PARTICIPATING ARTISTS & SCHOLARS
Andersons Cameron is a group comprising of long time collaborators Peter Anderson and Clare Cameron and new member Esme Anderson. ʻFamily/Fanmiʼ will reflect a reciprocal relationship of us as a family and street family culture in Haiti. We intend to capture urban familial relationships in three stages; street photography, object images and street film. Over the three-week period of the biennale the three of us, a male and female group of different ages, will aim to build up connections with inter-generational family groups and individuals involving workshops and an on-going exhibition. We will use analogue photography with small and medium format cameras and black and white film to make silver gelatin prints. Processes such as cyanotypes, photograms, deconstructed textile drawings and pinhole cameras would take place in later workshops. We hope to have access (be able to rent) the Rue Denis darkroom and studio, where we could hold small hands-on workshops communicating the magic of the darkroom. We would like to take on a local apprentice. Throughout the three-week period we will make a digital film portrait of the project by making moving portraits of those involved and also a documentary film.
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Aid for USA and Canada
Project by Allison Rowe
With documentation by Larissa Issler
Aid for USA and Canada is a participatory sculpture that confronts the monetary and political relationships between Canada, the United States and Haiti. In the week preceding the Biennale, an invitation will be extended to residents of the Grand Rue to donate objects, artwork and stories that North Americans would not be able to access without the assistance of the Haitian people. All collected items and recordings will be displayed at the Biennale alongside a donation bin that will be open to the public. All of the aid will then be shipped back to Canada, presented in a public exhibition.
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Face Book : Haiti
This project plays off of the initial use of the Face Book at Harvard as an elite social networking tool as well as the ubiquitous face cartoons and portraits that can be found at any tourist destination. I will be drawing the faces of different permanent residents of the Port-Au-Prince community. Each portrait will be done over the course of an hour, during which time I will be recording. At the end of the hour I will gather the contact information from the model as well as a referral to a friend, family member, or local. They will be the next model. All of the portraits will be exhibited at the Second Ghetto Biennale. Each of the sitters are invited to come pick up their portrait at the end of the exhibition as well as a booklet containing all the portraits done over the course of the month, as well as a short description of how they are related to the previous/following portrait.
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For the Ghetto Biennale 2011, I am interested in working with a small group of four to five Haitian artists, performers, actors, and non-actors and non-artists who desire to perform manifestations of the unconscious. Starting with Victor Turner's suggestion that anthropology can be viewed through the lens of performative models, I seek to combine this modality with traditional and new methods for accessing the spirit or unconscious world, such as channeling, trance, telepathy, and dream work and therapeutic expressive methods such as body-integrated and aerobic gestures, and physical theatre exercises such as those used in Augusto Boal's "Games for Actors and Non-Actors". The source content of personal dream records, meditations, trance visions, and analyses of cultural myths will be shared by talking, story-telling, and exercises in telepathic transmission. We then as a group decide how to physically manifest the content in a performative manner. The hoped-for result would be a kind of group anthropology that, while performing itself, formulates an idea of a cultural unconscious, by which I mean the anxieties or driving forces that are hidden or repressed within a nation or a group of people.
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MADE IN HAITI celebrates 2 years of "good for garment workers production" National Repurposed Apparel News 17 September 2011 After the phenomenal opening of its flagship factory and store at the Ghetto Biennale in the Grand Rue, of Port Au Prince in December of 2009 MADE IN HAITI has become a style destination in the repurposed garment market, pop up shops have appeared in West Hollywood, California, Madison Wisconsin, and Portland, Oregon. The recent opening of the Etsy store in has established it as one of the most successful repurposed apparel lines, employing two tailors, translator / manager and 5 t-shirt artists. Join as MADE IN HAITI celebrates its second anniversary in Port Au Prince, Haiti's stylish set can look forward to more shopping fun and great finds from December 10-17, at the Popup shop in the Grand Rue.
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WÒB KI VWAYAJE
This project for the 2nd Ghetto Biennale 2011, draws upon research carried out by the artist at the 'Archives nationales d'outre mer' in France in order to transport and transform imagery of Haitian costume and dress from its static archival storage in the Metropole. The project connects the past, present and future in its consideration of the female dress as a document, manifest with layered, gendered meanings both within and between Haiti and France.
Documents, engravings, letters and other fragments will be used to piece together strong visual imagery of the fanm poto-mitans of Haitian history from the silences of the French archives. A series of 4-5 'costume facades' will then be constructed in Haiti based on this archival research, using recycled paper, a material currently being used by Haitian artisans in the recovery of the local trade. The sculptural costumes will then be installed on walls, displayed like masks, around the Grand Rue locality. The fragility of the pieces will be open to disintegration and, like murals, external alteration. If worn, the garments would create an almost trompe-l'oeil flattened effect, comparable to the ephemeral bits and pieces of Caribbean carnival masquerade.
