Polyphonic worlds: justice as medium

Public Programme

Planetary Records: Performing Justice Between Art and Law

Opening Weekend Public Programme / DAI Roaming Assembly #12
March 11 and 12, 2017

Introduction

As a system of rules constructed and enforced through institutions to regulate behaviour, negotiating legacy relations between particularity and general application, while being maintained through textual and oral interpretation, law is a space of great—if denied—aesthetic deliberation. Justice, quite differently, might be figured as an intractable entanglement of relations, intentions, affectabilities and adjustments between ever-moving, never-global, densely articulated bodies.

The law’s modernization in the colonial epoch consolidated limits for possible relations between justice and law, in its ontological set-up of male persons with base units and rights of property in contractual relation. Engendered and ethnocidally arranged through this fractal abstraction, juridical modernism foreclosed the order of land-based life and literacies. Its decrees of ‘right’ expansion continue to be built upon and innovated, while it secures and distinguishes only particular subjects, objects, and things, into investment-worthy relations.

When artists engage procedures of witnessing, testimonial production and the performativity of the trial, allegories of justice and modes of theatricality surface to haunt the past and present. These spectral zones must constantly be inspected and contested, just as ghosts must be evoked in order to deal with their unfinished legacy. Film and performance are vehicles among many that carve out alter-civilizational images and conceive legibility for eroding matters of injustice. Working from Mechelen, this co-curated programme invites artists, theorists and filmmakers to explicitly unpack the technicity and asymmetrical power of European legal infrastructure. Over two days the program examines artists’ role in challenging normative legal foundations while transforming our understanding of response-ability to double-meanings of law/lore, and tracing the inevitably formal dimensions of present day struggles.

How do ongoing planetary rebellions determined through existing value forms and categorizations, including the racial categorization of “no body / no thing” aim at legal rupture when placed before the courts, without falling into mimetic disfigurements within this very same insufficient order? What does it mean to take an eye or ear to scenes of struggle that reverberate well beyond as well as inside legal institutional terrains? How can artists’ own literacy in post-media conditions—very much at play inside the contemporary law court—make sense of possible realisms against and beyond juridical modernism’s reproduction of capitalism and its increasingly death-driven function?

The artists of Contour Biennale 8, Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium, are connected through their attention to aesthetic contestations of the juridical beyond its present coding, their productive dealings with a planetary regime of impermissible evidence, and their ritualistic as well as counter-analytical engagements with an expanding, expropriated archive. The “record” here is often not data that can be positively marked up or collected in advance, but instead, what is lived while being judged to be outside of proper adjudication. To cultivate flexible imagination around these juridical-aesthetic impasses is to work through the persistent constraining of just realisms, where survival is constantly at stake. Here, justice itself becomes the medium through which we cannot avoid moving through, within and around.

Collateral Event

Café Univers at Contour Biennale 8

This temporary radio 'studio', set up at Contour Biennale 8’s Opening Weekend Public Programme / DAI Roaming Assembly #12, aims to record conversations, music and live internet/FM radio feeds from across the globe to produce episodes that dialogue freely between sound, place and histories of struggle.

The episodes navigate mainstream radio stations via the Radio Garden site as well as music chosen from across the global south by presenters Syma Tariq and Francesca Savoldi, as well as guests and passersby, who are warmly invited to contribute. The project melds sonic exploration of south/south solidarity and the collapsing of physical/digital spaces, with the hope to address questions such as: What is the relationship between music and social justice? In what ways does music (re)territorialise and bind the diaspora? Whose sound is it anyway?

Café Univers will also roam the associated (and non-associated) sites of the Biennale. Their work will be published on Radio Apartment 22 (R22) Founded by Abdellah Karroum in Rabat, R22 is a nomadic studio and online platform dedicated to contemporary cultural and artistic practice, broadcasting interviews, artist sound, conferences, commentaries, and interviews in multiple languages. A tracklist will also be published on Contour Biennale 8's website.

Dutch Art Institute's Roaming Assembly is a recurring public symposium scheduled to take place once a month, functioning as it were as the DAI-week's 'centerfold' event. This state-of-the-art speculative and hybrid program explores specific themes and topics of contemporary relevance to the thinking of art in the world today. It is considered a key part of the DAI's (version of the) “Planetary Campus” - an affective community where caring for the earth goes along with the generous sharing of art and research, where complexity can be embraced and intellectual intra-actions are fostered, aiming to endow our praxes, wherever they are operational. Although closely interlinked with the DAI's academic program, Roaming Assembly editions are not conceived as plain extensions of the regular DAI classes and seminars, but rather envisioned as sovereign happenings, designed to mobilize our bodies, our intelligences.

Curators:

Contour Biennale 8: Natasha Ginwala
DAI’s Roaming Assembly #12: Rachel O’Reilly

Project Coordination:

Contour Biennale 8: Sofia Lemos
DAI’s Roaming Assembly #12: Nikos Doulos

Technical team: Eidotech; Ampli; NONA

Design: Studio Remco van Bladel

Communication: Katelijne Lindemans

Online Media Partner: Ibraaz

Special thanks to e-flux conversations: www.conversations.e-flux.com

Please follow live at: http://conversations.e-flux.com/t/live-coverage-pl...

