December on -empyre- soft-skinned space : “Crusades and Art as Illegality and Provocation”

Guest moderator Ana Valdés (SE) engages with a group of activist
artists, curators and scholars, including Susan Meiselas (US),
Cecilia Parsberg (SE), Jan-Erik Lindstrom (SE), Raul Ferrera-
Balanquet (MX), Loretta Napoleoni (UK) and Dahr Jamail ().

As Ana writes:

“The Crusades were the expansion of Europe, stretching its
territories North and South, to colonize and spread the Christian
Word, meanwhile conquering new markets, new source of raw material,
new peoples and new lands. The historical metaphor oj the Crusades is
still alive concerning and in presentday Middle East, both as a
memory and in relation to contemporary conquests, as well as in the
rhetoric of empire.

Today artists, writers and theorists merge in the world, document
it and, instead of trying to conquer it, show passion and compassion,
denounce, take part, engage themselves. Since Emile Zola wrote
“J’Accuse” and Pablo Picasso painted “Guernica”, a constant stream of
artists has been exerting their right to dissent and the right to
question power, the status quo and existing norms.

The walls in Palestine, Tijuana, Ceuta and Melilla are not only
symbolic; they build the shape of Fortress Europe, not only the
geographic, but the mythological Europe, the supposed cradle of
Modernity. The Crusades were the clash and the confrontation.
Today’s artists and intellectuals search its meaning, study its
effects. Films, photos, texts and installations talk about jails,
fences, workers with precarious jobs paperless immigrants, political
turmoil and mayhem. Fine Arts is today the arena of political
discussions and activist practices.

I’ve asked some friends and colleagues to join me during one month to
discuss our practices and our engagements, inspired by the above,
under the framework of -empyre-. ”

— Ana Valdés, writer and activist

initiator of Crusading http://www.crusading.se, in partnership
with Jan-Erik Lundström, BildMuseet in Umeå, http://
www.bildmuseet.umu.se

Guest biographies:

————————————————————————
–>Ana Valdés is a writer, social anthropologist and activist,
working with Gender, Class and Race issues in cyberculture. She has
published several books and started in the year 2000 the network
Equator, http://this.is/Equator, together with the visual artist
Cecilia Parsberg. Since 2005 she runs together with the BildMuseet in
Umeå, http://www.bildmuseet.umu.se the Crusading network. Ana Valdés
texts deal with borders and multiple identities. Some titles: “The
Alphabet Garden”, Serpent’s Tail, “Columbus’s Egg”, Faber and Faber.
She was a political prisoner for four years during the Uruguayan
dictatorship.

————————————————————————
->Susan Meiselas is a documentary photographer and member of the
cooperative Magnum Photos since 1976. She is the author of Carnival
Strippers, Nicaragua, Kurdistan In the Shadow of History and
Encounters with the Dani. She is best known for her documentation of
human rights issues in Latin America. Meiselas has had one-woman
exhibitions in Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Los Angeles and New
York. In 1992 she was made a MacArthur Fellow.

————————————————————————
—–>Cecilia Parsberg lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. She is a
visual artist who works with relational concepts, and is educated at
Valand Academy of Fine Arts, Göteborg University, with a post grad
Diploma from Dundee University. Throughout the nineties her work
dealt with power and sexuality, how power structures permeate our
daily lives. Her gaze changed from the outsider to the participating:
the image exist between us, the task of the artist is to “activate
the image”. The theoretical concept The Action was articulated
through five art works in South Africa, during three years. The last
five years, she has been articulating her art projects as real
political posture. Cecilia argues that this sphere is a possible
place for artist’s work.
An account of her work and earlier exhibitions can be found at http:// this.is/Parsberg

———————————————————————-
>Jan-Erik Lundström is the director of BildMuseet, Umeå university,
Umeå, Sweden, a museum of contemporary art and visual culture. He is
equally involved in curating, organizing, lecturing and writing.
Among his latest exhibitions are Politics of Place, Killing Me Softly
(Tirana Biennial), Projects for a Revolution (Mois de la Photo,
Montreal), Double Vision (Prague Biennale), Same, Same, but Different
and Människor i Norr(Peoples of the North). He was the chief curator
of Berlin Photography Festival, 2005, where he produced the
exhibition After the Fact, a major survey of documentary practices in
contemporary art. And he will be the chief curator of the 1st
Biennial of Thessaloniki in 2007. He is the author of numerous books,
including Nordic Landscapes, Tankar om fotografi (Thoughts on
Photography), Irving Penn and Horizons: Towards a Global Africa. He
has been guest professor at HISK, Antwerp, Belgium and at the
Kunstakademie, Oslo, Norway. Lundström is a prolific international
lecturer and writer, contributor to symposia internationally and to
cultural magazines such as Glänta, European Photography, Paletten and
tema celeste.

———————————————————————–>
Raul Moarquech Ferrera-Balanquez was born in Havana, Cuba in 1958.
MFA in Multimedia and Video Art, University of Iowa, 1992.
Interdisciplinary artist, writer, Fulbright scholar and executive
curator of Arte Nuevo InteractivA, a leading new art exhibit and
laboratory in Latin America. He heads the Multimedia Department at
the Superior School of the Arts of Yucatan, México.

———————————————————————–>
Loretta Napoleoni is the author of Terror Incorporated and Insurgent
Iraq. She is an expert on financing of terrorism and advises several
governments
on counter-terrorism. She is senior partner of G Risk, a London based
risk agency. As Chairman of the countering terrorism financing group
for the Club de Madrid, Napoleoni brought heads of state from around
the world together to create a new strategy for combating the
financing of terror networks. Born and raised in Rome, in the mid
1970s Loretta Napoleoni became an active member of the feminist
movement and a political activist. She was a Fulbright scholar at
Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced
International Studies in Washington DC and a Rotary Scholar at the
London School of Economics. As an economist she worked for several
banks and international organizations in Europe and the US. In the
early 1980s she worked at the National Bank of Hungary on the
convertibility of the florin that became the blue print for the
convertibility of the ruble a decade later. Ms Napoleoni is also a
journalist and has worked as a foreign correspondent
for several Italian financial papers. Her work appears regularly in
many journals and publications, including several European
newspapers. She lectures regularly on the financing of terrorism.
She has written novels, guide books in Italian and translated and
edited books on terrorism; her most recent novel, Dossier Baghdad, is
a financial thriller set during the Gulf War. She was among the few
people to interview the Red Brigades in Italy after three decades of
silence.

———————————————————————–>
Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist who has reported from
occupied Iraq for 8 months. He has reported from Syria, Jordan,
Turkey and
recently from Lebanon during the 34-day Israeli assault on that
country. He has reported for The Independent and the Guardian in the
UK, the Sunday Herald in Scotland and Inter Press Service. His
dispatches from Irak can be read on www.dahrjamailiraq.com.

_______________________________________________
empyre forum
empyre@lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
http://www.subtle.net/empyre