These performances of the archive aim to bring 'official' historical documentation of the role of Haitian women into dialogue with the day-to-day realities of contemporary gender roles in Haiti, the egalitarian nature of which is proving crucial in rebuilding the nation. The process, from its beginnings amidst the dust of the archives in France to its culmination in the event of the Ghetto Biennale will be documented through the artist's blog at: http://leblogdehammond.wordpress.com/
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Over the course of conducting research for my proposal, I realized that many of the reports and stories I encountered brought issues of subjectivity to the fore in one form another. To be more specific, they underscored the absence of Haitian subjectivity in the dispatches from the country. Officials, businesspeople from Haiti and abroad, journalists, etc. all had something to say about or for Haitians, rather than to or with them. The work I will do during the Biennale will address this absence of Haitian subjectivity. Two stories in particular greatly inspired me: a NPR story on All Things Considered claiming that Haiti needed increased, unhindered trade with the US more than it needed relief aid. According to a group of Haitian businesspeople who met with US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, US consumer culture is of a greater benefit to the Haitian labor market because Haiti's main export is apparel and textiles. Related reports debated the value of a $2.00US wage increase for Haitian garment workers compared to the value of maintaining the minimum wage of 70–125 Gourdes or $1.75–$3.13US per day in order to encourage investments from more US apparel companies; the second inspiration is the Wikipedia entry about Haitian music, the end of which briefly described Haitian hip-hop. I have been following hip-hop cultural developments in third and fourth spaces and I was surprised to learn about a burgeoning scene in Haiti, and even more surprised I had not heard of in relation to other growing scenes in the Americas and Caribbean.
Out of these realizations came two projects I will do while on the Grand Rue.
We Are All Workers 1) I will make contact with garment workers, specifi cally those making apparel for Levi's and The GAP, and take highly formal portraits of them either amidst the crumbled buildings or in close proximity to the garment factories. Another potential shoot site is the Iron Market, a cultural, historical and architectural landmark in Haiti that is also a symbol of Haitian citizens self-sustainability through small businesses. The aesthetic of the portraits will be as similar to the the images created by Levi's in the company's We Are All Workers campaign; however; I want the participants to be dressed as they would be going to work in the factories making the jean apparel. I also intend to capture some landscape shots in which I place Levi's posters, ads, shopping bags and some used apparel from the brands mentioned—all tattered to a degree—amidst the rubble. I am particularly interested in engaging the Levi's campaign and brand because the company has long prided itself on ethical business practices. The recent discovery of their presence in Haiti was a surprise and felt antithetical to the campaign calling for all workers to be respected. For the exhibition, I will print 8x10" size portraits on a portable photo printer that I bring with me to Haiti. Upon returning to the States, I plan to create larger-sized posters to hang up throughout San Francisco as a public intervention and to reinsert Haiti into US public consciousness.
The Cipher 2) For this project, I will capture personal narratives of community members by collaborating with Haitian hip-hop artists living in the Port-au-Prince area. I will work with the participants in pairs, a rapper and non-rapper community member, preferably an elder, employing a standard interview format. I will ask the community members to share their stories, and then ask the hip-hop artists to write raps based on the stories. For the exhibition, I will organize a live cipher where the participants can perform their rhymes in front of a live audience. For residual artifacts, I will capture the interviews on video and shoot lo-fi music videos, the backdrop of which will be only beatboxxing and simple percussion, on locations the storyteller and rapper select. I will edit the interviews and the music videos for web platforms optimized for and accessible from mobile phone. I would also love to put together a CD and DVD for folks to buy and have the proceeds go directly to the participants of the project. Part of my preparation will be figuring out a mechanism by which the proceeds from sales can be transferred to the participants in a way that is secure.
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Photography's Other Histories: The Studio Photographs of Haiti
The photography studios of Port-au-Prince serve as important sites of Haitian aesthetic practices. Peppered throughout the city, these businesses offer local individuals a means through which to capture their self representation through portrait photography. With the help of backdrops, props, and poses, each subject performs a visual identity.
Through an exploration of the particular photographic practices of Port-au-Prince, my project will entail organizing an installation of contemporary portraits obtained from local photography studios during my residency. This installation will respond to a consideration of the visual language employed in contemporary Haitian studio photographic practices. I will be asking what this language can tell us about photography's role in current day Port-au-Prince and what it means to have one's picture taken at a photography studio in Haiti. By posing the question of what studio portraits offer their subjects (and, furthermore, what they can offer to viewers at the Biennale) I hope to create an installation that presents vernacular images in an innovative context of display.
A central aspect of the installation will be the consideration of the photographs as objects as opposed to simply as images. The audience will be encouraged to hold the photographs, turn them over, and view them as objects and the design of the installation will reinforce this message. I hope to challenge the viewers of the installation to look at studio photography in a new context, highlighting the way that it provides objects as well as images, possessions as well as performances.
