Concept note

Les communautés gay, lesbien et transgender de Haïti ont pour longtemps adopté un profil bas à cause d’un fort stigma social provocant peur de violence physique ou isolation sociale. En générale les Caraïbes étaient souvent considérés l’une des régions les plus homo- et transphobes du monde. En avril 2015 le forum transculturel d’art contemporain discutera le sujet de Création et Contre-pouvoir. Dans ce cadre conceptuel le projet d’exposition “NOCTAMBULES: the hidde transcripts” s’interroge sur le type de procès sociaux qui identifient la communauté LGBT à Port-au-Prince comme déviante et comment l’homosexualité peut se manifester par un contre-culture puissante au sein de cet environnement hostile et hétéronormatif. Quels sont les hidden transcripts (James Scott) et liens communautaires que la communauté LGBT à Port-au-Prince met en place pour résister la marginalisation et guérir les blessures d’une oppression sexuelle permanente? Est-il possible que l’art puisse devenir un mécanisme pour s’échapper du matrix hétéronormatif du pouvoir en développant de spécifiques sensibilités esthétiques queer? Est-il possible de trouver certains codes esthétiques qui résistent une colonisation hétérocentriste des arts visuels? Les photographes de Josué Azor documentent comment une célébration de fiançailles de deux hommes fut interrompue violemment par des attaques homophobes et juxtaposent ces images troublantes avec les célébrations joyeuses de jeunes gays dans la nuit à Port-au-Prince. Ces juxtapositions de violence et décharge rendent compte d’une infrapolitique queer et réfléchissent sur la désobéissance socio-politique d’hommes et femmes en Haïti qui cherchent des possibilités de s’échapper à la discrimination et oppression sociale d’un hétéro-patriarcat dominant.

Cordialement,
David Frohnapfel & Josué Azor

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.

Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou

Opening  20 October 2012, Nottingham Contemporary will be presenting an insightful vision into a stream of Haitian art practices predominantly inspired by Vodou from the 1940s to the present through the exhibition Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou.

Gerard Valcin, Simbis Voyageurs (Collection GALERIE D’ART NADER)

” Bringing together some 200 works by 40 artists from the 1940s to today, and drawing from leading collections from Haiti, North America and Europe, Kafou will be one of the largest exhibitions of Haiti’s celebrated art ever held, and is unusual in presenting it in the context of a programme dedicated to international contemporary art. With few exceptions, the artists in the exhibition came from impoverished urban and rural backgrounds, and had minimal contact with the mainstream modern and contemporary art worlds. The extraordinary beauty and imaginative power of their work reflects the richness of Haitian culture and history while also contrasting with Haiti’s experience of, and reputation for, extreme poverty, political oppression and natural disaster. Kafou is curated by Alex Farquharson, Director of Nottingham Contemporary, and Leah Gordon, artist and curator of the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince.”

“Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou will trace the history of how Vodou has been represented through successive generations of Haitian art in all four of Nottingham Contemporary’s galleries, including the work of artists who were also Vodou priests (Houngans): Hector Hyppolite, André Pierre and Lafortune Félix for example. The exhibition begins with what has been dubbed the ‘Haitian Renaissance’, exemplified by the artists that gathered around the Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince founded in 1944, which brought Haitian art to the attention of international collectors and important cultural figures. Kafou represents key figures from this ‘first’ generation, including Hyppolite, Rigaud Benoit, Wilson Bigaud, Castera Bazille, Préfète Duffaut (who lived in Jacmel in the south), and Philomé Obin and Seneque Obin, founders of the distinctive Cap Haitian school in the north of Haiti. Hyppolite, Haiti’s most celebrated artist, is represented by a large number of major works from the 1940s. They are followed by distinctive artists who followed in their wake, such as André Pierre, Celestin Faustin, Gerard Valcin, Alexandre Grégoire and Lafortune Félix, while a third room brings together examples of artists associated with the Saint Soleil movement of the 70s, 80s and 90s, whose representations of the lwa are less specific, more ethereal, and sometimes verging on abstraction. A fourth section presents several recent developments, including the Atis Rezistans group, who make arresting supernatural assemblages from recycled materials (car parts, clothing, human skulls and bones) and carved wood from their downtown neighbourhood in Port-au-Prince; the baroque and visionary depictions of Vodou spirits in sequins on flags by Myrlande Constant and Edouard Duval-Carrié’s and Frantz Zephirin’s potent fusions of Vodou and Haitian political history.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue whose texts will reevaluate the significance of seventy years of Haitian art from various cultural and historical vantage points. It features new essays by Colin Dayan (author of the seminal ‘Haiti, History and the Gods’), Alex Farquharson and a ‘trialogue’ by Leah Gordon, Wendy Asquith and Katherine Smith. A major international conference at Nottingham Contemporary will complement the exhibition by considering the many ‘Afterlives’ of the 1804 Revolution in Haiti and the Atlantic World through a wide range of disciplinary perspectives.”

