Monday Night — 11.12.07 — Artificial Boundaries — reBREAKing the Wall

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Monday Night — 11.12.07 — Artificial Boundaries “reBREAKing the Wall”
1. About This Monday
2. A Note from Karen and Haroutioun
3. About Tangent Views
4. About the concept of “Artificial boundaries reBREAKing the Wall” 6. About the initiators and participants
7. Useful links
1. About This Monday
What: video/performance/installation/presentation/discussion
When: Tuesday, November 12. 7 Pm
Where: 16 Beaver
Who: Free and Open to all
This year we considered producing, organizing, or hosting something for the current Performa biennial. We thought of several possible responses, potentially a series of questions about New York and conditions of possibility that extend out from the way that performance could be considered in light of real estate, present necessity of commodifiable cultural production, non-profit industrial complex, etc. Essentially why is it now necessary to commission and stimulate via biennial the type of activity that used to occur in self-organized and non-institutionally sanctioned venues? We thought of possibly using the opportunity to point to things outside performance which it intersects with. Although the idea made sense, we decided that if the desire existed for such an event to be organized we would do it without having to make it a part of the program.
It seems the desire was there, since somehow, through some chance, we are hosting such an event, but fortunately, instead of talking about why these kinds of works/performances are not taking place in self-organized venues today — we have the great fortune of meeting Karen Hakobyan and
Haroutioun Simonian and hosting an event that will be part discussion part performance part situation.
We hope you will make it to what will hopefully be a singular evening bringing forward and connecting some very complex questions.
2. A Note from Karen and Haroutioun
Rethinking communism, looking for revolution, questioning the world around us, being ourselves.
“The protest is never local, whatever we do locally to position our protest, we deconstruct the power. We are in network even not being aware about each other, we have solidarity… we contribute to the WoRld
We are looking to meet, share and discuss with all those people who are interested in issues of colonization and power, starting from body and space power to the problems of geopolitical colonization and violation in a larger sense. The issues of artificial challenges placed upon
individuals and socities all around the world, which result in permanent conflicts and need for liberation of bodies and people. The nature and reflections of artificial boundaries, such us WALLs in social sphere related to communism and democracy will be in focus.
Video installation- performance/talk: Haroutioun Simonian- Video artist and Ignacio Rivera artist, researcher, Sex educator, Sex Therapy,
Relationship Coaching
“Conflicts on South Caucasus/ sustainable DEMOCRATIC colonalism” presented by Karen Hakobyan, musician, researcher, human rights advocate
“Chechnya: New challenges for human rights: struggles and cases” Gistam Sakaeva Human rights advocate from Chechnya
Video installation performance/talk
The video installation will show a performance taken place the same place a day before.
Haroutun will experience on his body the kinky techniques and methods of sexual liberation, through dialogues and touching with Ignacio. The video performance will be presented in the audience during the discussion. Haroutun and Ignacio will discuss their experience with the audience, in the context of colonization and liberation.
“Conflicts on South Caucasus/ sustainable DEMOCRATIC colonism”
Karen Hakobyan will describe and analyze the conflicts in South Caucasus through the theory of systems and conflicts and democratic character of nowadays dynamics of power in geopolitical shape.
“Chechnya: New challenges for human rights: struggles and cases Gistam Sakaeva- will introduce the situation with the most vulnerable population of the Chechen Republic, especially with vulnerable women dealing with intimate partner violence, forced marriage, rape, polygamy, blood feud and bride abduction are still common, and so called ‘honour crimes’ . The challenges she and her organization “Reliance” is faced with being and advocate for human rights.
3. About Tangent Views
Some Background information
Within the framework of TANGENT VIEWS project of Haroutiun Simonian and Nik Hafner (a choreographer from Germany) initiated in 2004 in Hannover, Germany, The project consist of series in which artists of different disciplines set up and realize collaborations regardless of geographical and cultural distance. These exchanges can be a motor for seeing and understanding the other – the other being a person, a place, a thought, a working method etc. The intention of the series is a traveling project that will guest in different countries, different cities, in diverse venues where art is currently taking place. Each project will take another unknown tangent and with time, the tan-gent views series will weave a net from traces of these encounters and the resulting collaborations.
4. About the concept of “Artificial boundaries reBREAKing the Wall”
2005, 2006 people in the center of Yerevan (Armenia) were protesting against their houses destroyed in the North and Main Avenues, 2007 Brooklyn, people are protesting against new construction project going to destroy a part of old Brooklyn…
We are two artists (Harout and Karen) and advocates coming from communism past, perestroika reforms, war and so much civil protests from USSR, Armenia, through Germany, Holland…to the US.
Here in US we see there is so much social inequity, still actual issues of racism, social and health insecurity, everyday people death in Iraq, USA is the country with the largest number of prisons, billion of money are going to war and corporations, meanwhile the people issues remain
unsolved… SO why there is no protest on the streets… Why there is NO revolution in AMERICA, when the situation is so much obviously about it…?
