10.14.2004

CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS — SUITCASES ON TOUR!

Topic(s): performance | No Comments

Date/Time: 14/10/2004 12:00 am


CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS for
PUBLIC ART INSTALLATION/PERFORMANCE
COLUMBUS PARK, formerly BOROUGH PARK, BROOKLYN HEIGHTS
(at Montague and Court Streets)
SUITCASES ON TOUR!
conceived by Chanika Svetvilas
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2004
12 noon to 4:00 p.m.
preview Friday, October 22, 2004, 12 noon to 2:00 p.m.
Suitcases on Tour engages paranoia and suspicion associated with unattended luggage during a time of heightened security and brings attention to contradictions between the freedom of travel and migration and the restrictions of immigration and border crossing. Red, orange, and yellow custom designed suitcases echoing the high security alert levels that have become part of everyday life, will be “paraded” throughout the city and carried into the Columbus Park plaza in Brooklyn. Suitcases on Tour also raises awareness about current discriminatory immigration policies, based on religion and ethnicity, that has led to detention and automatic deportation alongside the privileges and power relationships of the tourist as voyeur. Suitcases on Tour reflects a contradiction between the freedom of travel and migration and the restrictions of immigration and border crossing as reflected in Patriot Act I and II enforcement by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.
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Call for Volunteers
Volunteers are being sought to carry the “suitcases” individually from their home or workplace traveling by bus, subway, train, car, bicycle or foot into Columbus Park and then tracing a choreographed walk to highlight the effects of U.S. immigration policy. Each volunteer will receive a map of the park and will carry the suitcase tracing the walking pattern until they’re ready to depart.
If you would like to participate in Suitcases on Tour, please fill out the following form and submit no later than Friday, October 22, 2004. Email information to suitcasesontour@yahoo.com. For more information, please call 917-648-1933.
1. First Name _____________________________ Last Name _______________________________
2. Phone: (h)______________________________ (w)____________________________________
Cell: ________________________________ Email address: ________________________________
Address __________________________________________________________________________
City ______________________________________________ State _________ Zip _____________
3. Best way to contact you: (Please check all that apply.)
 home phone  work phone  cell  email
4. Date(s) and times available to volunteer (Please check all that apply.)
 Oct. 22 (12 noon -1 p.m.)  Oct. 22 (1-2 p.m.)  OCT. 23 (12 noon -2 p.m.)
 OCT. 23 (1-3 p.m.)  OCT. 23 (2-4 p.m.)  I can contribute only 1 hour on Oct. 23 at __
5. Please state what home and travel or migration means to you in 250 words or less. [eg. Do you consider NYC your home? Do you feel at home in the U.S.? Is home where you sleep or where you were born and raised, etc.? How does current U.S. immigration law affect you or not? Do you associate travel with vacation/holiday, migration, seeking asylum, your daily commute, etc.?]
www.chanikasvet.com
Contact: tel 917-648-1933
suitcasesontour@yahoo.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) sponsors
Suitcases on Tour
An installation & performance conceived by Chanika Svetvilas
Saturday, October 23, 2004, 12 noon to 4:00 p.m.
Preview: Friday, October 22, 2004, 12 noon to 2:00 p.m.
Columbus Park, Brooklyn (formerly Borough Park)
Montague and Court Streets, in front of the New York State Supreme Court.
October 6, 2004, Brooklyn, NY —Suitcases on Tour engages paranoia and suspicion associated with unattended luggage during a time of heightened security and brings attention to contradictions between the freedom of travel and migration and the restrictions of immigration and border crossing. Twenty custom -designed suitcases made of red, orange, and yellow plastic echo the high security-alert level indicators that are now a part of our every day life. They will originate from various geographical locations of New York City and will be brought by volunteers traveling by bike, bus, subway, and foot to converge on the plaza of Columbus Park, Brooklyn. The “Suitcases” will travel throughout the city and parade into Columbus Park to raise awareness about current discriminatory immigration policies, based on religion and ethnicity, that has led to detention and automatic deportation of immigrants. This event also questions the increased surveillance that has been generated by the Patriot Act enforcement by the United States Department of Homeland Security. Suitcases on Tour focuses on the relationship between home, travel, and displacement while also addressing the “native” New Yorker whom lives in one of the most diverse cities in the world.
At Columbus Park, the suitcases will be visible to pedestrians as they cross the plaza but will become part of daily life, as are the security alerts. People can follow the trail of suitcases in a choreographed pattern designed by Ann Robideaux that question the contradictions or injustices of indefinite detention and racial profiling, but also the relativity of borders and national identity. Concerns the courts have been struggling to comprehend since the 9/11 tragedy. The choreographed walking patterns of lined up suitcases reflect immigration policies of a cyclical convoluted nature where there seems no way out.
A temporary mobile “immigration booth,” designed by Miguel Baltierra and Shahaan Azeem, invites people to obtain a visa based on their Brooklyn status and highlights the relativity of borders. On Saturday, October 23rd an information table sponsored by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), www.aaldef.org, will distribute a report on Special Registration as well as Know Your Rights Cards and be available to answer questions on the affects of current U.S. government policy on their clients.
Police Commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, initially attempted to prevent Suitcases on Tour from taking place siting security concerns if actual suitcases were used asserting the current orange level alert. The permit denial was issued after the 84th police precinct and Brooklyn Parks Department had already approved the park permit. After negotiations, Suitcases on Tour was permitted on the condition that real suitcases not be used. Chanika Svetvilas complied by fabricating flat custom-designed suitcases from colored plastic with a laser cut design of an eye and figures that return the gaze.
Chanika Svetvilas is a visual artist, born and raised in New York State to parents who emigrated from Thailand in 1965. She earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Studio Art from Skidmore College where she received the Multicultural Citizenship Award. She has exhibited her work in the United States and is currently participating in The Luggage Project exhibition at the Denver International Airport. Her temporary public art installation, Living American, is currently on view at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York, ongoing to December 2004. This past year, Svetvilas was awarded a multimedia residency with Rotunda Gallery/Brooklyn Community Access Television (BCAT). She was also the artist-in-residence at Up-Set Press based in Brooklyn, NY in 2003. In addition, she has collaborated as set designer with award-winning choreographers Ann Robideaux and Paula Plebbas for the modern dance piece, Baggage Claim, presented at Theater for the New City in New York. Her work can be seen in the NuyorAsian Anthology, published by Asian American Writer’s Workshop (1999). Svetvilas will be presenting her first solo gallery show at David Allen Design Gallery, Brooklyn, NY in 2005.
Founded in 1974, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) is the first legal rights organization on the East Coast that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans through litigation, legal advocacy and community education. AALDEF was founded by a group of lawyers, law students and community activists who believed that the law should be used as a tool to achieve social and economic justice for Asian Americans and all Americans. AALDEF focuses on critical issues affecting Asian Americans both locally and nationally, including civic participation and voting rights, economic justice for workers, immigrant rights, laguage rights, affirmative action, and the elimination of anti-Asian violence and police misconduct. After 9-11, AALDEF actively documented and provided legal assistance for victims of violence directed against South Asians, Filipino Americans, and others who looked “Middle Eastern.” AALDEF published the report, Special Registration, Discrimination and Xenophobia as Government Policy in January 2004 that describes how Muslim men have been selectively tracked and deported. For more information, visit www.aaldef.org.
This event is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by The Brooklyn Arts Council, Inc. (BAC). Cosponsored by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
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