performance

July 24, 2014

Curatorial Aspects and Institutional Settings of Global Prayers

I would like to draw attention to three considerations that framed the Global Prayers project, all of which can be understood as knowledge processes. First, how does a research project relate to and interfere with its institutional bodies? Second, to what extend does it enable and stimulate a transgression of knowledge production? Third, how does it correlate to societal settings?

Institutional Settings as Modes of Knowledge Production: What is a Project Good For?

The Global Prayers project was supervised by a set of institutions: the project’s initiator, the metroZones Center for Urban Affairs, which engages critically with urban development; the arts and culture institution Haus der Kulturen der Welt; and two scientific bodies, the Europa Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder and the Forum Transregionale Studien, which have supported the research project over the course of four years.

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July 22, 2014

Speaking in Tongues: Multichannel Video Installation

Aernaut Mik: Impressions from the multi-channel installation Speaking in Tongues, which was shown at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt from November 2013 to January 2014.

From November 2013 to January 2014, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) showcased video artist Aernout Mik’s multi-part video installation “Speaking in Tongues” under the auspices of the Global Prayers Congress. An essential component of Mik’s work involves comparing the prosperity gospel and the practices of religious communities who espouse it with the beliefs and practices of the secular business world, exploring the extent to which the business world relies on religion for establishing its own rites and practices, and vice versa. Mik’s approach combines aesthetic, fictional, and documentary elements, resulting in the creation of an autonomous artistic performance that both brings to life and reflects on the individual phases of the exploratory work.

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December 6, 2013

Legalizing Prayer and Politics

[Editor’s Note: This post is in response to “Law’s Prayer: Town of Greece v Galloway” by Winnifred Fallers Sullivan.]

Years ago, before I was a parent and obsessively risk averse, I took an eventful, if short, research trip. The trip was to northern-central Sri Lanka to visit the quasi-independent region that had been set up by the Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or Tamil Tigers. It was a de facto state complete with its own roads, hospitals, school system, police force, customs officers, ministries and, of course, judicial system. All this was intriguing because the Tamil Tigers were an armed rebel group who since the late 1970s had been fighting a violent campaign against the Sri Lankan state. To most, they were known not for their visa forms and traffic cops, but for their brutal guerilla military tactics and devastating suicide bombings.

I had crossed the border into the ‘state of Tamil Eelam’ with the hopes of examining the Tamil Tigers’ practices of memorializing dead soldiers, such as elaborate burials and commemoration rituals. Yet, keen to make the most of the trip, I also thought I’d conduct some general journalistic interviews about rebel leaders’ grievances and goals.  Contacting the Tamil Tigers was a remarkably easy process. I emailed the “LTTE Peace Secretariat” and made an appointment with their media attaché (of course they had one), a former English teacher from Jaffna. The attaché gave me directions to a compound in Kilinocchi where I was ushered into a well-appointed two-storied house. On arrival, I was seated on a large couch and offered a cup of tea. The media attaché soon entered with two other men, each with large purses that I recall as being suspiciously pistol-sized. Although the purses alarmed me slightly, I had vaguely expected this. After all, it was violence (and the threat of violence) that had made the LTTE what it was. I assumed that this was precisely the sort of thing to be expected when talking to a representative of an armed insurgent group.

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