Introduction Days and Opening of Belgin
With contributions by Daniel G. Andújar, Hans D. Christ, Iris Dressler, Hiwa K, Alexander Kluge, MultiTati (Tatiana Palanca), Viktor Neumann, and Simon Sheikh
•Talks, debates, performances, screenings, music, in English
•Belgin, Rasmus Meyers allé 3, 5015 Bergen
•Landmark, Kunsthall, Rasmus Meyers allé 5, 5015 Bergen
Bergen Assembly 2019, Actually, The Dead Are Not Dead, begins its public programme on 5 and 6 April 2019 with the opening of its central working, meeting, and public space Belgin [ˈbælgən]. The space’s name refers to the Turkish singer Belgin Sarılmışer (1958–1989), who adopted the alias ‘Bergen’ after the Norwegian harbour city. With Belgin, Bergen Assembly 2019 opens a new space in Bergen’s city centre, which is conceived from the very beginning not only as a venue for Bergen Assembly itself but also as a shared space that is open to the activities of local groups and initiatives.
The introduction days of Bergen Assembly 2019, taking place both at Belgin and its neighbour Landmark, Kunsthall, comprise talks, debates, performances, and screenings introducing first aspects, concerns, formats and aesthetics of Actually, The Dead Are Not Dead. It will discuss the notion of assembly, the emancipatory potentials of art, aspects of sharing knowledge and experiences, and what it could mean if the dead were actually not dead.
With contributions by Daniel G. Andújar, John Barker/Ines Doujak, Bergen, Stacy Brafield, Capital Drawing Group, Banu Cennetoğlu, Hans D. Christ, Laressa Dickey, Iris Dressler, Ruth Ewan, Magdalena Freudenschuss, Lottie Hoare, Julio Jara, Hiwa K, Alexander Kluge, Nora Landkammer, MultiTati (Tatiana Palanca), Viktor Neumann, Tomás de Perrate, Andrea De Pascual (Pedagogías Invisibles), Daniela Ramos Arias, Karin Schneider, Daniel Seymour, Simon Sheikh, Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, and others.
Bar Belgin (snacks and drinks)
Hans D. Christ and Iris Dressler: Actually, the Dead Are Not Dead. About Bergen Assembly 2019 and Belgin, its central working, meeting and public space (welcome, introduction, textual and audiovisual fragments)
Alexander Kluge: Der Kammersänger (The Chamber Music Singer, video, 2’)
ON ASSEMBLIES I
Bergen Assembly originates from a critical approach to the biennial format. The point of departure for the core group’s joint work towards the 2019 edition is the concept of assembly itself, which is critically examined both in terms of its political dimensions – as situated between hierarchy and participation – and with respect to aesthetic practices. What does it mean when a biennial (or in this case a triennial) is called an assembly? What expectations of art and the curators does this articulate? Can an international art event be an assembly at all? The focus is on the general frameworks and techniques of collective political or emancipatory action – and the questions how, in what form, and with whom we intend to develop and shape these practices in the context of an art project. The open discussion will be introduced by a general statement and two short presentations of two specific conditions or interpretations of assemblies: on the one hand related to its institutional and legal regulations, precisely to elections, and on the other hand elaborating alternative models of creating self-learning and self-organised counter-publics.
Iris Dressler and Simon Sheikh: Introductory Statement (30’)
Daniel G. Andújar: How to Understand the D’Hondt Method (Democracy) (talk and video, 30’)
Everyone has their particular vision of democracy, but few know their rules in depth. At a time when the algorithm dictates our present and monitors our existence, it is worth paying attention to the algorithms that have influenced our political system for decades. In 1878, Victor D’Hondt – a Belgian lawyer, salesman, jurist of civil law at Ghent University, and mathematician – surprised the world with his book The Proportional Representation of the Parties by Each Voter, followed by three more works all aimed at presenting a system for allocating seats to candidates in party-list proportional representation elections.
Viktor Neumann: Parliaments of Bodies (talk, 30’)
The Parliament of Bodies (PoB) was initiated by Paul B. Preciado as part of documenta 14. Viktor Neumann subsequently joined the project. Moving from Athens and Kassel to other contexts, it has since transformed into an apatride institution-in-becoming, which has no constitution. It is a place for cultural activism and a critical device for collectively imagining and constructing other ways of producing, reproducing, and governing knowledge and life, visibility, and affect.
Open discussion, moderated by Iris Dressler and Simon Sheikh (45’)
AT LANDMARK, KUNSTHALL
Hiwa K: Pre-Image, Porto, 2014 (video, 6:35’)
Pre-Image documents a performance in Porto, Gdansk and Vienna, among others, and between Greece and Rome along the way. On his nose, Hiwa K balances a bar on which motorbike mirrors are mounted. The DIY navigation instrument reflects the environment in which he is walking. The balancing act and the fragmented image in the mirrors compel the artist to err on the side of caution. The vertical gaze that he uses to move forward horizontally is fragmented, distorted, unreliable. This allows him to re-experience the lack of stability in the midst of his constant state of movement during his migration. The title Pre-Image refers to the difference between how we imagine the places we want to reach, their possibilities before they become images, and how they are in reality; the contrast between vertically imagined places and the horizontal reality in which we experience places on the ground. The performance shows Hiwa K’s first impressions of the cities he discovers on his escape route. Interpreted as a reconstruction of his migratory past, of which he has no photographs, the performance could also be called a ‘post-image’.
Moon Calendar, Iraq, 2007 (video, 12:16’)
The rehearsals for an unrealised dance performance took place during a visit to Amna Souraka, The Red Security Building, in northern Iraq. This building complex used to be one of the infamous jails where Saddam Hussein detained political prisoners and today it hosts the Iraqi National Museum of War Crimes. Hiwa K tap-dances in the premises of Amna Souraka to the rhythm of his own heartbeat, which he follows by listening through a stethoscope. As the intensity of the dance increases, the speed of the feet and the heart lose simultaneity and chase each other in a beat and counter-beat discordant pulsation. The rhythm of the heart isolates the artist from the surroundings thus creating a private and hidden space for his own thoughts. The ludic dimension of the dance allows for a state of denial that makes trauma absent while still being present in the place.
DJ set by MultiTati (Tatiana Palanca)
MultiTati is better known as the artist Miss Tati—and for creating fireworks on stage. She likes to DJ rhythmic, upbeat music or relaxing songs from all corners of the world, but especially from the African diaspora.