The idea behind the project is the decolonization of the subject of Heath.
When I have talked about this notion with Gary Farrelly, who was the main doctor of the first Clinic he proposed the longer title: CLINIC OF RADICAL EMPATHY. Then I have talked with another friend -Vova Rannev and he was so fascinated about the title just short as Clinic that I have returned to the first feeling of the project and decided to leave the title as it was from the first Impulse –Clinic.
The notion of Radical Empathy includes the Critical and Educational approach. The latest observations pointed on the lack of compassion and solidarity among our cultural community. The competitiveness, which is typical for the capitalist society with the ruling power of the free-market is blocking the resources of empathy and politically/socially framed creativity. I would like to oppose it by proposing the practice of Radical Empathy and Meaningful Care * referring to the notion of Global Solidarity.
The slogan Global Solidarity came from the article “The world after Coronavirus” by Yuval Noah Harari. It was one of the first articles that appeared at the very start of a global pandemic. Global solidarity is used in the article along with Empowering the citizens as opposed to New Surveillance – a new form of control that the government is developing for its citizens. The new type of surveillance and control, scarier, and more sophisticated than ever, allows “them” to look under our skin. We have to be prepared for that and develop new types of protection and resistance, to stay healthy, keep our freedom and the human rights to have enough air around ourselves and to be not totally controlled.
The Notion of Care is a multilayered subject.
On one hand, I would like to stay not ignorant of people’s needs, and my statement from 2002 when the Manifest “The place of the Artist is on the Side of the Weak” was written hasn’t changed since that time. On the other hand, to be able to help anybody, you should be very aware of the context of “other”, the one you want to give the helping hand to, with good intentions.
How should we think about Normality and Health now, within the Pandemic? How do we stay within a healthy spirit that is “a bit dirty” in a sense that nothing we can imagine now except the hybrid way of uniting with each other ??
What are the methods we, as artists and thinkers, have to invent to stay “healthy” (free and fearless) within the power structures which aggressively surveil the notion of “Health”?
The Plan of the project :
A series of research-oriented performative seminars which will result in an exhibition and performance or seria of the performances.
For organizing it I am deriving from my previous experiences of the projects Utopian Unemployment Union and Carnival of the Oppressed Feelings.
Seminars will be structured :
-Investigation of the NAZI conception of body and Heathy society, referencing it with the concept of Art of Germany 30-40 s )
– Conceptualizing the idea of the society as a body
-Examine the notion of Care, study the different concepts of Radical and Social Care.
The topic of Care is complex and has to be explored according to the current de-colonial debates and re-tinking the principles of modernity.
-Research about different approaches toward relationships between body and mind including the revisiting the notion of the Witchcraft ( by reflecting upon it ) and the healing rituals of Indonesian Indigenous tribes.
-Reading groups on the topic
I would like to construct a situation where participants can share their knowledge and experiences with a cross-pollinating result.
The idea is to encourage a cohort of Amsterdam based Artists and Thinkers mixed with the refugees and expats, spanning different generations and dialogical identities to rethink the notion of care drawing on indigenous, matriarchal, and, queer pieces of knowledge. The result of these encounters will be an exhibition assembling expertise, artefacts, storytelling, and new tools activated in the space by durational performance. Additionally, all the sublime efforts will be accumulated into the major performance under the working title: Clinic of the Sun Care.
11.9.2020 – 27.12.2020
Center for Contemporary Art, upper floor
The exhibition disturbance:witch approaches the theme of the witchcraft from the perspective of contemporary art. The focus is on “the disruptive factor” that shakes the deadlocked power structure and that is inherent in the figure of the witch. The witch-like, “abnormal”, “irrational”, “magical” and “wrong” opposes the traditional role patterns and structures and thus poses a threat to the status quo of contemporary societies that are still white and masculine dominated.
The exhibited works analyze aspects of the witchcraft as attributions and projections onto “witches” or women and queer people, which serve as instruments of exclusion, and examine strategies and goals that are still virulent as “witch hunts” today. The work examines not only the physical, but also the digital space in which the so-called “witch burnings” take place.
