Getho Jean Baptiste
Jean Frederick aka Wabba
Jean Robert Alexis
Jean Robert Palenquet
Jerry Reginald Chery aka Twoket
Leonard Jean Baptiste
Patrick Elie aka Kombatan
Rossi Jacques Casimir
Wilerme Tegenis aka Zaka
Carl Martin Faurby
Thomas C. Chung
Dolgor Ser Od
Bryan Rodriguez Cambana
Erin Durban Albrecht
Michael K Taylor
Achim Mohné (DE) & Uta Kopp (DE) with Lisa Bensel (DE)
REMOTEWORDS is a long-term artistic and interdisciplinary project by Achim Mohné and Uta Kopp that subversively implements messages in to commercial supervision systems of virtual globes.
For the 4th Ghetto Biennale 2015, REMOTEWORDS plans to work together with the local Haitian writer Claudel Casseus at the crossover of Land Art, Media Art, photography, literature, design and navigation technology. Following the ‘resisting’ principle of this’ years Biennale, especially Casseus’ knowledge and use of Kreyól will form a common departure point to develop a message to be installed on a roof in Port-au-Prince in permanent, big letters. In such, the commonly developed statement will be ready to be photographed by Google’s satellites and thereby hacking this system.
Image: Remote worlds in Port-au-Prince, 2015.
BETWEEN ISLANDS | ANT ZILE
The International VideoArt Festival "Between Islands" emerged from the desire to connect the artistic values of several geographical areas through the symbolic language of video. Insularity and territorial issues are the artistic themes which connect these areas. What emerged was a wealth of social and cultural exchange, and the subjects range from emigration or boundaries to concepts like identity, homeland or region.
Six curators from the different areas and each has selected a piece made by a local artist.
The Balearic Islands - "Sísif" (2014) 3’34’’ Artist: Laura Torres Bauzà. Curator: Fernando Gómez de la Cuesta.
Cape Verde - "Djaforgu na 1 minutu" (2013). 1’ Artist: Cesar Schofield. Curator: Kisito Assangni.
The Canary Islands - "Journey" (2014). 2’ 25’’ Artist: Jose J. Torres. Curator: Adonay Bermúdez.
Cuba - "Bojeo" (2006-2007). 7’ 24’’ Artists: Celia y Yunior. Curator: Suset Sánchez.
Haiti - "Imagine if you woke tomorrow and all music disappeared" (2011). 11' 14'' Artist: Steevens Simeon. Curator: Leah Gordon.
Taiwan - "Adjective" (2010). 5’ 11’’ Artist: Yu Cheng-Ta. Curator: Jau-lan Guo.
The festival wants to create an international conversation with a critical look at the "between islands" concept.
CONCRETE ART MILITIA #1
Concrete art militia springs out the urgency to infuse spirituality in the dominant materialism of Western culture, to light a metaphysical fire as a remedy for our devouring hunger of consumer commodities. As part of a ritualistic act, the altar will display the malevolent spirits embedded in Western society in forms of ghostly representations through still and moving images captured in Europe. It will be enriched with the help of Haitian artists. In order to reach a climax, on top of a gradually mounting electronic beat that will define the temporal element of the performance there will be a layer of sounds recorded on site using cut-up techniques. If the past is always affecting the present, and if the future ends where it begins, then there is a chance to effectively intervene over the mechanism of late capitalism through Vodou means.
E PLURIBUS UNUM
Eugène started out as a house builder, but influenced by the creative energy of his neighbourhood he started to learn traditional sculpting in wood. ‘There was always something happening in our neighbourhood with music, many sculptors and Vodou all around. This made me begin the life of an artist.’ Eugène’s work became increasingly influenced by contemporary Haitian artists such as Nasson and then started to collaborate with established Haitian artists, Mario Benjamin and Barbara Prezeau. Eugène fused the fetish effigy with an apocalyptic MTV futuristic vision. Much of his work is figurative using human skulls for heads and imbued with a bold sense of irony, sexuality and humour. “It's usually always the bourgeoisie who own the galleries. But I wanted to have a gallery, not only a gallery, but it must be a museum. This is the reason why I have given the name 'E Pluribus Unum' Musee d'Art to my studio and yard.”
I investigate how our collective experience is particularly mediated through our relationship with technology and our consumption of images and how this has distorted our relationship with ourselves, and our bodies. I investigate how personal and multi-cultural experiences have impacted me and how a sense of comfortable, collective alienation may be communicated to a wider audience.
I aim to explore the Haitian Vodou practice as a manufactured culture and religion bringing together a huge variety of cultural strata in response to significant and unforgivable displacement. Retelling the history of the Haitian Vodou religion through a series of drawing and text, which function within the genre of magical realism. i.e. where the history, memory and myth are indistinguishable. Lying between what is real and virtual and utilising the virtual to communicate perceived reality. The retelling aims to contrast the western perception of Haitian Vodouism; which, throughout its documentation has been both demonised and exotised; with a personal experience of the religion from experiencing Haitian culture and religious practices directly and where personal accounts can create a image not simply of Vodou religion, but also form an image of the wider history of Haiti from a subjective point of view.
THE REFLEKTOR TAPES
Directed by 2013 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Short Films winner Kahlil Joseph, The Reflektor Tapes is a fascinating insight into the making of Arcade Fire’s international #1 album Reflektor.
The film recontextualizes the album experience, transporting the viewer into a kaleidoscopic sonic and visual landscape. It charts the band’s creative journey as they lay foundations for the album in Jamaica, record in Montreal and play an impromptu gig at a Haitian hotel on the first night of Carnival, before bringing their breath-taking live show to packed arenas in Los Angeles and London.
The Reflektor Tapes blends never before seen personal interviews and moments captured by the band to dazzling effect, and features 15 minutes of exclusive unseen footage, filmed only for cinema audiences.
JERMAINE DUPRI PLAYLIST
Jermaine Dupri Playlist is a performative/curatorial work that would gather the talents of tween (10 to 13 year old) artists active in Rap Kreyol. The project takes the form of a concert. Essentially, I would be building a small handmade stage (which is not restricted to one structure) which will hold tween rappers at different times for a one to two hour performance event which would be made up of six musical sets. An audition will be held prior to the main event in where each candidate will have to cypher on our built stage for a small audience. In addition, the artists/collaborators and I will distribute handmade concert posters (that we would make) to relevant communities in the area.
I will create a public art piece made of several 6x10 inch plastic bags that have been filled with mixed cement. The hardened cement bags will be embedded with objects and/or images associated with Vodou and lifestyle within Haiti, which I will collect/create during my time there. With this body of work I seek to evoke ideas of loss associated not only with the earthquake which devastated sections of Haiti in 2010, but also through the system of Transatlantic Slavery and the uprooting of Africans from their own cultural practices and lifestyle. This is evoked through the covering and masking of cultural objects within the cement. The work also suggests that what has been lost can be rebuilt into new and lasting forms. The bags as a mold for the cement serve to control and contain the objects, rendering them permanent and impenetrable, yet inaccessible. When placed around the streets of Port au Prince, they may become lost within the landscape based on how they have been arranged whether in isolation or as groupings.
Lakou Freelance will be an exhibition with Haitian artists revolving around a discussion of the circumstances of art production in the former West and Haitian concepts of selforganization. We will explore the concept of the Lakou as a model for creating more autonomy for artists in and outside Haiti as well as the problematics of a contemporary art world where mobility, networking and precarious work conditions exclude many cultural expressions.
Atis Konsa Dokto Fey Publik (The Artist as Healer) | Interventional Performance
During the Ghetto Biennale 2015 I will continue offering my services as a certified Tellington TTouch© Level II Practitioner and shamanic Therapist. This will take place in an informal casual manner, mainly within the public areas of Lakou Cheri and Ghetto Leanne.
During these interactions, I'm hoping not only to give, share and teach the healing techniques I practice, but also exchange methods and learn about Haitian techniques of selfhelp which can be spiritual as well as physical.
The Kreyol word for an alternative medical practitioner is a dokto fey. In Haiti, just like in ancient europe and possibly elsewhere in the world, the knowledge about healing, herbalism and selfhelp is an empiric wisdom, which is carried forward by word of mouth and through close observations. This used to be traditionally done by priests, shepherds, midwifes and anyone who has interested in the wisdom of healing people.
I'm looking for threading a link between art and healing, which are both central aspects of my life.
LAPE NAN VODOU A | PEACE WITHIN VODOU
I will do a performance during which I am singing and preaching the peace within Vodou. I have some sculptures that will represent my project too.
Mwen ap fe yon pefomans kote mwen ap chante e preche la paix nan Vodou a. Mwen gen yon pyes ki ap reprezante pwoje mwen an.
RADYO SHAK is the voice of the Ghetto Biennale lakou 2015.
Based in an existing or to-be-constructed shack in the Grand Rue Atis-Resistans compound, radyoshak will broadcast Ghetto Biennale happenings, visiting artist interviews and project updates, news-of-the-day, Haitian revolutionary history, transportation information, weather, public service announcements and musical entertainment over FM radio, internet radio and analog broadcast amplified through speakers and PA set up in the Grand Rue.