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Erin Durban-Albrecht & Shannon Randall
“Kwochè Ayiti” draws on the Ghetto Biennale's explosion of distinctions between high art and popular art forms as well as transformation of spaces and social relationships to weave a tinge of silliness, absurdity, and hilarity into the geopolitics of Haiti. We will use mobile fiber art to "knit the city" of Port‐au‐Prince in an all ages, transnational collaboration with Haitian artists and other participants in the Ghetto Biennale. "Kwochè Ayiti" will play with the appropriative aspects of the yarn bombing movement to transform the Gran Rue, using crochet in conjunction with other art forms (e.g. performance; sculpture) to create alternative worlds using materials on hand in Haiti.
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This project was made possible by The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture and Stroom Den Haag.
For the 2nd international Ghetto Biennale I will attempt to hold a series of conversations with the Vodou spirits, or Lwa as they are known in Haiti. The topic of these conversations will be belief and religion and how these affect human existence both in Haiti and beyond.
These discussions will take place through what ever medium the Lwa decide is appropriate. This could include anything from a verbal discussion, to a dance, to the trading of symbolic objects. These conversations will be documented in various media and exhibited during the final exhibition of the Biennale. The Lwa will be invited to participate in these conversations through a specially designed public ceremony that will take place in the Grande Rue area at the beginning of the Biennale.
The Lwa are known for their power and wisdom and I hope to be able to discuss the very relevant topics of belief and religion with them. The title Discours de Fou refers to the controversial film Les Maitres Fous that was made by French anthropologist Jean Rouch about members of the Hauka sect in 1950's Accra. As in the film, it is ambivalent whether the Fou in the title refers to the possessing spirits, their mediums or the film-makers themselves.
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Fungus Arts Collective
Fungus Arts Collective Bermuda Our basic mandate is to use intervention with minimal materials in existing (or lack of existing) architectural spaces to profoundly alter perceptions and experiences. Our idea in Haiti is to work with the chaotic and claustrophobic 'ghetto' environment and create something expansive and reflective. We will be using paint , imagery and simple construction to achieve this.
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After numerous trips to Haiti in twenty years, I plan to return in December 2011 as an artist in the 2nd Ghetto Biennale. For the Ghetto Biennale, I will conduct workshops similar to the seminars I already teach in Haiti. The results of these workshops would be the creation of Exquisite Corpse, surrealistic drawings. The completed drawings will be organized and assembled in book covers. Local artists will collaborate to decorate the covers of the books on-site. I will document each stage of the project using a FLIP video camera and edit a three-minute video during the week to be uploaded on-line and exhibited with the books. It is the kind of project that can be maintained after the Biennale, as an ongoing project with local, spiritual relevance. The creation of visual books is symbolic. Long before the tragic earthquake of 2010, education and literacy was a problem in Haiti. As Port au Prince struggles to recover and heal, the literacy issue must become a priority and addressed in creative ways.
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For the 2nd Ghetto Biennale, Jakmel Ekpresyon artists Jean Elie Gilles, Ebby Louis Angel and Ivy Jeanne will facilitate an International Folklore Exchange with Haitians and international visitors. The project will consist of gathering stories, mask making, writing and theater workshops, which during the final week of the Biennale, will culminate in the chorography of a live multi-media performance. The central theme of the project will be based in the legend of the Loup Garou, which is a werewolf found in the Haitian lore as well as in Native American, Canadian and French culture. In Haiti, the Loup Garou represents a shape-shifting character that often mirrors the social and political struggles about the country's poverty and repression. For the project, the artists will use the loup-garou legend to initiate a dialogue about the erasure and revision of Haitian identity that has been complicated by colonialism and most recently neo-colonialism. Finally through the process of storytelling and a multifaceted process, the artists aim to celebrate the Haitian culture and its history of resistance.
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Proposal 1: The Tap Tap Painters of Port-au-Prince I intend to commission of a tap tap painting for the second Ghetto Biennale and produce a video documentary about the project (made in collaboration with artists from Ti Moun Rezistans). The project is an extension of the work I commissioned for the first Ghetto Biennale which was inspired by a love of sign painting inherited from my father who was a master sign-writer. The project will begin by making contact with local tap tap painters in Port-au-Prince to try and negotiate a tap tap painting dedicated to the Ghetto Biennale II. The negotiations, interviews and videography will be conducted by myself and Tele Geto. I hope to make a video document about the life, work, material and technical practices of the tap-tap painters in Port-au-Prince. A scratch version of the documentary will be screened during the Ghetto Biennale and the final edited and subtitled version of the documentary will be distributed via the internet and exhibited in participating galleries in 2012. It is expected that the final work will make use of proverbs, which have a profound role in Haitian culture and are often used in the decoration of tap taps.