Works by: Jamika Ajalon, Tina Bara and Alba DʼUrbano, Emilio Bianchic, Anna and Bernhard Blume, Johanna Braun, Barbara Breitenfellner, Lysann Buschbeck, Sarah Decristoforo, Veronika Eberhart, Margret Eicher, Valerio Figuccio, Parastou Forouhar, Gluklya, Nilbar Güreş, Horst Haack, Orsi Horváth, Emily Hunt, Isabel Kerkermeier, Sharon Kivland, Miriam Lenk, Libera Mazzoleni, Franziska Meinert, Lambert Mousseka, Lisl Ponger, Protektorama (fed by JP Raether), Suzanne Treister, VIP and Carolin Weinert
Curated by Alba D’Urbano und Olga Vostretsova
Made possible by the Kunstfonds Bonn Foundation, with the kind support of the district promotion fund of the Senate Administration for Culture and Europe and the Austrian Cultural Forum
The Monument of Modern Slavery
I am contributing to the exhibition disturbance: witch, curated by Alba D’Urbano and Olga Vostretsova at the Center of Contemporary Art (ZAK) / the Citadel Spandau – see a short description attached. The opening reception is scheduled for the 10th of September and I would be happy to welcome you there.
For this exhibition, I am preparing a work entitled „Monument for Modern Slavery“, which is going be an installation that reflects upon phenomena of slavery, which I am developing in dialogue with the international cultural community and the Fashion Revolution movement. Having spent time in Indonesia and witnessed the horrific living conditions of garment workers there and listened to the stories of their exploitation, I had the impulse to create this installation, which displays clothes collected from the art community and hopefully from other communities, on a series of burnt wooden stakes.
I cordially invite you to contribute to this project with the clothes from your own garderobe – those that you might be bored of, or about to throw in the garbage – from one of the big exploitative brands such as H&M, C&A, Adidas, Reebok, Esprit, Marks & Spencer, Patagonia, Timberland, VANS, The North Face, Wrangler, Puma, ASOS, Converse, Jordan, Nike, Primark, COS, Zara, Promod, GAP, TopShop, etc. These clothes will be modified according to my artistic method and placed on burnt wooden pillars reminiscent of medieval stakes for burning “witches”, expressing a common feeling of guilt in face of the oppressed workers You can send or bring the items of clothing directly to the below address, the Citadel in Spandau.
If you want your name or the name of your organization to be mentioned please let me know. You are welcome also to write a bit your thoughts about the subject along the sending the clothes.
Thank you so very much!
The exhibition disturbance: witch
Exhibition curated by Alba D’Urbano and Olga Vostretsova
ZAK – Center of Contemporary Art
Spandau Citadel Berlin
Opening reception: Sept 10, 2020, 7 pm
Duration: Sept 11 – Dec 20, 2020
The feminist movement of the 1970s had already made the connection between witches and emancipated women, and the witch became a feminist archetype. Often quoted are the slogans by the Italian feminists, “Tremate, tremate, le streghe sono tornate!” (Tremble, tremble, the Witches have returned!) or “La gioia, la gioia, la si inventa, donna si nasce, le streghe si diventa!” (The joy, the joy, she will be discovered: was born as a woman, became a witch). Sylvia Federici, in her analysis of witch-hunting in connection with the transition from feudalism to capitalism, also describes the solidarity of feminists with witches: “Across ideological differences, the feminists have realized that a hierarchical ranking of human faculties and the identification of women with a degraded conception of corporeal reality has been instrumental, historically, to the consolidation of patriarchal power andthe male exploration of female labor.” (Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation).
The exhibition disturbance: witch, located at the ZAK (Center for Contemporary Art) of the Spandau Citadel in Berlin, puts into focus disturbing factors that shake deadlocked power relations that are inherent in the character of the witch. The witch, the “abnormal,” the “irrational,” the “magical” and the “inverse” resists rigid role models and structures.
Unfolded within the framework of this international contemporary art exhibition are the aspects of the witch’s character. disturbance: witch does not address the practices of the historical witch nor the practice of magic, rather it analyzes the accompanying attributions to women and queer persons that are used as instruments of exclusion and strategies of a new witch hunt.
Artist list: Jamika Ajalon (US/FR), Emilio Bianchic (AR), Anna und Bernhard Blume (DE), Johanna Braun (AT), Barbara Breitenfellner (AT/DE), Lysann Buschbeck (DE), Alba D’Urbano und Tina Bara (DE), Sarah Decrostoforo (AT), Veronika Eberhardt (AT), Margret Eicher (DE), Parastou Forouhar (IR/DE), Gluklya (Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya) (RU/NL), Valerio Fuguccio (IT/DE), Nilbar Güres (TR), Horst Haack (DE), Emily Hunt (AU/DE), Orsi Horváth (HU), Isabel Kerkermeier (DE), Sharon Kivland (GB), Franziska Meinert (DE), Lisl Ponger (AT), Lambert Mousseka (CD/DE), Johannes Paul Raether (DE), Suzanne Treister (GB).
