Echo Chamber Workshop

This summer a PHD art program (<a href="http://www.transart.org/transartfest/events/"><strong>Trans Art Institute</strong></a>) that often spends its summer in Berlin has asked me to put together and teach a workshop of my own choosing. 
It seems appropriate to me for us all to be asking ourselves many complicated and difficult questions about the state of ,our own as well as in general, ART PRACTICE today. 
Towards this end I have created a temporary blog with five posts to lead us towards the necessary conversations.
<a href="http://theechochamberworkshop.blogspot.de/2013/07/new-economics-101.html">Link to <strong>POST 1</strong></a>.The new global context in which we engage in practice today
<a href="http://theechochamberworkshop.blogspot.de/2013/07/artworld-interviews.html">Link to <strong>POST 2</strong></a>. The local context of markets (in art)
<a href="http://theechochamberworkshop.blogspot.de/2013/07/copy-culture.html">Link to <strong>POST 3</strong></a>. The well established echo-chamber in the art economies today. Cloning and copy culture
<a href="http://theechochamberworkshop.blogspot.de/2013/07/artist-k-wiley.html">Link to <strong>POST 4</strong></a>. Case Study: Kihinde Wiley, artist.
<a href="http://theechochamberworkshop.blogspot.de/2013/07/iartist.html">Link to <strong>POST 5</strong></a>. iARTIST first person singular

Like Pablo Picasso's epic Guernica painting (commissioned for the 1937 World Fair in Paris) the art-world is no longer as it was even a decade and a half ago. <strong>In the aftermath of unspoken art-bubbles and the international financial crisis, the disasters must be revealed, discussed and the relevance of artistic practice must be understood.</strong>

This image  serves as an apt metaphor for the necessary  granular analysis necessary today, individually and in community.
The workshop went very well- the day began with 4 <em>PechaKucha</em> styled presentations by myself and 3 additional teachers/workshop teams. 
My class had approximately a dozen participants and it encompassed the whole day plus some extra. We reviewed five questions that were distributed prior to the workshop as well as looking closely at the five posts from the blog links noted above.
The questions and the topics that arose were extremely challenging for everyone and yet  we all knew that  they must be taken seriously. I proposed that there is sufficient collective  wisdom that lies between us here in todays workshop. Many of the sources and current perceptions of the artworld today were new or vaguely familiar to this rather motivated group of artists who were ambitiously committed to moving forward with their practices. Some of the asigned tasks were very challenging for them when I requested a minimum or less of using tecnical devices such as computers as a crutch to speaking about ones own work- something  almost every artist has difficulty articulating perfectly. I requested simple A4 printouts for scotch-tape pinups presented in the elevator-pitch format with a bit more generosity of time than a pecha kucha presentation without the glamor of powerpoint.
We watched an astoundingly puzzling video recently created by/for the hiphop star JayZ as a semi-homage to <strong>Marina Abramovic</strong> , currently the most prominent Performance Art impresario alive today, entitled <em>Picasso Baby.</em>
<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_Abramovi%C4%87">wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_Abramovic</a>
<strong>Buzzworthy</strong> article on <em>Picasso Baby</em> <a href="http://buzzworthy.mtv.com/2013/08/05/jay-z-picasso-baby-video/">HERE</a>
After the success of the days hard work among all the participants i think one more post will be forth coming and necessary to start to round out some other examples of the state of affairs in the art world today.
I will continue on as an adviser for <em>Trans Art Institute</em> through next year and we'll see what their interest will be for re-staging the workshop course next year, with modifications since the topic it covers continues to morph.