Proposal 2: Télémaque in Marmelade (or How Mesmerism met Vodou in Pre-Revolutionary Haiti) A Public Presentation at the Ghetto Biennale II This project develops research I have been undertaking for several years exploring sources of anxiety about the influence of mass media on the popular mind. Sensationalist misrepresentations of Haitian Vodou in western popular culture have often merged the figure of the Zombie with the hypnotized Somnambulist, and the figure of the evil Mesmerist with the Voodoo Witch-doctor. Mesmerism, or 'animal magnetism' is the name given to a range of therapeutic practices which followed Franz Anton Mesmer's discovery in 1774 of an ethereal fluid permeating all physical bodies. Blockages of this energy, it was believed, were the cause of many common ailments and diseases. Towards the end of his life Mesmer made the outlandish claim that he was responsible for the creation of the Haitian Republic after slaves had confused animal-magnetism with sorcery. It was while continuing my research into the story of the Bois Caiman ceremony for the first Ghetto Biennale that I came to suspect that Mesmer's claim was not as outlandish as it first seemed. Since early 2010 I have been researching the historical facts behind it. 'Telemaque in Marmelade' will trace the story of Mesmeric Vodou in Western popular culture, and the social anxieties underpinning it, back to historical accounts of the combination of animal-magnetism and Vodou which took place in the Northern Parish of Marmelade in 1786.
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"In 2002 I made a site specific art work centered around a simulated street sign entitled "This Does Not Belong To Us". The sign was placed on the wall of a residential building in Sighthill, one of the most violent suburb of Glasgow. The imitation of a pre-existing official aesthetic and the ambivalence of the phrase embodied questions such as who are "us" and the concept of belonging and forced a reinvestment of values and possessions. For the Ghetto Biennale I intend to further investigate this concept of belonging in relation to authority and authorship, and how these notions operates site and situation specifically in these streets of Port au Prince.
9.11 effected an entire world, as NYC is a highly symbolic city; a metropolitan role model of tolerance and democracy in one of the largest world economies and military powers. The attacks of the Twin Towers affected us in many ways. How did the earthquake in Haiti 2009 effect so many of us? In which way do Haiti engage the world? Did the earthquake unleash historical traumas to the surface? Who share these traumas and how? What is that something that Haiti do represent to the rest of the world? What does Haiti possess that affect us?
The work is not meant to be a monument of the catastrophe, neither do I intend to use phrases literally connected to the earthquake. The work will be to negotiate and install one sign or a set of signs. The investigation will start out with a re-search involving dialogues with the local inhabitants. An initial point of departure might be to create a casual event for discussion in the biennale area of Gran Rue."
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Talk to me (read to me, sing to me)
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Viv Timoun (organisation's name)
Eyes on Haiti (workshop's name)
Ayiti peyi'm – My Haiti – C'est mon Haiti (exhibit's title)
Intimacy, pride, curiosity, energy, resilience, life… interiors, exteriors, colours – all captured in images taken by young Haitian photographers. "My Haiti" ("C'est mon Haiti", "Ayiti peyi'm") offers a fresh view on a country the Western world only knows as the 'Caribbean's hell hole'. Drenched in superficial news coverage, flooded by foreign media, Haiti but in particular Port-au-Prince seems synonymous to misery and despair. A picture evoking pity has been drawn. Through the lenses of their cameras, a group of young, aspiring photographers gives a new, unvarnished and unique insight into the buzzing life full of dignity in Port-au-Prince. It's more than photographs, it's a claim for respect for their life, their country – Aiyti.
The group of exhibiting photographers takes part in the project Eyes on Haiti, a six-month photo training organised by the foundationViv Timoun in Port-au-Prince. Initiated in August 2011 by three Belgian photographers (Alice Smeets, Thomas Freteur and Dorine Van Ophalvens), the project gives twenty talented and highly motivated young Haitians the chance to learn the art of photography. For more information about the project and first concrete results, visit: www.eyes-on-haiti.org
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Karen Miranda Augustine
The Three Erzulies / Ezilis yo Twa
Real heroes are usually special, but regular, everyday people of remarkable character. They don't win awards, are not usually considered newsworthy and are rarely given thanks on a regular basis. They often live their lives in service, impacting many in their communities with their talents, generosity and support, often sacrificing themselves for others with little fanfare or recognition. And when they have transitioned from this life, what we are left with are wonderfully warm memories and gratefulness for having experienced them in our lives. The
Three Erzulies / Ezilis yo Twa are three biographical, mixed-media, votive-inspired portraits of local unsung heroines from (or who have held deep significance to) the neighbourhood of Grand Rue. As seen through the Vodou lense of the Ezili lwa, this work is loosely-based on the Greek/Roman myth of The Three Furies — but with a contemporary Haitian twist. Created by three women artists (two Haitian, one Canadian), the works will serve to memorialize, celebrate and attract the blessings of three female community ancestors, while conceptually acknowledging the Divine aspects of the lwa.
Wedge Curatorial Projects
Ontario Arts Council
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My project is to collect stories, dreams and tales of nature, life stages, magic and the subconscious from other artists and citizens of Haiti and create visual forms of what I have learned. I will make paper on site in Port-au-Prince through conventional papermaking methods and utilize local materials, such as grass, leaves and recycled cotton. I will combine the handmade paper with natural pigments and engineering structures from the paper and I will communicate the stories that were told to me. Substances not normally associated with books, such as found fabric, glass, wood and metal will be used. I intend to use traditional and non-traditional bindery forms to make non- traditional books, so they can be experienced both visually, both with and without words. Interaction with the pop-up or other sculptural forms will be emphasized. Once the stories are recorded, the books will be displayed in a site-specific place on the street. A true exchange can be achieved – I have received the stories and have converted them into a form for all to experience on a visual and textured level. Shared appreciation and understanding is the goal.