Events

26-04-2017 — 05:04

Nocturne

Op woensdag 26 april organiseert Contour Biennale 8 een nocturne. Alle locaties zijn dan geopend van 17 tot 21 uur: een ideaal moment om de biënnale te bezoeken naast de gangbare openingsuren. Je kan ook tijdens deze avond een gids reserveren via contour@nona.be

20-03-2017 — 04:03

Café Univers

Café Univers is a nomadic radio project by Syma Tariq and Francesca Savoldi hosted during the opening weekend of Contour Biennale 8.

The episodes navigate mainstream radio stations via the Radio Garden, with biennale artists, guests and passersby warmly invited to contribute. The project melds sonic exploration of south/south solidarity and the collapsing of physical/digital spaces via the changing format of radio. It hopes to address questions such as: What is the relationship between music and social justice? In what ways does music (re)territorialise and bind the diaspora? Whose sound is it anyway?

The project is supported by Radio Apartment 22 (R22), founded by Abdellah Karroum in Rabat. Edited episodes of the audio recorded will be published on R22 and the Contour Biennale 8 website.

20-03-2017 — 03:03

Lerarendag

Op zondag 19 maart organiseerden Contour Biennale 8 en OP.RECHT.MECHELEN. de Contour Biennale 8 lerarendag in samenwerking met Klasse. De educatieve werking van de biënnale werd er voorgesteld. De educatie map is vanaf nu beschikbaar op onze website.

13-03-2017 — 07:03

The Stealing C*nt$ and Toxic Sovereignty

The Karrabing Film Collective (Gavin Bianamu, Rex Edmunds, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Ben Williams) presents The Stealing C*nt$ and Toxic Sovereignty at the Boghossian Foundation on the occasion of their participation in Contour Biennale 8. The screening will be followed by a talk moderated by Natasha Ginwala. Please find all information here.

11-03-2017 — 07:03

Public Programme

Contour Biennale 8 collaborates with Dutch Art Institute for a two-day Public Programme organized on March 11-12, 2017 entitled Planetary Records: Performing Justice Between Art and Law with a dynamic schedule of keynote lectures, artist talks, film presentations and performance as part of DAI’s Roaming Assembly #12 conceived by biennale curator Natasha Ginwala and poet, critic-curator Rachel O’Reilly. All information is on our website under 'public programme'.

Hearings

06-03-2017

Video Temporality and Hindsight Evidence

Since 1991, when Rodney King’s beating was captured on video by a civilian named George Holliday, the medium’s use as legal evidence has increased immensely. Understanding the functions and consequences of this shift demands a deep consideration of video’s relationship to temporality and memory. For years, artists and media theorists have been pursuing this question. […]

06-03-2017

L for Lai Teck

A fleet of illegible and nameless specters haunts the political landscapes of early and mid-twentieth-century Southeast Asia. British Special Branch reports from this period tended to present its Communist enemies as faceless statistical digits, revealing few personal details about them. The abstraction of these reports is further exacerbated by the fact that the most frequent […]

06-03-2017

Diaoptasia – Our Future Will Be

Fractures can sometimes be identified As light falls on its aching path How do you see the cracks that appear? Would it be rough and irregular? Maybe shell like, smooth and curved? Or maybe jagged and sharp edged like broken metal Forming elongated splinters Breaking like clay or chalk? Our future is to live […]

06-03-2017

I Will Burn Myself Again and Again: Notes on the Self-Immolations in Tibet

I am walking thus on the path of light, to become the living proof of truth I am sacrificing myself thus on the face of actuality All my brothers and sisters, young and old, living in misery and sorrow All people throughout the world who love freedom and peace And to you, tyrants of violence, […]

06-03-2017

Visual Script: Vietnam the Movie

—Did you see her? —The lobby was full of people. Police, security, barriers. I realized how ridiculous the situation was. I pictured myself jumping on an Indo-Chinese woman, yelling: “Mama!” So I thought a miracle had to happen. I hoped one of the women would shout: “Etienne, my son!” I waited. A long time.[…]

06-03-2017

A Tragedy in Two Acts

This is a slightly adapted version of a conversation that took place over e-mail in 2006 between art historian Els Roelandt and visual artist Ana Torfs, on the occasion of the first exhibition of Torfs’ installation Anatomy at daadgalerie in Berlin.

06-03-2017

America, de Bry 1590-1634

Whilst sitting in the rare book division of the New York Public Library in Manhattan, awaiting the arrival of an original 1724 edition of Le Code Noir, I picked up another book: America, de Bry 1590-1634. As I moved through the pages, looking at Theodor de Bry’s coloured engravings, I was witnessing documents from history that reported apparent truths about the colonisation of the Americas […]

29-09-2016

The Littoral

The year 2160 is the last year of the legacy-management activities under the Puerto Rico Power Authority and the now-defunct United States Atomic Energy Commission. The decommissioned reactor has been closed for fifty years. It was a model thermonuclear plant for seven years, between 1960 and 1967, but it required too many modifications to work […]