Studio-Work & The Genius Of R.Peck

It has been a rather busy several months already since January before and after the trip to Paris for the Black Portraiture(s) Conference. I was able to collect the  works from the recent exhibition <a href="http://www.hkw.de/en/programm/2012/labor_berlin_2012/veranstaltungen_70133/veranstaltungsdetail_81203.php">DRIFTING</a> at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt here in Berlin organized by Visual arts director Valerie Smith and Magdalena Wiener. Most of February was filled with a perspective changing journey through various African countries (Ghana, Togo, Angola, Sao Tomé e Principé, Namibia and South Africa.  Benin, Congo and Luanda and a second stop in Namibia were lost in the triage of time and safety) as guest of C.Thompson via the luxury cruises of Travel Dynamic International where she lectured. At the moment I am juggling a variety of projects that span from now  through the end of 2014. I am looking forward to Valerie Cassell-Oliver's <a href="http://www.camh.org/exhibitions/radical-presence-black-performance-contemporary-art">Radical Presence</a> exhibit which displays the imaginary postcards from the <em>Negerhosen2000</em> series entitled <em>the Travel Albums</em>  will shift from the CAMH in Houston to The Studio Museum in HArlem and Grey Art Gallery iof NYU before finally  ending up at the Walker Art Center. Here is an <a href="http://glasstire.com/2013/02/09/radical-presence-black-performance-in-contemporary-art/">online review</a> of particular interest. And I was delighted to see the Journal from Duke University publish an <a href="http://rhr.dukejournals.org/content/2013/115/184.abstract">interpretive essay</a> by J.Philogene on the nature of that project. And do please pre-order your issue of No.7 from ARC Magazines special feature this spring 2013 focused on my artistic practice via an extended illustrated interview. Find ARC Mag here at : <a href="http://arcthemagazine.com/arc/">http://arcthemagazine.com/arc/</a>
I have been developing some digital <a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-bA_DatvD2_k/UWtBsJTptGI/AAAAAAAAGbo/9N2MbumyTBA/s1600/Picture+37.png">sketches</a> and proposals for the re-installation of "<em>The Goddess Constellation / Sky Above Port-au-prince Haiti 12 January 2010 21:53 UTC</em>" in various spatial configurations such as in a <a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-eoiu_pia0e4/UWs_qRjfqeI/AAAAAAAAGbg/Q1XwY6Klqis/s1600/VeniceFotoshop6.png">ruin</a> or an existing <a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-S5S2cHANN0w/UWs_mVUBkHI/AAAAAAAAGbA/bG6yZ-5d5Y4/s1600/VeniceFotoshop1.png">museum</a> or a <a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-PUdGUw9xE5I/UWs_k4V_oRI/AAAAAAAAGaw/h3UMlcHIl4o/s1600/VeniceFotoshop2.png">community</a> space or a non art venue such as a <a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-Ibhewvr3D20/UWs_nVlfqJI/AAAAAAAAGbI/UiRUnNdPyZE/s1600/VeniceFotoshop5.jpg">castle</a> or <a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-4Wfijw13PrE/UWs_lmgCtQI/AAAAAAAAGa0/BY_czMRtFcc/s1600/VeniceFotoshop3.jpg">villa</a>.
While in Africa i missed the opportunity to meet with the Haitian filmmaker <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raoul_Peck">Raoul Peck</a> whose work i have marveled at at been deeply touched for years. His new film on NGOs in Haiti was to be filmed at the Berlinale and a close friend Wieland  had the intention to make the introduction of two committed creative workers who share this small nation as our <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heimat">HEIMAT</a>. My father has studiously kept his eye on many things and was kind enough to share with me Monsieur Pecks important work entitled "L'Assistance Mortelle" (= Mortal Assistance/Lethal Help) currently on view through Arte online here in Europe. 

As an aside there are various other online programs which have covered the topic- but with a distance that falls short of the true complexities Mr.Peck embraces successfully.

Can one man&#039;s unlikely tourism plan help turn around the country&#039;s economy?</p>
Also a Frontline series. One done in 2010 below or this link: <a href="http://video.pbs.org/video/1456461314/">http://video.pbs.org/video/1456461314/</a> Aproximately 51minutes long

And a Frontline follow-up in 2011 here at this link: <a href="http://video.pbs.org/video/1737171448/">http://video.pbs.org/video/1737171448/</a> (embedding was not possible) 55minutes long

Here is an AUDIO report via the BBC entitled "The Truth About NGOs". You may listen to it here: <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/p00mmnqy/">http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/p00mmnqy/</a>
And finally Al J who should know better than starting their first sentence "Haiti one of the most impovrished countries in the world..."

Arc Mag No.7

Ordering this issue with the feature on my work in a conversation with art historian Jerry Philogene can be had by going to this link <a href="http://arcthemagazine.com/arc/issues/">www.arcthemagazine.com</a>  Issue No.7 will include a Creative Caribbean Community & Diaspora Passport created for the Who More Sci-Fi Than Us exhibition curated by Nancy Hoffman at Kunsthal KadE in the sunner of 2012.


Palais National No More

Palais National No More
Palais National No More

It is FINALLY demolished. It should not have been demolished in my opinion. It should have been preserved  AS a RUIN.
<strong>The conscious effort to erase significant symbols is always a mistake.</strong>

<ins>World News France to rebuild Haiti's presidential palace</ins> Posted: 28 January 2010 0721 hrs 
PORT-AU-PRINCE: Haitian President Rene Preval said Wednesday France has offered to rebuild the ruined presidential palace, whose collapsed cupola has become a symbol of the devastated quake-hit nation.The French "ambassador has told me that France is ready to rebuild the national palace as it was," Preval told a press conference at the government's temporary headquarters near the airport. The imposing white domed building, designed by the Haitian architect Georges Baussan, was constructed in 1918 during the time of the American occupation, and was modelled on the White House, guide books say.

According to <strong>wikipedia</strong> (20.Dec2012 here are some details about this building:
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Palace_%28Haiti%29">wikipedia</a>
<span class="small">The National Palace presently occupying the site was designed in 1912 by Georges H. Baussan (1874–1958), a leading Haitian architect who graduated from the Ecole d'Architecture in Paris and whose commissions included the City Hall of Port-au-Prince and Haiti's Supreme Court Building. He was a son of a former Haitian senator and the father of Robert Baussan, an architect who studied under Le Corbusier and later became the country's Undersecretary of State for Tourism. Baussan's classical design was chosen from a range of plans submitted by Haitian and French architects in a national competition in 1912, His entry was awarded the second-place prize but also was selected to be the new National Palace, for financial reasons—the structure proposed by the first-place winner was deemed too costly.

The construction budget for the new palace was set at $350,000 and work began in May 1914.By 1915, however, the under-construction palace was set ablaze by a mob that ousted and assassinated President Vilbrun Guillaume Sam. A contemporary news report stated the palace "has been partially destroyed after an early-morning attack which lasted several hours". After President Sam's death the country was occupied by the United States, with American forces taking possession of the palace and U. S. naval engineers overseeing its completion. The building was finished in 1920.</span>
<span class="small">Georges H. Baussan's 1912 design for the National Palace of Haiti.

