On Saturday at 3pm
A program of weekly Saturday afternoon talks, public events and workshops, with scholars and artists exploring the issues at stake in “The Secession Sessions” beyond the question of Abkhazia per se.
January 18 2014
A conversation between Maxim Gvinjia & Leon Colm
Max and Leon met in 2000. Max was working at the Foreign Ministry of self-declared Abkhazia, while Leon was a university lecturer, interested in war and separatism. They spent the summer together, traipsing throughout Abkhazia, discussing statehood, doing a lot of swimming and becoming friends. A few years later, they met again, this time sitting across from each other at negotiating tables in Geneva. Maxim had risen through the ranks of the Foreign Ministry, while Leon was working in various international organisations for the resolution of the conflict between Abkhazia and Georgia. Max eventually became the Foreign Minister of Abkhazia, and Leon became a senior advisor to an international organisation dealing with conflicts in the former Soviet Union. For the Saturday Sessions, a conversation between Max and Leon will revisit History—the collapse of the USSR, the rise of separatist States—and a history, the tale of two men, of two friends. A small story in the bigger story. Today, neither Max nor Leon officially work for or on Abkhazia. What remains after so many years of representation and officialdom?
Maxim Gvinjia is the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia. Before he was appointed on February 26th 2010 by the government of Sergueï Bagapsh, Maxim Gvinjia had served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs since March the 1st 2004. Maxim Gvinjia was born on March 13th 1976 in Sukhumi, USSR. In 1998, he graduated from the Gorlovsky State Institute for Foreign Languages in Ukraine.
With a doctorate from Oxford University, he has travelled through, and written about the de facto states that resulted from the break-up of the former Soviet Union, both as a scholar and as a negotiator for several international organisations. He has taught at Oxford University and Kings College, London, and was a Research Fellow at St Antony’s College and the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Author of a number of books in English on European security and on conflicts, he is also the author of an essay in French, Improbable Abkhazia (Éditions Autrement, 2009).
*this event will be in english
January 25 2014
Identity Ploy and Dangerous Fictions
A workshop hosted by the journal Vacarme
No one knows for sure what "identity" means, but all minorities most definitely need to fictionalize identities for themselves. To fictionalize is both to let the cat out of the bag and to hide, to resist the dominant order and accept its game, but to play it differently. Nevertheless when the identity trick becomes a national project and a desire of the State, it is continually at risk of falling into violent or sad re-territorializations. In response to the invitation by the “Secession Sessions”, Vacarme offers to hold a fictitious editorial board meeting with the audience in order to reflect upon the possible articulations between its specific issues of interests: fictions, politics of emancipation, the relation to the State and the rise of European fascisms.
Vacarme is a quarterly journal published on paper and extended online, which carries out a reflection at the crossroads of political commitment, artistic creation and research, since 1997.
A will to decompartmentalise knowledge
Vacarme is the result of an encounter between individuals engaged in various social movements—including the fight against AIDS and the protection of undocumented residents—and their desire to confront what they were learning about the world from their political experience to the knowledge they were forging in their respective work as researchers, teachers, writers, therapists or artists. They wanted Vacarme to be a place of exchange between activist, intellectual and artistic networks, a space that escapes the traditional separation between practice and knowledge, politics and art; between the urgency to act and the need to think.
February 1st 2014
A seminar by Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez & Elena Sorokina
An international law, the reasons for non-independent entities to aspire to statehood are enumerated as follows: the notion of sovereignty and the desire for independence and self-determination are the aspirations which come first; the possibility of joining international organizations only open to independent states; and the prospect of being involved in foreign affairs and the right to use force in self-defence are equally important. But what fuels these desires, what kind of affects are involved, how are they generated and expressed? Collectively produced, the strife for recognition and sovereignty is a special kind of affect, usually clashing against the strict international regulations and laws. The speakers invited will present their reflections and insights into a range of topics, from visual expression to fictional (re-)construction, including case studies from different areas of the world. At the end of the seminar, Björk’s music video Declare Independence, will be projected and analyzed.
Elena Sorokina is a Russian-born, Paris based curator and art historian, alumna of the Whitney Museum of American Art ISP in New York. She recently co-organized "Spaces of Exception" a special project for the Moscow Biennal, the symposium "What is a postcolonial exhibition?", a collaborative project of SMBA/Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Stedelijk Museum. She published in numerous catalogs, and has been writing for Artforum, Flash Art, Cabinett Magazine, Manifesta Journal, Moscow Art Magazine, and other publications.
Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez is a curator and critic based in Paris and Ljubljana. She co-runs a seminar on contemporary artistic practices with Patricia Falguières, Élisabeth Lebovici. She was also co-director of Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers from 2010 to 2012. In 2013 she was the curator of U3, the art Triennale of Contemporary Art in Slovenia, at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Ljubljana. Since 2011, she is the editor of Manifesta Journal. Around Curatorial Practices. In 2014, she is the invited curator for the Satellite program at Jeu de Paume, Paris.
Biography of the participants:
Keti Chukhrov is an associate professor at the Department of Art Theory and Cultural Studies at the Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow. She has authored numerous texts on art theory, culture, politics, and philosophy, which have appeared in periodicals including: Afterall, Artforum, Brumaria, documenta magazine, e-flux journal, New Literary Review, and Springerin. Her books include: “To Be – To Perform. Theatre” in Philosophical Criticism of Art (2011); Pound & £ (1999), and two volumes of dramatic poetry: Just Humans (2010) and War of Quantities (2004). Chukhrov’s latest performances include Communion and Elpida, and The Greeks, both 2010. She has recently performed her dramatic oratorio Afgan Kuzminki in the Fourth Moscow Biennale (2011); 1st Kyiv Biennale (2012); Wiener Festwochen in Vienna (2013); and Bergen Biennial (2013). Chukhrov lives and works in Moscow.
Dean Inkster currently teaches art history and theory at the École Supérieure d’Art et Design Grenoble - Valence. Over the past three years has co-curated exhibitions on the English composer Cornelius Cardew, "Cornelius & the Freedom of Listening" and the North American artist Christopher D’Arcangelo, "Anarchism Without Adjectives: On the Work of Christopher D’Arcangelo (1955-1978)", that have been shown in Europe and North America. Both exhibitions were first shown in France at the CAC Brétigny.
Caecilia Tripp’s work of filmic installation, performance and photography is entangled with a poetic mind in participatory forms of freedom and the social imaginary as a space of transgression of social as well as cultural boundaries. Her work has been shown internationally in museum venues such as PS1/MOMA (New York / USA), Museum of Modern Art (Paris / France) De Appel (Amsterdam / Netherlands), Roomade (Bruxelles / Belgium), Center of Contemporary Arts (New Orleans / USA), 7th Gwangju Biennale 2008 (Gwangju / South Korea), Clark House Initiative (Bombay, India). The Making Of Americans (2004) received an award for the best experimental film at Cinema Paradise (Hawai / USA) and was shown at Mostra 61 Venice. She is also part of the editorial team of Afrikadaa Magazine.
*this event will be in english
February 8 2014
The Nitty Gritty of the State
A lecture by Fabien Jobard
The State, as we say, is the monopoly of violence. The state, it seems, is primarily the army, the police, and prison. But taking a closer look, the State is above all an edifice made of papers. It draws its legitimacy from a written Constitution, and not anymore from customary or divine law. This document, and the seals that attest it, are kept precisely by the same ministry that manages sentences and prisons. The State and its agents dispose of an authority, of a power that is first and foremost made of paper.
From a research we conducted in Paris on identity checks, this very particular act which entails the identification of individuals thanks to their papers by depository agents of the public authority, we offer to enlighten the establishment of the State grasped in History and the consistency of papers that link individuals to public authority. Having papers. Having one’s papers. Losing one’s papers. Presenting them. Is this really how we make the State?
Fabien Jobard is a research director at the CNRS. He works on the police sociology, criminal law and collective violence. In 2009, with René Levy and John Lamberth, he carried out an investigation on identity checks that opened a new space for discussion around the preventive control of identity and the potential consequences of these controls. He recently published, in the journal Critique, a critical review, on Pierre Bourdieu’s lessons, On the State and participates in project P. Le Galès and Demond King, Restructuring European States (CNRS / U. Oxford).
February 15 2014
The Bergen Sessions*
Live broadcast from Bergen Kunsthall
*this event will be in english
February 22 2014
The Secession Sessions is WithOut Wall
An intervention of the WithOut Wall collective (Georgia)
Is the constitution of a new State the only path to the empowerment and emancipation of a people? Does the recognition and nurturing of a culture and folk tradition need the model of a representative State? What does it mean to adopt a specific cultural stand, especially in one of the most ethnically diverse and complex regions in the world such as Caucasus?
“The Secession Sessions” bring another concrete but immaterialized institution from Caucasus: the TCCA WithOut Wall based in Tbilisi. This structureless and artist-run project, which squats a plot of land in the outskirts of the Georgian capital, has developed alternative artistic activities, far from ever fighting for the celebration of a cultural identity per se and for the artistic policies supported by the State of Georgia.
Founded in 2011 by artist Gela Patashuri, the WithOut Wall project is constituted by artists Giorgi Kobiashvili, Eduard Oganov, Mari Tipukhian, Sergo Zhornitski, Tamar Mdivani. WithOut Wall is a structureless and homeless project that mainly takes place on a small plot of land near Tbilisi purchased in 2006 by curator Daniel Baumann to build the Tbilisi Center for Contemporary Art (TCCA). Facing the lack of opportunities available for young artists in Tbilisi, WithOut Wall was established in order to offer an open space for research, for production and for the, development of experimental creative processes and discussions. When you have no other alternatives, you just do what you want to do.
This session was organised in the form of a workshop with students from EESA Bretagne, in collaboration with the research program "Géographies variables" directed by Julie Morel. This program is supported by the Scientific Council of the art research (MC).
March 1 2014
An Epistolary Secession
Morad Montazami & Eric Baudelaire
Paris, November 30th 2013
Here is what your film makes me think of. In the world of RAM and downloading, it’s not writing that went out of fashion. Actually, we may probably have never written as much, as a network civilisation of course, but especially as a hyper-bureaucratised one. Maybe without knowing we even developed certain writing reflexes worthy of the most monopolistic and authoritarian state structures (from the imperative of visibility to widespread surveillance). Therefore, it is in my opinion edifying that you bring back into play gestures that are traditionally associated with epistolary exchanges, particularly in order to question our conceptions of the State. The wait, the destination and ultimately the “body/trace” of the writing (or the voice) contain an archaic power that thwarts the fantasy of ubiquity controlling our current modes of communication. Neo-existential questions embodied by the being of the writer—are we really where we write, where we are destined, or neither one nor the other, in the very trace we leave for the future reader to decipher?—lead us to forebode the forms of communion or union to come. The communication pendulum seems to be reversing and the bureaucratization of our lives is no longer inevitable. Do you think we could discuss this?
Morad Montazami is an historian of modern and contemporary art. He is the author of several articles on the works of many artists, among them Eric Baudelaire. He is also editor of the magazine Zamân (Texts, images & documents).
March 8 2014
Reinventing the State?
A conversation between Alain Badiou & Pierre Zaoui
WARNING Due to a last minute change, Alain Badiou will not be present tomorrow at Bétonsalon. Please accept our apologies.
Around Alain Badiou ideas, Pierre Zaoui will open the discussion with the audience on the question on the reinvention of the State and of the new collectives.
The discussion Reinventing the State? between Alain Badiou and Pierre Zaoui is postponed. We will keep you informed of the date very soon.
Thank you for your understanding and hope many tomorrow for the last day of the exhibition and the last session on Saturday
Pierre Zaoui teaches philosophy at the University Paris Diderot –Paris 7. Amongst others, he is the author of Spinoza, la décision de soi (Bayard, 2008) and of La traversée des catastrophes (Seuil, 2010). Recently, he collaborated on the Dictionnaire politique à l’usage des gouvernés (Under the direction of Fabienne Brugère and Guillaume le Blanc, Bayard, 2012)
To go further
In relation with "The Secession Sessions" Political philosophy lessons by Seloua Luste Boulbina, open to the public
Friday, January 31 / 4pm-6pm The State between imaginary/ies and reality/ies -
State "à la carte"
Friday, February 7 / 2pm-4pm The State between imaginary/ies and reality/ies -
The Ghost of the State
Seloua Luste Boulbina teaches at CPGE. She is the program director at the International College of Philosophy (Paris) and associate researcher (HDR) at LCSP, University Paris-Diderot - Paris 7. She is interested mainly in colonial and postcolonial questions. She most notably published Le singe de Kafka et autres propos sur les colonies (Sens Public, 2008), and les Arabes peuvent-ils parler? (Blackjack,2011). She directed Réflexions sur la postcolonie (Rue Descartes, 2007), Un monde en noir et blanc (Sens Public, 2009), Monde arabe : Rêves, révoltes, révolutions (Lignes, 2011), Décoloniser les savoirs (Mouvement, 2012) and La Migration des Idées (Rue Descartes, 2013).