ACTIVATING PETWO'S KINESTHETIC IMAGINATION: DANCING REVOLUTION AND FORGING LAKOU IN THE GRAN RUE
Through performance ethnography, small-scale interventions and a collaborative creation of a final performance, the four of us seek to engage the Gran Rue neighborhood in the collective re-imagining of Petwo in order to address the following questions: How can Petwo’s "kinesthetic imagination" (Roach 1996) be harnessed and revisioned through the elaboration of story, dance and collective kinetic experience? How can we summon Bwa Kayiman’s call for unification, so central to the story encoded in Petwo and central to Haiti's existence, to connect across difference in order to foment revolution that activates new energetic revolts and social imaginings? Can we do so in ways that draw from the resources of Ezili Dantò such that we do not perpetuate the heteromasculine strictures on Haitianness which marginalize women, queers, dancers and artists?
Image: Credit Gus Mazzocca
THE STORY OF INSTITUTIONS
The project originated in the context of craftsmanship that exists in Port Au Prince—artists who make rubber stamps. In downtown Port Au Prince one can find many rubber stamp artists. They sit in front of small tables, strategically located in the mix of the civic quarters, between photographers for identity cards, with typewriters ready to fill out forms. They handcraft stamps for customers using a razor blade with precision and craftsmanship. On the table is also a notebook where the stamp is tested for customer approval. The notebook then becomes an archive of years of stamp production.
The project "The story of institutions" explores the meaning of the rubber stamp as a symbol of social legitimacy and as political metaphor. By inventorying and commissioning rubber stamps, the project emphasizes the mechanism of participation, integration, and validation that the stamp creates. The stamps play on popular culture to create an object that is symbolic and accessible, by being highly communicative, in a way that the masses are not excluded. Rubber stamps are a form of compressed story, microcosms of meaning, which creates cultural and social expectations. Stamps are central to the construction of an institution and the validation of processes.
The project was initiated by archiving existing stamps that stamp makers have compiled in their notebooks. The project is to develop new narratives based on conversations among the collaborators of the project (artists from Resistance, the rubber stamp maker, and other people), the idea is to create stamps that can serve multiple graphics purposes, graffiti, animation, alternative seals, comic panels--rubber stamps as intervention.
AN AMENDED HISTORY OF HAITIAN PHOTOGRAPHY: PRESENCE THROUGH ABSENCE
For the 2015 Ghetto Biennale, I propose a performance piece in Kreyol and English comprised of read excerpts from interviews about photography and Haiti completed during my time in Port-au-Prince. This performance is meant to make present an artistic resource that will be visually absent for non-Haitian participants, thereby rupturing the Biennale’s lens-free mandate. This strategy of circumventing the rules is at the heart of Kreyol, Vodou, and the Lakou, the three major themes of this year’s Biennale. The questions I ask during the interviews will be simple and conversational. Nonetheless the responses will clarify the following inquiries upon which the final performance will depend. What are the larger implications of having a lens-free Biennale? What are the terms that need to be met for photography to become an acceptable and useful medium in light of Haiti’s multifaceted history of photography? This is a timely project, for which I hope will compliment and continue conversations spearheaded through the recent exhibition "From Within and Without: The History of Haitian Photography" at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale. Despite the lens-free mandate, photography will in fact be a powerful presence at the 2015 Ghetto Biennale.
A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF US IMPERIALISM AND HOMOPHOBIA IN HAITI 1915-2015
This two-part project consists of 1.) a collaboratively-created zine about how U.S. interventions in Haiti over the last century shape the constraints and possibilities for gender and sexual liberation in the Black Republic and 2.) a roving public forum at the Ghetto Biennale to discuss homophobia in Haiti. The zine is a condensed version of my dissertation, "Postcolonial Homophobia: United States Imperialism in Haiti and the Transnational Circulation of Antigay Sexual Politics" written in Kreyòl, with images and writing contributed by queer Haitian artists. As those involved with the project distribute the zine at the Ghetto Biennale, we will engage with people—Haitian and blan alike—about their perceptions of homophobia and other queer struggles in Haiti.
MIRROR, REVERSE I
I would like to propose a performance project based on famous borlette lottery and the corresponding book the Tchala. The borlette players use the Tchala to translate their dreams in lottery numbers. During my research on this game, I realized the depth of the elements he invokes and reveals.
This game of chance seems to be the last hope of a better survival for many impoverished Haitians. Fatally reduced to hand over their destinies and their hopes in the hands of chance. In the same time, I was touched by the importance of player’s dreams and their interpretations in the mechanics of this game. And also by the report to the coded language, symbolic figures, historical elements, voodoo references, that Tchala as a dictionary, articulates, reveals and declines. Thus, to thwart the fate and aim straight the borlette player every day reinvests his dreams, his unconscious, his traditional, spiritual, historical references, magical and religious beliefs, his imagination. Here plays the knowledge, and therefore the survival of all that constitutes its cultural and spiritual identity. I think the borlette as it is, is similar to the process of resistance that lakou, Vodou and the Creole language.
Day after day, my project will build on the idea of a reversal relationship at random from the mechanics of this game. If the Tchala allows to translate dreams and visions in number to play. So I propose to use the tchala in the opposite direction. And translate the winning numbers in a dream, vision or performative action. I would like realise my actions in public space, opened to the encounter and exchange. Available objects around me, recovering, loan, provide me the physical components and other accessories I would need for my performances. The aesthetic will result from this language of shapes, symbols, urgency, materials. This is a project that will progress as a spiral (referring to writer Franketienne, and his book Ultravocal) Gradually incorporating observations and questions, subtle discoveries and random encounters, symbolic objects and magical practices. His background is a permanent dialogue between fate and randomness, myself and the Haitian identity.
Gabriella Gilmore and Rachael Minott are two UK based artists who explore within their practice concepts of recreation, memory, spirituality and identity. They will be examining the process of forming a new cultural space from existing ideas and practices by recreating the structure of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, which had been destroyed for the 6th time by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The reconstruction will be influenced by other cultural imagery alive in the island, with the intention of exploring the process of re-appropriation and the merging of cultures as seen throughout the Caribbean and particularly through Haitian Kreyol and the practice of Vodou.
Inside the imprint of the cathedral the artists will reimagine the artworks and functions held by the original building by referencing both Vodou and Christian visual symbols and more directly by recreating the cathedral's murals lost during the earthquake alongside other newly conceptualized artifacts. By exploring the relationship between architecture, infrastructure and ritual, which exist within both religions and art institutions, this new cathedral will highlight the reverence of objects placed in sacred spaces.
LAKOU A TOMBE | THE FALL OF THE LAKOU
The project name is "the fall of the lakou (yard)". The lakou is Haiti. Christophe, Petion, Dessalines's and our other ancestors fought to leave this lakou to us, but it is no longer the same today. I will make a sculpture with metal and wood for and make a performance with it. There will be a little Vodou background, will have 2 people who interpret the Haitian words that I will say to show that the yard has fallen and the conversation that we will have to understand the yard is so we can put our heads together to save it. But in Kreyol because in the yard we use this language so our enemy cannot understand us. Before all this, there will be a Vodou ritual to call Haiti to come and speak with all her children, do not forget we left Guinea on a continent called "Africa" and it is not that land.
Non pwoje a se " lakou a tonbe" lakou a se ayiti e se christophe, petion, dessalines ak lot zanset nou yo ki te goumen pou kite l pou nou, se pa li ki la jodia, m'ap fe yon eskilti an metal ak bwa pou fe yon pefomans ak sa. Ap gen yon ti Vodou an background, ap gen 2 moun k'ap enteprete pawol ayiti ap di pou montre ke lakou a tonbe e pawol ki pou fe nou konnen lakou a se pou nou se nou ki pou mete tet nou ansanm pou sove l. Men an kreyol paske nan lakou a nou te itilize yon langaj pou enmi an pat konprann nou. Anvan tout sa, ap gen yon seremoni Vodou pou rele ayiti vin pale ak tout pitit li yo, pa bliye nou soti nan ginen sou yon kontinan ki rele "afrik" se pa ate la li ye.
GERMAN VINOGRADOV SCREENING
German Vinogradov screening night with a presentation about his work by Russian curator Anna Dorofeeva. "Мiracle-play of a metropolitan city" represents an overview on the work by the Russian artist German Vinogradov (b. 1957), who has been known since the 1980s as the founder of the miracle play art in Russia. For the 4th Ghetto Biennale we have selected a series of videos and photographs. The presented photographs are dedicated to the fusion of the body with landscape. In the "Invocation" (1991) series the artist attempts to capture the essence of his native city Moscow and turns his body into the element of the city's spirit. "Buryatia" (2001) series shows the body as a sign of a very different landscape, where pure rocks, hills and the sky dominates the environment.
Amongst the presented videos there is a film made specially for 4th Ghetto Biennale. It depicts one of the most famous pieces by the artist - BICAPO, the sound mysterium-performace, produced by the sound of metal constructed objects, which generate music. Unintentionally being similar in sounding to the orthodox church bells, this phenomenon was particularly remarkable for the early 80th in the Soviet Union, as the sound of church bells was almost extinct in the anti-religion era of the communist state. The film that will be presented at the biennale will depict BICAPO's latest incarnation, which takes place each Sunday in the artist's flat in Moscow, as well as the original film from 1989, titled "Demolition of the wall", when the performance was conducted while the wall of the Anatoly Vasiliev's theatre "School of Dramatic Art" was demolished.