To find out more about this exciting upcoming exhibition and its associated events on the Nottingham Contemporary’s webpages click here.

Book Review: Human Zoos

A new review by postgraduate research student Emily Trafford of the University of Liverpool’s School of Histories, Languages and Cultures has been added to the research section of the Black Atlantic Resource, which looks at the 2008 publication Human Zoos.

P. Blanchard, N. Bancel, G. Boёtsch, É. Deroo, S. Lemaire, C. Forsdick (eds), Human Zoos: Science and Spectacle in the Age of Colonial Empires, 2008 (Liverpool University Press: Liverpool)

This recent collection of essays on the display of human otherness moves beyond the wave of freak show literature of the 1980s and ‘90s, and seeks to provide a more comprehensive overview of this peculiar exhibitionary practice. The display of the exotic Other for entertainment, education, and supposedly the advancement of scientific knowledge, occurred in numerous guises throughout imperial nations in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The strength of the volume lies in its scope – in terms of time and place, the historical characters and stories that emerge, and the disciplinary approaches that its contributors utilise – all of which make Human Zoos a valuable resource …read more

If you are interested in contributing a book review to the Black Atlantic Resource please contact us.

Migrations: Journeys through British Art

There is just over a month left to see this great exhibition currently on at Tate Britain. Migrations: Journeys through British Art:

“explores British art through the theme of migration from 1500 to the present day, reflecting the remit of Tate Britain Collection displays. From the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Flemish and Dutch landscape and still-life painters who came to Britain in search of new patrons, through moments of political and religious unrest, to Britain’s current position within the global landscape, the exhibition reveals how British art has been fundamentally shaped by successive waves of migration. Cutting a swathe through 500 years of history, and tracing not only the movement of artists but also the circulation of visual languages and ideas, this exhibition includes works by artists from LelyKneller,Kauffman to SargentEpsteinMondrianBombergBowling and the Black Audio Film Collective as well as recent work by contemporary artists”

There are also a number of events related to this exhibition upcoming. The first is one tonight:

25 June 2012 from 6.30 – 8.30pm: Personal Journeys: Bonnie Greer on Migrations: “Join playwright and critic Bonnie Greer on a personal journey through the exhibition, as she talks about what migration means to her.”

while in two weeks time:

11 July 2012 from 6.30 -8.30pm Artist Talk: David Medalla: “Born in the Philippines and based in Britain since the Sixties artist David Medalla describes himself as a citizen of the world. His work does not come from one single cultural perspective but draws from his constant travelling, inspired by the places and the people he meets. In this talk Medalla speaks about his practice spanning painting, sculpture, installation and performance, and shares his thoughts on the theme of Migration in art.”

