CAN ART ADRIÁN
& MAHAN MIRARAB
V. PORTEFAIX &
L EMELSHTRICH LATAR
CAN ART AID IN ?RESOLVING CONFLICTS
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1 IN YOUR OPINION COULD OR SHOULD ART PLAY A CONSTRUCTIVE ROLE IN RESOLVING CONFLICTS? COULD OR SHOULD ART HELP IN BUILDING BRIDGES OF UNDERSTANDING AMONG CONFLICTING VIEWS? HOW?
CAN YOU PROVIDE EXAMPLES OF HOW ART PLAYED A CONSTRUCTIVE ROLE IN CONFLICT AREAS? CAN YOU PROVIDE VISUAL EXAMPLES OF YOUR AND OTHER WORK IN THIS REGARD?
3 IF YOU DO NOT AGREE THAT ART COULD OR SHOULD PLAY A CONSTRUCTIVE ROLE IN RESOLVING CONFLICTS, WE ARE EQUALLY KEEN TO LEARN WHY YOU THINK SO. AID 3
United States, Canada and South America, among others, and gained much recognition and success. The body of his work is comprised of five central photography series: Soldiers (19942000), Youths (2000), Prisoners (2003), Stories of the Bible (2004-2007), and the
Village (2007-2012). Nes's work has been awarded important prizes, among them: the Anglo-Israeli Foundation Prize 1993, the Minister of Science, Culture and Sports Prize 1999 and 2013, the Gottesdiener Award for Israeli Art, Tel Aviv Museum, 2000 and the Constantiner Photography Award 2003. His works are
I believe that the heavy toll of international conflicts on the involved parties (and often also on those not necessarily involved) demands making use of the entire toolbox made possible by diplomacy, including cultural diplomacy. In this area, art has many advantages in terms of its ability to touch hearts in a direct, non-verbal manner, the honesty and reliability it transmits, its capacity to convey hidden messages, the fact that it functions as an easy excuse to bring together different audiences, the media exposure and interest it arouses and more. At the same time, we need to remember that art is just one tool in a complex and complicated reality, and the possibility of producing change in an area that is not inherent to it is not simple. There is also the fact that art is private and personal and is created for totally different purposes, and the artist will often oppose the use of his creation for foreign purposes.As an artist operating from within a personal world of experiences, pain, and issues of identity, as well as in the wider public sphere — that of art, the cultural scene, and art commerce in the postmodern world — I can choose a terminology which adopts different points of view and discourses suitable to contrasting spaces. In the private sphere, in the place where art is created, I never let foreign considerations interfere; otherwise I would create enlisted art, superficial propaganda. At the same time, I see no wrong in enlisting my works for other purposes after they
part of public and private art collections around the world and appear in international art auctions (the work The Last Supper from the Soldiers series has even broken the record for Israeli photography at the Sotheby’s auction house). Nes's large multi-layered colour photographs, shot with meticulous quality and
lighting, are inspired by his personal biography as well as collective Israeli memory and the universal history of art. His works often reference the works of the greatest artists as well as current day photography and varied mythological canons and imagery from the worlds of cinema, media, press, fashion and more. Nes transfers the borrowed
imagery into new contexts, and thus succeeds in creating a new and original critique of the reality of our lives. Additionally, Nes teaches at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem (since 2002) and holds courses and guest lectures at various schools of art and universities in Israel and abroad.
have been created. My feeling is that after it has been created and released into the world, it has conquered a place for itself in a reality that is its own, and not only mine. Thus, for example, despite the fact that one of my works was created in the past as a critique, when it was acquired and presented by collectors whose political beliefs are the opposite from mine, and what they saw in the work was totally different than my intention, I didn’t oppose the acquisition. The beauty in art is that each person can see what he wants in it, and that is also one of its strong points in terms of conflict resolution: art arouses sentiments, identification and a sense of reliability. Since my work is multilayered, it exists ‘for its own sake,’ and the outer layer of a work makes it possible to be presented in places where an exhibition of my works would not necessarily be welcome. My personality includes a multitude of identities that are reflected in the works I create in different measures: as a man I deal with masculinity, as an Israeli I deal with being Israeli. Perhaps I also deal with masculinity because I’m gay, and there is a significant measure of homoeroticism in my works. I grew up far from the center, so I deal with the tensions between the center and the periphery. My family’s origins are in North Africa, and so I deal with matters of ethnic origin. I am an artist and I pay tribute to the history of art, and in doing so I touch upon elements of mythology and Christianity. I am a Jew and also deal with Jewish narratives. There is no one voice or
Adi Nes (born in Kiryat Gat in 1966) is among the most important and outstanding artists in Israel in the field of photography. Since he completed his studies at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem (1992), he has exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions in Israel and around the world, in Europe, the
Adi Nes, Untitled, The ‘Village’ Series, 2009
one shade that colours my work. The different layers that exist in my personality can coexist in the work. The multilayered quality of art enables the construction of complex bridges and interesting connections. As an artist, I not only make art but also interact with varied audiences — during artistic dialogues with art aficionados in galleries, meetings in schools, encounters with Jewish or Christian communities, and very occasionally also meetings with the Palestinian population organized by various NPOs. Thus, for example, a conservative audience may be incidentally exposed to the fact that I am a homosexual living with a man and four children without raising resistance; Palestinian audiences are introduced to the pain, loss and bereavement experienced in Israeli society, the moral stance of large groups within Israeli society, and the opposition to the Occupation; and foreign audiences discover the complexities of Israeli society, which is so different than the surface image of Israel they are unfortunately exposed to through the media in their respective countries. In my youth, I thought I would take my art with me wherever I went. Yet as I grew up, my art suddenly took me to places I had never thought of exhibiting in. For example, when my exhibition Stories of the Bible was presented in Zagreb, the President of Croatia, Ivo Josipović, spent a long while at the opening, where he requested and received an explanation regarding each and every one of the photos, with the whole visit widely covered by the media. Oftentimes, local organizations abroad are deterred by the assistance of the Israeli Foreign Ministry due to the problematic image of Israel in their country, as I discovered at the opening of a large exhibition of my works at a the Stockholm Photography
Museum. I was very nervous regarding the press conference scheduled to take place at the gala opening, and the organizers decided that we would start with a short lecture in which I would speak about my oeuvre and its layered meanings, rather than with the usual questions and answers. To my surprise, at the end of my speech, not a single politically hostile question (in the narrow sense of this term) was asked. At the beginning of the 21st century, not long after the start of the second Intifada, I participated in a large exhibition that mostly included my photos of soldiers, at the Museum of Modern Art in San Diego. During the opening, as people entered the gallery, a local artist performed a provocative and subversive act — screening press photographs documenting ‘Israel’s war crimes,’ as he put it, on the exterior walls of the museum. Those present in the gallery told me about this with aversion, but even as a young artist I refused to be appalled. I knew the power of art. I went outside and invited this artist inside, to view the photos exhibited on the walls and to join me in a spontaneous debate about art and photography in front of the audience. His fist opened and turned into a handshake. I recently participated in a group exhibition in Latvia which also included an Egyptian artist, a political activist, who refused to come to the opening since the Israeli Consul would also be attending. His hostility towards the Israeli establishment as a result of the Occupation was transformed into a great friendship when he saw on Facebook that we had a mutual friend, an Egyptian artist. At times, it is easier to communicate when officials are not around. Not long ago, I gave a lecture in Beit Jalla that had been arranged by the Peres Center for Peace. It was targeted at Israeli and Palestinian photographers, but was also broadcast live to photographers in Gaza. I deliberated at length regarding its central theme and about how many of my photos about the life of soldiers I should show. I finally decided not to censor anything, but to focus instead on the way photography tells a story, and on how the same photo can tell a different story every time. Art also has healing value. Through art a man can also get to know himself and his pains. My art deals with issues of identity, and similar issues can often be found in the work of others. I feel that when two or more people understand the complexities within themselves and those that they share with others, this could be a step towards acceptance. There is no doubt that in our complex world, which is saturated with images and conflicts, it often seems that the artwork returns to being only froth on the water, and that it cannot really change reality. But as the poet Dalia Rabikovitz writes in a poem titled Pride, even rocks can break. It happens by surprise and often at the slightest touch, the friction caused by a small impact. Art is capable of transcending concrete reality and connecting to myth, history, and emotion. After all, you cannot argue with emotions, and when we discover each other’s emotions and feelings, we can begin searching for the opening that will lead to discourse.
Adi Nes, Untitled (The Last Supper), 1999
AZIZ & CUCHER
Anthony Aziz (born in 1961 in Lunenburg, United States) and Sammy Cucher (born in 1958 in Lima, Perú) have been working as a collaborative team since 1991. Their work combines photography, digital imaging, sculpture, video installation and textiles. Their work has been exhibited nationally
and internationally. Some People, their exhibition of four commissioned video installations opened in April 2012 at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. A series of monumental Jacquard Tapestries produced between the years 2014 and 2017 debuted in the exhibition Line of Times
commissioned by the Mill6 Foundation in Hong Kong in March 2017. A monograph on their long running collaboration was published in the fall of 2012 by Hatje Cantz. They are both faculty members at Parsons School of Design, New York.