1869 qui renversa le gouvernement du président Sylvain Salnave[3]. Le second Palais national a été détruit quant à lui en 1912 lors de l'explosion d'une poudrière au niveau du sous-sol. Cette explosion tua aussi le président de l'époque, Cincinnatus Leconte, un an et un jour après son investiture, ainsi que plusieurs centaines de soldats. Cependant, la famille du président Leconte a pu s'échapper indemne

Le Palais national actuel fut construit en 1918 sur les plans de Georges Baussan (1874-1958), un architecte haïtien de premier plan, fils d'un ancien sénateur, et qui avait étudié à l'école des beaux-arts de Paris. En 1929, un visiteur décrira Baussan comme « une griffe, c'est-à-dire de couleur de peau brune, mi-chemin entre noir et mulâtre ; il était au-delà de la quarantaine, un homme large, lourd, beau, avec des moustaches délicates, cheveux frisés ; dans son visage intelligent, il avait une expression d'une tristesse voilée, qui, combinée avec sa grandeur et la légère teinte jaune dans les blancs de ses globes oculaires, me faisait penser à un tendre chien Saint-Bernard »

Comme d'autres édifices publics d'Haïti, le Palais national de Baussan puise sur la tradition de l'architecture classique française et ressemble grandement aux structures érigées en France métropolitaine, ainsi que dans son Empire colonial pendant la fin du XIXe siècle, incluant l’Hôtel de Ville de Port-au-Prince, une autre création de Baussan. Avant le tremblement de terre, le bâtiment possédait trois étages et son pavillon d'entrée était constitué d'un portique avec quatre colonnes ionique. Le toit avait trois dômes et aussi un bon nombre de chien-assis. Le palais est entièrement peint en blanc.</span>

Paris Conference

Paris Conference
Paris Conference

"<span class="small">Paris. an internationally key and highly influential Western space in all things concerning the arts and modernity, is the perfect stage for Black Portraiture[s]: The Black Body in the West, the fifth in a series of conferences organized by Harvard University and NYU since 2004. Black Portraiture[s} explores ideas of the production of self-representation, desire, and the exchange of the gaze from the 19th century to the present day in fashion, film, art, and the archives. How do these images, both positive and negative, define, replicate, and transform the black body? Why and how does the black body become a commodity in the global marketplace and what are its legacies? Also, importantly, what are the responses and implications? How can performing blackness be liberating for performer and audience? How the black body has been imagined in the West has always been a rich site for global examination and contestation. The depiction of black peoples often has been governed by prevailing attitudes about race and sexuality. The conference will draw on the ideas and works of leading and emerging writers, photographers, scholars, artists, curators and filmmakers of our time and will include a broader discussion of Africa in the popular imagination.</span>"

I showed this two-chanenel video clip "simultaneously" as a preface to part of my presentation at the BLACK PORTRAITURE(S) Conference in Paris.
I am not certain how to myself summarize this four day event- which Manthia Diawara, the director of Africana Studies of New York University, said in his opening remarks was the first time since 1958 that such an event has happened in Paris (and Rome that following year). He mentioned how the work of Franz Fanon was virtually still unknown in his native France, a statement that was meant to - and successfully did- stun the hundreds of international academics. The key organizers have been <em>Henry Louis Gates Jr.</em> of Harvard's W.E.B. Dubois Center and <em>Manthia Diawara</em> of NYU'S African Studies, but as Manthia also pointed out in his opening remarks- he has been understandably distracted by the current violence in his birthplace Mali and that the conference is in fact fully in gratitude to <em>Deborah Willis </em>director of Tisch School of the Arts, NYU and her team who have successfully organized this massive conference that will take place at L'école superieur des beaux arts, the Sorbonne's Paris 7 and at the Musée Branly over four days.

I was scheduled to make a presentation of my work in a panel entitled "BLACK BODIES: LIVE AND UNCENSORED" organized and moderated by SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) director and chief curator Isolde Brielmaier with creative colleagues: <em>Lyle Ashton Harris, Elizabeth Colomba, Simon Njami, Daniele Tamagni</em> and <em>Carrie Mae Weems.</em>
The basic premise for my own presentation of my work was the underlying trend from "embodiment" to the "disembodied". 
Beginning with the enigmatic (a) <a href="http://jeanulrickdesert.com/content/burqa-project-borders-my-dreams-i-encountered-my-doubles-ghost-0">Burqa project</a> 
> to the (b) <a href="http://jeanulrickdesert.com/negerhosen2000">Negerhosen2000</a> 
> to my use of a (white) body for "hire" in (c)  <a href="http://jeanulrickdesert.com/content/white-lessons">White Lessons</a> 
> to the body of the audience of (d) <a href="http://jeanulrickdesert.com/content/passion-0">The Passion</a> 
> to the metaphor of gesture in the Goddess' (e)*<a href="http://jeanulrickdesert.com/content/goddess-project">Butterfly-Fans</a> 
> and finally to the disembodiment and destruction of body in the Goddess Constellation's (f) <a href="https://lh3.ggpht.com/-gTnH0hQyk8c/T9h5phxQw3I/AAAAAAAAGOw/4If_OYEz6QE/s1600/goddessConstellVisitorView.jpg">Sky Above Haiti ...</a>