Why are we afraid to act and make changes? What makes us abandoned? The myths of Democracy in US has so much in common with myth of communism. And actually, there is so much similarity between the US and USSR, with their hunger to have the POWER of the world, and to influence it all by creating myths and forcing those onto people…
About the walls
So, why do we still feel Walls when the Wall was broken
Rethinking communism brought us to the idea to start a larger discussion.
>From the moment we are born, we are alse faced with the borders… we are
overwhelmed with social boundaries (the mother breast, hands), the materialistic and mental obstacles.
The main part of learning we go through is to be able to overcome those barriers, go over the borders, and know how to respect those borders. We learn to conform with those boundaries. People are creators of those borders. Through this effort and time it becomes as strong as a WALL. Than we got Chinese Wall, Berlin Wall, Jerusalem Wall. Iron Curtain, which was the phenomena of Cold War, and the most strongest wall of the walls- an evident of “mythic” wall- artificial boundary. Those walls are keeping people far from each other, when they are so near, are keeping them in hate and fear keeping them away from the IMPULSE TO ACT TOWARDS and GO THROUGH THE WALLs, BREAKE IT. Once the Wall was broken, in 1989 when Berlin Wall was broken…
So, why when the WALL is broken, people became abounded in many other walls locally, and/or need their WALL back.
Who needs a myth to rule people? What is the new myth to promote fear around? (Terrorism, Religions, Ben Laden, Castro, Septmeber 9/11?) The myth of communism is that it confronts with democracy and so called western values. 90s brought radical changes in the world dynamics, which became the contemporary history. The collapse of USSR , political changes in Socialist countries brought the new term post-soviet, post-communism… All those changes and reformations of political and economic structures of societies went through dramatic extremes: conflicts, wars, collapses of countries. There are post communist regions where the conflicts are still going on, like Caucasus, Chechnya, Karabakh, Abkhazia, Ossetia, Kosovo. Together with ruined economies and completely unsecured social conditions there are thousands of victims of these processes: countries, peoples, lives. The social values are broken, families are broken and survival became the only ideology for many of those countries. Poorness, permanent violation of human rights and deep corruption are the main characteristics of nowadays post-communists.
At the same time European countries are building a stronger and larger European Union, with the one/same constitution, adjustment of laws, equal economies and monetary policies etc. The idea and format is quite similar with the Soviet Union attempts to build up one huge utopia.
Exactly in the same period the Globalization became to the point, having involved all the countries in the world, and influencing people’s life. On the other hand is the phenomena of China, which gets empowered and developed extremely, and still remains a strong traditional communist country. Nevertheless it is a strategic key-player, partner, even friend for the West…
The geopolitical situation is Latin America, the countries like Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Brazil where social movements are very active and the communism ideology and approaches are very popular both on peoples and governmental level.
The Iraq war and USA behavior put the Democracy at the level of myths as many other theories of social structures which are never perfect and never achievable. Communism is still considered as a threat and fear, evil of American values. Communism is forbidden here.
5. About the main questions of “Rebreaking the Wall”
So, what these all is about?
What is this myth about communism, at what extent it was and is still a dangerous ideology, how did it influenced people, their lifes and
reflected in theories and practice.
Why is there such a nostalgia about the communist past among millions of people in the world? What is the role of conflicts and peace making in de-communisation. If the conflict is good or bed?
If the communism is real geography, or it is a myths living in a social memory? How can we touch those boarders without getting in the trick of geopolitical landscape?
How does these reflected in artists and art, when it embodies
personalities, art works, context? What happens with the moving body carrying all these ideology changes and dramatic collapses and disasters. How does these provokes and challenges a person, especially the artists and the art to practice the spirit of freedom, where is the real freedom in these lines?
The main topics to be discussed
Post soviet, post communism, what does it mean? How much the post is post. To what extent this term post is actual? Is there a real boarder between what was and what is? How do the systems react on these: politics, values, culture…
Case studies of national developments: increase of nationalism or
nationalism as the result of national-liberty movements…
How much the identities are changed: how is to be a post person, society and country
The myths of communism and democracy war. Is there a real conflict between those? Where is it?
How to solve the conflicts: or how to create conflicts in order to achieve peace?!
New modifications of contemporary colonialism or democratic colonialism. Body in social borders: conflicts, challenges and solutions.
Alternative spaces/media for thinking…
6. About the initiators and participants
The participants: artists, practitioners, researchers, journalists from ANY country (pre/post/current communism and capitalist countries) are getting together to review the past and analyze the current, look at /through/against and for communism… trying to experience the artificiality of the boarders called “pre and post” communism, collonism or whatever.
The initiators are :
Haroutioun Simonian- video/performance artist whose work deal with the body as a subject in endless negotiations with failed systems or
constraining regimes.
Lived in Yerevan, Armenia, where he studied sculpture at the Fine Arts Academy of Yerevan. In recent years he has been making installations using mainly video and his body.