Yes, some art could play a constructive role in conflict resolution. We think that this can happen in instances when people from disparate communities come together to make art or to participate in some kind of artistic collaboration. This way people can learn to put their energy into a shared outcome that might reflect the potential to overcome much larger differences. We do not believe that simply sharing images from one culture with another can have any real impact; it must come from a process of making something together, whether it is in the visual arts, music, choreography, etc. We do not see our work as functioning in this way. Our ongoing project, Some People, represents a poetic or emotional condition associated with conflict, but it does not aim to provide an outcome as is implied in the notion of ‘conflict resolution.’ We do explore our own internal conflicts with regards to our allegiances and cultural backgrounds, but we cannot define this as a form of conflict resolution. Some examples we think do or could have this as their aim are: The East/West Divan Orchestra, co-founded by Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said in 1999; The Third Generation, a play by Yael Ronen that brings together Israeli, Palestinian, and German actors to try untangle the Gordian Knot that ties together these three nations; Conflict Kitchen, an ongoing social practice project based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which serves food from countries with which the United States is in conflict; Doug Paulson’s Welcome Norway Project, a good example of how a collaborative artistic experience can create a bridge between disparate Communities; Oliver Herring’s Task Party project is an open-ended, participatory structure that creates almost unlimited opportunities for a group of people to interact with one another and their environment.
Aziz & Cucher, Aporia # 1, 2012
in the Experimental Virtual Environments Lab for Neuroscience and Technology at the University of Barcelona, Spain, and the Advanced Reality Lab at IDC Herzliya, funded by fellowships from the European Union (Marie Curie) and the
Swiss National Science Foundation. Her academic research is dedicated to a creative exploration of interactive media, particularly virtual reality and avatar technologies as a new tool for conflict resolution and peace-building.
The Art and Science of Virtual Reality-based Conflict Resolution Virtual Reality as Empathy Machines
Simulated Interactions with ‘Virtual Enemies’
I am a Virtual Reality (VR) researcher dedicated to the question of how immersive experiences influence our attitudes and behaviour. My work is primarily research-motivated but it also aims to generate and validate new concepts and techniques that have the potential to make a real impact. VR has been recently promoted worldwide as the ultimate ‘empathy machine’ and a main focus of my research lies in exploring how this potential can be used for conflict resolution and peace-building. As a VR researcher I find myself at the intersection of art, science and technology. I believe that merging these disciplines is also the way forward to more effective conflict resolution and peacebuilding programs: combining creativity, technological innovation and a data-driven approach to measuring impact. In the following I will describe two examples of my research on the potential of VR to enhance empathy between members of groups in conflict. These examples illustrate how VR can be used to simulate and transform reality — by breaking the limitations of our physical reality. This approach has much in common with contemporary art as both rely on imagining alternative realities and providing a gateway to experimenting with alternative views. Art also plays a crucial role in the design of immersive experiences. Recent advancements in VR technologies allow for entirely new forms of artistic expressions that help to make VR scenarios more engaging. Deeper engagement is likely to lead to an even more profound and long-lasting impact on the participant.
VR provides a unique opportunity to simulate encounters with members of groups in conflict without actually meeting them face-to-face while preserving essential characteristics of human communication. In a simulated contact scenario, we replace the human interaction partner by a life-sized virtual agent that looks and acts like a representative of the opposing group. Although natural language processing capabilities of virtual agents are still limited, participants tend to treat them as if they were real persons. Such simulated interactions have the great advantage that they reduce anxiety. It is less anxiety-provoking to meet a virtual representative of the other group than meeting them face-to-face. Moreover, we can exploit the virtual nature of the encounter by programming the agent’s behaviour in a way that enhances the experience and creates a positive impact on the participant. We conducted an experiment to explore the influence of implicit mimicry behaviours by a virtual agent in a simulated intergroup encounter. We know from previous research that people tend to mimic others that they like and that are similar to them (Chartrand & Bargh, 1999). However, mimicry has been found to occur to a much lesser extent in interactions with disliked and dissimilar others, such as members of groups in conflict (e.g., Gutsell & Inzlicht, 2010). This is critical because mimicry serves important social functions, including the establishment of rapport and increasing empathy between interaction partners. Based on these theoretical considerations, we designed a life-sized virtual agent, named Jamil, who represents a Palestinian
Béatrice Hasler is a lecturer in the Sammy Ofer School of Communications at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel. She holds a PhD in psychology from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. She has been a post-doctoral researcher
Virtual Peacemakers project, 2014
result is surprising as it illustrates that we can instantaneously change unconscious racial preferences by embodying people in a virtual body of different skin colour. What appears to be a minor change may have wide-ranging consequences. Letting participants unconsciously exhibit such reversed race-preferences may facilitate the establishment of more positive interracial relationships outside of the VR simulation. These findings point in a promising new direction in the still ongoing struggle against racism in many areas of our daily lives, and may find application in the context of different types of intergroup conflicts.
Virtual Self-Transformations Another interesting technique to enhance empathy in VR is embodied perspective-taking (Yee & Bailenson, 2006). VR makes it possible to put people, literally, in the body of an ‘other’ giving them the illusion that the virtual body is their own (e.g., Blanke et al., 2015). When they look down at themselves or look into a virtual mirror, they see a virtual body instead of their physical body and it moves synchronously with their own body movements. This virtual body may be very different from one’s real, physical appearance, for example regarding age, gender or race, and the experience of such virtual self-transformations has a profound psychological impact. We investigated the behavioural consequences of virtually changing participants’ skin colour in an experiment (Hasler et al., in press). We put white participants in either a white or black virtual body. They engaged in a picture description task once with a white and once with a black virtual partner. White participants embodied in a black virtual body treated other black virtual characters more favourably than other white characters as indicated by increased mimicry. This
(Hasler et al., 2014). We invited Jewish Israeli participants to talk to Jamil about the security fence — a controversial issue in the IsraeliPalestinian conflict. We found that when Jamil mimicked participants’ body postures, they expressed more empathy towards the Palestinian situation compared to a no-mimicry control condition. While I do not claim that such simulated interactions in VR should replace real human interactions, they can be a first step in a gradual process towards creating a constructive dialogue with ‘the other.’
References Blanke O, Slater M, & Serino A. (2015). Behavioral, neural, and computational principles of bodily self-consciousness. Neuron, 88, 145-166. Chartrand, T. L., & Bargh, J. A. (1999). The Chameleon effect: The perception-behavior link and social interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 893-910. Gutsell, J. N., & Inzlicht, M. (2010). Empathy constrained: Prejudice predicts reduced mental simulation of actions during observation of outgroups. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 841-845. Hasler, B. S., Hirschberger, G., Shani Sherman, T., & Friedman, D. A. (2014). Virtual peacemakers: Mimicry increases empathy in simulated contact with virtual outgroup members. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 17, 766-771. Hasler, B. S., Spanlang, B., & Slater, M. (in press). Virtual race transformation reverses racial ingroup bias. Plos One 12(4): e0174965. Yee, N., & Bailenson, J. N. (2006). Walk a mile in digital shoes: The impact of embodied perspective-taking on the reduction of negative stereotyping in immersive virtual environments. Proceedings of Presence 2006: The 9th Annual International Workshop on Presence, August 24 & 26, Cleveland, OH.
in the arts and culture. In 2010 he was cofounder and director of Chan Hampe Galleries, a leading proponent of
contemporary visual arts in Singapore. He returns to Singapore regularly to teach at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.