Updated Symposium Programme: Representations of Slavery

Please note that the program me for the Representations of Slavery in Neoliberal Times Symposium to be held at the University of Newcastle on Friday 25th May has been updated and will now take place as below:

Selected images from : Positive Negative Guardian Paperworks via: http://www.lubainahimid.info/

Programme of events

1.oopm – Refreshments available

1.10 – 1.15 - Welcome by Conference Co-Convener

Carolyn Pedwell, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

1:15 – 2:15 – Lubaina Himid, Centre for Contemporary Art, University of Central Lancashire

Negative Positives: The Guardian, The Slave, The Wit and The Money

Chair: Daniel McNeil, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

2:15 – 3:15 – Julia O’Connell Davidson

School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham

Debt, Freedom and Slavery in Neoliberal Times

Chair: Anne Graefer, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

3:15 – 3.45 - Coffee break

3.45 – 4.45Carolyn Pedwell,

Alternative Empathies: Representing Slavery’s Affective Afterlives

Chair: John Richardson, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

4.45 – 5.45 – Roundtable

Dr. Kate Manzo (Geography, Newcastle University)

Dr. Diana Paton (History, Newcastle University)

Dr. Rachel Wells (Fine Art, Newcastle University)

Chair: Daniel McNeil

6.00pm – Wine Reception

Northern Stage

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Abstracts

Negative Positives: The Guardian, The Slave, The Wit and The Money

Lubaina Himid, Centre for Contemporary Art, University of Central Lancashire

This essentially visual presentation will attempt to show how The Guardian newspaper in 2007, and then just as strongly during subsequent years, constantly suggests that European sports teams and clubs disproportionally overspend when buying, selling and keeping black players.  While this is not an unusual stance by journalists in the British sporting press, The Guardian by frequently and jokily representing footballers and athletes via mocking photographs, degrading texts and or damaging juxtapositions of both, subtly ‘reminds’ its readers, many of whom are public health and social workers, teachers and academics as well as workers in the creative industries, of historically familiar racial stereotypes. The newspaper designers, by taking this approach, contribute to a situation in which the athletes remain within a ‘state of unbelonging’.

Much of Lubaina Himid’s recent creative visual practice has been taken up with building this archive of images and texts. The creation of a series of paper works, Negative Positives, in which ‘over-painting to emphasise’ has gone some way towards reclaiming the dignity of the people represented has however, to some degree, minimalised the findings and rendered them outside the debates they were intended to develop. Through the sharing of a range of these collected images both overpainted and in their original state, many from the year of commemoration 2007, Himid will invite discussion around how this subtle and oftentimes witty degradation of wealthy black elites undermines the campaigns opposed to contemporary slavery while at the same time visually fixing the black person as ‘other’ to be bought and sold.

 

Debt, Freedom and Slavery in Neoliberal Times

Julia O’Connell Davidson, University of Nottingham

In dominant discourse on ‘trafficking’, mobility, debt and dependence are configured in a very particular way and the kind of debt involved is clearly marked as disturbing, dangerous, illegal, morally wrong. The trafficker’s objective is to make repayment impossible and so to establish personal, inescapable, and highly asymmetrical relations of power and dependency. Relations between trafficker and victim are represented as the very antithesis of freedom – trafficking is frequently referred to as ‘modern slavery’. And yet debt that generates relations of dependency is also often a feature of forms of mobility that are legally sanctioned; debt that compels people to take on work that they would otherwise refuse is hardly uncommon in Western liberal democracies; and the techniques used to recover legally sanctioned loans from citizen-debtors can be highly coercive. But legally sanctioned debt, backed by the coercive powers of the state, is not framed as ‘modern slavery’. Indeed, in neoliberal times, access to credit, i.e., the ability to indebt oneself by entering into socially sanctioned creditor-debtor relations, is a marker of social inclusion, something that both reflects and affirms political belonging and subjectivity. Starting from an interest in debt as a social relation, and in questions about why some debt relations are sanctioned while others are denounced, this paper is concerned with the ways in which liberal discourse on freedom, rights and citizenship constructs particular types of debt and dependency as ‘modern slavery’ while endorsing other arrangements that, from the vantage point of the individual affected, may appear equally if not more pernicious.

