Thursday, 1 August 2013

Is Misunderstanding Misunderstood? - Vision Forum with Wooloo at 3rd Ghetto Biennial.

Wooloo (Sixten Nielsen and Martin Rosengaard); Vision Forum (Per Hüttner, Sara Giannini and Jean Louis Huhta.)

Vision Forum, in collaboration with Wooloo, will set up a participatory space focusing on creative potential in misunderstanding at the 3rd Ghetto Biennale. It will be a place for exchange where people together can witness, account, investigate and collect misunderstandings recognized as a valid form for communication and a vehicle for knowledge transformation. The project will open a room for debating the issues raised by this edition of the Ghetto Biennial, reflect on the meeting between different worlds and also draw from the specific forms of knowledge in Haiti and in Haitian culture.

The space will take the form of a TENT, which will be located inside the Biennale. For the whole duration of the exhibition the TENT will be a meeting point, host activities, attract visitors and involve local artists to contribute. It will have a multitude of functions:

•    A meeting point for artists and members of the biennale to meet each other, the local community and to ponder the potential of misunderstanding.

•    A transcription/collection point for past, present and future misunderstandings.

•    A gathering to reflect on the Bienniale and on the misunderstandings that might be generated.

•    A site for musical experimentation.

We focus on misunderstanding in order to consider the interplay between forces of homogeneity and heterogeneity in today's globalized world. In its movement towards inclusiveness and sameness, globality discards binary concepts such as “centre and periphery.” It urges us to discover variety and multiplicity within homogeneity, so that a relation of differences replaces dual thinking and universalism.

We learn from the Martinique-born philosopher Édouard Glissant that sameness and otherness are coexisting because “it is possible to be one and multiple at the same time; you can be yourself and the other.” From these premises our response to outline of the 3rd Ghetto Biennale reflects on misunderstanding as a key element in communication, and knowledge production. The TENT will offer a space for negotiation of the ever-changing (de)formations of identities and human cultures. Especially, we hope that the TENT of misunderstanding will pull us closer to Glissant when he talks about the right to be opaque:

“Everyone likes broccoli, but I hate it. But do I know why? Not at all. I accept my opacity on that level. Why wouldn’t I accept the other’s opacity? Why must I absolutely understand the other in order to live next to him and work with him? (…) A racist is someone who refuses what he doesn’t understand. I can accept what I don’t understand. Opacity is a right we must have.”

When we accept that we do not fully understand ourselves, we are ready to accept the possibility to be surprised both by others as well as by ourselves. It unleashes our power to interact with fellow humans in a ludic and creative manner.

Misunderstanding is that which is lost or unrevealed, that which is invented and supposed. It multiplies the facets and layers of communication and knowledge production. Thanks to the gaps and shifts provoked by misunderstanding, communication is not a single-bond process but an open string in expansion. Misunderstanding is the silent dynamic generating the perception we have of ourselves and what surrounds us. Unspoken and unwritten yet performed in every stage of our relation to the many others both inside and outside us, misunderstanding will be the center of attraction of our intervention for the Ghetto Biennale.

The realization of the project will benefit from different experiences: Vision Forum has a long track record of organizing trans-cultural art events around the world. Wooloo have arranged many socially based projects, especially where they allow people from vastly different backgrounds to live together for shorter periods. Jean-Louis Huhta is a musician with Caribbean roots who will use music's power of bringing people together.

More info about Wooloo here and here and about Vision Forum here.