The other films "Neboded", "Valdai", "GermanAphrodite", "I was catching salmon in the river" - will introduce the audience to the works with nature and the important for the artist theme of the fusion of the body with the landscape. Another significant subject that will unfold is the new presentation of poetic evenings, where German Vinogradov recites poems, while immersed inside an ice-hole in the frozen winter river, and his performance includes also such absurd elements as tropical fruits on snow, being cut with the axe. The last piece "Airo-sledges Malevich" (2001) is a film, celebrating the birthday of Kasimir Malevic, which was shot on the alleged place of his burial.
German Vinogradov is one of the central figures in the Russian contemporary art and thus the body of his work brings together many aspects of Russian culture and history, however main core of the artist intention has been always first of all to reconnect himself to the state of spirit awareness and to be led by the freedom and honesty of nature.
BOAT TREE PROJECT | BATO PWOJE PYEBWA
My work for the ghetto Biennale 2015 is a combined project. I will screen "boat" a video piece I have been working on for a year in different locations with a Haitian segment titled: boat, Haiti Tree Project / bato Pwojè Pyebwa. My Haiti segment will include research into traditional tree worship in Haiti, in and around Lakous, the lwas associated with trees and the combination of tree folklore and proverbs. I will spend time traveling to remote Anse a Pitre studying specific, Haitian trees and talking to local people about the trees they know of, as well as visiting some of these trees. After the research phase is over, I plan to create boats depicting trees and their proverbs they inspire to videotape and edit a segment. My video piece will integrate symbols of tree worship such as candles, other offerings and include the appropriate lwas. My exhibition strategy is to be a part of the ghetto Biennale screening and to place paper tree boats in and around the gB neighborhood during the opening of the gB exhibition.
HAITI IN BRAZIL: ALIVIUM
There are thousands of in[visible] Haitians living in Brazil. They are practically ignored by the eyes of the common citizenship, but they look appealing on the eyes of an employer because they are low-cost labour. Alivium Project will bring Street Art to Haiti in a series of Connected-Murals on the streets of Port au Prince. The artist will connect Brazil and Haiti by his paintings. The main goal is to learn, evolve and disseminate Alivium Concept: "we can’t cure all diseases, but we can relieve all pain". Gustavo Malucelli will dive in his research on Vodou and collect insights from all types of experience, rituals and people during his stay in Haiti. The goal is to learn the relation between their tradition and Haitian Strengths -> all the new thoughts will feed the artist symbolic illustrated murals. #euTribo
THE MUSEUM OF TRANCE
As our concept for the 4th Ghetto Biennale we want to set up The Museum of Trance in Port-au-Prince, an unfinished part-fictional museum of the history of electronic trance music from Germany. The conceptual starting point for the concept was the interest in Vodou drumming and the stages of trance that people get in while practicing it. This form of trance is something that is lacking the religions practiced in Western Europe. But in the early 90s Trance Music was evolved out of Rave Music and Acid Techno. This hard, fast and spheric new genre tried to capture an ecstatic spirituality that otherwise is very rare in Western Europe, especially in Germany. We want to see what happens when the Haitian practice of spiritual trance clashes with German Trance music culture. We want to discuss the representation of Haitian culture in German museums by excoticizing German rave culture and by musealizing it as ,the other‘ in the middle of Haiti. The museum is unfinished, as if the investors lost their interest before finishing it. Due to that this museum will be open to be explored and taken-over by the local Port au Prince artists and musicians. The traditional institution ,ethnological museum‘ is appropriated, deconstructed and re-interpreted and transforms into a post-colonial experimental playground.
Image: Inga Selck
LA BAMBA : MAS POR VENIR
My project looks to the theme of Kreyòl, Voudou and the Lakou: Forms of Resistance by exploring the continued travel and cultural morphing of the popular song La Bamba. The version known by many is the 1959 US recording by the Chicano singer, Ritchie Valens. The version of La Bamba or translated as the stomp, that was recorded by Valens is considerably different than the original that was composed in Veracruz, Mexico in the 1500s. This version of La Bamba makes use of the American guitar and singer soloist rather than the jarana, as well as utilizing a drum kit rather than the clapping and stomping that may have originally been used to create tempo and beat by many people. In order to imagine another possible origin (that which I have done by research in both archives and via speculative forms of creating and writing), I look to the revolt and sugarcane fires of Mexico's coasts in attempts to create free towns. As is the case throughout the Americas, dancing and singing were forbidden in enslaved African and Afroindigenous communities throughout Mexico in the 1800’s because of direct fear of the Haitian Revolution. For the purposes of the Ghetto Biennial, I am interested in the creation of a new version of the song La Bamba, a version which reaches the place of origin and destination. The song will be created on site at the Biennial in collaboration with other artists, translators and musicians (TBA).
The piece ‘Altar’ aims at developing a critical re-evaluation of ‘facts on History’, shadowed narratives in the context of the Black Atlantic, the Republique D’Haiti, its birth and statu quo.
‘Altar’ works as an integral site-specific multimedia installation composed of a quadraphonic system streaming 24/7 for a period of a month, Erzulie Dantor’s voodoo ceremonial song arranged as an ‘Aria’ in kreyól and recited by a trained soprano Haitian émigré and queer artist based in Dominican Republic.
I am interested in re-contextualizing the so-called ‘National Mythology’ to a present tense, being Erzulie Dantor; the voodoo deity of homosexuals and children, the one invoked the night the slave revolt kicked off ¹ and its later synchronization with the Polish catholic icon Czarna Madonna, the installation piece serves a provocation for a potential Haitian second Chimurenga ². Simultaneously; a direct critique to C. T. Jasper & Joanna Malinowska’s lack of accuracy in their piece 'Halka/Haiti 18º48’05"N 72º23’01"W' at Polish Pavilion for the 56th Venice Biennale.³
This research-based installation was completed in winter 2014 in Berlin, originally developed for the Wroclaw Media Art Biennale – Test Exposure 2015.
1. Rogozinski, Jan (1999). A brief History of the Caribbean. pp 85.
2. King Chung, Fay (2006). Re-living the Second Chimurenga: Memories from Zimbabwes Liberation Struggle.
3. Wei, Lilly (2015). Poland's Venice pavilion explores Haiti's Polish Connection. artnews.com
Jackson Thélémaque was born and raised in provincial Haïti but spent most his life in France. Haitïan imaginary is part of his urban reality, he is a true foreign créole. Musician, he also writes and tells stories. Coming back to Haïti in the urban Lakou of Gran Rue he would like to liberate Bouki from his compère Malice, transforming the crossroad into a roundabout where the old story will be reinvented and led by voodoo electric guitar.
I’m making this proposal for the 2015 Ghetto Biennale as a mean to recreate an artistic and spiritual link with the Lakou where I grew up, to show how we keep sometimes despite us overwhelming memories leading towards humanity that we all search. Hoping that this hybrid project will leave enough space for creation that we will all invoke together.
A SCRIPT OF DESIRE | YON ALFABE NAN DESI
A Script of Desire is a ritual calligraphic performance project in which the artist creates sacred space for writing, actualizing subconscious desire through automatic drawing.
Jamie Ross’ artistic practice is motivated by an interest in the sacred and magical logics, especially as articulated by queer people and in queer communities. This project employs the cypher he developed as an adolescent to encode secret messages in his journals, mostly about his early sexuality and early experiments with magic.
Having re-learned this script and adapted it to a cursive form after a decade of dormancy, Ross uses it now used to enable the expression of unconscious messages though automatic writing. This form of unconscious creation is developed in a light trance state, similar to hypnosis.
The project engages centrally with issues of multifaceted authorship and subjectivity. Ross draws a rich lineage of queer artists using script and writing, and for this work several queer ancestors are invoked by name. The living, contemporary artist is not always best conceived of as the creator of the ritual writing that is produced - a notion with strong implications for the creation of works of art. A strong creative lineage speaks back through time to the child of the past who was so isolated that he invented a secret alphabet.
A workshop and artist’s talk will be held prior to the public performance of the work.
CHITA TANN | SIT AND WAIT
‘SIT AND WAIT’ is an expression we use often in the Kreyol language in many cases. There are two primary ways that we use the expression:
- The master of the yard always sits & waits for his children when he sends them out to run an errand.
- When you arrive at someone’s yard you must firstly sit and wait for someone to serve you as if you do not respect the principles of the yard something can happen to you, and then you will have to sit and wait for the master of the yard to come and save you.
In this project will explore all three forms of resistance: We will spend time creating artwork in a peristyle, we will write poetry, make slam performances in Kreyol and put voodoo culture values in the texts (Kreyol language) and make sculptural works from recycled materials within which we will express Vodou symbols. We will present our work in the same place, and also all the waste created i.e. the wood, paper, iron and all that remains after the creation of these works. We will show and present this work to everyone that comes to visit us from the neighbourhood, in the place we have made this work. Then we will take them to visit the workshop where we habitually work.