Alternative Empathies: Representing Slavery’s Affective Afterlives

Carolyn Pedwell, Newcastle University

Against the dominant universalist injunction to ‘be empathetic’, this paper explores the possibilities  of alternative histories, practices and affects of empathy in the context of postcoloniality and neoliberalism.  Offering a critical reading of Antiguan American author Jamaica Kincaid’s postcolonial  text  A Small Place (1988), it examines how empathy expressed at the margins of our social and geo-political imaginaries might disrupt or refigure some of the dominant ways that affect is thought and mobilised in liberal and neoliberal discourses.  As a powerful commentary on the political, economic and affective links between colonialism and slavery and contemporary practices of tourism in the Caribbean that has provoked intense emotional responses among its readers, A Small Place offers a pertinent site through which to explore how history, power and violence shape the meanings and effects of empathy.  It illustrates how the affective afterlives of colonialism, slavery and racism shape contemporary subjectivities in ways that are not easy to penetrate, nor possible to undo, through the power of empathetic will or imagination alone.  In doing so, Kincaid’s text also considers the role that alternative empathies can play in interrogating the idea of time as linear, progressive and universal.  The continuing dialogue with loss and its aftermath that alternative empathies can engender, I argue, allows for engaging with ‘the performative force of the past’ (Munoz, 2009) in ways that invite us to break from fixed patterns and positionings and enter into a ‘more   demanding’, and potentially more ethical, relationship to the world and our being in it (Kincaid, 1988: 57).  I thus explore how alternative empathies might open out to affective politics which do not view emotions instrumentally as sources of – or solutions to – complex social and political problems, but rather examine diverse and shifting feeling states for what they tell us about the affective workings of power in a transnational world.

CFC: Savvy | art.contemporary.african

Call for Contributions for the 4th edition of savvy|art.contemporary.african. journal.

“Curating: Expectations and Challenges”

Contemporary African Art looks back at a vibrant history of  ‘presentation tactics’ and curatorial conceptualisation strategies within the different frameworks of biennials, independent projects, museum exhibitions, and even ethnographic collections.  Over the last 100 years, the ways of exhibition-making changed profoundly and  particularly within the field of Non-Western art one can perceive a change of parameters of curating – especially since a  generation of Non-Western curators decided to take over the reins and seize the sceptre, which was until the late 80s mostly in the hands of some Western curators, the Western art market and its critique. The debate on “how, who, and where to show” has increased fiercely in the last 20 years. So we now pose the questions again in a bid to deliberate on current curatorial theories and practices in the framework of Contemporary African Art.

What are the prominent issues of display and curating that inform and condition exhibition making? Which curatorial concepts (past or current) do you consider seminal and which improvable? Where and how do artists position themselves in exhibitions authored by curators and can artistic knowledge be implemented as method of curating? What are the relations between artists, curators, public and institutions? Is there a cognizable methodology in curating Contemporary African Art exhibitions with regard to Western or Non-Western curators? How do non governmental art project spaces on and beyond the continent influence and revolutionize the trajectories of curatorial practices? Can the curator effectively serve as broker or facilitator between art and audience?

The 4th edition of the SAVVY Journal will thus position itself as a knowledge-sharing platform, wherein ideologies and philosophies, sciences and economics, ethics and aesthetics  of the curatorial practice discipline,  and in general, the semantics of exhibition making will be elaborated upon. We put the finger on the pulse of  time and want to explore the contemporary expectations and challenges of curating  in general and Contemporary African Art in particular.

Therefore, we invite artists, curators, art historians, theoreticians and other intellectuals to submit texts, not exceeding 3500 words in length, treating the above mentioned issues.

Furthermore, we are interested in other articles such as artist-features, exhibition reviews and previews of circa 1500 words.
For more information please visit www.savvy-journal.com

Submissions to: editorial@savvy-journal.com

Deadline: 01. July 2012    
Contact: editorial@savvy-journal.com with any further questions.