Artist’s Talk: Jonas Staal with Marcel Bleuler

Democratic Self-Administration of Rojava and Studio Jonas Staal, New World Summit – Rojava, 2015–2017, Sammlung Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst

01.02.2018, 18:30

Free admission, in English

The artistic and political organisation New World Summit, founded by Jonas Staal (b. 1981 in Zwolle, the Netherlands), can be described as an ‘alternative’ parliament that provides a platform for political and legal groups who are currently excluded from democratic processes. Its goal is to oppose a concept of democracy that the initiators criticise for being committed to expansionist, military or colonial purposes. In 2015, Staal was invited to Rojava to design a public parliament building for the city of Dêrik and to hold a New World Summit. Rojava, the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, which was declared an autonomous territory on March 17 2016, is a result of the political autonomization of the region during the civil war in Syria. The installation in the exhibition space documents this ‘project’. In this setting, the project becomes an opportunity to document and reflect upon these geopolitical changes, while also providing a forum to discuss the principles and authority of nation states and the ways in which they act upon ‘other bodies’.

Marcel Bleuler (PhD) works at the intersection of cultural studies and artistic production, both as a researcher and an organizer. He is a project manager for artasfoundation (Swiss foundation for art in regions of conflict) and director of the postgraduate-programme Arts and International Cooperation at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). Marcel Bleuler also teaches transdisciplinary art studies at the University of Salzburg, and he is an expert of the Swiss federal art commission.

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