I probably think art creates more conflict. I’ve been in the art business for over a decade now… I suppose that looking at art as a business, I think sometimes the objective could be a bit different. Earlier in my career, before I moved to Singapore, I used to work at an initiative called International Digital Art Subjects, and we chaired exhibitions of digital art by artists from all over the world — China, Australia, and the United States. The exhibition itself became a kind of diplomatic touring, specifically between Australia and China. In the lead-up to the Olympics in Beijing, there were a lot of initiatives like this happening between China and the rest of the world. Our project eventually became part of a Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiative to present Australia in a much better light. China didn’t know much about Australia, and we were trying to change perceptions. It wasn’t propaganda so to speak, but rather diplomatic … universities from all over the world were part of it. I did that for about 2 years before I opened my gallery in Singapore. About the last thing I did before that was to set up a sort of residency program between Australia and China on the subject of digital art. I suppose that early in my career I had a sense of art being used in a really positive way to build bridges, foster cultural understanding, and help different cultures understand each other on many different levels. After being in Singapore for some years, I feel very removed from this, it’s a very different experience. When I was doing this international digital art project, I had some of my own perceptions about what China was politically and culturally. Through my dealings with people my age in China who were involved in the project that I was working for, I discovered a lot about China. I discovered I had a lot of misconceptions about what the country was, politically, how people felt about it within the country itself. That was a learning experience for me. It was a project that required collaboration between different countries and also
very open communication, which was stimulated by working in an art environment. We could talk about politics, culture, other things that aren’t polite subjects of conversation for the dinner table. But that certainly included art subjects, and the difficult conditions were part of the artwork, and it was natural to have those discussions. Through that experience I realized that maybe the Chinese people that I was dealing with were very opinionated, quite strong in their outlook on politics and culture, and of course they had had to fight for their ability to have this discussion, it was hard won. On the other hand, I think that in any commercial gallery you’d get to deal with a lot of different people who are buying this artwork for many different reasons. The commodification of art becomes very stark, and art as an object becomes more important. One must be very careful not to become too carried away with the commercial aspect of the business. I think there’s a lot of talk now, in Singapore, because the economy is down, such as ‘we can all do without the artwork now.’ Even that conversation in itself is based on the economic situation. I think that when there are high-level conversations which seep down into the whole sector, it can be quite toxic, to be frank, and I’m in a very different situation now. In fact, I’m now actually working for a corporation whose owner is an art collector and he loves his country, he’d like to give something back, so we created an art center. Now I’m really managing this kind of corporate entity and melding it into an art context, which is really quite fascinating for me. I think the intention is correct, it’s coming from the right kind of philosophy. It’s interesting, I’m in the middle of these challenges right now. The purity of the intention, I think, becomes more important for me as I reflect on the many different countries and entities that have claimed to be supportive of the arts. You really have to look at where these claims are coming from. A lot of the time it’s done for the wrong reasons, sometimes hijacked by other interests.
Benjamin Hampe is an art consultant based in Indonesia where he advises a number of organizations invested
CARLA BERROCAL Carla Berrocal was born in Madrid, where she studied illustration and graphic design. She has written reviews of comics and also contributed to the radio programme of the Fine Arts Circle in Madrid
on the same theme. In 2004, Recerca Editorial published her first pulpthemed work, written by Daniel Hartwell. In 2005, in collaboration with Jason DeGroot, she published for the same publishing house. In
2006, her first stories with her own script and drawings were published in the Monographs, edited by Jorge IvĂĄn Argiz at the Dolmen publishing house. Following a creative break, she worked on small compilations such
as Nariz, Dos Veces Breve and Reyes X. 2011 saw the publication of her first graphic novel (De ponent). The second (Libros de AutoengaĂąo) was published in 2016. She coordinated
and participated in the collective work Dibbuks in 2014. She works in her own design studio, and teaches workshops on comics and graphic novels in various institutions. She is also a comic artist
for several different publications and an illustrator for countless advertising agencies and publishing houses.
Carla Berrocal, Europeanness, 2017
Art is a personal expression that reflects our own concerns, so it is not immune to our political standpoint, our view of the world, or our conflicts. Can art resolve them? Art is constructive, by definition, because it arises as an answer to very intimate questions that turn into something concrete. Its origin is something individual. However, art actually constructs when it generates something collective, when it forges relationships or relational exchanges. One work alone in a studio does not change the world. Art changes the world when it relates to it or when its author collaborates with other individuals on a specific project. Art is a universal language, a global language that recognizes no boundaries, nations, or wars. That is why it is able to unite very different or conflicting cultures. Nevertheless, if we are objective, we must also admit the possibility of art being used to indoctrinate and enslave, because that does indeed happen. The main difference is that art, from my point of view, is art when it makes the most of human beings and turns into something
constructive. Likewise, I also believe that art is an additional tool that mainly depends on our will to turn it into something constructive or destructive. I believe that art can play a constructive role if it unites the parties affected by conflict, in order to create a particular work. For example, by building a mural between conflicted peoples, art may forge a brotherhood between their citizens. Likewise, I believe that if art serves a social purpose such as lodging a complaint, offering criticism, or providing knowledge, it may help to settle a conflict or problem. In my particular case, I have had the opportunity to collaborate on social projects such as making comics about the situation of women in Afghanistan, or the issue of transgender women and prostitution. Although these issues are not related to war, they do generate social unrest and inequalities that should be changed. Thus, comics as a communication tool raise awareness in readers to problems that go beyond their everyday reality. 33
conveyed in collected objects from around the globe. Her large-scale installations placed her in the international art scene using thread as a means of exploring human relationships and their sense of
belonging. Her work has been presented worldwide. She represented the Japan Pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia in 2015.
The human brain is extremely complex, and our use of reasoning always requires us to answer questions such as: Why do we exist? Where do we belong? And we start questioning many things. This complexity and unclear thinking creates conflict within society. An artist should not be limited to borders when resolving conflicts. I don’t believe we should side with a country or area. We should see the whole picture, taking a wider look at the global conflict which starts within us. Art should let the imagination and thoughts run free and begin to generate questions and ideas within us, because all of these mixed feelings, wonder, and hatred that we can feel or sense when we look at an art piece can already serve as a starting point or a solution to a conflict. A work can be touching and moving. It certainly helps us return to our soul by touching base with several human feelings, whether or not these are unconscious. I heard a story once about the gathering of ten million fireflies of different kinds around Asia. The fireflies are together for only ten minutes, and they all fly together. During this moment, the fireflies exchange and communicate through their light. All of the fireflies are flashing light at each other, and it looks so beautiful, but it happens only for ten minutes. Art should be like this. It doesn’t matter if people are different, they are exchanging and communicating. If we could have a true exchange of human thoughts, it could also bring people together. If we could understand another country’s culture or art, then maybe wars would not happen so often. That’s why today art is so important. I cannot say how we can stop conflicts through art, I can just show through my work what I am thinking and why I make art. My artwork is very personal, but if we have some common feelings, then it is a bridge to understanding.
Chiharu Shiota, Seven Dresses, 2015
Chiharu Shiota was born in 1972 in Osaka, Japan and has been living in Berlin since 1997. Her signature theme is ‘Existence in the Absence’ where she confronts the meaning of life through memory
Chiharu Shiota, The Key in the Hand, 2015 35
DANI KARAVAN Marcel Janco (1946) and later with Mordechai Ardon in Jerusalem (1949). Karavan was a painter at Kibbutz Harel, of which he was a founding member in 1948. In 1956 he traveled to Florence to study Fresco painting at the Accademia delle Belle Arti and later to Paris to study at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. From the early
'60's, Karavan designed stage sets for theatre, dance and opera and worked with the Bat Sheva Dance Company, Martha Graham and Gian Carlo Menotti among others. At the same time, he created a stone bas-relief in the assembly hall of the Knesset in Jerusalem (Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, 1965-1966) and his first site specific environmental sculpture —
the Negev Monument near Be’er Sheva (1963-1968), which became a landmark in Environmental Art. In 1976 Karavan represented Israel in the Biennale of Venice and a year later he was invited to participate at the Documenta 6 in Kassel. Since then, he has been commissioned to create environmental sculptures the world over. He has exhibited
Dani Karavan was born in Tel Aviv in 1930 as son of Abraham and Zehava Karavan, both pioneers who immigrated to Israel in 1920. Abraham was the chief landscape architect of the city of Tel Aviv from the early ‘40s to the late ‘60s. Karavan began studying painting in Tel Aviv at the age of 14 at the Streichman-Steimazky studio, continued with
Dani Karavan, The White Square, 1977-1988
in numerous museums around the world and is a recipient of prestigious international awards, such as the Israel Prize (1977); Silver Medal for Plastic Arts of the French Academy of Architecture (1992); Goslar Kaiser Ring for Visual Art, Germany (1996); the first Unesco’s Artist of Peace (1996); Praemium Imperiale — the Nobel Prize for the Arts, Japan (1998); the Goethe
Medal, Germany (1999); Premio Michelangelo, Carrara, Italy (2005); Knight of the French ‘Légion d’Honneur’ (2014) among others. Dani Karavan is married to Hava and father to Noa, Tamar and Yael, grandfather to Itamar and Alma. He lives and works in Tel-Aviv and Paris.
