-A part of UTOPIAN TAKEOVER
The art devoid of the body seems empty. The utopias without bodies seem futile.
During the history many utopian works have tended to exclude the bodies — that from a patriarchal Eurocentric perspective have being classified— of Otherness. As if different gender, ethnicity of class will be somehow disruptive from the ideal paradises.
This panel hope to dislocate the idea of the utopia. And bring to the center the bodies that have been censored and the person-hoods that have been erased.
If utopia is a perfected imaginary place, is there space for the body? Does the utopian thinking is relevant if ask us to escape our own skin, own instincts, own noises? Or there could be imagined utopias in which the body is at the center?
Shi Tou is known as the most talented female artist from Yuanming Garden in Beijing, the first arts village in China. Her multimedia creations include paintings, photographs, and DVDs. Shi Tou has been invited by New York University, Chicago University, Illinois School of Professional Psychology, and San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival to show her works and give speeches. Shi Tou is also the most noted lesbian activist in China. She is the first lesbian who came out to discuss same-sex relationships on national TV in China. She is the organizer and host of the first Chinese Lesbian and Gay Conference and the first mainland Chinese Convention of Lesbians (both held in Beijing in 1998). She also served as the editor of Tiankong (Sky), a community newsletter for Chinese lesbians, and helped set up a telephone hotline to exchange opinions about sexual orientation.
Berni Searle is a South African artist. Trained as a sculptor, Cape Town artist Berni Searle now utilises large scale digital photographic prints and combines them with found materials to make her compelling installations. Using her own body as subject and point of departure, Searle experiments with the surface of her skin, allowing it to be clad in layers of coloured and aromatic spices, leaving her bodily imprint on drifts of spices on the floor, or staining certain areas of her body with various substances, suggesting trauma, or damage.
Thomas Talawa Prestø is the Artistic Director and founder of Tabanka Dance Ensemble. He is also the founder of the Talawa Technique which is a fully codified technique for dance of African Aesthetic. Thomas has devoted his life to activism against racism, empowerment and the arts.
Nicole Rafiki is a visual artist, writer & editor based in Oslo. She is the founder and editor of YPPĒ coffee table book, a platform that promotes the work of creatives worldwide. Her experiences with migration and exile are the inspiration and driving force behind her work.
In collaboration with Kunstplass.