Corona Diary seria
Carnival of Opressed Feelings
Michail Bachtin [From Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics]
Carnival is a pageant without footlights and without a division into performers and spectators. In carnival everyone is an active participant, everyone communes in the carnival act… The laws, prohibitions, and restrictions that determine the structure and order of ordinary, that is noncarnival, life are suspended during carnival: what is suspended first is hierarchical structure and all the forms of terror, reverence, piety, and etiquette connected with it… or any other form of inequality among people
Carnival of Opressed Feelings happened in Amsterdam in October 2017 .The hybrid of the performance and political demonstration -it is the event summarizing the seria of the workshops and encounters with refuges living at formal prison Baijlmer Bajes. It connected different people together : students ,artists ,activists, academics, people of different ages ,believes and statuses.
COF started from Bijlmer Bajes and finished at Dam square with several stops on the way.The stops where selected conceptually ,with the idea to tell refugees some alternative story about society or make a small performance. The storys was told by : Sari Akminas( (Journalist from Alepo),Khalid Jone (Activist,We are here),Ehsan Fardjadniya (artist ),Dilyara Valeeva, (Sociologist ,Uva) Erick Hagoort(curator, writer) and others and in the end Gluklya with Theo Tagelaers read the UUU Manifesto.
The structure of the performative body of Carnival is referring to the political demonstration and consists of different parties.
1) Potato Eaters party
2) Monsters party
3) Language of Fragility party
4) Recycling prison party
5) Spirits of history party
Carnival last 4 hours and brought together around 150 people.
Workshops for preparation to Carnival of the Opressed Feelings 2017
My project with refugees in Amsterdam started from the renting studio on formel prison Bijlmer Bajes, where all kinds of people can rent the studios and also refugees were placed there by Dutch Government at one of the towers. I gave a series of workshops in Amsterdam for refugees and newcomers to understand if it is possible to create a performance piece with people without a special art or theater education.
My idea was based on the belief that any person is open to a new unconventional way of knowledge and that we can find the platform of mutual exchange by providing a platform of equality.Renting a studio at Lola Lik seemed easy to get access to refugees who are living at the AZC ‘next door’.
Lola Lik (kind of anti-squat organization)was situated at the formal prison Bijlmer Bayes- a hub for all kinds of entrepreneurs and startups situated right near the AZC where 600 refugees from Syria, Africa, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan were living during the procedure of getting the status of the Dutch citizenship.
But we and my colleagues seemed to have underestimated the subject of bureaucratic rules surrounding refugees and their special conditions during this transitional period.
Together with TAAK, Amsterdam and NoMade, Rome.The event hosted by TMO/Teatro Mediterranean Occupato /COPRESENCE
Gluklya’s Utopian Unemployment Union is a project uniting art, social science, and progressive pedagogy, giving people with all kinds of social backgrounds the opportunity to make art together. Her latest performance is the latest expression of this Union. The Carnival of Oppressed Feeling is the outcome of Gluklya’s encounters with refugees living at Bijlmerbajes, a former prison complex (in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Utopian Unemployment Union is a critical space to promote social innovation where thought becomes reality. Through an educational program with meetings and workshops for migrants and refugees, it aims to create and develop a path toward self-initiative and self-determination to escape rejection and exclusion.
The workshop aims to give shape to the implicit emotional experiences of people involved. The working method can be seen as a sort of experimental art therapy; it is defined by the artist herself as “formalization of fragility”, a way to give form to sensations and thoughts. For refugees it can often be difficult to translate thoughts into words, due to the lack of a shared language. During the workshop no traumas will be verbalised, the goal is to create something together and at the same time make the interaction between different groups of people less complicated.
GALLLERIAPIÙ represents Gluklya’s work in Italy. Together with the artist we realized in 2016 the project Utopian Unemployment Union of Bologna: Gluklya along with a small group made up of migrants, refugees and young students of the Fine Arts Academy of Bologna developed a new model to unite and redefine the relationship between the economy, art and social policies.
We now want to help Gluklya in finding motivated and engaged partners for the workshop that will take place at MANIFESTA 12 in Palermo, on 15 and 16 June 2018.