Dani Karavan, The Sinti & Roma Memorial, 1999-2012
The question of whether art could or should play a constructive role in resolving conflicts is a very difficult one. Of course it should, but how? I am trying to find examples of how art solved conflicts or helped build bridges in conflicting situations, but unfortunately I am unable to remember such instances. It goes without saying that art should have a constructive role in solving conflicts, but I do not think anyone has a formula or a system for how to achieve this goal. I do not think art has the power to influence people and prevent them from committing a crime. I am afraid I am unable to answer this question. I do not have any examples that could show how art played a constructive role in conflict areas. Since I do think art should be involved and do everything in its power to help avoid conflicts or political situations that could hurt people, the environment, animals, etc., I reach the conclusion that
art does have the power, in some circumstances, to address conflicts and pain. One example that comes to mind is Picasso’s Guernica, which warned against the death and destruction that were to follow during the Second World War by addressing the bombardment of Guernica by the Germans and their allies. Yet Picasso’s painting could not assist in avoiding the outbreak or the implications of the Second World War, which took the lives of millions. I try to imagine whether SS soldiers listened to Bach, Mozart, Schubert, or Beethoven, and it appears that this did not have much influence on them while committing their crimes. I have no doubt that Goya’s series of 82 prints titled The Disasters of War was created with the will to influence conflicts. I am sure that many artists took this endeavor upon themselves, but, unfortunately, art’s power is very limited when it comes to this topic. 45
Dani Karavan, Axe Majeur (detail), 1980-ongoing
DANIEL ABREU groups in Spain. He has also collaborated as an assistant of creation or as an interpreter in many different projects. He has received a number of prizes, such as: National Award for Dance in Creative category in 2014; Best director in Indifestival with the piece Los zuecos van hacia susbuenos hábitos; Jury’s
prize for Choreography in the Certamen Coreográfico de Madrid (2005); Outstanding Dancer’s AISGE Foundation Prize to attend the American Dance Festival (2005) in the Certamen Coreográfico de Madrid; and Most Distinguished Dancer of the IV Certamen Coreográfico de Maspalomas.
His project of forming a company developed almost imperceptibly in 2004. The sum of his creations and collaborations came together in the concept that is known today as the Daniel Abreu Company. He has created more than 30 dance works, which have been presented in 17 countries in Asia, Europe
and South and Central America. As a result of all this creative work, Daniel Abreu has been invited to give a number of workshops and courses, in which he has shared his creative and personal vision of contemporary dance with students as well as dance and theatre companies. In parallel, he continues to develop
his own work without moving away from other creative activities, such as directing projects for other creators and companies. He combines this with stage directing the work by Provisional Danza (Madrid), and with supporting projects initiated by others.
Daniel Abreu was born in Tenerife, which is where his curiosity and interest in physical movement and stage expression began. He obtained a degree in psychology from the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia. As a performer, he has worked in a variety of national dance and theatre companies and
Daniel Abreu, Two Men, 2016
‘Art may’ seems to be a better expression than ‘art should.’ From my point of view, the role of art is to nourish the soul, but its objective cannot be conflict resolution, because we would be imposing on art something outside its purpose. It would become functional. The truth is that art helps to understand situations and expand knowledge, not only from the mind’s point of view. It brings together both brain hemispheres, and as a result new paths are opened. But I would carefully highlight the role of art in leading to problem resolution on a small or large scale. Whether it does so or not is a different matter. I mean, it can, but it is questionable whether it should. It is hard for me to provide examples. The first thing that comes to my mind is distraction, paths opened towards another way of looking at life. Art talks about accepting difference, and that is art, it is difference. Artworks enter the psyche through the back door, they cannot be filtered from the rational, and it makes them remind us of other places that we don’t visit, releasing us from that emotional kidnapping which takes us to the confrontation that
generates conflict. It is helpful to accept difference. Communication is more widespread through artistic expression. Conflict resolution frequently relies on ‘how’ we communicate rather than on ‘what.’ Something personal that may not be relevant to this topic is the following: After seeing my work, some people told me that they had experienced a state of calmness, and that it made them feel more in tune with themselves. Something coming from inside made them change plans and enjoy the night in a more relaxed way. It makes me think about the conflict each person has with his or her daily chores. It can also be extrapolated to larger groups. Having a calming experience which, as a human being, makes me see and feel life in a kinder way would make me encourage kindness all around me. And along with kindness comes acceptance. Art cannot be functional. We would kill it and contaminate it with responsibilities. Art is an expression of life, and expression with an imposed role becomes just another imposition. It is important for art to reach the largest possible number of people. A people without art is a people without a soul.
Daniel Abreu, Cabeza, 2012
DANIEL LANDAU Daniel Landau is a media artist, researcher and lecturer. He completed his master’s degree in computer music at the Royal Conservatory in The Netherlands where he lived and worked for close to a decade. Daniel’s work resides in the intersection of art, technology and society — exploring the complex relationship between body and
technology, tracing techno-political processes and their impact on social and private spaces. His work has been presented in major venues, museums and festivals worldwide. Between 2012 — 2016, Landau led the Media Studies Department at the Midrasha Faculty of the Arts, Beit Berl Academic College and is currently a senior research fellow
at the Interdisciplinary Centre, Herzliya. Daniel is the co-founder and director of oh-man, oh-machine — an art, science and technology platform that includes an international conference, workshops and a research lab. He is currently a Phd researcher at the Aalto University Media Lab Helsinki.
In recent years, neuroscientists and behavioural psychologists have been able to empirically prove that experiences in Virtual Reality can influence how people behave in real life. By reembodying a participant in Virtual Reality in the body of an avatar, the participant, studies show, is likely to develop a strong sense of empathy towards his virtual avatar, and change his attitude towards the group the avatar represents, or in some cases even appropriate the behaviour and perception of the avatar. To name a few of the well-known experiments in this field, we can look at the work of Jeremy Bailenson (Stanford University) who has shown how participants embodied in the body of a Super-Hero Avatar are more likely to demonstrate altruistic behaviour and help people after the experimental procedure. Mel Slater (University of Barcelona) and Béatrice Hasler have shown how being embodied in the body of a coloured avatar can reduce your prejudice to that particular racial group. The question that arises from these findings is: To what degree can re-embodiment lab experiments become a social tool for creating an empathetic society? In order to answer this question, I’d like to take a broad perspective concerning the relationship between science, art, and technology. Every technology that disrupts our lives has a tremendous impact on our social structures and private lives, to the extent of redefining what it means to be human. One of the processes I’d like to highlight is how technology becomes a language, becomes part of our psychology, and finally is conceptualized and becomes a philosophy. Let us take cinema as an example. Consider all the technologies involved in materializing
cinema as an art form, from the development of the camera to celluloid film and projecting technologies — resulting in what is probably the leading technological art form of the 20th century. As this art form evolved and expanded its storytelling techniques, including editing, camera movement, point of view perspectives, integration of sound design, and musical scoring, a new language was born. We now take cinematic language almost for granted, the same way as we might do with a text. It’s part of how we produce and share ideas and emotions, and is a big part of the human experience. It’s who we are and what we stand for — affecting how we think, behave, and feel. It has become an important part of our collective psychology, and a defining medium for political and social structures. So what can we expect from Virtual Reality? Imagine a process parallel to that of traditional cinema. In the next few years, Virtual Reality will establish its language — with re-embodiment as an important component of its grammar. On a daily base, our experience with VR will be feeling stories, becoming characters, and experiencing their world first hand, and thus creating a new social and personal field of possibilities. The challenge will be to have scientists, content creators, and policy makers work together to explore the potential of re-embodiment media as an integrated tool for bridging gaps between groups and individuals. It is clear that just as texts, print media, cinema, and digital information technologies have all played a major role as political catalysts, VR will serve as a powerful new medium, bringing into the societal game the human body and the potential of building trust in ways that are not possible to date.
Re-embodiment Media for Social Good
Daniel Landau, Time-Body Study Project, 2016
immersed herself in places where political identity and the role of the individual are in flux or at stake, looking at ways material culture and sound betray these preferential and social
operatives. Often, in the beginning, her explorations prod at the mundane — everyday objects, elemental phenomena — with diversions in historical research and writing.
Could or should art play a role in creating political understanding and resolving conflicts? Yes, art should play a role. Everything should play a role in resolving conflicts. But from what I see, people — when they share commercial interests — tend to discuss political problems with each other in a simple, practical way. I’ve watched some encouraging partnerships emerge between different business communities in Cyprus. Commercial enterprise brings together different parts of society that don’t necessarily have to agree, in terms of politics. It’s possible for a politically conservative person to conduct business with a politically liberal person. The common business goal bridges, or at least temporarily supersedes, their political differences, and it could create opportunities for better understanding. So ‘should’? Yes, art, along with business and many other aspects of society, should play a role in conflict resolution. But in the arts the so-called ‘bridge’ is already in place. Art already crosses political gaps. Artists work through competitive, formal and thematic exhibitions — locally, regionally, internationally — and we often already know each other. I only know one or two really dedicated right-wing artists and aside from them, most artists I know are comfortable with ideas associated with the Left: multiple nationalities and citizenships (born in one place, living and working elsewhere); we are often working across borders; many are uncomfortable with conservative notions of nationality, and the ways these notions are branded and enforced. So the bridge-building aspect … we already built bridges. The ‘bridge-building’ — when you’re working on conflict resolution between two communities you’re obviously dealing with gradations of opinions in each community; these are often shifting opinions, depending on the context and kind of issue. I am uncomfortable dividing people into ‘one side — and the other,’ but this is what is implied when a ‘bridge’ needs to be built. If we must generalize, then artists, poets, musicians and so on are usually all on the same side of the thing that needs to be bridged. One reason why I just said that the business community is more likely to ‘build bridges’ is because business people tend to span the political spectrum more than artists do, and their work is more clearly transactional.