SIT AND WAIT is a project, which intertwines words and recuperation sculptures. To present it we will do slam performance in the same location where we showcase the sculpture and attach the Kreyol poetry all within a yard. After the presentation, those who want can buy our works. There are 2 artists who are cooperating together to achieve the project: Muscadin Fritz Gérald (sculpture) and Jean D'Amerique (poetry/slam).
"CHITA TANN" se yon espresyon nou itilize anpil nan lang kreyòl la nan plizyè ka. Gen 2 sans ki pi itilize pou espresyon an:
- Mèt lakou a toujou chita tann pitit li yo lè li voye al chèche yon bagay.
- Lè w rive nan yon lakou fok ou chita tann yo vin sèvi w epi lè ou pa respekte prensip lakou a yon bagay rive w, se mèt lakou a pou chita tann vin sove w.
Nan pwojè sa a n ap eksplwate tou lè twa fòm rezistans yo: N ap pase tan an pou nou kreye zèv atistik yo nan espas yon peristil (Lakou), n ap ekri pwezi, fè pèfòmans slam nan lang kreyòl epi ki mete kilti vodou an valè nan tèks yo (Lang kreyòl) epi zèv eskilti/rekiperasyon yo ap esprime senbol vodou yo (Vodou). Nap pase twa semèn nan anndan yon peristil poun fè twa zèv eskilti/rekiperasyon epi ekri pwezi, kreye pèfòmans slam nan. Nap prezante li menm kote a, ak tout dechè travay la. Sa vle di, moso bwa, papye, fè ak tout sa ki rete apre kreyasyon zèv yo. Nap mennen moun ki vini pou sa al gade prezantasyon pwojè a nan katye nou, kote nou fè travay sa a. Apre sa n ap mennen yo al vizite atelye kote nou abitye travay toutan.
CHITA TANN se yon pwojè ki marande pawòl ak pyès eskilti rekiperasyon. Pou prezante li n ap fè pèfòmans slam nan yon dekò kote nou espoze zèv eskilti/rekiperasyon epi plakèt pwezi kreyòl nan yon espas lakou. Apre prezantasyon an, moun ki vle ka achte zèv atis yo. Gen 2 atis k ap met ansanm pou reyalize pwojè a: Muscadin Fritz Gérald (eskilti/rekiperasyon) ak Jean D'Amérique (pwezi/slam).
VODOU KREYOL EN ART | VODOU KREYOL IN ART
In the project 'Vodou & Kreyol in Art' I am taking is all that is within Vodou and Kreyol and mixing it up so make a form of art. This is because Vodou is our culture, Kreyol is our language and I will make a piece of work combining the two aspects of Haitian culture.
Vodou kreyol an art a se tout sa ki nan vodou ak kreyol nou an map melanje yo. Pou m fe yo vinn bay yon form art, paske vodou se kilti nou, kreyol se lang nou mwen menm mwen vle melanje 2 bgay sa yo, poum fe kek oeuvre d’art kap reprezante projet pa mwen an.
ESLAVAJ 21EM SYEK | SLAVERY IN THE 21ST CENTURY
The title of the project is the house of slavery in the 21st century
Le titre pojet le chateau de l esclavage du 21em siècle.
VODOU LAKOU KWAPO | VODOU LAKOU FROG
There is a ceremony which is celebrated every 17th October. On this day it is the frog that is the healer for all fathers who are sick. I wish to present a painting of this healing frog on canvas with acrylic paint.
Sinifi lakou gerizon
Se yon seremoni ki selebre chak 17 oktob, se jou sa kwapo gerizon pou tout papa ki malad. Mwen vle prezante mesye ak kek tablo akrilic sou twal.
L’HOMME DANS VODOU | THE MAN IN VODOU
I would like to participate and work with visiting artists coming to Haiti to draw what I mean when I say ‘the man in Haiti’. I want to say that each person can live in any country but they still have a spirit which accompanies them…whether it be good or bad depends on the system that encompasses the spirit. It is in this context that I want to discuss ‘the man in Vodou’. I would like to do an exhibition which is based on this title and I would like visiting artists to participate with me so that we can create and make an installation for this project. I think this will be realized and I would like to make this for my body.
Mwen gen yon projet ki se ‘l’homme dans le Vodou’,
Mwen ta renmen patisipe avek etranje kap vinn an Haiti pou desanm nan
le mwen di l’homme dans le Vodou, mwen vle di chak moun kap viv nan yon peyi li gen yon espri ki toujou akonpanye li, swa le byen ou le mal, sa depan nan system li adopte espri a. Se nan konteks sa mwen vle pale L’homme dans le Vodou. Sa mwen ta renmen se fe yon ekspozisyon ki baze sou tit sa, mwen ta renmen etranje patispe avek mwen pou nou ka kreye e fe yon instalasyon pou projet. Mwen panse lap realize, e mwen pa ta renmen fe li pou ko’m.
A religious interchange project meant to accelerate religious syncretism. I transport statues of deities outside of their original contexts and donate them to temples of different religions, under the condition that they are somehow assimilated and incorporated to the local rites and ceremonies. Unlike traditional religious syncretism, which is a product of colonial oppression, this is a voluntary and balanced exchange. It is an attempt to redeem syncretic systems and deities of this violence.
I am going to arrive in Haiti with three deities worshipped in Brazilian Umbanda and Candomblé - Oxum, Oxumaré and Nanã – and will look for Vodou temples willing to adopt them. I will then purchase, preferably from Grand Rue artists, three statues of different Loa to bring back to Brazil, and donate them to Umbanda or Candomblé temples there.
During the Ghetto Biennale, I will need to hire or collaborate with a Haitian artist who has a professional photo camera able to make high resolution images. This artist will photograph each donated statue in its new context. Ideally this artist would also be able to act as my translator when I visit the temples. Later I will display these photographs on shows elsewhere, and the Haitian artist(s) who work with me on this will be credited as collaborators.
LAKOU A GEN GRAN MOUN | THE ELDERS OF THE LAKOU
I want to present a piece in the Biennale which is called 'our grandmothers'. Because I know it is very mystical because the elders are a big strength for us Haitians who believe in Vodou. Because e the house is the house of the elders who are a force for Vodou
Mwen vle prezante yon pyes nan biennal la kap rele grann giton’n. Paske mwen konnenl li mistik anpil paske gran moun se yon gwo fos pou nou menm ayisyen ki kwe nan Vodou. Paske lakay se lakay pawol gran moun kise fos Vodou.
HALKA/HAITI 18°48’05"N 72°23’01"W
HALKA/HAITI 18°48’05"N 72°23’01"W is a film projection of the opera Halka by Stanisław Moniuszko, as it was staged in February for the inhabitants of Cazale, a village situated in the mountains of Haiti.
Artists C.T. Jasper and Joanna Malinowska and curator Magdalena Moskalewicz, decided to stage the opera in Haiti inspired by the mad plan of Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, who wanted to build an opera house in the Amazon. Fascinated by Fitzcarraldo’s faith in the universal power of opera, but not uncritical of the colonizing aspect of his actions, they decided to reveal and undercut its romanticism by confronting a set of very specific geographic, historical, and sociopolitical realities.
Halka/Haiti 18°48′05′′N 72°23′01′′W was produced by Zachęta – National Gallery of Art in Warsaw for the Polish Pavilion at the 56th Venice Art Biennale. Project curated by Magdalena Moskalewicz.
Image: Credit Barbara Kaja Kaniewska
RADYO SHAK SHACK
During 2015’s biennale, I will design and construct the iconic building for Clocktower Radio's Radyo Shak.
ZIN: PROVERBS FOR BLACK OPS | PROVERBS FOR ARTISTS
I plan to collect "tele-djol" stories about the various occupations in Haiti (or simply about the GB itself i.e. a kind of Kreyol /French /English "Hello" fanzine for the GB). One is more local, friendly and event-specific, the other more covert. Perhaps these are two projects. There could in fact be two projects, one overt the other covert. Something like Proverbs for Artists/Proverbs for Black Ops.
AKADREMEN VODOU LAKAY
I am presenting this project with some paintings which are framed with recycled plastics. If we have paintings which represent Veves and with this emblematic vision they are representing Vodou.
Mwen ap prezante pwoje sa avek kek tablo penti ki ap ankadreman plastik. Kom ezanp tablo sa yo ap gen veve, avek kek vizaj anblematik ki ap reprezante vodou.
LAKOU ST JACQUES
Vodou is our culture. St Jacques is a spirit that came together with many other spirits to help us take our independence. St Jacques is the name of the work I will present.
Voudou a se kilti nou, St Jacques se youn nan espri ki te konbine ak lot espri yo pou nou te pran endepandans nou, St Jacques se non Oeuvre d’art mwen ap prezante a.
In her essay on the Atis Rezistans at the Grand Rue in Port-au-Prince, Dr. Katherine Smith provides contextualization of art collectives when she says "[i]t is important to understand the artists and their works as a collective because they live and work in close proximity to each other. This is a conscious choice on their part, and an effort that they see as part of a movement based in their community" (123). The Lakou refers to clusters of homes in which families reside. The members of a Lakou generally work cooperatively and carry out daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning and doing laundry, they also can provide each other with financial and other forms of support. The role and function of the Lakou in post-emancipation Trinidad, referred to as Barrack-Yards, as described in C.L.R. James' first novel Minty Alley, functioned in a similar manner. This was also the space where many steel pan and Carnival bands emerged. Haiti's Lakou, Trinidad's Barrack-Yards, and Jamaica's Tenement Yard, have often been spaces in which artists and creative works emerged. These communities still exist for socio-economic reasons in both urban and rural areas.
