January 24th and 25th, 2021
A mondial symposium and kick-off of Artists at Risk (AR) — A European Network of Safe Havens (AR-ENSH)
Art. Dissident Political Movements. Activism. Human rights.
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#RiskandRebellion is an event with interventions from around the globe streamed and re-streamed through multiple channels dedicated to:
— The10th anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution of January 25, 2011- with a concert by the “Voice of Tahrir Square” Ramy Essam on January 24th;
— The 20th anniversary of the World Social Forum (WSF) — with interventions by key figures of the movement;
— Artists, ecologists and activists putting their lives at risk.
On January 24th, the eve of the anniversary of two key movements that reverberated around the world, Artists at Risk (AR) is hosting a symposium to kick-off a new Creative Europe project, streamed through and across the networks of the AR-ENSH Partner Institutions:
#RiskandRebellion is a symposium about what it takes to face a world in crisis. Artists at Risk (AR) stands at the intersection of the arts and human rights, and the crises of our time are also intersectional: entangling manifold societal and economic conflicts, ecological emergencies and multi-causal forced migration.
#RiskandRebellion is a symposium that faces vexed topics: the perilous structural imbalances under a current system that exhibits a degree of economic inequality comparable to pre-revolutionary Ancien Régime France; still deeply entrenched gender, ethno-racial and geopolitical inequalities; the ongoing failures of mainstream environmentalism and the reality of extractivist development politics and forms of neo-colonialism; and, politically, the rise of the “nationalist international” — the club of Trump, Xi, Putin, Modi, Erdogan, Bolsanaro, Sissi, Netanyahu, Orban… — and the weakness of sustained counter-movements.
All of these forces have profoundly negative effects on basic human rights and liberties. Systemic crises — such as the near-collapse of the world financial system in 2008, or the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 — make them all the more acute. There are the personal tragedies of millions whose lives are transformed, disfigured or prematurely brought to an end. Likewise on a personal level, those who advocate change — from small-scale to systemic critique — take enormous risks. Their activities are carried out in the face of immediate and/or long-term threats to their future, freedom and livelihood. On a social level, oppressive conditions lead to mass uprisings, police violence or (civil) war. On a planetary level, we see the effects in the unfolding reality of catastrophic climate change, nuclear proliferation and new forms of warfare, the likelihood of future coronavirus-like pandemics, mass migrations of humans as well as the drastic threat to species by what is known as the sixth extinction.
Both the rebellious movement of the World Social Forum, founded in January 2001, and the uprisings around the world beginning circa January 2011 arose in response to related intersectional crises. We may choose to see them as all of the same historical cloth: the Arab revolutionary movements, from Tunisia on; the (largely southern) European rebellions starting with the Indignados; the US-inspired anti-corporate movements of Occupy; and countless others rebelling against corruption and authoritarian impunity, from Gezi Park to Bolotnaya Square.
The fundamental questions to be addressed today are much the same. Has anything changed? Can movements of peoples previously subjected to colonial rule, of which Black Lives Matter is only the most visible, initiate major shifts in the social, physical and mental infrastructures of oppression inherited from (European) colonialism? Can Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion, and the countless, often invisible environmental battles of indigenious groups, mobilize enough political energy to finally make big business and politics change its suicidal and ecocidal course? Can ongoing anti-government protests in countries like Belarus, Thailand, Hong Kong, or India regain their rights and remake their countries?
Are we Back to Square 1 as we put it in 2014 after the reinstatement of the Ancient Egyptian Régime? Or could people rebel again, and go To the Square 2? What if they are caught in the treacherous undertow of the wave of false rebels like Trump, the AfD or the Jihadis? What is the greater risk?
#RiskandRebellion can be seen as a sequel to these iterations of the Re-Aligned Project. There we asked whether diverse and fragmented movements could re-align in multilectic hybridity, forming structures of joint action for a new mondial commons. What, today, are these moments of hope, the new paths to be taken?
The streamed programme of #RiskandRebellion on January 24, 2021, includes multiple artistic interventions, speakers from academia, the arts, theory and activism (e.g. WSF, Extinction Rebellion) and leading figures in the field of human rights. Next to the AR-ENSH partners, we will hear from further established AR-Residencies as well as newly joining AR-Network members. The programme of the 24th January will culminate in the concert by Ramy Essam — known as the “voice of Tahrir Square” where he sang the song that became the anthem of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 — for his global (Arab-speaking) audience from our main stage at G-Live Lab in Helsinki.
January 25, the anniversaries of the Egyptian Revolution and WSF, will be met on the ground: from activities by AR-Network members, to protests by Helsinki’s WSF members in Pirkkola Forest, to undisclosed actions by Extinction Rebellion, to the streets of Cairo.
Associated partners of AR-ENSH:
Finnish Musician’s Union / Muusikkojenliitto, Finnish Music Council /Musiikkineuvosto, Noworking Collective, Ecologists at Risk, Konvent.Zero, Universität der Künste Berlin (UdK), Dar Eyquem, L’Art Rue Tunisie, Finnish National Theatre / Kansallisteatteri, #NoCallarem
Artists at Risk (AR) is an initiative of Perpetuum Mobile (PM)
— To be announced soon on our new Telegram channel: https://t.me/artistsatrisk —
- Participating artists, activists, theorists and figures in human rights
- Participating Artists at Risk (AR)-Residencies
- Symposium programme for #January24
- Locally anchored events for #January25
AR-Safe Haven Helsinki is co-funded by the City of Helsinki Cultural Department. The AR-Secretariat is co-funded by Kone Foundation. This live event is co-funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation. AR-ENSH is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.