SEMINAR: Tensta konsthall “Migration history and Politics”
November 9th, 2017
When asylum rights are continuously violated and Migration is economized, a need is created to counteract knowledge deficiency and stop historical ignorance from spreading. Tensta konsthall has therefore initiated a collaboration with several universities and research institutes, resulting in a multi-disciplinary night class beginning in February 2017. The class covers the history of Migration, cross-border policy in Europe and internationally, Migration beyond the concept of the nation state, asylum rights, etc. Contemporary art will be a feature throughout the course, as the questions and ideas addressed are at the core of the work exhibited at the konsthall, and artists working with the themes will join the class, sharing ideas and insights.
In collaboration with Södertörn University; Stockholm University; REMESO – Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society at Linköping University; Royal Institute of Art; Uppsala University and Malmö University. In English.
This fall, Tensta konsthall’s course in the history and politics of migration continues. During two intense afternoons, lectures, discussions and screenings are held with researchers, curators and artists from Forensic Architecture (London), Savvy Contemporary (Berlin), REMESO (Linköping University) and DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency in Palestine). Topics addressed are the erased history of refugee camps, images of smugglers, anti-colonial migration and philosopher Hanna Arendt’s (1906-1975) thoughts about the right to have rights, among others.
With artist Cana Bilir-Meier, historian Håkan Blomqvist, ethnicity professor and author Stefan Jonsson, researcher Mahmoud Keshavarz who works with migration and design policy, researcher Anna Lundberg, focusing on human rights and refugee issues, historian Fredrik Petersson whose research area is transnational anti-colonialism, architect and professor Alessandro Petti who, together with Sandi Hilal, initiated the Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency in Palestine, curator Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung who runs the artistic platform Savvy in Berlin, focusing on decolonial practitioners, as well as the architect and professor Eyal Weizman who has initiated Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths in London, an agency that works through architectural and technological research projects to expose political conflicts, surveillance and border policy.
DEFIANCE IN/AS RADICAL LOVE
Soliciting Contact Zones and Healing Spaces by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung
There seems to be a general consensus that our time is experiencing an extremely stormy weather. Figuratively and metaphorically. The radical shift towards the far right and ultra neoliberal regimes as we experience in most of Europe, the USA, India, Cameroon, Brazil etc seem to sound the gong of a new era. Or is it a continuation and affirmation, a transformation and amoebic re-form of patriarchy and whiteness, fascism and xenophobia, over-simplifications and projectionism? The lecture takes its cue from the recent German elections and the majestic striding into the German parliament of the far right party, AfD. It will be an effort to reflect on the world vortexing into a state of (self-) dilapidation from the vantage point of an artistic practice that is an enactment of citizenship. A vantage point that ruminates on breathing as an act of protest, and protest as an act of love. The lecture DEFIANCE IN/AS RADICAL LOVE proposes the establishment of contact zones and healing spaces, as the concepts of ‘they’ versus ‘we’, ‘them’ versus ‘us’, ‘yours’ versus ‘mine’ have failed us. Can art and art spaces be what Mary Louise Pratt terms ‘contact zones’, i.e. “spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery or their aftermaths as they are lived out in the world today?” Art and art spaces can be healing spaces in which protest is a form of cathartis.
Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, PhD is an independent art curator and biotechnologist. He is founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary Berlin and editor-in-chief of SAVVY Journal for critical texts on contemporary African art. He is currently guest professor in curatorial studies at the Städelschule Frankfurt. He was curator-at-large for documenta 14, and is a guest curator of the 2018 Dak’Art Biennale in Senegal. Recent curatorial projects include Every Time A Ear di Soun — a documenta 14 Radio Program, SAVVY Contemporary, 2017; The Conundrum of Imagination, Leopold Museum Vienna/ Wienerfestwochen, 2017; An Age of our Own Making in Holbæk, MCA Roskilde and Kunsthal Charlottenborg Copenhagen, 2016-17; Unlearning the Given: Exercises in Demodernity and Decoloniality, SAVVY Contemporary, 2016; The Incantation of the Disquieting Muse, SAVVY Contemporary, 2016.
by Alessandro Petti
Refugee camps are established with the intention of being demolished. As a paradigmatic representation of political failure, they are meant to have no history and no future; they are meant to be forgotten. The history of refugee camps are constantly erased, dismissed by states, humanitarian organizations, international organizations and even self-imposed by refugee communities in fear that any acknowledgement of the present undermines a future right of return. The only history that is recognized within refugee communities is one of violence and humiliation. Yet the camp is also a place rich with stories narrated through its urban fabric. In tracing, documenting, revealing and representing refugee history beyond the narrative of suffering and displacement, Refugee Heritage is an attempt to imagine and practice refugeeness beyond humanitarianism.
Contemporary notions of heritage and conservation are buttressed by institutions of great power, which are often oriented towards cultural expropriation. UNESCO’s “Format for the nomination of properties for inscription on the World Heritage List (Annex 5)” is a monumental building built during a colonial era. Over the course of two years, organizations and individuals, politicians and conservation experts, activists, governmental and non-governmental representatives and proximate residents gathered to discuss the implications of nominating Dheisheh Refugee Camp as a World Heritage Site. Refugee Heritage seeks to deploy the potential for heritage to be mobilized as an agent of political transformation.
Hanna Arendt and the Right to Have Rights
by Anna Lundberg
In this lecture, Hannah Arendt’s writing on the right to have rights is in focus.
The presentation revolves around three arguments from Arendt. Firstly, the importance of belonging to a political community in order to have space to produce rights claims. Secondly, the argument that human rights, in their most basic form, namely to ensure the rights of humans as their humanity, paradoxically has the effect that human beings can not act as just rights carriers. This paradox is built into human rights. It involves major discrepancies between “human rights” as a basis for rights claims on the one hand and real access to justice on the other. A third argument by Arendt relates to the basis of human rights, and to the fact that humans are not born equal even if expressed in international agreements. This argument highlights the issue of how rights arise. This assumes, Arendt argues, that people come together and act politically. Searching for a principle that can underpin equality and freedom can in this context be constitutive for rights. In this way rights are re-created, or the conditions for how they are being raised.
Anna Lundberg is a professor of welfare law at Linköping University. For 17 years, she has worked as a teacher and researcher in the field of human rights at Malmö University, now recently in the research project “Paperless Children’s Rights Claims. A multidisciplinary project on rights claims and contradictions between rights regulation “, which has an activist approach. Lundberg has a critical view of rights discussions in which she tries to understand the radical potential of rights advocacy and on what grounds justice claims can be made.