In light of the current situation where an increasingly heated political climate is shaping the rhetoric and discussion concerning migrants and refugees – we wish to investigate the agency of art and artists working with these matters or within related fields.The symposium Blind Spots will explore a number of different artistic practices operating in a social and political context over two days. In order to expand the critical perspectives, practitioners and institutions in the Oresund region as well as transnational agents are invited to contribute with their perspectives in relation to art and migration. The focus will be on questions concerning inclusion/exclusion, activism/art, empowerment/representation and the artist’s role when working in political contexts. The symposium is also an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with practitioners in the field of art dealing with migration through different approaches.
The symposium is organized by Woodpecker Projects and artist Maj Hasager in collaboration with Inter Arts Center and Malmö Konstmuseum.
September 17 at 19.00-22.00. Inter Arts Center19.00 We will meet in the blind spot, artist presentation of the project by Maj Hasager (DK), Swedish premiere of the film and launch of her publication Making Visible published by Woodpecker Projects.
20.30 Bifurcating futures, performance with dancer Maria Concetta Borgese (IT) and vinyl record release of Bifurcating Soundscape by composer Ask Kæreby (DK).
About the project We will meet in the blind spot:
Situated between documentary and fiction, the film We will meet in the blind spot by Maj Hasager relays stories of the Esposizione Universale di Roma (EUR) district in Rome. The EUR was built during the fascist rule of Mussolini to represent a »Third Rome« but wasn’t completed until the 1960’s, when it was eventually finished under very different purposes of urban planning. Through encounters with the local Filipino community centered around a church in EUR, personal accounts and stories are compiled, that are often lacking within the Italian and European debate on migration. The following performance and record release relates to the research into totalitarian architecture as part of the expanded projectWe will meet in the blind spot.
In connection with both the presentation of Maj Hasager’s project at IAC and the seminar on art and migration at Malmö Konstmuseum, IAC will present a week long screening programme with video works and documentaries around the theme of migration.
September 18 at 13.00-17.00
13.00 Introduction by Anna Johansson and Cecilia Widenheim, Malmö Konstmuseum
13.10 Rethinking Migration in the Context of Nordic Coloniality, CAMP (Center for Art and Migration Politics), represented by Tone Olaf Nielsen (DK)
13.35 The Real Change Has Not Even Begun, Ibrahim Mahama (GH), artist
14.00 Space Metropoliz and MAAM: samples of translocal art projects in Rome, Silvia Litardi (IT), curator
14.25 Coffee break
14.45 Catching a Unicorn – What Can Solidarity Between Artists Look Like?, Unicorn – Artists in Solidarity (SE)
15.10 Discussion, moderated by Maria Kjær Themsen (DK), art critic and curator
16.00 Socializing and refreshments
CAMP (Center for Art on Migration Politics) is a non-profit exhibition venue for art discussing questions of displacement, migration, immigration and asylum. CAMP works to increase insight into the life situations of displaced and migrant persons, and to discuss these in relation to the overall factors that cause displacement and migration to begin with. The objective is, through art, to stimulate greater understanding between displaced people and the communities that receive them, and to stimulate new visions for a more inclusive and equitable migration, refugee and asylum policy. CAMP is a self-governing institution directed and founded by the Danish curatorial collective Kuratorisk Aktion (Frederikke Hansen & Tone Olaf Nielsen).
Ibrahim Mahama is an artist for whom the collectivist potentialities of art production recall the progressivism of political action. His practice acts within the historical intersection of society and its commodities, placing an emphasis on processes in which art becomes the residual product of civic movement. His ambitious installations (Occupation 2011 – on-going) form a series of interventions in which symbolically loaded materials often associated with trade and export are utilized to question the role of the object within processes of daily transaction and exchange. Mahama’s specific engagement with the conditions of Ghanaian trade has led him into an intensive dialogue with the historical reality of the country’s raw minerals and materials. He lives and works in Tamale, Ghana.
Silvia Litardi is an art historian and independent curator, based in Rome, Italy. In the context of her professional career, contemporary art is becoming more and more a complex and strategic device in order to reconsider social and cultural identities. Working in this curatorial field, the public and private spheres get constantly questioned; she focuses her attention on the artistic process as the main place where the world gets continually reconfigured. In Argentina, she began to investigate various independent forms of curating as acts of political activism. Back to Italy, she brought her deep understanding of these dynamics into “Space Metropoliz”, a public art project in Rome that she curated in 2011 and that developed into a docufiction movie in 2013. From this multi-faces experience originated MAAM, the “Museo dell’Altro e dell’Altrove di Metropoliz_città meticcia” (Museum of the Other and the Elsewhere of Metropoliz_mestizo city), conceptualized by Giorgio de Finis, which will slowly turn the ex-factory Metropoliz in a super collective art object.
UNICORN – artists in solidarity, is a network initiated by artists and cultural workers in Malmö. All over the world artists are put under pressure and our possibilities to work as artists is being undercut by governments or other oppressing structures. UNICORN is developing a residency program in Malmö aiming to give refuge to artists at risk. UNICORN wish to act in solidarity, share experiences and strategies with colleagues as well as support artists who are in need of citizenship
Maria Kjær Themsen works as an independent art critic, curator. She is the author of numerous articles, texts and essays about art, and co-editor of the internationally published Danske Kunstnerbøger/Danish Artists’ Books. She is a regular contributor toWeekendavisen, Kunstkritikk.dk and Artforum.com, and functions as a lecturer at the Funen Art Academy. Curated shows include SPATIUM. Danish Contemporary Art (2012),Literacy/Illiteracy – the 16th Tallinn Print Triennial (2014), Kumu Art Museum, Estonia,Danish Artists’ Books – The Exhibition (2013), Overgaden, and most recently Graduation 15, Kunsthal Aarhus, May 2015.
Initiators of the symposium:
Maj Hasager is a Danish artist and filmmaker based in Copenhagen. Her work deals with power structures, identity, memory, the construction of history and architecture, looking at how these interlinked phenomena are interpreted and represented culturally and spatially. Her artistic approach is research-based and interdisciplinary and she works predominantly with text, sound, video and photography.
Woodpecker Projects is an ambulatory exhibition-initiating platform and a small publishing house. Its mission is to produce, promote, document and theorize new works that explore the intersection of word, image, page and exhibition. The editors of Woodpecker Projects are Ditte Ejlerskov, Jens Henricson and Jerker Knape.