Tag Archives: Haiti

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
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1804 & Its Afterlives: International Conference

We are pleased to present below the programme for the upcoming conference 1804 & Its Afterlives to be held at Nottingham Contemporary on the 7-8 December 2012. This event takes place in conjunction with Nottingham Contemporary’s current exhibition Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou and will include as speakers, specialists across many disciplines in the field of Haitian and Caribbean Studies.

The event is free, to book a place via the Nottingham Contemporary site click here.

Image

Hector Hyppolite, Henry Christophe, Collection Musée Nader, Port-au-Prince

1804 & Its Afterlives

The Space, Nottingham Contemporary

Friday 7th December

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10.30   Arrivals & Registration (Refreshments served in The Space Foyer )

Session One 11h-13h

11.00   Introduction

11.30   Keynote Lecture, Colin Dayan: ‘The gods in the trunk (or writing in a belittered world)’:

I offer a context for refiguring our understanding of the supernatural, a recognition of attentiveness that asks:  What could we feel if we could feel what we experience sufficiently? What I once called Marie Vieux Chauvet’s ‘literary fieldwork’ becomes a way to think anew about the making of fiction and the meaning of ritual. With vodou practice-and the threats now against its very existence-as my prompt, I go beyond the borders of academic decorum to substantially political encounters. In asking what remains alive, vivid, and unsettling outside our conventions and characterizations, I question the meaning of ‘justice’ and the reach of ‘cruelty,’ as well as the uses of ‘reason.’  By reshuffling our conceptual schemes, my objective is to give the claims of spirit the color and shape of matter.  Finally, I want to breach the gap between body and mind, dead and living, human and non-human. How else can we work and think through this time of extinctions? 

12.30   Conversation & Q&A with Colin Dayan
Chaired by Leah Gordon & Alex Farquharson (Curators, Kafou, Haiti Art & Vodou)

 

Session Two 14h-16.30h

14.00   Charles Forsdick, Introduction 

14.30   Nick Nesbitt:  Legacies of 1804: Anti-slavery, Decolonization and the Critique of Violence

15.00   Dick Geary: The Contradictory Legacy of Haiti for Slave Revolt in Brazil

15.30   Conversation with Dick Geary & Nick Nesbitt, Chaired by Charles Forsdick

16.00   Q&A

16.30   Exhibition visit Kafou, Haiti Art & Vodou  – with Alex Farquharson & Leah Gordon

17.30   Drinks for speakers and delegates served in The Space – launch of Kafou catalogue.

 

Saturday 8th December

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10.30   Arrivals & Registration (Refreshments served in The Space Foyer )

Session Three 10.45h-13.30h

10.45   Introduction by Philip Kaisary

11.00   Michael Largey:
1804 and Musical Memory: Occide Jeanty and Recombinant Mythology in Haiti

11.30   Martin Munro:
The Revolution’s Ghosts: Dessalines, the Chimères, and Apocalyptic Creolization

12.00   Barbara Browning:
Catching the Rhythm: Infectious Politicization in the Figuring of Haitian Dance Since the Revolution

12.30   Conversation with Barbara Browning, Martin Munro & Michael Largey & Q&A
Chaired by Philip Kaisary

 

Session Four 14.30-17h

14.30   Introduction

14.45   Millery Polyne:
The Commercial and Ideological Uses of Haiti-from Post U.S. Occupation to Post-Earthquake

15.15   Matthew J Smith:
Haitian Revolutions: Politics, Conflicts, and the Shadow of 1804

15.45   Conversation with Millery Polyne and Matthew J Smith, Chaired by Nick Nesbitt

16.15   Q&A

17.00   Close

 

Speakers Biographies

Colin Dayan is Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University, and expert in literary, legal and religious studies of the Americas, and author of A Rainbow for the Christian West: Rene Depestre‘s Poetry; Fables of Mind: An Inquiry into Poe’s Fiction(1987); Haiti, History, and the Gods and, most recently, The Law is a White Dog: How Legal Rituals Make and Unmake Persons. In Haiti, History, and the Gods Dayan investigated how Haiti is created and recreated in fiction and fact, text and ritual, discourse and practice. Uncovering a silenced, submerged past, she argued provocatively for the consideration of both Vodou rituals and narrative fiction as repositories of history.