Because she is looking at these phenomena in a diachronic way, habits of archiving and recording usually become part of her imagery and help separate out (and then conflate) the actions of
individuals over time. Distinctions include 2016/17 Internationales Atelierprogramm at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin and 2011 National Representation in the
54th Venice Biennale, Cyprus Pavilion. She was born in Philadelphia, United States and is now based in Nicosia, Cyprus.
Now, ‘could’ art be helpful in conflict resolution? Yes, given everything that I just said. It can, but no more so than any other aspect of society. If one of the roles of art is to get people to talk to each other, to create dialogue, then artwork needs to be very carefully calibrated in order to do that. We hear policy-makers talk about bridge-building all the time, and it’s a hack-neyed phrase now. The professional art community gets tired of sponsored peace projects because the funding accords specifically with a political, and not necessarily a creative agenda. Also — importantly — nationality seems irrelevant when you have been working together professionally for decades. The so-called ‘bridge-building’ itself becomes a performance that presents a boundary or boundaries that most artists already step over in practice. I should say that some artists at different stages in their careers still take advantage of ‘bridgebuilding’ opportunities in good faith, because the sponsorship and platform can afford visibility and other collateral goods. Politicians and policy-makers need to do their own work. In societies that are politically imbalanced … I think people already know and enjoy each other at the level of cultural exchange. Art projects can allow us to enjoy each other’s differences — some people might think of it as enjoying ‘transgression’ — shared difference, finding commonalities, these are important to support. But there’s already a lot of jazz, a lot of visual art. People already know and enjoy the arts together. The place where they really meet is in conversation — whether it’s after a cultural event, or while generating a business plan, or any other part of social exchange. As part of the social commons, art could help in conflict resolution. It’s not so much about the art itself that makes the difference, as it is about encouraging the discourse around it, finding non-charged places where the work can be accessed and where a crowd can assemble and then dissipate in a way that allows for social interaction. Supporting the media to cover more transgressive cultural events would also be helpful, as would be making sure that the media covers the events discursively, inclusively, and so on.
Elizabeth Hoak-Doering’s recent imagery presents transitional areas where the possibility of legibility blurs with images and how they are read. Originally a student of anthropology, she has
AID Elizabeth Hoak-Doering, Purring Chest, detail, 2016
Elizabeth Hoak-Doering, Things, Witnesses, 2009
On September 2016, the French philosopher Michel Serres stated in various printed and online media that ‘the world as it appears today has never been so peaceful.’ Acknowledging open-ended symmetrical or asymmetrical wars, this provocative statement refers to his 86 years of experiencing ‘conventional’ human conflicts. With this affirmation, the philosopher deliberately ignores the contemporary confrontations engaging humans against their environment, and condemned by the scientific community as the ‘Anthropocene epoch.’ In recent years, the intensity of conflict has reached frightening levels that involve irreversible change, showing evidence of what could be anticipated as the end of civilization. The destruction of Gaia, as well as of entire ecosystems and communities, for the sake of profit and of resources controlled by a small number of people has remained invisible for the masses. The question of visibility and invisibility is at the center of what art can do and how artists could play an active role in this new type of conflict. The battlegrounds of the Anthropocene wars are everywhere and nowhere, and therefore require mediation. The artist, in this case, operates as a visual ambassador from the frontlines. Illuminating various issues, revealing traces, engaging in dialogue with actors, and challenging powers are among the possible contributions that one can make in addition to being an artivist soldier. Examples of three battles: Disputed (2014) responds to recent escalations in island-related disputes around the world. These islands are much more than small, uninhabited rocks lost in the ocean. With the exhaustion of natural resources, territorial waters are becoming a precious extension of the land, explaining countries’ often violent fights to claim them. With rich fisheries and natural oil contained in their seabed, these islands are huge attractions in crowded regions with competing interests. Geopolitical strategies over contested areas foster nationalist sentiments toward neighbouring countries. The presence of military forces occupying these strategic areas and planting their countries’ sovereign flags is a visible sign of these tensions. Borrowing elements from these ongoing fights, MAP Office has created a dart game designed to conquer those disputed territories by the countries that claim them. Moving Lemuria from the Indian to the Pacific Ocean (2015) builds on land artist Robert Smithson’s proposal for the location of the lost continent of Lemuria (1969). The original installation, which was composed of pristine white seashells from Sanibel Island (Florida, USA) has been completed by MAP Office’s inclusion of colourful plastic trash collected on the world’s seashores. The massive dumping of floating waste in the ocean has now created the hypothetical continent of Lemuria in the form of the Great Pacific garbage patch. Approximately the size of Texas, this newly formed island threatens entire ecosystems that are in contact with the artificial dystopia. Intruders (2014) staged a photographic fight taking place in the pristine mangrove of Pulau Ubin. Part of the territory of Singapore, this little islet exemplifies the last possible representation
of the original landscape of the ‘Tropical City of Excellence.’ Over the last 40 years, Singapore has created the conditions for experimenting with new strategies, beginning with the tabula rasa of its natural and built orders. The two intruders appearing and disappearing in the multi-layered lenticular print refer to the city/state’s violent manipulation of the natural landscape, as well as to the question of the responsibility of all of us living amidst such destruction.
Laurent Gutierrez, Liquid Land Solid Sea, 2016
MARCONI CALINDAS Award winning artist Marconi Calindas experiments with black lines and pure hues as his trademarks of distinctive rendering style. While his subject matter varies from pop icons to triumphs of the human spirit, it’s the boldness of his visual vocabulary that holds the viewer’s attention and continues to attract a widening audience. Calindas has been a
resident artist in San Francisco. Translating his art into clothing using designs inspired by Guam and Northern Mariana Islands. Stateside, he has been invited to display his work in public art projects. A grand prize winner for the New Era Introducing Global Creative Project North America 2012 competition, where his winning piece that tackled a sensitive
subject about teen bullying and suicide was showcased in five key art cities in the United States from October to November 2012. His recent bout of art direction for the recently released short film Prinsesa (2014) won him the Outstanding Art Direction prize during the Scary Cow Short Film Festival held in San Francisco, CA. Furthermore, his
works have also been featured as cover images on publications for the Organization of Refuge, Asylum and Migration International in 2012 and 2013 publications. San Francisco’s Office of the Supervisors honoured Calindas with a Certificate of Recognition for adding pride to San Francisco’s art scene and for advocating on equality
and understanding for the troubled members of its community. He also released a children’s book about bullying, Of Petals and Hope: Sonny Sunflower Triumphs over Bullying which he co-wrote and illustrated. In 2015, he won the Emirates Airlines Art of Travel Competition where thousands of artists from around the world participated. His winning
art is the new design for Emirates Skywards Platinum membership card. This year, Calindas was selected as one of the Four Hearts in SF Sculpture artists. His creation will be displayed at the famed San Francisco Union Square and around the city.
