Perpetuum Mobilε is delighted to reveal that PM’s Artists at Risk (AR) platform has been awarded the EUROPEAN CITIZEN’S PRIZE of the European Parliament!
A Finnish press event will take place on 1 July at 9.30 am at the European Information Office in Finland at Malminkatu 16 in Kamppi (http://www.europarl.fi/fi/tiedotustoimisto.html). Please RSVP by this Wednesday 29 June by writing to EPhelsinki@europarl.europa.eu
The official prize ceremony will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels in October.
Below a summary of the AR platform’s work to date:
Artists at Risk
by Perpetuum Mobile (PM)
Artists are targets of politically motivated threats in great parts of the world. Artists at Risk is dedicated to mapping the field of persecuted art practitioners, facilitating their safe exit from countries of origin and hosting them at so-called “Safe Haven” residencies.
AR is building a mondial platform, adding to its existing residency programme in Helsinki by establishing new Safe Havens in Athens, Provence and Berlin. AR is the only project of its kind dedicated to the visual arts, and will publish an online journal dedicated to the rights and freedoms of visual art practitioners. As part of its ambitious goals, it aims to build an extensive online reference centre – coordinating with partner-networks to take the first steps towards a version of PEN International for visual artists at risk. In May 2016, Perpetuum Mobile / Artists at Risk was awarded the European Citizen’s Prize by the European Parliament.
ARTISTS AT RISK (AR) is a new human rights institution in the field of visual culture. As a platform dedicated to art practitioners “at risk”, the work of AR encompasses mapping and coordinating art professionals at risk, addressing their practical needs and advancing their artistic practice. To achieve this, selected key figures are granted short and long-term residencies at so-called “Safe Havens” – not as asylum seekers, but as invited and honoured visiting art professionals. These are art actors who not only greatly enrich their host countries, but are at the heart of rebuilding their often war-torn countries of origin.
AR’s first dedicated Safe Havens for visual artists are being established in Helsinki, Athens, Provence and Berlin.
In Helsinki a PM Safe Haven programme is already fully functional. Safe Haven-Helsinki, co-organised in cooperation with HIAP-Helsinki International Artists Program, secured core funding from the City of Helsinki in 2016. Partners include PEN Finland, the Finnish Musicians’ Union, the Finnish Artist’s Union and the Anna Lindh Foundation, among others. Safe Haven Helsinki has grown out of the three-year “On the Move” programme which hosted artists including Ramy Essam “the singer of Tahrir square” from Egypt, the acclaimed photographer Issa Tuoma from Aleppo in Syria, El Haqed, the leading political hip-hop artist from Morocco, and Vasyl Cherepanyn who co-organized the Kyiv Biennale 2015 in Ukraine for which Perpetuum Mobile curated the « School of the Displaced » featuring several artists at risk.
In Athens, a PM Safe Haven-Athens is currently being established in cooperation with the Athens Biennale and further partners including the Avtonomi Akadimia, AthenSYN and the Contemporary Art Showcase. PM has participated in Synapse 1 and Synapse 2 of the Athens Biennale 2015-2017, presenting AR and building the institutional prerequisites for establishing a Safe Haven-Athens.
In Provence, in the south of France, a unique “Resistance Residency” is being developed at the Villa Chêne Vert which upholds the memory of the European resistance against the Nazi occupation of France. Located on the Mediterranean littoral in the countryside between Toulon and Marseille, the villa was built by Eva and Hans Ekstein, humanist and co-founder of the Marseille Department of Physics, whose sister Lisa Fittko is celebrated for her underground resistance work in the darkest hours of the Second World War. This included guiding the renowned philosopher Walter Benjamin across the Pyrenees before his untimely death. Intended to host art-actors whose dissident practice and work is relevant either historically or to our own time, the Resistance Residency upholds and continues this important legacy.