Leah Gordon (Chair) is an artist and curator. She has produced a body of work on the representational boundaries between art, religion, anthropology, post-colonialism and folk history and her film and photographic work has been exhibited internationally. She has previously served as adjunct curator for the Haitian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale, was on the curatorial team for the recent ‘In Extremis’ exhibition at the Fowler Museum, UCLA, and is curator of ‘Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou’at Nottingham Contemporary.

Nick Nesbitt is Professor of French & Italian, Princeton University;his publications include Voicing Memory: History and Subjectivity in French Caribbean Literature and Universal Emancipation: The Haitian Revolution and the Radical Enlightenment – which explores the Haitian Revolution as a fundamental event of the Age of Revolution and Enlightenment, in relation to key thinkers in contemporary political philosophy. He is editor of Toussaint Louverture: The Haitian Revolution and co-editor with Brian Hulse of Sounding the Virtual: Gilles Deleuze and the Philosophy of Music.

Dick Geary is the former Director of Institute for the Study of Slavery at University of Nottingham; he published extensively on European labour history before researching slave labour and unpaid work in Brazil and Western Europe, emphasising the role of ideology, religion, and ritual. Geary´s main field of research is the European labour movement and the intellectual history of Marxism. More recently he has been developing a research on the history of slavery. His methods include both social history and comparative studies.

Charles Forsdick (Chair) is James Barrow Professor of French at the University of Liverpool. His research focuses principally on exoticism, travel literature, postcolonial literature in French, the francophone dimensions of postcolonial theory, the contemporary French novel and representations of the Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture.

Michael Largey is Professor of Ethnomusicology and Area Chair of Musicology at Michigan State University College of Music. He is a specialist in Caribbean music, specifically Haitian classical and religious music. He is author of Vodou Nation: Haitian Art Music and Cultural Nationalism in which he examined how elements of Vodou music were used by elite composers to express understandings of nasyon (nation) from the 1890s through to the US military occupation of 1915-1934.

Martin Munro is Director Winthrop-King Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Florida State University. He previously worked in Scotland, Ireland, and Trinidad. His recent publications include: American Creoles: The Francophone Caribbean and the American South; Different Drummers: Rhythm and Race in the Americas; Edwidge Danticat: A Reader’s Guide; and Haiti Rising: Haitian History, Culture, and the Earthquake of 2010. He is currently working on the theme of the apocalypse in the Caribbean.

Barbara Browning is Associate Professor in the Department of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Her major interests lie in Brazil and the African diaspora; dance ethnography; race, gender and postcoloniality; fiction and performance. In Infectious Rhythm Browning analysed how the African cultural diaspora has continued to be represented in terms of metaphors of disease and contagion. She continues to merge practical engagement of body practices with her scholarly work, which broadly addresses performance and politics in the African diaspora.

Philip Kaisary (Chair) is Assistant Professor of Law at University of Warwick, where he received his Ph.D in English and Comparative Literary Studies.  His research interests are interdisciplinary and range across the fields of legal and literary studies, human rights, postcolonial studies, and black Atlantic studies with particular focus on disaster law and the cultural impact of disasters; the Haitian Revolution; and the legal and cultural history of slavery and anti-slavery. He is currently revising his dissertation for publication. 

Matthew J. Smith is Lecturer in History at University of the West Indies; his main area of research is in Haitian politics and society after the U.S. occupation (1915-1934) and Haitian regional migration in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. He is author of Red and Black in Haiti: Radicalism, Conflict, and Political Change, 1934-1957, which argues that the period from 1934 to the rise of Dictator Francois Duvalier, was modern Haiti’s greatest moment of political promise.