The emblematic image used for the Black Portraiture's conference was by the Angolan conceptual artist Kiluanji Kia Henda entitled "<a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-r5rs6cM95Go/UMa4UDQX9tI/AAAAAAAAEhU/B7XWFV09lhA/s1600/merchant+of+venice.jpg">Merchant of Venice</a>" It was very well publicized including new platforms such as <a href="http://blog.uprising-art.com/black-portraitures-black-body-in-the-west-paris/?lang=en">UPRISING</a> Contemporary Caribbean Art who had conducted an interview with me last year in 2012 during the Kunsthal KAdE exhibition in Amersfoort NL. A great resource for all things visual (including Caribbean DNA) is ARC Magazine, click <a href="http://arcthemagazine.com/arc/2013/01/notes-from-the-stuart-hall-library-2012-no-5-from-roshini-kempadoo-animateur-for-sh-library/">HERE</a> for their quick summary of the overall experience soon after this Paris event. Another ARC magazine review of a specific panel is <a href="http://arcthemagazine.com/arc/2013/02/black-skins-white-snow-report-from-black-portraitures-the-black-body-in-the-west/">HERE</a>.

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/pp30Bi74LfY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
A 51minute presentation may be seen online by going to: <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8JgkMHr91M">www.youtube.com/user/bworldconnection</a> (unfortunately it may not be viewed Germany due to copyright conflicts)
<span class="small">
PARIS 4DAY CONF SCHEDULE_ Event Date and Time:
January 17, 2013 – January 20, 2013
École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts  Paris 7 University, Amphitheater Musée du quai Branly
<span class="small">
PARIS January 17 – 20, 2013
THURSDAY – école nationale supérieure des beaux-arts 
14 Rue Bonaparte
Amphithéâtre 1 / Bâtiment des Loges (A)
Salle de conférences/Palais des études (SC)
10:15 AM – 10:30 AM (A)  GREETING
Cheryl Finley and Deborah Willis, organizers
10:30 – 11:00 AM WELCOME BY THE ORGANIZERS     (A)
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (in Sierra Leone), Nicolas Bourriaud, Manthia Diawara, Jean-PaulColleyn, Awam Amkpa, Lydie Diakhaté
Jean-Pierre Dozon and Jean-François Chevrier, moderated by Noemie Oxley
12:00 – 1:00 PM   LUNCH BREAK
1:00 – 1:45 PM  SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER     (A)Lilian Thuram
Jean-Paul Colleyn, Nathalie Coutelet, Sylvie Chalaye, ChristineDouxami, Pascal Blanchard
Kalia Brooks, Anne Lafont, Michelle Stephens, AdrienneL. Childs, Alissandra Cummins, Allison Thompson, Gunja Sen Gupta, Tuliza Fleming
Dominique Malaquais, Françoise Vergès, Bogumil Jewsiewicki,Justin-Daniel Gandoulou, Prune Helfter, Christine Barthe, NgaireBlankenberg
Lydie Diakhaté, Michele Wallace, Diagne Chanel, Nora Chipaumire,
Léonora Miano, Rokhaya Diallo, Trica Danielle Keaton
<span class="small">
FRIDAY – Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7
15 rue Hélène Brion - 75013  Amphithéâtre Buffon
9:00– 5:00 PM                    REGISTRATION
9:15– 9:30 AM                  WELCOME
Jean-Paul Colleyn and Manthia Diawara
9:30 – 11:00 AM                   MEMORY & NOSTALGIA: THE ARCHIVE IN
Cheryl Finley, Pamela Newkirk, Roshini Kempadoo, Celeste Marie
Bernier, Brendan Wattenberg, Renée Mussai
11:00 – 12:30 PM                   ROUNDTABLE – BLACK BODIES: LIVE AND UNCENSORED
Isolde Brielmaier, Ph.D., Simon Njami, Carrie Mae Weems, Elizabeth Colomba,
 Kader Attia, Jean-Ulrick Désert, Lyle Ashton Harris, Daniele Tamagni
12:30 – 1:30 PM                    LUNCH BREAK
Joan Morgan, Kevin Browne, Kimberli Gant, Treva Lindsey, Mark Anthony Neal
3:00 – 3:15 PM                  COFFEE BREAK / PAUSE CAFÉ
Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Robert O’Meally, Mimi Plange, Ekua Abudu, Michaela angela Davis,Catherine McKinley, Katell Pouliquen, Anna Arabindan-Kesson
Shantrelle P. Lewis, Michelle Joan Wilkinson, Monica Miller, AllisonJanae Hamilton, Michael McMillan, Ylva Habel
<span class="small">
SATURDAY – musée du quai Branly
37 Quai Branly
Théâtre Claude Lévi-Strauss (TCL) and Salle de cinéma (SC)
9:30- 5:00 PM                    REGISTRATION
9:30-9:40 AM                  WELCOME
Anne-Christine Taylor-Descola, musée du quai Branly
Awam Amkpa, J. D. Ojeikere, Renée Cox, Heike Behrend, James Barnor,
Angèle Etoundi Essamba, Kiluanji Kia Henda
Yemane Demissie, Idrissou Mora-Kpai, Temi Odumosu, Maaza Mengiste, Artwell Cain, Paul Kaplan, Dell M. Hamilton
11:00-12:30 PM (TCL)         CURATING THE BLACK BODY
Lydie Diakhaté, N’Goné Fall, Xuly Bët, Elvira Dyangani Ose, Nadira Laggoune
Nicole Fleetwood, Carla Williams, Mireille Miller-Young, Jennifer, Christine Nash, Jafari Allen
12:30 – 1:30 PM                    LUNCH BREAK
Hank Willis Thomas, Alexis Peskine, Misa Dayson, Nana Adusei-Poku, Aja Monet, Franck Freitas and Malek Bouyahia
1:30-3:30 PM (SC)                  ON BEAUTY: FROM JOSEPHINE TO MAXINE
Michael Dinwiddie, Anna Maria Horsford, Dyana Williams, Horace Porter, Dominic Thomas, John Shévin Foster, Myisha Priest
3:00 – 3:15 PM                  COFFEE BREAK / PAUSE CAFÉ
Jeff Rabhan, Jason King, Tracey Sharpley-Whiting, Ed Guerrero, Sam Pollard, Lewis Watts, Vera Grant
Michael Gillespie, Erica Edwards, Eve Dunbar, Hiram Perez, Michael Ralph
4:45-6:15 PM (SC)                   OUT OF AFRICA: YOUNG WOMEN BEHIND THE LENS
Shelley Rice, Jeanne Mercier, Zanele Muholi, Nandipha Mntambo, MaïmounaGuerresi, Ayana V. Jackson, Nadia Benchalla
<span class="small">
SUNDAY – musée du quai Branly
Film Screenings in the Salle de Cinema (SC).
11:.00 – 11:15 AM         Welcome
(14’, 1975) by Ben Diogaye Beye
A satire about young men who are prepared to make the most outrageous promises in order to satisfy the longings of young women for exotic experiences.
*with the support of the Cinémathèque Afrique / Institut Français.
(69 min, 2004) documentary by George Amponsah
This is the story of one of the most unusual clubs in the world: La SAPE. Its members, the Sapeurs, come from the Democratic Republic of
Congo and have elevated fashion to the status of a religion. Set to the soundtrack of Congo's extraordinary music, the film follows the
sapeurs’ spiritual leader, Papa Wemba, the world-famous musician known as ‘The King of la Sape’.
1:00 – 1:45 pm    NORA
(30 min, 2008) documentary by Alla Kovgan & David Hinton
In the presence of Nora Chipaumire “Nora” is based on true stories of the dancer Nora Chipaumire, who was born in Zimbabwe in 1965. In the film, Nora returns to the landscape of her childhood and takes a journey through some vivid memories of her youth. Using performance and dance, she brings her history to life in a swiftly-moving poem of sound and image.
2:00  – 4:00 PM       SHAFT
(100 min, 1971) by Gordon Parks - Original music by Isaac Hayes. Introduction by Ed Guerrero (to be confirmed)
An action film with elements of film noir, Shaft tells the story of a black private detective, John Shaft, who travels through Harlem and to the Italian mob neighborhoods in order to find the missing daughter of a black mobster.
4:15  – 6:00 pm        MONA LISA
(1 hr. 44 min., 1986) Drama Directed by Neil Jordan
Bob Hoskins plays George, a tough but basically goodhearted British mob flunky, recently released from prison, where he'd served a term to cover up for his gangster boss (Michael Caine). Still willing to be
everyone's doormat, George agrees to act as chauffeur for Simone
(Cathy Tyson), a haughty, high-priced call girl.</span>