Barrack Yard was conceptualised from my own work in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel over the past 5 years. This project will visually document the ways in which the Lakou at the Grand Rue and Croix de Bouquet continue to offer a critical space for creative work in the contemporary period. Through a series of drawings created on-location I will explore the daily functions and features of the Lakou. At the heart of these visual documents will be a record of the creative processes that go on amid the poetics of daily living. In a sense this project is of archival value, through a process that moves away from the ‘point-and-shoot’, to the slower process of observation via drawing. More importantly, this use of the tradition of en plein air drawing is that it is un-intrusive to the privacy of the community. This methodology was chosen because the Lakou is being explored as not only a place of creativity but how it occurs amid the ordinary acts of daily living where women, children and the elderly are very much part of the space. This project will inform my discussions with other artists and visitors regarding the ways the Lakou system has offered an alternative space for creative outputs and how art collectives lend support to each other and share their knowledge via the production of their works, and simultaneously, how creativity has also allowed the Lakou be a liveable space.
In a project that plays with the politics, ephemera and objects generated by and surrounding the phenomenon of the international biennial, Laura Heyman and Leah Gordon are establishing the Ghetto Biennale Art Prize.
Instead of the usual desire to collapse differences between artists, this art prize highlights them. Following the unwritten but well-known rules of the international art world, two panels of artists will convene to review and judge the works in the Third Ghetto Biennale.; a panel of visiting artists will choose one Haitian artist to award the prize, while a panel of Haitian artists will choose one visiting artist to award the prize.
A transcript of the discussion of each panel around the awarding of the Ghetto Biennale Art Prize will be translated into English, French and Haitian Creole, and printed for circulation throughout the event. The prize itself takes the form of a trophy that borrows aesthetic cues from various types of souvenirs found in tourist shops around the world.
To discover the dry and wet months of the year: "Take twelve onions all the same size. Then cut a hole in the top of each onion. Then fill each top with the same amount of salt. Then lay each onion in a straight row on a table. You must lay them the way the sun rises and sets. You must do this on Christmas Eve between eleven and twelve, and don't let anyone go near the table after you have put them there. Get up on Christmas morning early and go to the onions and say, 'January, February, March, April' and so on. Then look at each onion. Some onions will have water running out of them and some will be dry. The onions that have water running out of them will be wet months and the dry onions dry months for the coming year." Folk-lore from Adams County, Illinois, 1935.
Folkloristically, an action is designated as the pseudo-ostension when an individual knowingly re-enacts a legend or myth as a hoax, and their actions are witnessed by a third party and subsequently believed to be the fulfillment of the legend. The action of the perpetrator thus becomes a truth for the witness.
In the practice of superstitious ritual, an individual’s actions are not dictated by a belief system, institution, or master, but rather by the archetypal symbols and consciousness inherent in their gesture and being. The action thus embodies an individual’s personal relationship to their specific location in space and time, and empowers them to control their environment and the forces around them: life, death, afterlife, sickness, health, poverty, wealth, weather, the cosmos, the natural world, spiritual and physical entities.
Lazaros will perform and actualize pseudo-ostensive superstitious rituals as sculptures throughout the Grand Rue.
Image: “To prevent the possibility that your soul might escape and make you die while you’re afflicted, tie a red mirror near your front door with white rope, binding it six times with the form of an x, and tying twelve knots in the rope, then fasten a gourd to the mirror with two bands, forming another x, with a pure beeswax candle in the center of the x, then light the candle and replace it as needed, always keeping a flame until you are made whole”, LAZAROS, 2015.
SACRED SOIL - CULTIVATING THE URBAN LAKOU
The effective revolutionary approach of the Lakou, Vodou and Kreyol have much to offer a wider discourse on preserving traditional farming practices in the face of monumental threats from industrial agriculture. Drawing from the historical importance of agriculture in Haiti, the Sacred Soil project will consist of small permaculture gardens to cultivate nourishment at neighbourhood scale. Built from locally sourced materials, oil barrels and tires will be collaboratively transformed into sculpted vessels for the garden containers. They will be installed through the urban Lakou, paired with catchment systems developed to take advantage of intermittent heavy rainfall in order to provide constant access to water so the gardens may be sustained. Working with the most common ingredients used in traditional recipes I gathered while working with grandmothers during the 2013 Ghetto Biennial, planned companion planting will be developed to make high density use of the small spaces. Seeds will be sourced in local markets in Port-Au-Prince, and on the farms where we will also gather soil in a way that supports biodynamic and traditional farming practices of the rural Lakou. Rounding out the project will be a celebratory feast of Tchaka for Lwa Azaka, the well-loved god of agriculture.
Image: Jean Claude Santillus with a banana tree that he is placing in his new garden. Photo credit Rossi Jacques Casimir.
I will create a series found prints from objects found while walking through neighbourhoods in Haiti. The Cards will be sent, by post, to either an Arts organisation where they will be exhibited as well as to some individuals that I meet while in Haiti any card mailed to an individual will become the property of that individual.
I would begin creating and sending the cards through the postal system to the exhibition once I arrive. I would continue to send cards throughout the duration my stay in Haiti. I would make a second copy of every print to exhibit in the case the postal system is not a viable option for sending the cards in a timely fashion. All cards will be postcard size: approx. 10 x 15 cm. The cards can be hung directly on the wall; magnets, clips (clothe pins) or pins are suitable methods.
LANGAJ VODOU A | THE LANGUAGE OF VODOU
Our project the "Language Kreyol" is the central idea behind what we will present for the Ghetto Biennale. We will show that everything is based on the Creole language and married with Vodou. This will have some aspects of painting mixed with recycled sculpture and collages. For the opening we plan to tell a story, play the drums, burn a fire and make a circle of people. To achieve the task we need to use the Atis Rezistans space to show our work. To conclude the idea is to show that Kreyol coupled with Vodou and the sound of the stories will show that the lakou is still a Vodou space.
Proje nou an se " Langaj kreyol la " se lide santral proje sila a ke nou prezante GHETTO BIANNALE la avan tou proje sa chita sou lang kreyol la ki marye ansanm ak Vodou nan kad proje sa a ap gen ekspozisyon d’art penti melanje ak rekiperasyon epi kolaj. Pou venisaj la nou konte tire kont nan lakou atis rezistans ak tanbou tire kont lan ak yon flanm dife epi fe yon ronn. Pou nou reyalize travay la nap bezwen yon espas nan lakou rezistans lan poun ka ekspoze evr nou yo. Pou konkli lide a se pou montre ke kreyol la makonnen ak Vodou a sanrann kont e montre k elide lakou a toujou se espas Vodou a.
WHO AM I
During the second Ghetto Biennale in 2011, we noticed the specific consonance and uniqueness of Haitian names. To us those names revealed the true creole origins like nowhere else in the Caribbean. The history of Haiti being that of independence based on French and Spanish colonisation, names seemed to have a French consonance but are actually created and/or a declension of traditional French names.
These historical traces persist today and we would like to trace the Grand Rue inhabitants’ history through their names and what story it tells about their origins? We will seek to identify if the name has origins a far away or more closely related to the area itself and the Lakou?
The project seeks to express movement and will consist of creating a series of interviews and animations that responds to the people’s oral histories and memories. What they knew, what they know, elements of displacement and what will be. As we seek to explore their pasts it is paramount that we collaborate with local artists and use recycled materials in the same fashion that they are accustomed to.
MAYO VODOU | VODOU T-SHIRTS
I am presenting this project with t-shirts of many different colours. I will print onto these t-shirts all the names of the spirits and also all the different veves that represent them. Everyone in the biennale will be able to buy them as souvenirs at a fair price.
T-shit vodou se yon pwoje Londel Innocent, mwen ap prezante pwoje sa sou kek mayo ki gen diferan koule. Sou mayo sa mwen ap enprime tout non espri yo e mwen ap mete tout kalite veve ki ap reprezante vodou lakay. Tout moun ki nan biennal la ap gen dwa pou yo achte mayo sa yo ki ap rete yon souvni pou yo nan yon pri ki pa two che.
TI KONTREDANS NAN LAKOU LAKAY | A LITTLE DANCE IN THE LAKOU
This project aims to show all the traditions Lakous that have disappeared. For example: older ways of dressing, lifestyles and habits. I will will take one day, from 10 o'clock in the morning until dusk to perform and show people how the older generation lived their lives. I will perform many activities: grinding millet and coffee, and eat the way traditional good Ayisyen food. It will be like a masked ball where everyone must be dressed in ancient traditional clothing and leather sandals, we will have a Twoubadou band to make music for people to dance all day.