In Berlin, PM is entering into a partnership with SAVVY Contemporary – a leading art institution fostering « dialogue between ‘western art’ and ‘non-western art' » – to build Safe Haven-Berlin. A conversation has also been initiated with Shermin Langhoff and Esra Kücük of the Gorki Theater to discuss potential cooperation, such as happened at the European Parliament conference in May (see below). Further partnerships are currently being negotiated in these and other European cities.
To the best our knowledge, Artists at Risk (AR) is the only project of its kind in the visual arts. Visual artists will be AR’s primary focus, but further persons eligible for AR programmes may include creative intellectuals — such as filmmakers — who fall outside the remit of organisations such as PEN (writers and journalists), FreeMUSE (musicians) or Scholars at Risk (academics and researchers). Future residency programmes may be developed for activists, whistleblowers and dissidents, in cooperation with relevant institutions.
AR will also serve as an advocacy centre from which to launch awareness campaigns for the support of threatened/imprisoned art practitioners. As part of this work, AR aims to provide an online reference centre on visual art practitioners at risk worldwide. This will also strengthen its role as a facilitator between art practitioners at risk and PM’s wide network of partners such as PEN, FreeMuse, SafeMUSE and our network partner ICORN (International Cities of Refuge Network) which interconnects over 50 cities that host residencies for artists under threat around the world.
AR is in the course of developing a dedicated online journal. This publication will include interviews with artists at risk, articles and analysis of cases, as well as audio-visual and artistic contributions. The first articles for the online publication are currently being commissioned, which, given sufficient resources, will be translated into relevant languages. PM’s existing Re-Aligned website (www.re-aligned.net) already hosts closely-related material, such as interviews with Petr Pavlensky and Katya Samutsevich and Petr Verzilov.
AR-Artists at Risk has been awarded the EU Parliament’s CIVI EUROPAEO PRAEMIUM. An excerpt from the commendatory text to the Prize Chancellery of the “European Citizens’ Prize” reads:
“Artists are targets of politically motivated threats in great parts of the world. Many have painfully learned the price of speaking the truth in countries not committed to human rights and democracy. When such European principles are at risk in neighbouring countries, it is the honour and onus of the Union to support grassroot initiatives which uphold these values.”
- ICORN 10th anniversary meeting at the Hôtel de Ville in Paris in March 2016 (incl. mayors, PEN, SafeMUse, Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, etc.).
- High-level EU European Parliament conference on Asylum and Refugees at the Brandenburger Tor, in cooperation with the Allianz Kulturstiftung.
- Keynotes: President of the EP, Martin Schulz, two Vice-Presidents of the EU Commission and the Head of the German Chancellery as well as our invited guest, Nadya Tolokonnikova (Pussy Riot)
- Prospective funding partners
- The Allianz Kulturstiftung: “Artists at Risk” with PM as the lead partner.
- The new EU Refugee Integration Projects programme: “Re-build Refuge Europe – TRANSEUROPA Festival 2017” with European Alternatives as the lead partner
- To garner support this ambitious initiative, PM is bringing together international figures in the field of visual culture to join AR’s Advisory Board.
- Ongoing re-development of the web-platform at www.ArtistsatRisk.org.
AR is a Perpetuum Mobilεzation
Perpetuum Mobilε (PM) co-founded by Marita Muukkonen and Ivor Stodolsky (in alternating order), is a curatorial platform which brings together art, practice and enquiry. Perpetuum Mobile develops longer-term thematic projects which include conferences, workshops, residencies, small and large exhibitions, festivals, public and street art, publications, films and new formats. Thematic projects include the Re-Aligned Project, the Perpetual Pavilion, the Perestroika Project, The Arts Assembly, Safe Havens for Artists at Risk, Perpetuum Labs, Sino-Fi, Pluriversity and Mobile Talks. PM has worked extensively in the Nordic, European and international field.
Co-Directors Ivor Stodolsky and Marita Muukkonen (in alternating order)
Facebook Page: facebook.com/PerpetualMobile.org