Når du ber folk om å snakke om byen, snakker de om livene sine. En plass i byen er en plass i samfunnet, og en plass i samfnnet innebærer spørsmål om integrering, om klasse, om kultur, om den arven vi bærer med oss hjemmefra. Vår plass i byrommet er identitetsskapende; en følelse av stedlig tilhørlighet kan både bekrefte og avkrefte vår egen verdi.
Fra Tøyengata – et nyrikt stykke Norge, Tone Huse
Creating Silent University in several places, among them Tensta Kunsthall. Silent University is a knowledge-exchange program for asylum seekers, refugees and migrant to display their “silent” knowledge. Open for anyone to be member and share their knowledge in their own language. The members becomes students of the university and gets a student card, that can give access to other platforms and benefits. For me there is a link to Paulo Freire and his pedagogics of the oppressed. A project with a social and political message.
According to the dictionary silence means: complete absence of sound; avoiding discussing something;
the state of standing still and not speaking as a sign
of respect for someone and to prohibit or prevent from speaking. If we also look at the meaning of silent, it means not making or accompanied by any sound; not expressed aloud; without an accompanying soundtrack; saying or recording nothing on a particular subject and not prone to speak much.
These known meanings of silence and silent mostly refer to a passive state of understanding. We decided to have a look at these notions from a different position.
Who are we? We are the Silent University. What is the Silent University?
It is a knowledge exchange platform initiated by myself together with Synthia Griffin and Nora Razian from the Learning and Community Partnerships teams at Tate, working with asylum seekers and refugees who, although having a professional background,
are unable to practice their profession due to a variety of reasons including their status. They have become lecturers, academic consultants and research fellows of the Silent University.
For the Silent University, silent and silence mean a rather active mode of silence.
Botkyrka Konstall is a private initiative in Tumba, Sweden that strives to be a model example of how art can function as a catalyst for the revitalization of a city. Runs exhibitions, residency program, educational programs and more.
“Walk, Hand, Eyes” is a work by Myriam Lefkowitz that has been going on since 2007. She organizes guided tours where the participant have to close their eyes and be guided through the city. At 10 different places they would stop and the participant can open their eyes just for a moment, like a flash of an image. Lefkowitz has a background as a dancer, so the performance is much about the interaction happening between the two persons, the two bodies and how the body moves and interact in the city, with it’s architecture and other humans. There are now 10 guides around the world that can do these guided walks and are trained my Lefkowitz. At the summit she presented “Walk, Hand, Eyes” at the section of Performing the city
Private experience in public space is
treated by Myriam Lefkowitz, among others,
whose work Walk, Hand, Eyes (2007–) is an
intimate, sensual encounter with the urban
setting. The artist takes one individual at a time
on a blind walk, leading them by the hand or
elbow, slowly and gently changing her hold
while the subject’s senses become increasingly
attuned to an environment they can now only
experience through smell, hearing and touch.
The pace of the walk sometimes increases
abruptly and without clear reason, eliciting
our own associations with the absurd, fast-
paced city. At certain moments the subject is
told to open his eyes as his head is positioned
in front of a detail, then close them again after
seconds of a branch, window, passerby’s face.
These moments are priceless – framed details
of life that continues and changes without
us, but that we can hold on to as images in
our memory. http://olgaistefan.wordpress.com/2014/09/
Conflict Kitchen is a restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries with which the United States is in conflict. Each Conflict Kitchen iteration is augmented by events, performances, publications, and discussions that seek to expand the engagement the public has with the culture, politics, and issues at stake within the focus region. The restaurant rotates identities every few months in relation to current geopolitical events.
I’m including this work, because it related to my Threads Art Project, by involving different people in stitching. Though in her work what is left to the participants are to choose how to write the quotes she ask them to write, as quote, material and color already are set. In this works she collaborated with the philosopher Lars Fr. Svendsen to open up a discussion about evilness and around the chosen quotes.
About the work:
“22nd of July 2011 a young native Norwegian committed the most gruesome acts. Our response was to walk in processions carrying roses and to talk about more love, more openness. But gradually I felt we were mainly preoccupied with our own goodness and our admirable reactions. What had become of anger, frustration, injustice? The other feelings? Aren’t we the same as everyone else? I started by cutting out newspaper articles and searching in historical material, and I found numerous texts that challenged our self-image. The search led me to philosopher Lars Fr. Svendsen’s book A Philosophy of Evil and a question to him if he would collaborate with me on an art project: “Cruelty Has a Human Heart” The core of the project is 83 quotes, which through a wide range, regarding both who is being quoted and the time of the quotation, in a cacophony of voices, known and unknown – politicians, historians, murderers and torturers as well as ordinary people, articulate and reflect on evil. The public has been invited to discuss the theme in workshops and 83 different hands have written and embroidered the quotes on colored canvas patches.” From her webpage