Pwoje sa gen objektif pou li montre tout tradisyon lakou yo (bitasyon) ki finn disparet. pa egzanp :ansyen abiman, mod de vi ak abitid yo. lap pran yon jou ,de 10 ze nan maten jiskaske bajou kase pou moun vinn aprann konnen kijan granmoun yo te konn viv ak fe konesans ak kek ladan yo ki gen san tan e pik. Nan jou sa mwen prevwa anpil aktivite : pile pitimi ak kafe ,epi manje nan fason tradisyonel nou yo bon manje ayisyen.pou jounen sa fet korekteman lap tankou yon bal maske kote tout moun dwe abiye an rad karabela sandal kwi, ap gen twoubadou kap fe moun danse tout jounen an. Desideman tout moun ki vle patisipe ap gen yon fre pou yo bay paske rad, manje ,bwe pap sou kont yo pou jou sa.
COLLABORATIVE BY NATURE
Nature is a primary reality on which everything rests. Culture describes the expression of our relation with nature. There are countless cultural approaches and at state we turn into a virtual dispute, despite from primary experience. We want to question the quality of our creative approach, under which conditions we would find a collaborative perspective? We do not propose to point out the gap between different cultural strategies but collaborate with nature rather than control. In order to do so we like to do some research on local practices in "dealing" with natures spirit that could disembogue to land art interventions in both, the dense area of the city or despite in nature. Aim is the development of and individual method of direct creativity more than realizing single art works. By chance the method could be either individual as well collaborative as team, group, etc. However the issue collaborative by nature will guide the proposal.
The work will explore being a "refugee" in transition between physical places, spiritual beliefs, technology, and theories. Caribbean and American port cities such as Port Au Prince, Haiti and New Orleans, LA share histories of belief, commerce and culture recently shattered by earthquakes and storms such as Katrina over the last decade. The work will be formed through a combination of collected objects that are "refugees" of their initial placement or use. Performance and interactive components will be planned in response to the experience of creating the site specific work on location.
NON INVERTED SUMMER
Since the mid-twentieth century, meteorologists have used a system of symbols to illustrate weather phenomenon occurring at any location. These visual symbols represent hyper-objects such as wind, temperature, clouds, etc. and can be found daily in Western and global culture. Formally, these symbols are extremely similar to the ceremonial Veve drawings used in Vodou.
My project in the Ghetto Biennale will take me to the Chaîne De Las Selle mountain range where I will introduce drawings of Western weather symbols onto two-dimensional plates. I will do this through an alchemical process I have developed that combines geo-engineering techniques created to make rain with specific photography materials and processes. The similarities between the Veve and weather symbols fascinate me. The parity leads me to believe the form of resistance I find happening in Vodou is broader than initial moments of struggle against religious oppression. This resistance acts as subtle, enduring opposition, infiltrating Western culture. The symbols are examples of that infiltration, as Voduo beliefs and practices appear to be appropriating Western means of communication and information to serve as a global transmitter.
For this fourth edition of the Ghetto Biennial I propose to make drawings in response to the social, economic and geopolitical relationships of the charcoal trade in Haiti. The drawings will be made in situ utilizing charcoal manufactured in Port au Prince during the production period, and will use walls, pavements and any other available exterior surface to draw upon. The Ghetto Biennial offers an opportunity to enact notions of artistic performativity as an instigator of reconstructions in response to the aftermath of 2010 earthquake and in doing so will develop dialogues that explore the history of Haiti in relationship to geopolitics, the charcoal trade and environmentalism, and how these are articulated through community and culture.
Charcoal has been a symbolic motif that provide the motivation to use drawing as a way to explore the relationship between private lives and wider political imperatives. Often using a childhood fear of nuclear war as a starting point to reveal global structures of power projection and the effect upon individuals. The impetus to use drawing came after the inauguration of George W Bush in 2001, when White House rhetoric returned to old Cold War belligerence. In the summer prior to September 11 2001 the Bush administration placed China as the new enemy to "the free world", while unveiling plans for a new orbital strategic bomber. My childhood Cold War fear of nuclear war returned, along with the thought that should there be a nuclear exchange with China then maybe charcoal would be the only abundant material left, to continue to make art.
VODOU NAN ART | VODOU IN ART
We have Veves (Vodou symbols), possession and drumming in a Vodou ceremony. So I want to develop each component into paintings each having different sizes. Each will express a meaning in Vodou.
Nan rityel Vodou yo gen veve, gen entepelasyon et gen tanbou. Donk mwen gen pou mwen devlope chak bagay sa nan yon tablo e yo ap gen diferan gwose. Chak ap esprime yon sens nan Vodou a.
FATRA PA FATRA | TRASH IS NOT TRASH
I am an artist who works with plastics. I give a new life to the objects we normally call trash, I transform them to give them a second life. I would like to go further so everyone could see the beautiful things we can make in Haiti with plastic. For the Ghetto Biennale I will make small bags with Vodou designs on them and I would like to make a short parade with them.
Mwen se yon artist nan arts plastik, mwen bay yon lot vi avek choz ke nou panse ki se fatra,men non mwen transfome yo nan yon dezyem vi, m ta renmen ale pilwen toujou kote, pou tout moun we bel bagay nou fe an ayiti avek plastik,pou ghetto biennal sa yap tankou djakout ap gen desen vodou sou yo tou,epi svp mwen ta renmen jwenn 5 minit defile avek yo mesi bokou pou konpreyansyon nou.
CONVERSING IN ART
Our project is called "Conversing in art" and revolves around questioning the myths and meanings surrounding contemporary art in different contexts, as well as questioning the place of culture and history in art. This reflection was inspired by the concepts of "cannibalisation" and "carnavalisation" from Jean Baudrillard and finds a particular resonance in the context of Haiti, its history, its culture and its religions. Such questions and lines of exploration demand to be asked as a collective and explored through collaboration and discussion. Local artists and people, and their views and practices regarding art are crucial to our project. The most important aspect of "Conversing in art" will be the experience sharing, discussing and collaborating in order to move beyond or play with "cannibalisation" and "carnavalisation". Artistically, what will come out of this process of research and creation will be a constant work-in-progress and will have to adapt to our encounters with people, sites, and experience. "Conversing in art" will aim at creating sculptures to go alongside recordings to be played of discussions, sounds and dialogues about forms of resistance, local practices concerning contemporary art and "Carnaval et cannibale". These recordings might also be transcribed in texts to be read and seen in Kreyol and other languages (such as French and English). Through our project, we wish to reflect the exchange of knowledge, discussions and collaborations we will have during our time in Port-au-Prince.
By working with fabrics and materials, and within the framework of the theme " kreyol, vodou and the lakou ", I have for objective to realize the splendor, the imaginary garment of "Bawon Samdi" (Saturday's Baron), which is the "Iwa" (spirit) symbolizing the death in the voodoo tradition, to produce a constantly changing body, which will engage a versatile sense of time, honouring the fundamental principles conveyed by the Encounter idea -and concept-, which in the Caribbean context resonates, in the original way.
The genealogical links between "kreyol" and cultural syncretism, affiliated with voodoo are confessed.
My textile installation will be similar to disproportionate, gigantic and unwearable clothing, which held mainly in the visual distance of the viewer, that will take place in the "lakou" transitional space. The garment that can return multiple symbols such as survival, dignity or worship, this installation will be completely elaborated from what we name the "pèpè".
The "pèpè" are the second hand clothes, imported essentially from the United States and of which most of Haitian people daily make use. I bought them in the district of Soupay, renowned for its dangerousness (armed and organized gangs) helped by the Haitian artists Londel Innocent and Pierre Adler, because Soupay is the official place where we can find these clothes composed on the floor, on kilometers around. Cut then re-assembled, they will form a new garment, in architectural dimensions.
En travaillant avec les tissus et les matières, et dans le cadre de la thématique "kreyol, vodou et lakou", j'ai pour objectif de réaliser l'apparat, le vêtement imaginaire du "Bawon Samdi" (Baron Samedi), qui est le "Iwa" (esprit) symbolisant la mort dans la tradition vaudou, afin de produire un corps en mutation permanente qui s'engagera dans une conscience versatile du temps, en honorant les principes fondamentaux véhiculés par l'idée de Rencontre, qui dans le contexte caribéen, résonne de manière originelle.
Les liens, généalogiques, entre kreyol et syncrétisme culturel, affiliés au "vodou" sont avoués.
Cette installation textile s'apparentera à un vêtement disproportionné, gigantesque, importable qui, tenu dans la distance principalement visuelle du spectateur pourra prendre place dans l'espace transitoire de "lakou". Le vêtement pouvant renvoyer à de multiples symboles tels que la survie, la dignité, ou le culte, cette installation sera entièrement élaborés à partir de ce que l'on nomme les "pèpè"
Les "pèpè" sont les vêtements de seconde main, importés essentiellement des Etats-Unis et dont la majorité des haïtiens font quotidiennement usage. Je les ai achetés dans le quartier de Soupay, réputé pour sa dangerosité (gangs armés et organisés) et avec l'aide des artistes haïtiens Londel Innocent et Pierre Adler, car Soupay est le lieu officiel où l'on trouve ces vêtements posés à même le sol, sur des kilomètres à la ronde. Découpés puis réassemblés, ils formeront un nouveau vêtement, aux dimensions architecturales.
