October 31, 2019 - Perpetuum Mobilε - Artists at Risk (AR) Pavilion Helsinki: Mass Memory Machines
October 31, 2019

Perpetuum Mobilε

Saddam Jumaily, F16, 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 160 x 130 cm.

Artists at Risk (AR) Pavilion Helsinki
Mass Memory Machines
November 1–December 15, 2019

Opening and Concert: November 1, 6–10:30pm, with Lil Baliil, Ramy Essam, Paleface, and Grammo Suspect
Barış Seyitvan performance: November 2, 1–2pm, a walk from Market Square to Galleria Rankka
Market Square, Suomenlinna Ferry Port
Panel discussions: November 2, 2–4pm

Galleria Rankka
Eerikinkatu 36
FI-00180 Helsinki

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Babi Badalov, Damian Le Bas, Delaine Le Bas, CABOCO (Benjamin Abras / Nástio Mosquito / Junior Fernadez), Chto Delat, Lusine Djanyan and Aleksey Knedlyakovsky, Juan-Pedro Fabra Guemberina, Kholod Hawash, Fatoş Irwen, Saddam Jumaily, Spartak Khachanov, Barış Seyitvan / Mehmet Ali Boran, Issa Touma

Lil Baliil, Ramy Essam, Paleface, Grammo Suspect

Ivor Stodolsky and Marita Muukkonen

The violent injustices, dramatic specifics and complex trajectories of the emergencies which put artists at risk—be they Afro-indigenous Brazilians, Iraqis or Kurds from across ancient Mesopotamia’s blood-soaked contemporary borders, secular artists under religious regimes, Europeans of Romani descent, dissident ecologists, or indeed any dissenting voices resisting the crude appeals of hydra-headed fascism—are all radically different. 

From a perspective of safety—where you, dear reader, are most likely located—all of these violations of physical dignity and freedom of expression are clustered under one universal: their haptic absence. In other words, these emergencies are scarcely felt in the here and the now. Or do you feel something that scrapes your skin, embattles your ears, stings your eyes—your very own—dear reader? 

Emergencies flash by on screens, generated somewhere, somehow, by someone, or some algorithmic machine. One by one, each is soon suppressed by newer news, with the angry seas of mass (mis)information rising. It has always been easier to let yourself forget.

The Helsinki edition of the Artists at Risk (AR) Pavilion is an exhibition of first-hand witnesses and story-tellers; bodies as living documents; makers of unmade monuments; creators of memory-machines of worlds whose language you may have forgotten, denied or never learned. Translating the physically-absent into the mentally-present: the art of making memory.

A few questions.

“Why are We always on the Outside?” asks a great artist, a Gypsy as he calls himself. This massive work, which hung on the outside of Moderna Museet Malmö, and on a central square in Berlin, now adorns Helsinki’s Eerikinkatu. Are the Romani people, Europe’s largest ethnic minority like he says, “1000 Years Refugees”? 

Water climbs slowly to efface one of the first sites of human settlement, 12,000 years old. Streets and cafes are submerged, homes follow, then generations of dwellings, entire civilizations, human-geological strata. This settlement is not cursed by angry gods; nor is this a biospheric response to our anthropocene hubris. We are speaking of just another dictator’s dam. Do you remember Hasankeyf?

What is that war about, in the blood-soaked steppes of Ukraine? Or that war, in 1918, on Helsinki’s Long Bridge? Brother kills brother, and their sisters make the ammunition. Can bullet-holes be filled with molten bronze, to heal the wound? Or should a civil war be manifested in beaten iron figures and the screaming of the wind? 

Artists at Risk (AR) is an institution at the intersection of human rights and the arts. AR is dedicated to mapping the field of persecuted art practitioners, facilitating their safe passage from their countries of origin, hosting them at “Artists at Risk (AR)-Residencies” and curating related projects, such as the AR PAVILION.

This exhibition format was launched with the AR Pavilion - Athens (Biennale, 2017); continuing with the AR Pavilion - Istanbul (parallel programme, Biennale 2017); the AR Pavilion - Madrid (Matadero-Madrid, Transeuropa Festival 2017); and the AR Pavilion - Berlin (Aufbau Haus / Nordic Embassies, Berlin, 2018). Bringing this format home to AR’s first base, PM is very pleased to launch the 5th AR Pavilion - Helsinki.

Perpetuum Mobile (PM)’s Artists at Risk (AR)-Network currently comprises 12 operational, former and future AR-Residencies across Europe and Africa.

Generously funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, City of Helsinki and Kone Foundation.

Perpetuum Mobilε
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Mass Memory Machines
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