07.21.2014

Letter regarding Creative Time’s Living as Form

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Letter regarding Creative Time’s Living as Form

Dear Participants of Living as Form (nomadic version):

We have become aware that your work is being exhibited at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa as part of Living as Form (nomadic version), the Creative Time exhibition that is being toured internationally by Independent Curators International (ICI). As admirers of your work and this critical exhibition—which includes so many exemplary projects that imbue our everyday actions and lived environments with community participation, imagination, and political commitment—we are concerned about the disconnect between the artists’ orientation toward social justice and the exhibiting institution’s central role in maintaining the unjust and illegal occupation of Palestine.

Technion has, for decades, been a crucial research center for the development of technologies used by the Israeli Defence Forces against Palestinians in regular and widespread acts of surveillance, land theft, unwarranted eviction, restriction on movement, and violent repression. As the leading science and technology university in Israel (the world’s top exporter of drones), Technion has been central in the development of military unmanned aerial vehicles such as the “Stealth drone,” which can fly up to 1,850 miles and deploy two 1,100-pound bombs by remote control. Technion has also innovated remote-control capabilities for the Caterpillar D-9 armored bulldozer, an effective tool in the continued destruction of Palestinian homes (over 27,000 of which have been destroyed since 1967, according to the Israeli Comittee Against House Demolitions). Technion works closely with Rafael, the Israeli government company that designs advanced weapons systems, and Elbit, one of the two main contractors of the electronic detection fence, a key component of Israel’s Separation Wall in the West Bank (read more about these partnerships here).

So far, six collectives— Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Chto Delat?, Céline and Gavin Wade Condorelli, the Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency, the U.S. Social Forum, and Women on Waves—have withdrawn on ethical grounds concerning Technion’s direct relation to the Israeli occupation and/or on the grounds of its violation of Palestinians’ call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and ends its occupation of Palestinian land, dismantles the Wall, ensures equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and respects, protects, and promotes rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

Since a broad base of Palestinian civil society called for BDS in 2005, thousands of activists, artists, and civil associations have courageously refused participation in Israeli cultural and academic institutions, noting their deep ties to governmental policies of apartheid and practices of settler colonialism. The BDS strategy has seen growing success. Support includes endorsement by a long list of luminaries, including Judith Butler, Naomi Klein, Angela Davis, Arundhati Roy, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker, Eduardo Galeano, Brian Eno, John Berger, Roger Waters, the late Gil Scott Heron, and many others. Last year the American Studies Association endorsed the boycott of Israeli academic institutions; divestment resolutions are quickly spreading around the United States and the world. You can read more about the campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel here.

We have been told that after concerns began to emerge about Technion’s military ties and the violation of BDS, ICI recently—several days after the show’s May 28 opening—wrote to some of you indicating that your work is being shown there and that you have the right to withdraw it. In addition to this exhibition, some months earlier this same exhibition has travelled to Artport in Tel Aviv (December 26, 2013 to March 7, 2014). It should be noted that both of these exhibitions are in violation of the BDS call.

Since we heard about the show at Technion, some of us have attempted to reach out to those exhibited in Living as Form before making the call public so that you could also be involved in the development of the call and what transpires in the future. We could not manage to reach all of you and this letter is part of that effort. With this appeal and the information contained herein, we call on you to join your fellow artists in withdrawing your works from this exhibition.

Creative Time and ICI are, according to their statements, choosing to disregard the BDS call and unwilling to withdraw the exhibition. They have placed the responsibility on artists to do so. We ask you, as artists whose imaginative and committed work we deeply respect, to stand in solidarity with Palestinians resisting the continued colonization of their land and to stand against the tacit legitimization of institutions which develop the technologies and infrastructures for maintaining the occupation.

Please notify ICI of your withdrawal from the show at Technion and let Creative Time and ICI know that cultural organizations must halt their partnerships with institutions that contribute to or normalize the Israeli military-industrial complex. We thank you for your consideration and your continued commitment to international social justice.

May such actions help us to begin boycotting all the institutions which implicitly or explicitly support militarism, including those in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere.

Signed,

Withdrawn and in support:

Celine Condorelli and Gavin Wade

Chto Delat?

Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency

Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla

U.S. Social Forum

Women on Waves

Artists in ‘Living as Form’ (not at Technion) in support:

CAMP

Cemeti Art House

Federico Guzmán

Jeanne Van Heeswijk

Los Angeles Poverty Department

Magdalena Jitrik (former TPS member)

Minerva Cuevas

Ultra Red

Wendelien van Oldenborgh

Signatories:

Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel

Alexander Dwinell

Amin Husain

Andrew Hsiao

Andrew Ross

Angel Nevarez

Anjalika Sagar

Ariella Azoulay

Art Palestine

Ashok Sukumaran

Ayreen Anastas

Barrak Alzaid

Basel Abbas

Benj Gerdes

Blithe Riley

Brian Holmes

Brian McCarthy

Bronson Wood

Chantal Mouffe

Chitra Ganesh

Chris Hedges

Claire Pentecost

Common Notions

DAM

Daniel Tucker

Dario Azzellini

David Graeber

Dipti Desai

Doug Minkler

Elena Wood

Ethan Heitner

Favianna Rodriguez

Fawz Kabra

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

George Caffentzis

Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction (G.U.L.F.)

Guy Mannes-Abbott

Hakan Topal

Hyla Willis

Invincible

Jakob Jakobsen

James Cairns

Jennifer Hayashida

Jeremy Brecher

Jesal Kapadia

Josh MacPhee

Judith Butler

Kareem Estefan

Khaled Hourani

Kodwo Eshun

Laura Dvorak

Laura Hanna

Laura Whitehorn

Lindsay Caplan

Lisa Duggan

Lucy Lippard

Mariam Ghani

Marina Berio

Marina Sitrin

Marshall Weber

Martha Rosler

Mary Patten

Melissa M. Forbis

Molly Crabapple

Mosireen

MTL Collective

Nadia Awad

Nathan Schneider

New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership

Nicholas Mirzoeff

Nicolas Lampert

Nitasha Dhillon

Noah Fischer

Not an Alternative

Occupy Theory

Ohal Grietzer

Omar Joseph Nasser-Khoury

Olivia Robinson

Paige Sarlin

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

Pamela Brown

Paula Chakravartty

Peggy Ahwesh

Praba Pilar

Rachel Schragis

Rafeef Ziadah

Rebel Diaz

Reem Fadda

Remi Kanazi

Renée Jabri

Ricardo Cortés

Ruanne Abou-Rahme

Rosalyn Deutsche

Ryan Wong

Sarah Farahat

Shaina Anand

Silvia Federici

Simon Leung

16 Beaver Group

Stefan Christoff

The Narcicyst

Tidal Magazine

TJ Demos

US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Valerie Tevere

Walid Raad

Yates McKee