Image: Olivia Berthon, working at the seamstress's studio of the Grand Rue's ghetto (Mr. Dorval), sewing machine dated from the end of the 19th century - beginning of the 20th century, december 2015. Olivia Berthon, travaillant dans l'atelier de couture chez le tailleur du ghetto de la Grand Rue ( Monsieur Dorval), machine à coudre "Singer" datant de la fin du 19e siècle - début du 20e siècle, décembre 2015.
VODOU LAKOU OGOU
Papada, a Vodou priest (houngan), will execute a ceremony for the spirit Papa Ogou.
LAKOU ERITYE | LAKOU HERITAGE
We took our independence with the Vodou that our ancestors gave to us. I will present a sculpture based on the name of this project.
Nou pran indepandans nou ak Vodou zanset yo kite pou nou. Map prezante yon skilti kap baze sou non projet a.
This is an experimental video installation which will last an hour. I will present the video on four didgital screens, three TVs and a video projector which will all be synchronized to one soundtrack. There will be a performance of Vodou drumming by Claude Sainitilus and Kesner Desrivieres with Guerlinne Istwa on video who practices Vodou. After a number of turns it will finish in the lakou, he ranks with some evil spirits. After this meeting the spirits he will dance, after much torment under the spirit enter the body of his master. This installation will prove that the Vodou has truth, you need to practice it with confidence and passion voodoo NIGHT.
Se yon enstalasyon video eksperimantal ak PIERRE Adler ki ap dire 1hr tan. Mwen prezante video sa sou 4 ekran nimerik, 3 tv e 1 pwojektè video, ki ap senkronize sou yon sèl son. Pèfðmans tanbou avèk "Jean Claude Saintilus" e Kesner Desrivières nan vodou avèk Guerlinne Istwa video a se yon jèn gason ki ap pratike vodou. Aprè kèk vire won li finn fè nan lakou lakay li, li fè ran avèk kèk espri malen. Aprè rankont sa espri a twouv danse vodou, aprè anba anpil touman espri an antre nan ko mèt li. Entalasyon sa, se yon prèv ki pwouve ke nan vodou gen anpil verite, ou bezwen pratike li avèk konfyans e pasyon VODOU NIGHT.
On the foundation of a former residence, three walls stand at angles to each other on a tiled floor, talismanically protecting the surrounding area. The foundation, exposed to the elements, becomes a ceramic carpet, demarcating a territory that was once indoors, the footprint of a home. The original exterior walls have been broken down and removed, and now this space acts as a courtyard open to the elements. It is a place where objects are in a state of suspension, a state of waiting.
When I arrived to Port au Prince at night, on my journey to where I was staying I saw many boundary walls surrounding properties, with broken glass embedded on top - like barbed wire - to stop and resist intrusion. These barriers, made to protect a home, are the inspiration behind Safely Standing. Walls, by their very nature, protect and provide shelter. These walls, however, provide neither, but encase within them a certain defensiveness. A desire to resist an external gaze.
Immediately upon visiting the site, I had an impulse to build these walls, to make an architectural response to a place where many buildings had come down, and build with the same materials present in the surrounding spaces.
KREM VODOU E REALITE VI-A | CREAM VODOU AND THE REALITY OF LIFE
I am presenting a project with some paintings and I will do a performance/talk so I can explain the title of my project in a small metal can.
Mwen ap prezante pwoje a ak kek tablo, e mwen ap fe yon pefomans ak pawol pou mwen esplike tit pwoje mwen an nan bon ti mamit.
VODOU MARASA | VODOU TWINS
The project Vodou twins is a way of proving that Vodou has great force and is a unique mode of living that you cannot find anywhere else. I will do this with a painting and a metal sculpture.
Pwoje vodou marasa pou mwen se yon fason pou mwen pwouve ke nan vodou gen anpil fos, e son mod de vi inik ke ou pa twouve pyes kote. Mwen ap reprezante pwoje sou yon tablo penti ak yon skilti en fer.
My Vodou Slam project is a performance of slam poetics on the theme of Vodou with image projections. I want the audience to know that Kreyol, Vodou and the Lakou connects and crosses all my poetry. In the presentation I will accompany it with a projection which will take the audience to another place in time. I will perform with another slammer who will also bring another ambience to the performance so people will experience what kind of wonders are contained within Kreyol and what Kreyol Vodou is and where it comes from and what are it’s roots…Ayibobo!
Kreyol speaks Kreyol understands.
Proje vodou slam mwen an, se yon pefomans : slam poetik ki pale de vodou avek imaj projeksyon. Kisa sa vle di, pou sila kap patisipe yo mwen vle yo konnen kisa ki kreyol vodou ak lakou a trave teks mwen yo, mwen pral pale de tout sa yo. Pou sa : nan prestasyon mwen gen pou mwen bay la, map akonpanye pefomans lan ak yon projeksyon ki pou fe moun yo viv yon lot moman, map akonpanye ak lot slameur ki pral bay yon lot anbyans ki pou fe moun viv ki kalite mevey lang kreyol gen andan li e, kisa kreyol vodou ye vreman, ki kote li soti pou ki rasin nou ye ayibobo.
Kreyol pale kreyol konpran
Ryan Neely (US)
"We cannot suppress our brother's liberty without suppressing our own and we cannot murder our brothers without murdering ourselves." Jack Parsons, Freedom is a two edged sword, 1946.
This project will explore mindfulness - the ability to be fully present - as well as absolute personal freedom - which I see as a metaphor for the transcendence of the slave/master relationship.
In this spirit, I will create a site-responsive mural using material both found and purchased locally in the Grand Rue.
ARSENALE E GIARDINI
Of tools and seeds
Arsenale e giardini is a proposal for an installation that involves creating a large « arsenal » of tools used for working the land which will be made by a collective from natural and recycled materials. Only straps, ropes and multicoloured clips will be brought from Switzerland, everything else being found or made on site. Arsenale e giardini aims to be as much an artistic installation as a cultural exchange promoting Haitian know-how.
The project can be read on two levels. The first is as a sardonic take on art biennials and their role today, particularly in Europe where they have often become rather cliched and predictable. The 'Ghetto Biennale' challenges this, standing as an act of resistance, throwing a spotlight on the working and living conditions of local artists and inhabitants. It is the exact opposite, being close to people's needs and preoccupations, in defiant affirmation of them. Arsenale et Giardini, by playing on the symbolism of the two places that host every two years the Biennale de Venise, reinforces the dichotomy.
The second, in a way more directly related to the theme of the next Ghetto Biennale, involves going back to the original purpose of an arsenal, which was as a symbol of defence and of independence. By filling it with tools made for working the land, the garden-arsenal becomes a kind of monument of resistance. They symbolize a need for both autonomy and independence, shown by the collection of tools and the land and space necessary for them to fulfil their purpose. The arsenal here takes the place of the lakou, in the sense that it is a common space brought into being by the collective strength of people and the resulting common and creative intelligence.
In the same way, it is through working with local inhabitants to produce hundreds of tools for working land, soil and in construction, that we can bring about a discussion on the use of local resources (natural, cultural and human), as well as local knowledge, as drivers of collective emancipation and autonomy, all of which are themes I have worked closely on for many years.
Arsenale e giardini sits therefore at the crossroads of art, architecture and politics.
YON TI LILIYE NAN VODOU | A LITTLE ILLUMINATION ON VODOU
I want to take a little time with you I can make a debate on Vodou, where I will present you a book that I wrote titled " A little illumination on Vodou »
In a day during the biennal ghetto we will discuss Vodou, and each person will have the chance to tell me how they understand Vodou.
Mwen vle pran yon ti tan avek nou pou mwen ka fe yon deba sou Vodou, kote mwen pral prezante nou yon liv ke mwen ekri ki titre « YON TI LIMYE SOU VODOU » Nan yon jou pandan ghetto biennal la pou nou pale de Vodou, pou chak moun di mwen kijan yon konprann Vodou a.
VODOU REALITE | VODOU REALITY
This will be a film about the female members of Atis Rezistans.
Vodou reality has three parts to it. First part: showing women artists in the streets looking for discarded materials to use to make their work. Second part: they will show us how they will work this garbage and whilst they work they will talk about themselves to explain what atis rezistans means to them
Third part: this section will be based on Vodou and Papa Ogou where the women artists will show all that a spirit can do in a installation of 10 Vodou Lamps which represents all the spirits because they helped us fight against slavery which made us feel that the struggle began.
Yon fim ekri sou atis fanm rezistans yo. Vodou reyalite ap gen twa pati. Premye pati: kote fanm atis rezistans yo nan lari yap chache dechet pou yo ka travay. Dezyem pati: yo pral montre nou kijan yo pral travay fatra sa yo epi pandan yap travay yap pale de tet yo pou yo eksplike nou kisa atis rezistans reprezante pou yo. Twazyeme pati: se yon pati Vodou sou teme papa ogout kote ke fanm atis rezistans yo pral montre nou toute sa yon espri ka fe nap gen yon instalasyon de 10 lampe Vodou ki reprezante toute espri yo paske se yo kite goumen pou nou ki te retire nou nan esklavaj fe yo santi yo nan batay la komanse la komanse.
"LITTLE BY LITTLE..."