We are looking for:
-a LOCATION for the workshop
-a FILM MAKER for the video documentation
-a WRITER who will observe the workshop and write a text/diary
-PARTICIPANTS for the workshop, especially
NGOs open to experimentation
Teenagers who believe in the idea to change society
Refugees/migrants with a creative and open mind; who love drawing, singing, dancing,…
Teachers who are already teaching Italian to refugees
Academics and Students from the Linguistic Departments of the University http://www.unipa.it/strutture/scuolaitalianastranieri/
Gluklya’s workshop is something alive, not a product; it is in a state of becoming, which means it really depends on who will be the partners and participants!
Gluklya would be interested in developing UUU Palermo around the unification of Linguistics (academics, students) and Dancing and Music people. To unite people who are dealing with different languages: verbal and non-verbal.
via del Porto 48 a/b
+39 (0)51 6449537
Fragility and Resistance
Gluklya: This blouse, I call it Proletarian Madonna. You see the portrait of Anna Magnani printed on it, the actress of Pasolini’s film Mama Roma. The blouse is a character: a woman who wants to be strong, like Anna Magnani, but in fact she is not strong, she is fragile. This blouse shows the potentiality of strength without loosing fragility.
Sari: This is Gluklya’s approach to resistance. Maybe her friends share the same ideas about resistance but she uses a different method. Each person resists in his or her own way.
Erik: How can fragility be strong? How can fragility do something?
Sari: I regularly visited Gluklya’s studio here at Lola Lik, where I work. Each week I saw more and more drawings and more costumes. They evolved from the Language of Fragility game, in which words, sounds and images are combined in an associative way. In this game newcomers combine Dutch words with words that sound the same in their own language but mean something completely different. For instance the word ‘gras’ in Dutch is pronounced the same as the word ‘gras’ in Arabic. In Dutch it means the green grass, but in Arabic it means punishment, in Dutch ‘straf’. One of the newcomers, Marwa Aboud, made many beautiful drawings of these kind of different meanings of the same words. Later on also costumes were made that referred to the images of this game. At first it was a fragile process. Fragile images. Now it is still fragile but this fragility is somehow growing, it is building up and building up and in the end can become something powerful. Imagine there is only one tiny hole high up there in this studio to get out. What we do here is building and building until we reach that hole. But still we cannot pass it, so we need more pressure. The fragility is pushing and pushing until we can go through this hole and get out.
Gluklya: Like through the eye of a needle.
Sari: With fragility you can build up pressure. Not like an explosion making a lot of mess but like an escape from prison, finding a way to escape, although it seems impossible.
Gluklya: We maybe have to find a word next to fragility. Fragility and? There has to be this other word.
Erik: What do you mean?
Gluklya: I mean, through what can we think about fragility as resistance? What kind of method or strategy can help to think about fragility as something strong?
Gluklya: I don’t think that art can effect change literally. There is a tendency among artists to strive with their art for real change in society. Artists are allowed to do whatever, to be crazy and to play, in a confined area, in the sand. Suddenly they wake up and they realize that art has become a Kindergarten. It is good to realize this, but I think you shouldn’t hysterically rush and presume that you can change society with your art.
Sari: In my experience in this war, in Syria, there have been artists who could disconnect themselves from the actual war. There were artists from the academy of fine arts in Damascus who were making drawings of sunflowers on the walls of houses. As a journalist I was startled at first. There is a war going on! But then I realized that it can be important to paint flowers when everything around you is about killing and destruction. Then it is wonderful to make or to see something that is different. To see something relaxed. A break, a small break because you will be back in the reality of the war anyhow. Next to this, when artists are only busy with political action and making work about the war, the war can become something to exploit, something commerical even. As an artist you shouldn’t do what people expect you to do, you can have your own way of dealing with the situation without being involved directly in the actual fire of the war. That can be a form of resistance too. To guard or reserve this other reality than the reality of the war. Everybody is an artist and everybody has a unique way.
Erik: Joseph Beuys.
Gluklya: Well, there is a social worker here at Lola Lik who said this. She makes statements like those of Joseph Beuys and she organizes daily creativity activities to involve refugees. The intentions are good. She means that everybody is an artist because everybody is displaced. You can be displaced by forced migration. That is clear. In her opinion artists are also displaced, metaphorically speaking, because they are displaced in their minds. It’s her idea. I’m not sure about it.