He had been awarded residencies for his work at KulturKontakt Vienna, Austria; Centre pour l’image contemporaine Saint-Gervais, Geneva, and STUK Leuven, Belgium. He has worked with Georg Schollhammer [editor of
“springerin” end curator] on “ein topografisches Projekt” TANZQUARTIER WIEN and with Hedvwig Saxenhuber [independent curator]. With artist group called “Geo-kunst Expedition” he was invited to the ” Documenta X ” for comments.
With German contemporary choreographer Nik Haffner he has been developing a continuing project collaborating with several artists of various disciplines called “tangent views”.
Karen Hakobyan- musician, researcher, human rights advocate from Armenia. Karen Hakobian, is from Yerevan, Armenia. He is the president of Hujs (“Hope”), a NGO that has been promoting a culture of participative democracy for more than 13 years. Hujs initiates public discussions, demonstrations, press conferences, and advocacy campaigns to bring attention to human rights issues.
Karen’s focus is to not only teach people about democratic approaches, but to show them how to practice them in real life and create careers focused around those values. By researching the history of democracy and public perceptions of it in his PhD thesis, Karen hopes to use this knowledge to advocate cultural change in Armenia and other countries. Karen has used his expertise to participate in policy making at government level in Armenia and international organizations, such as UNDP Armenia, USAID etc. He has brought together also businesspeople, policy makers, and public activists to discuss corporate and social responsibility.
Ignacio Gilberto Rivera – artist, social activist, educator NYC, USA, Ignacio Rivera is a Queer Trans-entity, Black Boricua performance artist, currently performing “Dancer” and Lagrimas de Cocodrilo/Crocodile Tears across the country. He is a lecturer, activist, self-proclaimed sex educator and sex worker.
As a sex worker he is a Pro-dom and is working in the adult film industry.
He can be seen in his debut performance in Pink and White Productions,
“In Search of The Wild Kingdom” and is currently working with Morty Diomand of “Tranny Fags” on a “Trans Entity: The Nasty Love of Papi and Wil.” Ignacio just debuted his first adult short about moving from normality into kink, called “Crossing” at this years Black Pride. He is the founder of Poly Patao Productions. P3 is dedicated to producing sex-positive workshops, performance pieces, films, play parties, panel discussions, teach-ins, social/political groups and educational
opportunities that are specially geared toward queer women, transgender, multi-gender, gender-queer, gender non-conforming and gender variant folx of color.
He has currently embarked on a film project, “Shades of Kink” a series of educational/documentary style films around inserting a
racial/class/sexuality and gender into the Kink world.
Ignacio is also one of the founding board member of Queers for Economic Justice, a progressive non-profit organization committed to promoting economic justice in a context of sexual and gender liberation.
Last but not least, Ignacio is also a mother to a wonderful 17 year old daughter.
Sexual Liberation for all!!!
Gistam Sakaeva- human rights advocate Chechnya , Ariel Fernandez- artist, social activist, journalist Cuba.Gistam Sakaeva Germanova is a Project Officer at Reliance, a Chechen NGO,
Gistam Sakaeva Germanova is a Project Officer at Reliance, a Chechen NGO, which has operated since the beginning of the second war in Chechnya in 2001. Reliance was started by displaced Chechen women and is defined by its vulnerable women working for vulnerable women. The main goal of Reliance is to provide assistance to the most vulnerable population of the Chechen Republic, including land mine victims, single women, widows and persons with disabilities. Reliance helps their needs in a sustainable and appropriate way in order to minimize the impact of the conflict in Chechnya on their lives.
Reliance has chosen to explicitly define its program through the
reinforcement of women’s groups and advocacy, especially towards
traditional structures that have shown strong understanding and support against gender discriminations and gender based violence. It believes these are the most powerful tools not only to define a culturally
respectful project but also to have an efficient and long term impact. Intimate partner violence, forced marriage, rape, polygamy, blood feud and bride abduction are still common, and so called ‘honour crimes’ are numerous. In a similar vein law enforcement agencies are not trained or equipped to address these crimes and discriminations against women. Gistam’s main goals are to improve her skills and gain experience from other NGO’s working on advocacy, awareness of discrimination, gender issues, and people with disabilities. She would like to develop a gender based violence project in Chechnya, which would create a safe environment for raising awareness on the issue and provide a supportive,
non-threatening locale to break the culture of silence.
7. Useful links
http://www.centreimage.ch/cic_archives/02progE/expos/2004/simonian_e.html. http://www.utopiana.am/2004/utopiana2004.html
16 Beaver Group
16 Beaver Street, 4th / 5th fl.
New York, NY 10004
phone: 212.480.2099
for directions/subscriptions/info visit:
4,5 Bowling Green
R,W Whitehall
2,3 Wall Street
J,M Broad Street
1,9 South Ferry
16 Beaver Group
16 Beaver Street, 4th / 5th fl.
New York, NY 10004
phone: 212.480.2099
for directions/subscriptions/info visit:
4,5 Bowling Green
R,W Whitehall
2,3 Wall Street
J,M Broad Street
1,9 South Ferry