Decentering the Market and Other Tales of Progress
What happens when First World art rubs up against Third World art? Does it bleed? In December 2009 Atis Rezistans, the Sculptors of Grand Rue, hosted their first Ghetto Biennale. They invited fine artists, film-makers, academics, photographers, musicians, architects and writers, to come to the Grand Rue area of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, to make or witness work that was made or happened, in their neighbourhood. In the words of the writer John Keiffer, it was hoping to be a “‘third space’…an event or moment created through a collaboration between artists from radically different backgrounds”. The 2nd Ghetto Biennale took place in December 2011 and seemed, in a contradiction to its aims, to reveal contextual, internal and institutional vulnerabilities to the inequalities that run across race, class and gender, provoking further questioning of the way these dynamics play out in an increasingly globalized art world.
While the Ghetto Biennale was conceived to expose social, racial, class and geographical immobility, it seemed to have upheld these class inertias within its structural core. The Ghetto Biennale is looking for balance amongst the multifarious and often contradictory agendas underpinning the event. Are we institutional critique or a season ticket to the institution? Are we art tourism or an exit strategy from the ghetto? What was the effect of the earthquake and the ensuing NGO culture on cross-cultural relations in Haiti? The straplines for the previous Ghetto Biennales were ‘What happens when first world art rubs up against third world art? Does it bleed?’…Did the Ghetto Biennale bleed, and if so where?
We have decided to respond to the challenges posed by the previous incarnations of this event by giving the 3rd Ghetto Biennale a theme. We are seeking artistic projects, which investigate or respond to ‘The Market’ from the local to the Global. We have also decided to make it a lens free Biennale to partially resist both the ethnographic gaze and the commodity fetishism that the lens can engender. * The 3rd Ghetto Biennale seeks artistic projects that respond to this topic, help us to expose the boundaries of a globalized art market, and have meaningful discussion about sameness and diversity in an allegedly de-centered art world. The 3rd Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince is trying to create a space for artistic production that attempts to offer, whilst understanding all its limitations, artists from wide socioeconomic classes, a complex creative platform. The Ghetto Biennale hopes to contain the seeds of a possibility to transcend different models of ghettoization…please help us to fail nobly.
The 3rd Ghetto Biennale 2013 will take place from the end of November until the middle of December 2013, the exact dates to be confirmed. All works must be made culture on cross-cultural relations and exhibited in Haiti. Artists will be invited to pass one to three weeks in Haiti before presenting their work in the neighbourhood to an audience of local people, Port au Prince neighbourhood communities, arts collectives and arts organisations. The 3rd Ghetto Biennale will be co-curated by Andre Eugene, David Frohnapfel and Leah Gordon.
The deadline for proposal applications is midnight Sunday 23rd June and our decisions will be made and announced by the end of the first week in July. The primary criteria will be based on practical issues of production viability in the Grand Rue locality.
Applicants for the 3rd Ghetto Biennale 2013 must provide a written synopsis of their project proposal covering conceptual background, methodology, and the production and exhibition strategy for the proposed new work on two sides of A4, including illustrations, and a one page CV, all formatted as pdfs. We will not accept any proposal longer than two sides and neither will we accept website links as a proposal component. Please keep in mind that we are looking for works that will be created during the three week period in Port au Prince, Haiti. We are not looking for work that is already created. We welcome projects that may require collaboration with local artists and would be able to help connect artists beforehand.
There is no funding for this event and you will be expected to cover the cost of your flight, accommodation and materials. We will supply a reading list, there is a film about the Grand Rue sculptors on-line and we will be more than happy to help (via email) with any research and information needed, both before your application and leading up to the event. Advice can be given about the practicalities for the production of specific projects and budgeting for the trip. If your work involves intensive interviews we will advise you to budget for your own translator. Artists should be aware that Haiti has only a 50% literacy rate and text heavy projects could be problematic for the local audience. We can help organise all hotel bookings, airport pick-ups and internal transport.
- No video and photography projects will be considered, but there will be a photographer on site to document the projects at the end of the event for anyone needing images to fulfil funding requirements.