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There are two events that have allowed me to conceptualise this project. The first one occurred in Port-au-Prince and the other at home in Trinidad. During the first anniversary of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, I was standing near to the tents by the Presidential Palace. As I was waiting for a motor-taxi, a boy of maybe 7-years trotted by, pulling along a toy car led by a string. The body of the car was made from a plastic water bottle. The axle was made from two wooden skewers, which punctured the bottle on either end. The wheels were bottle-caps, with rubber-bands securing its wheel knots.
The other event occurred on my return to Trinidad. My brother who is 31 years old will be getting married in August of this year. His two best friends are recently married and both are expecting babies. Recently, all three young men have each invested in US$1000.00 remote-controlled toy cars. On afternoons after work they go to my parent's front yard to 'race cars'.
With these two events juxtaposed in my mind, it has become the point of departure for my biennale project. The Grand Rue Grand Prix - sculpture and performance.
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Pa Bouje Ankò:Don't Move Again was proposed for the first Ghetto Biennale. The project began with a question; "Can someone from the first world photograph within the third world without voyeurism or objectification?" In November 2009, I tested this query by opening a photography studio in the Grand Rue neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, inviting local community members to have their portraits made for free.
Shot in black and white with an 8x10 camera, the photographs reference artists like Mike Disfarmer and Seydou Keita, who used the commercial and utilitarian aspects of their practice to portray their subjects with a respect that was both clear eyed and beautiful. While studio-based portrait photography can carry its own baggage, the parameters of the exchange between photographer and subject in this particular format are well defined and widely understood.
On subsequent trips, and in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake, the project has evolved to include rapidly expanding populations in Port-au -Prince tied to the post-quake reconstruction. NGO employees, volunteers, medical personnel and local politicians are among the new groups to be included in the project; the first non-Haitian subjects photographed were members of Joint Task Force-Haiti, in May 2010. During more recent visits, I have photographed the citizen's committees at various tent cities, UN staff, small business investors, and staff at a number of NGO's.
One of the things the recent population shift in Port-au-Prince has thrown into high relief is the gap between the way the developed world views its role and responsibility in the developing world, and the way those interventions are viewed by the inhabitants of the countries in which they occur. My interest lies within this gap, specifically in creating a more nuanced and complicated picture of the city at this particular moment in time.
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Laurence Kent Jones
Oversized panoramic photographs of informal and semi-formal communities of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, captured over the last four years both before and after the earthquake of 12 January 2010, in some cases contrasting the before and after from similar vantage points.
As Port-au-Prince doubled and doubled again in population over the last forty years homes and other buildings have colonized public space. Land ownership is poorly documented, and hard to enforce. As the population has increased and rural people have migrated to Port-au-Prince, the city has grown enormously in all directions. Poorer people have colonized the corners of the older neighborhoods and created huge informal squatter settlements. The line between the planned portions of the city and the squatter settlements (bidonvilles in French) are obvious on the ground and shockingly clear from above. Satellite images show the grid of the planned city side by side with organic neighborhoods that obviously simply grew to cover the unused or undefended spaces. In many cases these bidonvilles have grown up steep hillsides or in ravines, which are traditionally less desirable building sites. In spite of the roughness and poverty of the construction, these communities can be heartbreakingly picturesque. They are built around meandering paths which follow the logic of terrain if they follow any discernable logic at all. Given time and prosperity it's easy to imagine them developing into places that would rival the Greek Islands in the travel posters of the world. Some of these bidonvilles were substantially destroyed in the earthquake while some survived nearly intact.
Both on the street and in the bidonvilles, we're seeing an overlapping of public and private space which will at some point have to be resolved but which is no closer to resolution now than it was in nineteenth or twentieth century Haiti. We're seeing an urban infrastructure develop that is very different from anything in North America. It's chaotic, but it makes for a fascinating and highly social local environment. There is almost no effective planning for public spaces in today's Haiti, which is the major reason that the streets and neighborhoods have been allowed to develop the way they have. I hope that Haiti can develop on it's own path in the creation of an urban environment and in some way or another to cater to the needs of a modern mechanized society while building on the organic colonization of space that we're seeing today. I don't know whether I'm presenting a moment in time and a style of living that will be washed away or the seeds of a modern style of infrastructure unique to the needs and conditions of a large and vertical tropical island, but I believe this is a time and place worth documenting.
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Maureen Towey/Arcade Fire
The BBC's acclaimed series, Planet Earth, is coming to Haiti. Three years in production, over 2000 days in the field, using 71 cameramen filming across 204 locations in 62 countries, this is the ultimate portrait of our planet. A stunning television experience that combines rare action, unimaginable scale, impossible locations and intimate moments with our planet's best-loved, wildest and most elusive creatures. From the highest mountains to the deepest rivers, this blockbuster series takes you on an unforgettable journey through the challenging seasons and the daily struggle for survival in Earth's most extreme habitats.