Sci-Fi In The Netherlands

Sci-Fi In The Netherlands
Sci-Fi In The Netherlands
Sci-Fi In The Netherlands

Just got off the telephone with "mediator" Nancy Hoffman who is curating an exhibition in Amersfoort (The Netherlands) at the <a href="http://www.kunsthalkade.nl/tentoonstelling.php?item=1962">KAdE Kunsthal</a> with artworks by me and our Caribbean diaspora's creative-community.

I have proposed and will create, as the part of the <strong>Goddess Projects</strong>,  a new work entitled <em>The Goddess Constellation / Sky above Port-au-Prince Haiti 18°32'21"N 72°20'6"W 12 Jan 2010 21:53 UTC</em>
This will reflect the position of the stars the moment the earthquake devastated Haiti in January of 2010 where  up to 300,000 people lost their lives and limbs.
The exhibition is entitled '<em><strong>Who More Sci-Fi Than Us</strong>, hedendaagse kunst uit de Cariben</em>’ and is taken, in part, from the novel by the Dominican born writer Junot Diaz's <em>The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao</em>

"<strong>On January 12, 2010 an earthquake struck Haiti. The epicenter of the quake, which registered a moment magnitude of 7.0, was only fifteen miles from the capital, Port-au-Prince. By the time the initial shocks subsided, Port-au-Prince and surrounding urbanizations were in ruins. Schools, hospitals, clinics, prisons collapsed. The electrical and communication grids imploded. The Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, and the National Assembly building—historic symbols of the Haitian patrimony—were severely damaged or destroyed. The headquarters of the UN aid mission was reduced to rubble, killing peacekeepers, aid workers, and the mission chief, Hédi Annabi.
The figures vary, but an estimated 220,000 people were killed in the aftermath of the quake, with hundreds of thousands injured and at least a million—one-tenth of Haiti’s population—rendered homeless. According to the Red Cross, three million Haitians were affected. It was the single greatest catastrophe in Haiti’s modern history. It was for all intents and purposes an apocalypse.</strong>"  
SOURCE: Junot Díaz - "Apocalypse / What Disasters Reveal"
<a href="http://www.bostonreview.net/BR36.3/junot_diaz_apocalypse_haiti_earthquake.php">http://www.bostonreview.net/BR36.3/junot_diaz_apocalypse_haiti_earthquake.php</a>

In this blog are several interesting references. An interesting documentary film on Haitians symbolic National Palace (Palais national) which I had used years ago on the outset of my auto biographical work The ABCs of My Private Life. My contention has been that the Palais National should be preserved  as ruin and never reconstructed. There is also a link to historical data on seismic activity in the Caribbean basin. 

The Goddess series takes up the idea, in part, that science is the new religion and that a mysticism of science will emerge- thus these become the endless critical documents of our new belief systems.
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Groups such as ISPAN (Institut de Sauvegarde du Patrimoine National) Most certainly are interested in reconstruction efforts:
<span class="small"><blockquote> Dimanche, 18 avril 2010 13:08
Haiti-ISPAN: Recommandations pour l'avenir du Palais National
Le groupe constitué par l'Institut de Sauvegarde du Patrimoine National (ISPAN), après consultations de divers secteurs de la société, après des consultations techniques sur l'état de conservation du Palais National, formule ses recommandations.
1. Nécessité de prendre en compte les valeurs exceptionnelles du Palais National, en tant que monument historique à part entière :
• Le Palais national construit entre 1913 et 1922 selon les plans de l'architecte haïtien Georges Baussan est, sans conteste, l'expression la plus achevée d'une grande période de l'Architecture en Haïti et est probablement un des plus bel exemple d'architecture néo-classique transplantée en Amérique.
• Les qualités plastiques, architecturales et architectoniques du Palais National en ont fait un des bâtiments les plus importants de l'histoire de l'architecture en Haïti. La réussite architecturale du Palais National tient à la combinaison des deux composantes principales : d'une part, la spontanéité de son assentiment à l'architecture néoclassique, associée à une générosité dans la distribution et le positionnement des espaces, un constant souci de la commodité, une quête permanente de la lumière, une rare précision dans le dessin, et d'autre part, une réelle adaptation aux conditions climatiques.
• Réalisé en béton armé, cet édifice constitue, de plus, une avancée remarquable dans la technologie de la construction en Haïti.
• Siège de la présidence de la république depuis près d'un siècle, le Palais National est le témoin privilégié d'événements importants de l'histoire politique et sociale de la nation.
• Cet édifice possède les trois valeurs définissant un monument historique : une signification, une valeur documentaire et une valeur architecturale. Pour toutes ces raisons, le palais national mériterait largement de rester en place dans la mémoire collective.
2. Nécessité de maintenir le lieu comme siège du Gouvernement
3. Nécessité de privilégier une approche urbaine dans tout projet de restauration du Palais National et de prendre en compte son environnement immédiat. La notion de préservation du patrimoine devrait dépasser celui du monument isolée et s'étendre au quartier (Champ- de-Mars), au centre historique de Port-au-Prince et à la ville.
4. Nécessité de considérer que les exigences de la bureautique moderne s'accommodent mal au fonctionnement du Palais National. Sa restauration ne devrait envisager que les fonctions d'apparat et les activités officielles de la Présidence (réception officielle, réunion du Conseil des Ministres, etc.). a visite du monument historique devrait également être pris en compte. Les fonctions administratives et autres seraient aménagées dans de nouveaux espaces appropriés et construits à cet effet.
5. Nécessité d'élargir la réflexion et d'engager un véritable débat autour de l'avenir du Pa- lais National pour la recherche d'un consensus national sur la question de la restauration du bâtiment endommagé ou la construction d'un nouvel édifice.</span>
ISPAN / N/ Radio Métropole Haïti </blockquote>

A 45minute documenatry from USA Public Broadcasting System Frontline Program
Audio-stream link <a href="http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/rss/media/2814audiocast.mp3">pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/rss/media/audiocast</a>

The underlying ideologies beneath this 18minute documentary are worth discussing or at the very least arguing:

Yesterday Today Tomorrow

<strong>Yesterday</strong> i took 25 minutes to watch a cinematic work by Werner Herzog.
I am very taken by this minimalist work and have been impressed by every piece i have seen by this German filmmaker. 

I stayed up all night unable to sleep thinking about this film and <em>how it operates as a work of art</em> that is simultaneously critical and personal and universal- key elements, in my assessment, necessary in a great work of art. This work brings up the topic of sufferance and makes me recall a text by the New York based art-critic Peter Schjeldahl who wrote about it as necessary element in the experience of the artist in order to create great work. I have for years been appalled at his statement and dismissed them as artistic romance. 

