Performance ‘Where is Stammheim?’ With work of Olaf Metzel in the garden of Wuttembergischen Kunstverein Stuttgart. This performance happend during the building up of “Hinterland” After “Stage for Tragedy”.
Where is Stammheim (1)? Or where is Stamm Heim (2)? Where is home? Where is the prison? Where is exile? Are you home in exile? Can you feel home in prison? Can prison become home? Does a shelter, a place to refugee still exist? Where are the boarders of prison? How can you escape that prison? And where would you go after crossing the boarders of that prison? The last question reminds me of the moment when Truman touches the walls horizon in the end of the sea.
Stammheim is a maximum-security prison in Stuttgart, Baden Wuttemberg, Germany. An extra secure part was added to the jail to confine the Red Army Faction leaders as well as trial courthouse. The prison is where the “Dead Night” happened. A night when four leading members of Red Army Faction committed successful suicide, accept the fourth member Irmgard Möller who survived her suicide attempt. She stated that the deaths where no suicide but rather undertaken by the German government.
2. Stamm means tripe and Heim means home in German. Although the combination of words in such order and with space in between is not used in German language.
“Mi mama no tin plaka My mother doesn’t have any money
Hinka mi den un doshi Put me in a box
Manda mi na Hulanda (And) sent me to the Netherlands
Ora mi a yega Hulanda When I arrived in the Netherlands
‘Hinterland’ installation in Post-Peace exhibition at Wuttembergischen Kunstverein Stuttgart
‘Hinterland’ after ‘Stage for Tragedy’ installation sketch
Alexandra Exter Stage for Tragedy drawing 1924
‘Hinterland’* after ‘Stage for Tragedy’ (interpretation of Alexandra Exter’s drawing for a stage setting for a tragedy in 1924) at Post-Peace** exhibition at Wuttembergischen-Kunstvereins from 24th Feb. (opening) to 7th May 2017.
24th February: Ongoing performance ‘I Must Seek Refuge Again‘
26th February: Ammunition boxing*** Performative talk (Schlossplaz and Stuttgart Central Station) starts at Schlossplaz with quatrains by 11th century Persian poet Baba Tahir and reading of The Schuman Declaration (from 9 May, 1950), Ammunition boxing will round up with The Laments of the Anonymous Stateless Immigrants — the story of ‘Consumer’s Control’, a post-artistic anti-fascist performance by Ehsan Fardjadniya at Stuttgart train station.
*Hinterland is a place between two lands
it isn’t the mainland, it isn’t my motherland
They say it is a port of fabrication, with no shine in its sand
you should leave from it, as far as you can
‘So Far, So Good: Contemporary Fascism, Weak Resistance, and Postartistic Practices in Today’s Poland’ an article in e-flux by Ewa Majewska and Kuba Szreder. In this article A.S.I. ‘s latest performance, A Funeral March to Frontex from Warsaw Uprising Museum, as the second scene of Polacy! Refugees and Citizens, is mentioned:
Similar ideas guided the artists and activists who organized the collective performance Polacy! Refugees and Citizens, an intervention staged in August 2016 at the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising and outside the Warsaw headquarters of Frontex, the EU border agency.17 When planning the action, artists Dorian Batycka and Ehsan Fardjadniya had proposed a performative historical montage that would remix the fraught memory of the Warsaw Uprising—the ultimate fight against a fascist occupier—with the current plight of refugees. The performative intervention in the museum consisted of a nonviolent reenactment of PTSD symptoms (fainting, screams, repetitive body movements) and the secret placement of adétourned pamphlet about the Warsaw Uprising. Afterward, participants marched to the nearby Frontex headquarters while carrying a small coffin and singing a Kaddish song.
During the action Ehsan, who was born in Iran, was “arrested” by the private security personnel who guard the skyscraper that Frontex calls home. No surprise there—he was the only one of us with a dark complexion. Later, real policemen arrived and briefly detained Ehsan, until they verified his Dutch citizenship and released him. In the meantime, several lawyers on hand informed us that under an “antiterrorist” law passed in January 2016, any person deemed by the police to be a potential “risk to our country” can be held without charges for up to two weeks. (Certainly, a person of Iranian descent is considered such a threat by default.) Poland is not a safe country for people of Arab and Persian descent, with the government’s racist statements echoed by football fans, neo-Nazis, and ordinary “patriots”—or even sometimes by our neighbors and fellow academics. It seems that only art spaces, whether state-run or private, remain free of these influences.
Thanks to Vanessa Gravenor‘s article in THE SEEN, Chicago’s International online journal of contemporary and modern art, on our collective (Anonymous Stateless Immigrants Collective) and performance/intervention in Museum of Warsaw Uprising and Frontex: ‘It’s about a society in free fall… Frontex acts as a type of Donald Trump border policing, but in liquid form. Further interventions of ASI Collective included carrying a casket outside of Frontex’s headquarters in Warsaw, and singing a Jewish mourning song. Frontex’s is the EU’s border control that goes as far as “rescuing” refugees crossing the sea, but then always taking the refugees back to their war torn countries.’
We got invites to go to Komenda policji (police office) on 4th of October, all 5 Polish participants of the actions. Ehsan Fardjadniya and Dorian Batycka were not invited, and it’s highly unlikely they will be.
In the text below, we like to make our artists statement public in regards to our intervention in Warsaw Uprising Museum and Frontex headquarter in Warsaw.
The PDF below is a factural Report of Our Performance and Intervention at Warsaw Uprising Musuem and Frontex Office.
On August 3rd, 2016 our performance took place at around 14:00 hours in the Warsaw Uprising Museum, Grzybowska 79, Wola district, Warsaw, Poland and moved to Frontex headquarters.
This document is written by Ehsan Fardjadniya, a member of performance group who was atained at frontex office behind close door by security guards.
A contemporary version of Warsaw Uprising 1944 pamphlet is ‘Refugee Uprising Manifesto 2016’. We will place this tomorrow at the heroic, nationalistic and military Museum of the Warsaw Uprising. There will be more interventions planed in the museum as well as in fornt of Frontex (Agency of European border control), ironically situated few meters away from the museum.
Up and Away
Where to go from here? When you follow the signs of the A.S.I., with blisters on your feet, because you are wearing flip-flop for the first time in a year, somehow you already know the answer from the start: There is no place for anonymous stateless immigrants; neither outside nor inside the biennale, neither in the world of art nor in the world that we create everyday again. And the A.S.I. are up and away long ago already.
The reading only of Marx’s “Capital” goes on during the whole months of the 2015th Biennale of Okwui Enwezo entitled: ‘All the World’s Future’, which neglects the revolutionary potentials of the work due to old format of the biennale. This is while the members of A.S.I. at the southern borders of Europe, are joining the refugees to document their stories and expand their network.
A new summer of migration season will start soon. Last year more than 3,000 died. This year more than 1,500 have already perished. A 50-fold increase in deaths so far this year. This is while the art world is about to celebrate the opening of Venice Biennale, the oldest cultural canon that praises nationalism through art. Similar to other editions, none of the prominent nations will mention anything about the toxic immigration topic. The extreme nation related format of presenting arts in Venice biennale makes us suspicious about the anti-immigration agenda of the art world. It makes us wonder if it is our silence, ignorance and odium towards the newcomers that makes the mediterranean sea a mass grave.
How far would you walk at night with fear of violence seeking a shelter? With this question in mind, I’ll be performing a walk in Venice on the early morning of 5th of May following the Anonymous Stateless Immigrants Pavilion signs, making a detour from the prominent art route to find this new pavilion.