With the support of executive producer Arcade Fire, the first episode of Planet Earth, Pole to Pole, will premiere at the Ghetto Bienalle in Port-au-Prince in December 2011. The episode has been translated into Haitian Creole by Fedo Boyer and has a voiceover from celebrated Haitian-American novelist, Edwidge Danticat. Through a partnership with the Jacmel-based Cine Institute, the program will go on to be screened on Haitian television as well as reaching into rural areas through a screening tour. Through these efforts, the programming aims to reach over a million Haitians.
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I want to use the symbolism of the crow ,an ongoing leitmotif in my work, as a magical spell for the benefit of the people. I would bring 1000 small photographs of Crows. I will give these photos to people, suggesting them to write a word or phrase on the back. This may be an intention, a dream, an anger or perhaps a name or a picture or a mark. The crow would then be taken away by them to be tied or placed in the environment of Port-au-Prince. This may somewhere of personal significance, in the ghetto area, or elsewhere. I will then re-photograph then in situ using these curious punctums to picture and reorient the environment and the people.
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What I propose is for the ghetto biennale will be a combination of my experience as art educator, public artist and mixed media artist. This project will consist of a number of images in the form of small murals to be located in various locations in the community. Each work will involve youth ages appox 8 to 12 of age. to collaborate on the idea that the youth artist will choose one subject with the criteria someone that is someone that is influential, important and makes a difference in that youth life. It may be family member or someone in the community. Working with the youth I would paint, draw and collage with photographic reproduction Of each work with the student. The goal is self-empowerment for the youth and to enhanced their creative skills in working for social change.
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Militza Jean-Felix is a first generation Haitian American artist born in Boston and living in San Francisco. Her mother was born in and grew up in Jacmel, a city in Haiti known for its' artist community. Her father is from Port-au-Prince, the capitol city that was heavily damaged by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010 and the home of the Ghetto Biennale. She will construct a figure out of found objects collected from the streets of Port-au-Prince and then walk the distance between the two cities on foot while carrying the figure. The distance between the two cities is approximately 70 kms and is a test of endurance. The piece is a reflection on the Haitian diaspora, its product and all the struggles people have to endure on their travels. Upon her arrival she will set the figure down and create a contemplative space, then light a candle, say a prayer and put it all to rest. The performance incorporates both the internal reflection and external realization of the artist's meditations on the Haitian diaspora.
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'AFTERSHOCK, THE SOUND OF THE PERIPHERY'
'If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?'
'Seismic waves –the sounds radiated from earthquakes– can induce earthquake aftershocks, often long after a quake has subsided.' ScienceDaily (Jan. 3, 2008)
From the secluded situation of artists in Haiti and the tragic events that followed the massive earthquake of January 2010, I will take an artists' community from the peripheral Port-au-Prince to an international centre of art in Europe. Not their artwork but the artists themselves.
By recording the SOUND of artists' daily life/work and post-sound-editing, I will create a SONIC MONUMENT that will provoke an AFTERSHOCK in the gallery space. During my participation at 2nd Ghetto Biennale I will perform a 'collector of frequencies'. With sound recorder and microphone I will collect the daily sound-emissions by the local and international artists creating and producing their artwork in Port-au-Prince.
Following my participation at the Biennale I will engage in the creation, production and exhibition of a SONIC MONUMENT that will release sound frequencies able not only to be heard by the audience but also to be felt by making the gallery space in Europe tremble with infrasonic frequencies from Haiti.
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I am a mixed media sculptor and functional artist working with steel, wood, bamboo, glass, resin, photography and found objects in Hollywood, California. I propose to create several works using rubble, found objects and whatever is available in junkyards and the surrounding neighborhood of the Grand Rue artists. The work will grow organically from the ground up. Since the 1980s I have visited Haiti numerous times on art-buying and family trips; I have also worked in Haiti before during a six-month period, creating functional metal work with a local crew. I am very familiar with the landscape, its setbacks and inspirational environment. Over the years, the work of Haitian metal artists has fed my creativity, and resulted in various works that reflect my appreciation of Haiti, its Vodou religion and rich arts culture. My long-term relationship with many local artists will be instrumental in helping me to obtain the materials needed for the work to be created.
In 2011 I hosted Grand Rue artist Cheby in my atelier during his stay in Los Angeles. We visited downtown junkyards, where he bought materials, which he then used to create sculptures. I am uniquely interested in re-creating that experience for myself in Haiti.
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Petri Saarikko & Sasha Huber
Drawings and Messages in a Bottle
Drawings & Messages in a Bottle poses an intriguing question. How do we send a message, and who is there to receive it? In the context of Ghetto Biennale we are interested in exploring drawing as a narrative, site-specific activity. The aim of our work is to co-visualize and map out living and forgotten urban tales and narratives using small drawings and handwritten messages, and to share them onsite at the Biennale exhibition as a single, large documentary mural. We will be organizing a series of mobile drawing workshops that will use freehand drawing as both a pictorial and a textual medium for participants to tell their own stories and ideas about their everyday lives.