I must now confess, under the analysis of piercing interviews, that there is an undeniable kernel of truth within this notion of pain. I have unwittingly used art to exorcise pain, great or small, as a catalyst for comprehending a complex set of seemingly disparate events in the worlds i inhabit. 
The death of an estimated quarter of a million people with whom i share my Heimat is encapsulated in my <em>Sky Above Haiti / Goddess Constellation</em>. The horror of watching New York's  September  eleven attacks found its exorcism in the <em>Burqa Project: On The Borders of My Dreams I Encountered my Double's Ghost</em>. The trauma of being attacked in the streets of Berlin birthed the Negerhosen2000 projects. 

Perhaps for now I wont lay out the genesis of my works since this is ultimately less important that the work itself and its ability to transmit authentic experience through the a poetic lens. It is that captured authenticity in the art as vessel that will persist and carry an experience through time.
(To be continued)

<span class="small">(Youtube description:Pilgrimage is a 2001 short documentary film by famous Germany director Werner Herzog. Accompanied only by music the film alternates between shots of pilgrims near the tomb of Saint Sergei in Sergiyev Posad, Russia and pilgrims at the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico. The score was composed by John Tavener and performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra with vocal accompaniment by Parvin Cox and the Westminster Cathedral Choir.)</span>
<strong>Today </strong>I received a poem from my father. A poem by René Dépestre (a bio on this poet can be found on my friend Thomas' website<a href="http://www.lehman.cuny.edu/ile.en.ile/paroles/depestre.html"> ile-en-ile</a>)

<span class="small">Au rendez-vous de la vie
Dans une main je tiens mon droit à l’amour
et dans l’autre mon billet pour Berlin
D’un côté de mon coeur resplendit le ciel de ma Patrie
et de l’autre luisent comme des graines
dans l’avant jour d’un fruit
les yeux de tous les enfants du monde.
Mais avant de mettre le cap de mes espérances
sur l’air de Berlin
je veux faire le tour de mon ami Manuel
Je veux faire le tour de l’homme qui se lève chaque matin
avec la première goutte de rosée
bien avant que les coqs s’allument
dans la fraîcheur des arbres
L’homme qui n’a jamais dormi dans un lit
l’homme qui se rase avec un tesson de bouteille.
Je veux que sa voix de paysan souffle en poupe de la mienne
et enfle mes voiles comme un vent de pleine mer.
 Dis-leur que depuis trois ans
les oiseaux ont changé de plumage
et les poissons d’écailles.
Mais que ma négresse n’a pas changé de robe
que ma fillette est morte le mois dernier
parce que  je n’avais pas les sous pour la quinine
que la pluie rentre par le toit de ma maison
pour me voler la lueur de ma lampe
et abîmer la natte de mes amours.
Ne manquez pas de leur dire
que si mon foyer prend l’eau
si ma négresse doit rester nue le jour qu’elle lave sa robe
si au lieu d’une poupée ce sont les fourmis et les vers
qui tiennent compagnie à ma fillette
c’est à cause des actions que le drapeau étoilé
prend sur chaque goutte de ma sueur
afin de régler la note des grenades et des fusils.
Dis-leur que la vie de mon peuple
est un monolithe de peines
d’une coulée de ténèbres comme une lame tranchante d’épée.
Dis-leur que mon peuple ne sait pas consulter une montre
mais parvient à lire l’heure
d’après la profondeur de la faim dans ses entrailles
d’après l’intensité du sommeil contre sa rétine.
Il est midi dans mon ventre
il est minuit dans mes yeux.
Dis-leur que mon peuple ne sait pas compter jusqu’à mille
ne sait pas que la terre tourne.
Dis-leur que nos fins de mois sont aussi closes que des portes de prison.
Je vais à Berlin pour que soit mis l’embargo
sur la faim de mon peuple
l’embargo sur ses menottes sur son grabat
sur ses larmes et ses frissons de malaria
pour que le Dieu dollar cesse de verrouiller
la chanson radieuse de son visage
pour que sa misère ne soit plus à perpétuité
condamné au régime du secret.
Je vais à Berlin pour que la paix
garde toutes ses feuilles et ouvre ses bras
à la vie de tous les peuples
et comme une semence de clarté
dénoue chaque bourgeon de leur avenir.
Je vais à Berlin dans le sillage du printemps
pour que les lendemains de tous les hommes
soient ruisselants de lumière
et que jaillisse ( le pain) le vin le plus rouge de la fraternité</span>

René Dépestre / Poète haïtien, prix Goncourt - vit en France

<strong>Tomorrow</strong> awaits the embrace of yesterdays experiences

The Caged Bird Sings

cage as metaphor

I saw this film many years ago and I found it very interesting in all its details. "Haiti" seems to arise from nowhere in the film- other than as a strong "symbol" for black sovereignty and pride (yet caged). Nothing is ever explained- but it is one of those artistic devices in which it stands in easily for the volumes of history and perceptions that can not be said. Josephine, like Hanna Schygulla in Fassbinder's  Mariage of Maria Braun (1979), represents more than a person but stands-in for a large symbol of state and culture.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou)
<span class="small">The free bird leaps
on the back of the win
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.</span>

<span class="small">But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.</span>

<span class="small">The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and is tune is heard
on the distant hillfor the caged bird
sings of freedom
<span class="small">The free bird thinks of another breeze
an the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.
<span class="small">But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing
<span class="small">The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.</span>