Millery Polyné is Assistant Professor of American Studies, Gallatin School at New York University. His research interests highlight the history of African American and Afro-Caribbean cultural, political, and economic initiatives in the 19th and 20th centuries; dance, jazz, sports and urban memory. He is the author of From Douglass to Duvalier: U.S. African Americans, Haiti and Pan Americanism 1870-1964.

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.

Art, genre et dieux: un voyage de recherche a la Ghetto Biennale de Port-au-Prince

I’m happy to announce the addition of some great new resources to the Black Atlantic site relating to Charlotte Hammond‘s exciting new research (Postgraduate Research Student in the Department of Drama and Theatre, Royal Holloway) which examines visual representations of transvestism in the Francophone Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique and Haiti and their diasporic communities in France.

Charlotte recently participated in the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince, Haiti  2011 and gave a paper titled Art, genre et dieux: un voyage de recherche a la Ghetto Biennale de Port-au-Prince as part of the ‘gender and culture’ seminar series which took place at the Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, in Martinique. An audio recording of the paper – which was presented in French – is now available to listen to on the Black Atlantic Resource and is accompanied by a transcription of the paper in English, a link to the prezi Charlotte simultaneously presented, and some images of the work Charlotte produced during the Ghetto Biennale.

Art, Gender and Gods: a research trip to the Ghetto Biennale of Port-au-Prince

Within existing Caribbean (mostly fictional) representations, homosexual and trans characters tend to appear in supporting peripheral roles, often to affirm and solidify hegemonic gender binaries. Visibility of gender crossing in popular Caribbean culture, most apparent within the parameters of carnival performance, works in much the same way, more often exhibiting and reflecting dominant ideas of gender, than destabilizing and questioning the boundaries themselves.

There is a part of my project which deals with this more popular expression of transvestism, found in Carnival representation, using the work of a British artist, who like myself hails from the North West of England, Leah Gordon, whose 2008 film, Bounda pa Bounda: A Drag Zaka, depicts drag parody performed within a Rara band tradition in Haiti.

With little at stake, due to the ephemeral and sanctioned nature of what can be seen as harmless gender mimicry, the ease with which such temporary crossover is obtained makes the act a particularly intrusive form of impersonation.  The man, adopting female dress, carelessly forays into the sphere of the Other (the woman), without any concern for ‘realness’ in order to mock that which he does not successfully emulate in what Helen Gilbert terms a “spectacle of not passing” (2003).  As a process of reinscribing and renewing aesthetic standards however, it constitutes an important means of emphasizing prevailing modes of representation….

To Read more of Charlotte’s paper click here

To Listen to the French version of this paper click here

To view the accompanying Prezi click here

To Read a previous post about the Ghetto Biennale 2011

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

Kanaval and ‘Caste’

Two upcoming exhibitions – one in Nottingham and one in London – present the work of photographer Leah Gordon through two different frames of reference.

The first is titled after the 2010 publication Kanaval: Vodou, Politics and Revolution on the Streets of Haiti and will juxtapose some of the images and oral histories from that book with a special commission by Haitian artist André Eugene that will utilise Jeremy Deller’s 2005 English ‘Folk Archive’.

Kanaval will be at the New Art Exchange, Nottingham, 16 June – 11 August 2012. Click here for more information.

This exhibition will also be preceded on the 15 June by a conversation between Leah  Gordon and Guardian columnist Sean O’Hagan at 6.15 – 7.30pm.

The Second exhibition titled Leah Gordon ‘Caste’ presents new photographic work from Gordon that investigates the Haitian colonial history of racial classification. In 18th-century Saint Domingue Moreau de St Mery was responsible for charting: “a surreal taxonomy of race which classified skin colour from Noir to Blanche using names borrowed from mythology, natural history and bestial miscegenation.”

‘Caste’ will be at The Riflemaker Gallery in London 28 May – 7 July 2012. Click here for more information.

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.