Utilizing the Haitian language of Kreyòl as a point of departure, "Little By Little…" is inspired by the proverbs 'Piti, piti, wazo fe nich li' and 'Nan tan grangou patat peg en po'. In English this translates to 'Little by little the bird builds its nest' and 'In times of famine, sweet potatoes have no skin'. The artwork which will transpire from this will be a combination of sculpture and performance. "Little By Little…" does not seek to change the world overnight. But it does hope to bring forth a new way of seeing things.
SUN RA IN HAITI
For the 4th Ghetto Biennale, Tom Bogaert will create new work inspired by the apocryphal story that Sun Ra - the legendary African American jazz pioneer, mystic, poet, activist and philosopher - travelled to Haiti and visited Port-au-Prince during his "lost years" somewhere in 1960 - 1961.
In the late 1950s, peace in Haiti became a plausible goal and Sun Ra was fascinated by the possibility—in fact, he talked about it so much that some musicians took to calling him "The Vodou Man." Around this time, Sun Ra also claimed to have been abducted by aliens who transported him to Saturn (he told this story many times with remarkable consistency in detail).
Sun Ra in Haiti has two distinct material realizations: for "Sun Ra Ra" Bogaert invited a local Rara band to study and perform a Sun Ra masterpiece: "Rocket Number Nine Take off for the Planet Venus." This song was most probably recorded in Port-au-Prince in 1960, and released in 1966 on Sun Ra's own Saturn label; and the site-specific "Sun Ra in Haiti Library" - a makeshift collection of music, video, and printed matter that reveals the artist's ongoing attempt to survey Sun Ra's legacy in Haiti.
Tom Bogaert uses this project to reflect on the few oral histories, films, and photos that offer clues to Sun Ra’s experience in Haiti. On one hand, the dearth of information seems commensurate with Sun Ra’s outward attitude toward his legacy and toward documenting his own life. "They ain’t supposed to know it," Sun Ra replied when asked if people would know his story in four thousand years. "If they ain’t going to live forever, they don’t need to know it." And yet Sun Ra also complained that his place in the history of Black Resistance had been overlooked in other ways. Sun Ra in Haiti opens up these overlooked moments in Sun Ra’s history and, in the absence of substantial documentation of this period, approaches them with a speculative and imaginative spirit akin to Sun Ra’s own.
BRETON IN HAITI | BRETON EN AYITI
The University of Muri is a fictional university founded in 1917 by the critic and metaphysician Walter Benjamin, and the historian of Jewish mysticism Gershom Scholem. After many years of latency, the University was reactivated in 2012, and has since supported fellowships for the political theorist Hannah Arendt, the diplomat and translator Muhammed Asad, and the poet Fernando Pessoa. In 2015, the University is collaborating with the Surrealist writer André Breton on his return to Haiti.
Image: André Breton and Wilfredo Lam in Port-au-Prince, 1945.
CHALOSKA MANIFESTO | MANIFES CHALOSKA
The Chaloska Manifesto is a performance that outlines a belief system where fear and a penchant for extreme violence are the pillars on which all else is built. The Haitian narrative is rich with examples of similar men who met similar fates. The fact that he is best remembered by his final act of violence (the very public murder of 500 political prisoners) or that his contemporary (President Vilbrun Guillame Sam) met a similar fate may be contributing factors to the maintenance of his character.
Ultimately, Chaloska is a discourse through which the Haitian people express discontent with their leadership. Charles Oscar was the stereotypical oppressive local commander who, in the end, would meet the same violent demise as many of his victims. Oppressive leadership is not particular to Haiti or Haitians, but the reaction to this particular brand of oppression is uniquely Haitian.
The act of reviving Chaloska year after year at the annual Carnival symbolizes the desire to keep his memory alive -- perhaps as a reminder to future Chaloskas.
LA REINE DU VODOU | THE QUEEN OF VODOU
Inside Voodoo since you have the knowledge you may be ill but since you believe you can boil 3 leaves of a tree and you can recover. Vodou is not the only healer as Vodou music can relieve stress. For the biennale myself and two other artists will play Vodou music so everyone can enjoy themselves.
Anndan Vodou an depi ou gen kwayans ou ka malad depi ou kwe ou ka bouyi 3 fey nan yon pye bwa nou ka geri. Vodou pa selman fe gerizon paske mizik Vodou yo pase stres pou biennal la mwen ak 2, 3 lot atis pral jwe mizik Vodou pou tout moun ka enjoy yo.
TI FÈT MARYONÈT
The tire cut-outs made by many of the younger artists in the Grand Rue neighbourhood have been hanging along the cinderblock walls of the alleyways since the first Ghetto Biennale in 2009 and these creatures have grown to be as varied and complex as the artists who make them. What if one night these creatures became possessed and climbed down from the walls after everyone in the ghetto went to sleep? What would these rubbery, recycled spirits have to say about the people who walk through the alleys each day? Would the ancient Egyptian pharaoh and the two-headed Damballah have a heated discussion about the most recent soccer match? Would Barack Obama offer the Medusa/Lasiren a sip of kleren and ask her to dance?
For this project we will assemble a group of young storytellers to answer some of these questions, and during the opening weekend of the Ghetto Biennale we will present our stories in a family-friendly night-time puppet show. We aim to provide a platform for some of the younger residents of the neighbourhood to express their worldview as it has been shaped by rich traditions and history as well as recent transformations and other worldly influences.
LAKOU BOSOU | THE LAKOU OF THE BULL
Haiti is a historical legacy, a mystical land which is made from several African tribes and it is the first history of freed slaves. Make calls with all spirits african Ginen from Dahome, one invokes the spitits at the crossroads – to which each slave belonged. They say all spirits are spirits but each one doesn’t dance the same, not all call heal you, justice and retribution is in the hands of Bosou who brings order and respect. The lakou are consecrated with mystical oil and initiated by Vodou, a mysterious passage.
On occasion of the Ghetto Biennale I proposed a series of art events which will describe the role of Vodou in the Lakou and the Kreyol language that invokes the spirits.
Ayiti se yon eritaj istorik, yon peyi mistik e ki sòti nan plizyè trtibi afriken e li se premye istwa pèp esklav libere. Fè apèl ak tout lwa afrik ginen ki soti Dayome, li se kalfou pou envoke lespwi ke chak esklav te apateni. Yo di tout espwi se espwi men chak pa danse men jan, genyen ki fè gerizon, jistis ak vanjans men Bosou mete lòd ak respè. Lakou yo se lye mistik konsakwe ak inisye Vodou, se yon pasaj mistik.
Nan okazyon geto byenal la map pwopoze yon seri èv da nan sikonstans evenman-an. Ev say o ap eskplike rol Vodou nan lakou ak lang kreyol ki envoke lespwi (lwa) yo.
Brasmo is a project that has a rapport with our culture. Within this name you have the fusion of two words. Bras (bracelet) and mo (word). I will offer to make bracelets for people which will have their names written in it and also which country they come from. I will discover many words, in many ways and I will choose beautiful phrases. For example I will have the chance whichever artistic practice in the world and when I have finished I will declaim upon it.
Brasmo a se yon projet ki gen raport avek kilti lakay. Ladanl ou jwenn 2 mo. Premye a : se bras, dezyem nan se mo. Bras ki gen vle di braslè, sa vle di mwen pral ofri moun yo braslè kap gen non yo ekri ladanl e ki menm idantifye nan ki peyi yo soti. Mo a ki vle di mo par egzanp : mwen pral dekouvri anpil mo, fason mwen pral dekouvri yo a mwen pral chwazi yon ta de bel fraz, pa egzanp mwen gentan pran kisa atistik repranzante nan mond lan epi chak sa mwen fin pran map deklame sou li.
VODOU LAKWA | VODOU CROSSES
I will represent this project with four crosses: cross of senmbo, cross of the crossroads, the cross behind, the cross Ibo. The reason I am presenting these crosses is because the Baron placed crosses. And each of these crosses represents a spirit, and these spirits are all ruled by the Baron.
Mwen ap reprezante pwoje sa ak kat kwa kise : kwa senmbo, kwa lakwa, kwa deye, kwa ibo. Rezon kife mwen prezante kwa sa yo se paske se bawon ki depoze kwa yo. E chak sa yo reprezante yon espri, espri sa yo se bawon ki komande yo.
Haiti Bride follows the story of Marie Therese and Paul who meet in NY. She wants to marry him and re-settle in Haiti. As a compromise, the wedding is set for Haiti. Unfortunately, the ceremony is set for the afternoon of January 12th 2010, date of the earthquake.
Haiti Bride c’est l’histoire de Marie Thérèse et Paul qui se sont rencontrés à New York. Elle veut se marier et se retablir en Haïti. Pour satisfaire ses parents à elle le compromis c’est qu’ils feteront leur mariage en Haïti. Malheureusement la cérémonie est fixée pour le douze janvier 2010…
FOLLOWING ZORA AKA MS HURSTON
Zeal Harris proposes to exhibit narrative, representational work(s) that explores connections between Haitian and African-American folklore and artmaking traditions. She's currently preparing work for a solo-exhibit that features paintings on textiles that wrangle with the themes of police brutality. Another current subject of her artmaking is narratives of women and girls as story protagonists.