A notable essay to footnote from <em>The Scholar and Feminist Online /Published by The Barnard Center for Research</em> on Women,by <strong>Felicia McCarren</strong> "<a href="http://sfonline.barnard.edu/baker/mccarren_01.htm">The Use-Value of 'Josephine Baker</a>'"

But where is the "Cage"? one might ask. Why am i bringing these various disparate things together? There are a variety of cages- some golden, others not, from my viewpoint. 
In the Mid 1980s I presented an analysis as part of my <strong>Cooper Union Thesis</strong> project. At the center of this thesis was (the late) Josephine, not merely her biography, but rather what she seemed to "represent" for large masses (<em>the French, the francophone world</em> (I would find it fascinating to know with some certainty <strong>Frantz Fanon's</strong> reflections on "la Baker"), <em>Americans, black-americans, The Germans, Europeans</em> over-all and so on) My thesis took as it's secondary focus a work of artistry (and sofistry) by the Austrian architect <strong>Adolf Loos </strong>(then with a practice in France and a competitor of the Swiss <em>starchitect</em> le Corbusier) a "<em>House for Josephine Baker</em>" (the location of which I only recently discovered during a work grant  from the <strong>Kulturstiftung des Länder</strong> in Berlin). One of the upcoming <strong>Goddess Projects</strong> will use this Austrian's house as it's point of entry and departure. The cage in the film sequence  above  and its conflation with Haiti is perhaps understood metaphorically when reads between the lines of what consitutes the construction of a cage in <strong>Noam Chomsky</strong>'s lecture on Haiti:

Josephine Baker sings "Haiti"
Noam Chomsky talks about Haiti

Aufbau Journey To Kunsthal Netherlands

Aufbau Journey To Kunsthal Netherlands
Atelier study for the "planets"
Atelier production , Berlin
Unpacking in Amersfoort, the Netherlands
"Aufbau"(Build up) in the museum Kunsthal Kade
My constellations "guide" to double/triple check my work
my amersfort host in my temporary garden
my Amsterdam host
my Amsterdam picnic party in Vondel Park

This springtime 2012 has been very full for me after spending nearly a month in New York City- mostly with family/friends and some brief but necessary interview work for some articles later in the year.
I was delighted to see several art related events most notably an exhibition by Lorraine O'Grady at Gray Associates Gallery in Chelsea (where I had just missed Coco Fusco's recent show there but was fortunate to see here here in Berlin for s tremendous lecture she gave at the<a href="http://www.ici-berlin.org/de/docu/fusco/1/"> I.C.I. at Pfefferberg </a> )

I arrived to Berlin tired and relieved after the first occasion of a New York alienation I had not known before. Much has changed in New York, and it is more beautiful, but I remain suspect at the many questionable details where the devil may lay.

AUFBAU in German means to "build up" - in English we tend to say or call the neccessary period  before an exhibition opens the "installation"  period. The Upcoming Aufbau of Nancy Hoffman's show would need to take priority in all my scheduled things in Berlin.

Back in Berlin my skype meetings and email correspondences with Nancy Hoffman where clear and concise with each one of us wanting to make it "easy" (but wonderful) for her upcoming project " <a href="http://whomorescifithanus.nl/">Who More Sci-Fi Than Us? Contemporary Art from the Caribbean</a>" at the Kunsthal Kade in Amersfoort Netherlands where I know a nice couple since last year on Terschelling Island at the Wierschuur . The title is cited from a Juan Diaz novel of a young Domincan man living in manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood (where i stayed with Thomas Spear and his partner  for one night in April)
 Late April and most of May 2012 has just been a laser-focus on making all the necessary elements work for the new project/commission of "Who More Sci-Fi than Us?" Within this short period of time I needed to generate a new constellation that would reflect the precise moment of Haiti's recent  and <a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ADjn8AMOyV4/TuROIy_cf0I/AAAAAAAAEzI/_r8mye0TTYE/s1600/Picture+20.png">devastating earthquake</a> in January of 2010.

We also discussed creating a  public project. something that could be produced at a reasonable cost and serve both the purposes of PR as well as my general interests in creating a work that is familiar  but loaded with a poetic gesturet hat can literally be taken away. I proposed a "Passport" one that reflected a sense of this expansive community rooted in some way to the Caribbean. It would be created in the approximate size of a real passport 8the dutch one being a model) in similar colors and with a similar seriousness given to this document that rules the lives of billions on our planet today. The parameters of  budgets being what they are - my desire for the  passport "pages" to be rainbow colored did not come to fruition but they are very acceptable none the less (it was important that the pages not be  white. Blue was a nice and acceptable alternative)

The Creative Caribbean Community

The Creative Caribbean Community
The Creative Caribbean Community
The Creative Caribbean Community
The Creative Caribbean Community
The Creative Caribbean Community
The Creative Caribbean Community
The Creative Caribbean Community

 A long week of diligent work and focus by many involved at and around the  Kunsthal Kade in Amersfort  brought to fruition a rather splendid show.

The main Exhibtion link is <a href="http://whomorescifithanus.nl/">http://whomorescifithanus.nl/</a>

The Artist panel discussion took place the next day- A young brilliant writer/poet with a wickedly quick mind put together his "notations" into a wonderful rambling text citing our salient points of the discussions and arguments.

the full text by quinsy Gario is called "<a href="http://framerframed.nl/en/dossier/nets-have-many-holes/">Nets Have Many Holes</a>"