There is this policy here at the AZC that you may not push. You only can do what refugees want to do themselves. That means in my opinion that you become like a social worker. You reduce yourself to a neutral person, who is just observing, facilitating and giving advices a little bit. For social work that can be very good. But for art I think some other strategy is needed.
Sari: I have come into this other country, I have to obey other rules and to follow other customs. After two years I finally think I know how things work here. I am slowly gaining control of my own life again. This takes time. It really takes time. I knew this when I came here. I realized from the start that this all would take time. But the experience is something else. Not everybody can handle it. Some people close themselves off, others get frustrated, angry. But when you are in a new situation you need time to adapt. Adaptation. Some people adapt fast. Some people adapt slowly. Adaptation, that would be my word. It is not passive adjustment. Adaptation helps you to gain control and to become strong without loosing your own way, your own personality.
Gluklya: You cannot force people to be interested. I’ve learned to leave it up to the people here to find out what they want. But what if they don’t know what they want? Then, in my experience, somehow, you need to jump, together, it is a feeling, it’s very hard to put it in words, you approach each other as humans, you take each other serious, you treat each other as equals. You shouldn’t be too careful, you shouldn’t be afraid to approach the other. Better to make mistakes than to stay in a situation of vague intentions.
Erik: Disguise. That could also be a word to think about a method. Disguise is not just that you appear in a different way, for instance by dressing up. There is something of a purpose. You can take on an appearance in order to get access to a different environment. In disguise you can mingle among familiar people without being recognized or you can mingle among unfamiliar people without being noticed as somebody from outside. You can do this for fun but also with a particular purpose, for example to get access to the truth, as in research journalism. Disguise somehow blurs the line between being honest and cheating.
Gluklya: Vermomming. In Russian it is maskirovka. Hiding. Behind a mask.
Erik: Hiding but in an active way. In disguise you can be present, visible, active.
Sari: From another perspective, disguise can be forced. You can be in a certain situation that you can only handle or survive by hiding your true personality. That is also some form of disguise. When you don’t feel comfortable with a situation, you can opt for fitting in, in disguise. Or if possible you also can opt for leaving, walking out of the situation. Disguise in Arabic is: el tachefie. The source of the word is ‘ichfa’. ‘Ichfa’ means vanish. So you vanish behind your mask. But you also can vanish by walking out of the situation. You become a refugee. The idea of language of fragility plays with the idea of different ways of hiding, different meanings behind the masks of the words.
Erik: Because of a mask or because of a costume, some people can be more honest. Or it is a way to be honest. In disguise you might do something or you might say something that you otherwise maybe would not dare to do or say. Maybe the same counts for the Carnival of Oppressed Feelings?
Sari: People will see the costume but they cannot point to a specific person. So the costume does this or that, the character says this or that. That can help to express your feelings.
Erik: Then who is accountable? If you say things or do things and people want to address you, you cannot just say: I didn’t say this, it was carnival.
Sari: Sure, when you go in disguise, you should think of or at least try to think of the consequences of what you do. You have to think about what will happen when you take off your mask and reveal who you are. If you are not ready to face the consequences, whatever they are, then you shouldn’t go in disguise.
Erik: Your drawings and costumes are worlds in themselves. They depict a ‘language of fragility’. There is beauty there and also monstrosity, anxiety, frailty, power. It is already there, in the drawings and in the costumes. From an aesthetic point of view they actually don’t need anything extra to be appreciated. But you bring them into a charged public sphere, as part of a carnival that is also a demonstration with explicit political demands. In my experience some of the images and some of the costumes playfully resist to be used politically: walking chairs; running plants; eerie screaming creatures; banners that read ‘forgiveness’ or ‘doubt’. They resist appropriation.
Gluklya: To me this is a dilemma. I try to combine. That would be the word for me to be able to work with fragility. To combine is maybe my method or my strategy. Many people say to me: that is not possible, it is this or that. You must choose, they say. Lately I was reading Gayatra Spivak’s book “Why …. cannot speak”. According to her we shouldn’t think like black-white, either-or. That kind of thinking confirms distinctions and forces to choose between positions. Better not to choose. This sounds quite opportunistic from a political point of view, but from an artistic point of view I think it is important. Try to connect, to combine, to do both, to balance. So I continue to follow this path, to be somehow inside and outside… fragility and power… art and politics. Like jumping in and out of the water, moving like a dolphin.
This is an edited compilation by Erik Hagoort of several conversations between Sari Akminas, Gluklya and Erik Hagoort in Gluklya’s studio at Lola Lik, 2017.