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I am deeply committed to the problems of poverty and ghetto life - hence the program of the 2nd Ghetto Biennale 2011 and my participation in it are immensely important for me.
Poverty and the increasingly hopeless segregation of the poor is one of the worst social problems in Hungary as well, which has been further aggravated by the current economic crisis. Although Hungary has not been afflicted by a catastrophy comparable to the earchquake in Haiti, still, it has been hit by several natural disasters, amongst them floods, landslides, storms and an extremely serious industrial catastrophy, the burst of the dam of a reservoir of red sludge.
Hungarian proverty has also created its ghettos, which are mostly inhabited by Gipsies. Although, as far as I know Haitian poverty surpasses that attested in our ghettos, still I assume that the athmosphere of hopelessness, the people living there, the objects created by them, and the art emerging there are very similar.
My project involves a series of photos showing the similarities, matching situations, scenes and moments (a ghetto child, woman, man, a ghetto dog, cat, a ghetto vehicle, a ghetto street, house, courtyard, garbage, ghetto crime, hunger, dependence, disease, ghetto community, neighborhood, love, game, ghetto music, dance, graffiti).
The process of realizing the project: I would send a photo from a Hungarian ghetto to a Haitian colleague, who would look for the equivalent of my picture in Port-au-Prince, then he/she sends me a ghetto photo, whose equivalent I will find in Budapest. We would continue this coupling of pictures until the beginning of the Biennale, so that the pictures can be exhibited during the Biennale on the wall of a house.
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For the 2nd Ghetto Biennale, I propose to produce a short film concerning the complex and related issues of fatra (trash) and environmental degradation in Haiti. Using footage from throughout the capital – including the Grand Rue neighborhood – and around the country, the film will juxtapose Haiti's spectacular natural beauty and resources with the frequent mismanagement of these resources (for whatever stated reason, be it related to politics, economics, infrastructural weakness, or slow and imperfect post-quake recovery). Critically, the film will also present the concrete activities of several local grassroots organizations in combating these problems. Thus, the overall outlook projected will be positive but demanding of the audience greater engagement, hopeful but critical of a situation that is crippling many populations around the world.
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The Gingerbread Rephotography Project is an exploration of the vanishing architectural heritage of Port au Prince and this particularly Haitian form of ornate wooden Victorian building construction. The aging houses known as gingerbreads, once grand city homes for the Haitian elite, dot the leafier neighborhoods on the hills around center-city Port au Prince. Many are enfeebled, termite-ridden, and poorly maintained, but many nonetheless survived the devastation of Haiti's 2010 earthquake comparatively unscathed.
Using the street addresses listed in Angelhelen Arrington Phillips book Gingerbread Houses: Haiti's Endangered Species as a point of departure, I will visit buildings and the sites of no longer extant structures and engage their histories through both photography and oral history. I'm hoping the resulting meditation on man and his relationship to housing and the built environment will inspire a dialogue about appropriate strategies for post-earthquake reconstruction.
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Collaborating with the youth art collective Tele Geto in Port-au-Prince, I will conduct a digital media workshop to facilitate direct connections between the young artists and the world. The output will be a series of digital videos and digital photographs created by Tele Geto. These will be disseminated on a dedicated website designed and programmed in collaboration with the artists, and will be disseminated as part of a diverse social media strategy. This project is aimed at youth empowerment and shifting the internet representation of Haiti from one of post-earthquake aftermath to one of cultural production.
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TRACES OF TOMORROW >> A Ghetto fable
With Roberto N Peyre, Jean-Louis Huhta & Collaborators
We intend to perform research, play and meditation within the locality of Grand Rue throughout modes of hyperstition and projective speculation. The aim is to stage a fantastic inaguration of futurities. As a point of departure we will operate various hypercultures of the bat and notions of the bat-like. Ancient, temporary and acutely visionary senses of the subject will be shared collectively. Ambigous, sacred and very real issues of biopolitics, ecology, organization and sustainability are to be adressed.
Our strategy will be to utilize methods of research borrowed from natural sciences, sociology, ethnography and anthropology filtered through the anthropomorphic spectra of the fable.
- Field recordings of the bat sonar cry, edited and played back. If possible as a local radio transmission (possibly through iPod-transmitter). - Oral histories relating to the bat are to be staged as live sets. - A brief mapping of the local biotope of the bats. - Live action through making of bat masks, wings, etc. in collaboration w. Timoun Rezistans who we also very much would like to engage in parts of the fieldwork.
We might become bat-like, we might be representatives of the bats, or we simply commune with the bats of Gran Rue for a short time, or forever. What would a Bat do? www.robertonpeyre.com
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Frogs serve as bioindicators, showing us the overall health of an ecosystem. The amphibian community is often the first affected by habitat degradation and loss. Haiti's frogs are in major danger, as is every inhabitant of the island, due to the absence of even a glimmer of its original forested state. The recent rediscovery of several frog species however offers hope that Haiti's declining environmental, and therefore socio-economic health can be reversed.