Marconi Calindas, To Carry You, 2012
The simple answer to this question is a resounding yes. Art can serve a number of vital purposes — from a purely aesthetic appeal to the spiritual nature of our better selves to a socially potent mirroring of the best and worst of our humanity. It thus inspires reflection and, as a result of that reflection, a change for the better. This is how I see art potentially playing a constructive role in resolving conflicts. Because art can be an effective tool in helping to build bridges of understanding among conflicting views, I personally believe that it should be used for this purpose whenever possible. This is one of the major reasons I paint. I want to leave this world a better place than I found it. Art is my tool to accomplish this, and it illuminates for many what is possible for society in a positive way, and what is negative when intolerance, hate, and cruelty are allowed to run rampant. Whenever I put paint to a canvas, I am inspired to evoke an emotional response in the viewer, particularly with regard to societal issues that move me to action. These issues involve intolerance, hate, and cruelty. I want the viewers to come away feeling moved and touched by my art, and open to new perspectives that may bridge the divide that separates us; perspectives that will give them a greater empathetic stance. For me, words are limiting in expressing the depths of my feelings on these topics. A picture, on the other hand, paints a thousand words. Humans understand much more by visualizing a piece of artwork that evokes emotion and thought than by words that have the potential to be interpreted in a number of ways. Art can evoke emotions in people that propel and inspire them to act and try to make things better in a society. At the very
Marconi Calindas, Grape-Volution, 2015
faced by the LGBT community in Russia. Later in 2014, I created a canvas-on-mannequin artwork titled Bring Back Our Girls. This piece sought to bring awareness to the tragedy that occurred in Nigeria when Boko Haram abducted 276 schoolgirls. I wanted the viewer to feel the fear, violation, and injustice experienced by these young women. The story of how they were torn from the comfort and love of their families and forced into marriage with older men was a story that the world needed to hear. Art depicts and expresses the human aspect of such a violation in a way that a televised program cannot. The work caused a great stir, but it made people think and feel. Hopefully, a number of seeds were planted in the minds of people who viewed this piece. Also in 2014, I was selected as one of the top 40 artists from around the world to be featured at the annual Embracing Our Differences Outdoor Visual Arts Exhibition in Orlando, Florida. Embracing Our Differences is a not-for-profit organization that ‘uses the power of art and education to expand consciousness and open the heart to celebrate the diversity of the human family.’ It aims to achieve this through an annual, large-scale, outdoor juried art exhibition and a comprehensive series of educational initiatives, programs, and resources designed for teachers and students. The group believes that diversity is one of the world’s greatest assets. This is another concrete example of how art can help to build social awareness in areas that celebrate tolerance and diversity. This year, I created a piece out of a recycled Tequila Patron bottle and called it Bridges Not Walls. This artwork celebrates our diversity and shared humanity by calling on society to build bridges instead of walls between us. This was my response to a political call from one of the presidential candidates to build a wall on the US-Mexican border. My art piece was selected as one of the top 10 finalist submissions for the Third Annual Art of Patron Bottle Art Contest in 2016. The piece will be included in the contest’s national showcase, and will hopefully get that message across. These are just a few examples of how I hope my art has played a constructive role in building bridges of understanding and awareness in resolving conflicts. As long as I am able to paint, I will continue to use my art as a medium for bridging this divide.
least, it can change a mindset that might have been regressive or unenlightened. Art can force people to think, ponder and analyze. It is only when a seed of thought is planted in the mind of the individual that understanding and empathy can begin to flourish. It is a slow and arduous process, but resolving conflict within society has to start with the individual. I want my art to be the catalyst that brings about this transformation. I want my art to be a catalyst that jolts people to think about the plight of victims of hate, intolerance and cruelty. I want that thought to initiate a positive internal transformation and, in so doing, set the foundation for initiating positive change in society. I was drawn to the tragedy of teen suicide. The tragic loss of life of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) youth who felt alone and abandoned saddens me greatly; the tragic loss of wasted human potential! How could words express my pain? New Era, a multibillion dollar international hat company, hosted a competition in 2013 to see who could create the most imaginative artwork on one of their signature caps. I submitted a painted cap that depicted, in four stages, the thought process and circumstances that led to a teenage boy’s suicide. The work touched many who saw it. Numerous individuals, many with tears in their eyes, came up to me and thanked me for broaching this serious and sensitive social topic. It was then I realized that art had the potential to build bridges of empathy and understanding and reaffirm our shared humanity. This was worth much more to me that anything else. The work was displayed in five major North American cities. In 2012, I was approached by the international organization ORAM, which fights to provide refuge and asylum for persecuted LGBT people. I was asked to provide cover art for their international publications that would speak, in a subtle way, of the plight and the dangers faced daily by LGBT people in countries that torture, kill, and imprison them. I was told that the brave souls manning the ORAM offices in these anti-LGBT countries look forward to seeing my art; that it inspired them and gave them hope that people cared for them and that they were not alone. I was so deeply moved. Part of bridging the divide that separates the ignorant from the enlightened is to give hope to the victims of persecution wherever they may be. You give them hope and they change the world. In 2013, I was invited by Absolut Vodka to create art out of two four-foot tall Absolut Vodka bottles. I called my pieces To Rush You with Love and Love Wins. These pieces depicted the discrimination and violent harassment that our LGBT brothers and sisters continue to experience in Russia. As people viewed my pieces during this event, they expressed their profound appreciation of the subject matter and their solidarity with our LGBT brothers and sisters in Russia. These pieces spoke to them and created more awareness about the continuing challenges
craftsmen, architects, archivists, administrators, and cooks. In 2014, Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann founded Studio Other Spaces, an office for art and architecture focusing on interdisciplinary and experimental building projects and works in public space. Together
with engineer Frederik Ottesen, Eliasson founded the social business Little Sun in 2012. This global project produces and distributes the Little Sun solar lamp for use in off-grid communities and spreads awareness about the need to expand access to sustainable energy to all.
I generally believe that there is no space where art does not and cannot work, so I would say that of course art can play a role in conflict resolution. Every artwork builds a community around it, because art at its best represents a kind of miniature parliament, an exercise in democracy. It is a space for peaceful disagreement, in which people from different backgrounds share an experience. It can also help you to understand others. Culture and art can also play a therapeutic role for people involved in conflicts, helping them express themselves and hosting their emotions cathartically. Through art, people can build solidarity and reaffirm their sense of identity, community, and belonging. Culture in this sense does not need to be organized in a top-down, institutional manner, however; it is rather an intrinsic response to destabilization and insecurity. As I see it, there are essentially two ways that art and culture can play a positive role in a conflict: the first is through an artist’s symbolic gestures, which raise media awareness, say, or start a discussion through a bold action. The other is in creating participatory structures that bring people together into a shared, safe space of discussion and peaceful disagreement. This can be achieved by the artworks themselves or through institutions that create public, inclusive sites to encourage broad dialogue and exchange. Of course, it’s important to recognize the limitations of art once dialogue breaks down entirely between parties in a conflict. Whenever a conflict has moved onto the stage of art, you might say that it represents a victory for dialogue, for sharing space, for possibilities. I generally believe that the dialogue of culture is a longterm curative for conflict — by sharing culture we create ties that bind us together.
Olafur Eliasson, Green Light, 2016
Artist Olafur Eliasson (Iceland/Denmark), born 1967, works in a wide range of media, including installation, painting, sculpture, photography, and film. Since 1997, his solo shows have appeared in major museums around the world. Established in 1995, his studio today numbers about 90
Olafur Eliasson, The Weather Project, 2003 125
graffiti artist. Rising to international fame at the age of 21, Saber created the world’s largest graffiti piece on the bank of the LA River, which was visible and documented by satellites in space. He,
over years of dedicated and often dangerous painting helped bring public awareness to the true art form of graffiti. His work has influenced a generation of artists and graphic designers,
I do have some thoughts on this topic, as my entry into the arts was born from a response to what I saw on the street watching graffiti in Los Angeles. This path and passion to understand this esoteric visual language led to an understanding of codes, rituals and tribal ethics. Under pressure, art has a way to communicate something far more potent: inspiration spawned outside of traditional channels. Potentially a revolution. But we missed that boat in the late 1980s. Just think about the destruction of graffiti in every westernized city in the world by 1992. Emblazoned on every wall, train, freeway overpass, trashcan, and railroad track wall, this was an immense artistic movement worldwide, not to mention a massive social and cultural outcry. My compatriots and I would be considered generals in this movement. By 1998, we set the world standard for illegality/style points. We were a bit out of our minds. But we loved to paint. As far as conflict goes, I think art outreach in a micro sense has the ability to change or influence one ‘open’ mind at a time. Art is primarily a response to an idea rather than a thought by the time the viewer experiences the work. It is adapted better to propaganda than to that fleeting moment of affecting one person’s soul and mind, although I would assume that affecting one’s soul and mind is the ultimate alchemy we search for in practicing art, its universal mission statement. As far as how I applied art to a conflict, it was more about winning the war. For instance, the City Attorney of Los Angeles decided that public art was illegal. The sanctioned art was all wiped away with beige paint throughout the county. An entire history was gone. Our homes were raided by SWAT law enforcement units and we were charged with felonies. Out of fear, I hired a skywriting company to write our graffiti names over City Hall, blanketing the entire sky with our monikers. This visual spectacle/protest was successful enough to win public opinion, eventually changing the city laws in our favour. We won the war. I think we as artists want to project the idea that what we do has more importance than an exercise in ego and self-exploration. In my experience, I was part of a chain of inspiration. That
and has become an influential part of modern entertainment, social media, and art for and involved in social reform. He continues to make his vibrant, mesmerizing and often political paintings
from his home in Los Angeles with his wife and two young children. His art can be found in galleries and private collections around the world. Meanwhile he continues to create public
conversation about and push the boundaries of what art should (or shouldn’t) be confined to.
chain of inspiration led me on the path of discovery that eventually gave me the torch to spread influence and inspiration. This is how graffiti spreads like wildfire. This act, as malicious is it can appear, is based on the path of discovery and the passion to express oneself through the creative process. We are like minds. Therefore, collectively the act of painting has become a culture. Some of us might go as far as to use the slogan ‘Graffiti Saved My Life.’ This means that even with the negative stigma graffiti vandalism has received from society’s standpoint, this individual found something of deep value to live for in the path of graffiti when he had nothing else to lose. This also has everything to do with socioeconomics. I think that it is rare for art to directly resolve a conflict, but collectively, art as a culture has the power to make change. I think that when one person is emotionally affected by art, this opens the possibility for a dialogue which could resolve a conflict. It’s deep, it’s long term. It’s a collective effort. One time, I was painting a large graffiti mural in Hollywood. A young kid came up to me and said, ‘Fuck you, this is my wall, my neighbourhood.’ He showed me a loaded gun and told me he was going to shoot his enemies a block away. He must have been 12 years old. I said ‘Hey, why don’t you hang here with me a bit and watch me paint?’ He stood there for a hour. I could tell he was deciding whether he should walk to the corner and shoot those other kids. But I held his attention long enough to the point that he was thinking about the art. Then he said, ‘It’s my wall. You write the letter H on there for my gang.’ I said, ‘You write it! Give it a try!’ He took the spray can and wrote a small H for the ‘Head Hunters’ gang. I saw the spark come alive in this kid. He felt like he had contributed, he felt like he was part of the mural. The opportunity to exercise his creative process gave him that little bit of confidence he was hungry for. It started getting late, and he didn’t go shoot those other kids. The conversation turned positive, and he went home, in the opposite direction from his enemies. Point being, art saved my life and his that day. Art was the tool for inspiration, directing that person onto a different path, a path away from conflict. I have many stories like that. I also have many stories about how art sparked conflict. RESOLVING
Described as one of ‘the best and most respected artists in his field’ by the Washington Post, Saber, also known as Ryan Weston Shook, is an American fine artist who originated as
AID Saber, Interactions, 2015
Saber, Theatre of Operations, 2012
THEODORE SPYROPOULOS a visiting research fellow at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies and co-founded the New Media and Information Research initiative at the AA. He has taught in
the graduate school of UPENN, Royal College of Art Innovation Design Engineering Department and the University of Innsbruck. In 2002, he founded the experimental
architecture and design practice Minimaforms. Previously Spyropoulos has worked as a project architect for the offices of Peter Eisenman and Zaha Hadid. In
2013, the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture awarded him The ACADIA award of excellence for his educational work directing the AADRL. His
published books include Adaptive Ecologies: Correlated Systems of Living (2013), Enabling (2010) and Behaviour (2017).
Theodore Spyropoulos is an architect and educator. He is the director of the Architectural Association’s world-renowned Design Research Lab (AADRL) in London. He has been
Theodore Spyropoulos, Minimaforms, in collaboration with the artist Krzysztof Wodiczko, Vehicle (War Veterans), 2006-2010
Yes, I believe that art and design can play a vital role in constructing a framework of understanding in times of distress. Art can humanize conflict and offer challenging and complex views on the subject itself. This potential is very powerful, as it goes against the reactionary tendencies of today’s media. The art and design that I am speaking of engage these complexities and represent a voice that
may have otherwise remained unheard. Art can serve as a testimony to conflict, and communicate its implications across a host of mediums and audiences. Understanding necessitates a willingness to engage. Understanding is fundamental. Conflicting views are at times beyond disagreement, and involve a crisis in communication. It is
our belief that art and design offer an opportunity to construct new forms of communication that are shared and collective. The work that I develop with my brother Stephen works towards examining participatory constructs in order to engage and make things accessible. Regardless of whether we are working on interfaces, instruments, robots, or architecture, at the heart of our work is an approach that is human-centric. For us, a very important conceptual drive is engaging people through participation. Although we may not foreground technology, we believe that it plays a critical role in making our work accessible. ‘If science fiction has become fact, today we have to move beyond representation and the fixed and finite tendencies that declare what things should be and work towards what they can be. Within these evolving territories, new models must necessarily conceptualize our ever-evolving present and the uncertain world within which we operate. The once comfortable and understood orthodoxies in thinking have proven limited in their capacity to engage and address our contemporary condition. Today, the intersections of information, life, and matter display complexities that suggest the possibility of a deeper synthesis. As we live in everevolving information-rich environments, the question is not why, but how we can actively participate.’1 In the work of Minimaforms, you can see this sensibility find form through various mediums and approaches. In works like Memory Cloud , the aim was to hybridize the oldest form of visual communication, smoke signals, with SMS texting, creating a space as an interface animating the built environment through conversation. Memory Cloud Detroit constructed an environment that provided the general public in Detroit with an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the city. Each individual’s expression was part of a continuous collective story about the city. This narrative, which was written by participants over the duration of the project, transformed the steps of the Detroit Institute of Arts into a dynamic space for communication. Voiceofdetroit.com archived and documented the performance, while allowing participants to continue evolving the collective diary as a voice that speaks of Detroit’s past, present, and future. Other projects, such as our collaboration with Krzysztof Wodicziko on the War Veterans Vehicle, examined the issue of trauma and used design to communicate and enable conversation. Design enabled a form of expression beyond language. All of our work is conceptually driven, asking through art and design about better ways to engage the complexity of our world. Art and design are our mode of inquiry and way of asking more informed questions about how to operate and how to challenge and redefine conventions. Progress is about enabling the practices of art, architecture and design to evolve, to actively participate in ongoing issues. Design does not have a finite definition — it is an environment for intellectual and spatial interrogation. We have to situate and contextualize our ability to define, communicate, and provide accessibility. Design, in all forms of creative practice, has to
be dynamic and evolving, and to deal with ways of addressing time, latency and uncertainty. We believe in participatory and enabling models of design that allow people the opportunity to actively influence and shape their environment. We want our environments to evolve with life-like attributes that engage the everyday and stimulate our interactions with each other. We believe that design should account for uncertainty and the unknown, and develop an approach that will allow for adaptation and evolution. Our work is time-based and scenario-driven. To do this, we employ a working methodology that explores generative forms of practice with social and material agency. All is interaction. 1 Theodore Spyropoulos, Behavioural Complexity: Constructing Frameworks for Human-Machine Ecologies, Architectural Design 86, 2 (2016), pp. 36–43.
Theodore Spyropoulos, Minimaforms Brunel Gateway, 2007
YANA NORINA psychology at Moscow State University of Medicine and Dentistry (2008), and dance
movement therapy at the Institute of Applied Psychology and Psychoanalysis (2014).
Festival of inclusive dance practices Yana Norina's My Own Place, 2014
Art in itself is the manifestation of a creative part of human beings, and has nothing to do with conflicts. On the contrary, artists reach out to each other, so as to support themselves and others. Art is impossible without support (either financial or psychological) and encouragement. Creative process is both play and joy, although many people are not aware of it. We are taught that we should be good at painting, be able to write novels that will win a prestigious prize, and dance like a ballerina. We are taught that artists are impoverished and lonely. There is also a misconception that artistic personalities need to compete with each other, be envious, and try to push each other off the podium. Yet quite on the contrary, an opportunity to do something new and noteworthy instantly brings together artists from different countries and social classes. Since all people, to varying degrees, are artists, they can surely experience the joy derived from creative activities, 196
regardless of whether they are professional artists, engage in artmaking as a hobby, or just show their creative side in their daily life and work. The most challenging part of my job is communication with technical and on-site staff — with people whose job is in no way or almost in no way associated with artistic activity. Those people scrupulously track their time and, unlike artists, are not willing to work overtime. However, each time the moment comes when my exorbitant demands and technicians’ capabilities align, and we start doing the joint work — the show — nobody is watching the clock. Art, in itself, has a constructive nature, as it means the creation of something new. When art becomes merely the reproduction of existing works, their echo or imitation, it stops bringing true joy to artists, and feeds envy and resentment. That is why I am against making any assessments for the purpose of stimulating artistic education. RESOLVING
Yana Norina is an art therapist and choreographer. She studied clinical
YOSEF JOSEPH DADOUNE Yosef Joseph Dadoune was born in 1975 in Nice, France. He immigrated to Israel in 1980, and settled with his mother in Ofakim, where he was raised and educated as a yeshiva student. He also has been residing at the Paris Cité Internationale des Arts
through a grant. Dadoune’s films portray an ongoing odyssey between mental realms and various geographical realms in Israel and Europe, between childhood landscapes of Ofakim and Mediterranean
vistas, between Negev landscapes and spheres of sanctity, and between East and West. They explore fundamental and critical zones in contemporary reality as they deal with the issues of borderline, centre/periphery, multiculturalism,
Judaism/Christianity, post-colonialism and with identity and gender issues. His work is carried out in multiple channels: artistic practice, an empowerment project for youth, initiation of pedagogical programs,
and collaboration with architects Tzvi Efrat, former head of the Department of Architecture at the Bezalel Academy, Efrat-Kowalsky architects, Meira Kowalsky and Doron Von Beider to promote a multicultural architecture.
He has also collaborated with the Louvre Museum, and the haute couture designer Christian Lacroix in the framework of his cinematic projects.
Yosef Joseph Dadoune, Ofakim Project, 2010
I am not sure that politicians or diplomats would be willing to enable artists to play a mediating role in conflicts. Over the course of hundreds of years, the role of the artist was to gladden the king and his court, or else he was at the very edge of society. The painter Gustave Courbet was the first to represent the proletariat in his paintings, in contrast to other artists of his generation who represented, painted and elevated the kingdom and nobility during a very tumultuous period in Paris. The role of the artist and of art is to always be in a position of ‘freedom’ from the tensions and obligations of politics and society. The role of the artist in the last seven decades of the 20th century was widened to include responsibility as a person and as an artist to present political protest in his work as a responsible civilian act in conflict regions, in order to express the urgent need for peace. The artist has the power to create a visual language that can produce strong symbols and influence the public. An example
of this can be seen in the works of Delacroix, who represented the French Revolution through the figure of Marianne bearing the flag of democracy. The fact that an Israeli artist today, for example, expresses his opinion in his art and creates images as a political protest for peace or against racism is connected to the grave state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the tensions within Israeli society between the well-to-do elite and the crumbling middle class. At present, art makes it possible to balance that which is impossible in other areas: to stand up against the racism and hatred within a multicultural Israeli society comprised of Jews of European and Middle-Eastern descent, Muslim Arabs, and Christian Arabs. It can also show that there is still a movement of believers in peace, who work for peace through political and social activism in art: painting, teaching, setting out to meetings and peace initiatives with Palestinians or Israeli Arabs. Art is indeed important in stating out loud, fearlessly, that peace is relevant. Peace is not only between two 197
peoples. In Israel, peace can also occur between two colleagues at work or in daily life. Examples include a relationship based on art between an Israeli artist and a Palestinian or Middle-Eastern artist, or an Israeli artist who travels abroad to lecture about his work in a gallery or university and can transmit a message of peace in Europe or anywhere else in the world. In this manner, art has a mediating role, either through the work of art or through the artist engaged with human rights. In 2010, I worked on a social project in Ofakim, a town in southern Israel, with youths from the town. The town collapsed in the 1980s with the closing of its textile factories. It has been constantly shelled for over 14 years, and has the largest unemployment rate in the country. The youths there are mostly the offspring of immigrants from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Russia, and the Caucasus, as well as the offspring of Palestinian collaborators with Israel. There was a moment in my life when I understood that the role of the artist was to work for the community. This means giving and doing with society on a daily basis, outside the studio. For example, I organized weekly yoga lessons for the project youngsters in order to enable them to develop self-awareness, as well as visits to contemporary art museums in Israel. I invited actress Evelyn Hagoel to come and teach them courses in acting, while working with them on how to deal with the trauma of alienation and the fear of the other. Together, we toured the abandoned factories where some of their parents used to work, the desert, and the areas around the regionâ€™s military bases. These youths found their way out of the cycle of violence and poverty and managed to make a place for themselves, and their outlook is open and able to include the other. In 2015, I presented at an exhibition on Kibbutz Beeri (curated by Ziva Yelin), a series of 50 journals from the 2014 war between Gaza and Israel. Guests at the opening included members of the Bedouin population living in the town of Rahat, with whom I have developed a dialogue and working relations over the years when I brought groups of students from universities and academies in Israel and France to visit them and hear about the land conflict between them and the state. Together, we sat on a panel discussing the war and its effect on each of us. Each side presented its take, and it was a moving and important moment for all of us as we could each express ourselves freely, together. In this manner art has a bridging, mediating role, even if the mediation is very minor. But it is still important so as not to leave the country in the hands of extremists. Art and artists for peace is a slow process that can mediate between small communities. With time, these projects are exhibited in Israel and abroad, creating social awareness and an example for others. In my daily life, I am frequently invited to lecture and teach about the project around the world, and that is my small act of social mediation in an area of conflict. I am not sure that art can resolve conflicts, but I do believe in social and political obligation and in artistsâ€™ activities for a saner present in their communities, in order to encourage open thought devoid of hate.
Yosef Joseph Dadoune, Ofakim Project, 2010
vocal or instrumental — that are better at generating empathy than others? ZM I believe all forms of music really create tension, or sympathy in people. There is very aggressive music, even in the classical world, when you hear Allegro Barbaro by Bella Bartok, there is no pleasing effect; but he wants to display barbarism. Same thing with The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky. These are pagan rituals… pre-Christian let’s say, in Russia. And the music expresses the cruelty of those rituals. NLL Do you feel it has an effect on how people like, let us say, Palestinians and Israeli Jews are listening to music? Would they react in the same way in terms of being able to experience empathy? ZM I cannot say that an Arab or an African listening to Indian music, let’s say, would react in the same way. Indian music touches me tremendously because I follow the improvisation of the master that is playing. NLL Do you feel that musical improvisation has more effect on the audience compared to listening to Mozart,
for example? ZM Yes, if you listen to an improvisation, opening yourself up and letting yourself go with it, then of course, I think it touches you in a very strong way. NLL Can you give us examples of special emotional moments in which music created a bridge across conflicts or reduced tensions, from your experience? ZM Three year ago, I took an orchestra from the Munich Opera, to play a concert in Kashmir, where, for the first time, Hindus and Muslims sat together. Now, I don’t think it ended the conflicts, but as I said before, the Hindus and Muslims sat together and listened to Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, and I am sure they went away feeling more friendly toward one another, than they did when they came in. NLL What is the role of the conductor in creating these bridges across cultures? ZM Well, we are blessed with a music treasure that spans about 400 years, from Monteverdi, who was the first opera composer in Florence. There is a vast amount of what we call repertoire of music pieces
Maestro Zubin Mehta, conductor and a child playing violin for him
and we are the keepers of this ‘museum’. We are interpreting Handel, Mozart, Richard Strauss, Schoenberg… We are blessed with this incredible treasure. A museum curator would say, ‘ok, I have paintings like Rafael and Michelangelo, that’s fine,’ but we are performing these pieces, and every time a performance takes place, we are building the symphony again; so there is a difference between a museum curator and music curators — we are the curators-interpreters of this enormous library of masterpieces that the masters left us. NLL So, in a sense what you are saying is that the interpretation of the conductor has a significant effect on the connection that people feel towards the music. ZM Absolutely. NLL Thank you very much for this interview. ZM This is a very interesting project you have.
Maestro Zubin Mehta
Maestro Zubin Mehta, conductor, Daniel Barenboim, pianist and the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra
CAN ART AID IN RESOLVING CONFLICTS?
Editors Dr. Noam Lemelshtrich-Latar, Prof. Jerry (Yoram) Wind, Dr. Ornat Lev-er Concept, Design and Production Noa Schwartz Language Editing Anat Schultz Production Sarah de Boer Prepress Edward de Nijs Printing IPP Printers Trade Distribution USA and Canada Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, LLC. 34 Thirteenth Avenue NE, Suite 101 Minneapolis, MN 55413-1007 T +1 612 746 2600 T +1 800 283 3572 (orders) F +1 612 746 2606
ISBN: 978-94-92311-32-0 ÂŠ 2018 Frame Publishers, Amsterdam, 2018 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or any storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Unless otherwise noted, all works are courtesy of the artists. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, Frame Publishers does not under any circumstances accept responsibility for errors or omissions. Any mistakes or inaccuracies will be corrected in case of subsequent editions upon notification to the publisher. The Koninklijke Bibliotheek lists this publication in the Nederlandse Bibliografie: detailed bibliographic information is available on the internet at http://picarta. pica.nl Printed on acid-free paper produced from chlorine-free pulp. TCF âˆž Printed in Poland 987654321
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BENJAMIN GAVRILOVA KRASOVSKAYA WILLIAMSON Throughout LANDAU history, art has documented the atrocities global artists, curators and art practitioners of wars, participated in propaganda campaigns, that were presented with the important THOM THOUFEEK TIMOTHY and servedTAMIR as an advocate THEODORE for social justice around ?question: can art aid in resolving conflicts AHARONI SPYROPOULOS COLLINS ZAKRIYA RUB the world. The aim of this book is to explore Visually illustrated, these creative and the power of art to aid in resolving cultural and thought-provoking perspectives were analyzed and VALENTINO VALERIO VASIA VLADISLAV .political conflicts, to inspire a global discourse provide a set of practical WEILI guidelines for an effective CATRICALÀ ROCCO ORLANDO DELIYIANNI SLUDSKIY SHI The book provides a ground breaking employment of art in its multiple platforms for creating pioneering survey of 100 leading and emerging .bridges across cultures and political conflicts WILLIAM
A pioneering survey of leading and emerging global artists, curators and art practitioners on the question: can art aid in conflict resoluti...
Published on Sep 25, 2018
A pioneering survey of leading and emerging global artists, curators and art practitioners on the question: can art aid in conflict resoluti...