Curator&Artist Talk: Art and Social Responsibility
15 April 2017
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle, United Kingdom
Organiser: AMP Arts and BALTIC
Alessandro Vincentelli, BALTIC Curator of Disappearance at Sea – Mare Nostrum
Hrair Sarkissian, Syrian-Armenian visual artist
Dr Anna Marazuela Kim, Art historian and cultural theorist
Ying-Hsuan Tai, Chief Curator at Between Borders
The talk titled Museums and Social Responsibility is part and parcel of an installation called refuge/e, which sees a Syrian refugee shelter transplanted from an informal settlement in Lebanon to the UK. Refuge/e is exhibiting at BALTIC as part of the Disappearance at Sea – Mare Nostrum.
Art has traditionally been one of the few spaces in Syria where political tensions and opinions could be expressed. As a result, art was feared and repressed by the government. Since the onset of the crisis in 2011, Syrian artists have been killed, poets have been exiled, and writers have been imprisoned. With no viable art scene left in Syria, the onus of responsibility falls on foreign institutions to collect and exhibit art that documents, communicates, and expresses a culture under threat. This talk will examine the role – and indeed the responsibility – of museums during times of political unrest, both at home and far away.
In this panel talk, I talked specifically about my recent project “Create Syria: The Future Constellation” which was the hightlight of the “Talking Peace Festival 2017” organised by International Alert. In the meanwhile, I also focused on art’s social responsibility – how art can make a change to the forced displacement?
Image: BALTIC centre for contemporary art
When we enter an intersection, we are presented with a choice: do we go straight through?; turn right or left? By design, intersections dissolve boundaries and pave the way for cooperation and shared space.
The event “INTERSECTIONS” invited 15 speakers who are originally from Asia but based in London to share their recent and current creative projects. It used the Pecha Kucha presentation style, which has origins in the Japanese term “ペチャクチャ” meaning to “chitter and chatter”.
This term has then been given a new meaning, a novel form of presentation that sees the presenter talk for 20 seconds for 20 slides, a 6 minute and 40-second introduction to their thoughts.