Ergo, Frog-A-Longtime shall be an urban installation comprised of frog skeletons fashioned from charcoal. This material is the current number one cause of deforestation in Haiti and the only energy source offered up to the people by the powers that be. Its utilization in this work, combined with the use of the froggy forms, is intended to address its source and the consequences of its use. Once complete, these carbon creatures shall be installed about the neigbourhood, popping up in unexpected places as harbingers from the forests. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Schallum Pierre and Helene Matte - Duo Z
Hélène Matte come from Québec (Canada) and Schallum Pierre from Hinche (Haïti). We have shared the stage at some performances' events in Canada. Academic colleagues, our common interests to sound poetry, contemporary art and philosophy lead us to join our visual research and theoretical. The Ghetto Biennale is an opportunity to work more closely and demonstrate for the first time the duo, group Z.
Z The title refers to a type of elevation, in Geomatic : the Z score, which, by the fact of being "above the sea level"; , allows to test the skyline. Life unfolds vertically in some Latin American cities like Valparaiso, says Alejo Carpentier. Other cities give the possibility to project beyond the present by the mention of the skyline. This is the case of Port-au-Prince. We propose to take this following Carpentier's call for an injunction : "we must fix the cities physionomy" As a result, our proposal is to examine, through various artistic medium, the dialectic between the urbanity to rebuild and the marine horizon feature of the Haitian capital. Through concrete poetry, performative actions, drawings, and a mural, sound recording, we want to explore a psychogeography of places and events which would be shown on audiovisual media. So our work will be a video.
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Viola Thiele, Silke Bauer, Irina Novarese – A*BOUT group
"A BOOK ABOUT"
Participatory project for the production of artist's books and the creation of an open-library. "A Book About" is a participatory, community-based art project which invites local artists, inhabitants and the kids of the Grand Rue neighborhood, encouraging participants to express and collect personal views and every-day life experiences in individually crafted artist's books. This generated archive of (non-literate) knowledge will be exhibited in a custom designed temporary library.
A library is known as place where information, knowledge and education is transmitted. Books or libraries in regions with a low literacy rate, like Haiti, may not be a part of many inhabitants' everyday lives, and therefore may be considered as something only accessible to the elite. The concept of the artist's book describes a book intended as a work of art in itself in which there is no priority of (written) text over images. "A Book About" archives knowledge in a format, which also functions as a medium of educational transmission, but does not necessarily require literacy in the traditional sense. Generating an emancipatory language of images through artistic articulation is an experimental approach to provide access to non-institutional education.
The importance of documenting and archiving thoughts, memories and identities in this area has become extremely evident after the earthquake in 2010, when many lost trace of everything they had and knew, even other people. The books may become a translation of information, knowledge and culture. Layers of reality overlap and grow to an inspiring cultural hybrid.
www.nafra.org (work in progress)
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Vivian Chan, Maccha Kasparian and Yuk Yee Phang Ghetto|Architects- Children's Art Gallery
The team would like to explore how the process of briefing, designing, conducting design workshops and the actual process of construction take place in the ghetto. This site specific inquiry into the architectural design and building process will result in the manifestation of a children art gallery in Port au Prince. Their programme starts in London/Paris after receiving information from Haiti and continues during the Ghetto Biennale in Haiti by means of workshops with the local children using a combination of sign language, 'sketch-language', counter-sketches, models and translators- in the hope that the voice of the children will help to shape both the design process and the final build gallery. There is an art school in Haiti, but it is fee paying and too expensive for the children in the neighbourhood, so most arts are passed on in Haiti from artist to apprentice. The Grand Rue artists are teaching a new young generation of artists called Ti Moun Rezistans; children ranging from 6 to 18 years old in the neighbourhood. They all took part in the Ghetto Biennale. Currently all the children exhibit their work nailed around the walls of the neighbourhood and have to work sitting on the ground without shade. The art gallery is conceived as a pavilion /follie, a strong organic curve form lodged within the massing of the ghetto which will accommodate a shelter and amphitheatre for performance, washroom and shower facilities along with extensive display wall provisions. The architects + children team will produce a series of options from the workshop- via scaled models/sketches. The options will be exhibited within a communal space in the 'ghetto' where the residents are given an opportunity to voice their preferences and concerns as a 'dialogue' with the architects. This will simulate a potential 'planning forum' in the 'West'. The architects will finalise the design for the gallery and source locally for the building materials involved. The design will be cost tested and funding for the project will be kicked off at the closing of the Biennale with the presentation of the design and a video showing the design workshops and site analysis. Construction of the pavilion will take place once funding is secured. The pavilion is envisaged as the focal point location for future Biennale conferences and talks.
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Bowerbird's Hut : I will build a hut a cabin that can be visited.
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Enquiries & questions contact: Leah Gordon at: