The Influencers is an atypical festival devoted to non-conventional art and communication guerrilla. Since 2004 The Influencers has been an opportunity for extra-disciplinary research, discovery, and debate about inventions and adventures in the troubled waters where information society, everyday technology, and fragments of collective imagination mix and clash with each other. The purpose of the project is to show examples of practical intervention at the intersection of media and collective imagination, such as myth-making, contemporary grassroots adventures, new forms of political activism, digitally networked subcultures.
directory - Peace
When at the end of 2007, the then incumbent Mwai Kibaki was announced as the victor of the presidential elections in Kenya, and was immediately sworn in again, protests broke out in various regions of the country. The anger of the people was directed towards the ethnic group of the Kikuyu of which Kibaki is a member. When the artist Solomon Muyundo aka Solo7 witnessed how in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum and one of the largest in Africa, houses and market stands were set on fire, he began writing “ODM – PEACE” with charcoal on walls, referring to the Orange Democratic Movement of Kibaki’s election rival Raila Odinga. The buildings which carried his writing were not harmed by any looting.
Using football field marking equipment, I marked the grid of demolished streets and houses of the Manshia neighborhood. The markings drawn by the sea, on the border between Tel Aviv and Jaffa, brings the historic streets and houses to the surface. The white lines delineate the quarter that lies under the lawns. The markings are reminiscent of police markings at a murder scene, in this case the murder of the houses, the architectural murder, the cultural murder of Jaffa.
The poet, musician, sculptor, and actor Malangatana Valente Ngwenya, who died in 2011, was not only the most famous artist from Mozambique, he was also also a member of the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO), member of parliament, alderman of Maputo, and cofounder of the Mozambican Peace Movement. Around 1960, he began to produce paintings, supported by an artist and an architect, who bought two of his paintings every month. After Portugal violently put down aspirations for independence, he joined FRELIMO, which was founded in 1962 in Dar es Salaam. Back in Lourenço Marques (today Maputo), he was arrested and spent eighteen months in jail.
When Israel began building its barrier between the West Bank and Israel at the end of 2003, artists from both sides of the divide decided to mount a spectacular event: on April 1, 2004, in Abu Dis, they projected recordings made by video cameras on both sides of the barrier so that it became virtually penetrable. “But already on April 2 it was quite clear to us that this was no way to oppose the wall,” says Eyal Danon, curator and now director of the Israeli Center for Digital Art. A reaction to this situation was the “Liminal Spaces” project, originally planned for nine months, which was a collaboration between the Israeli Center for Digital Art, the Palestinian Association for Contemporary Art (PACA), and the University of Arts Berlin.
In New York State in 2005, the photographer and video artist Jean-Christian Bourcart projected photographs of Iraqi war victims on houses, churches and supermarkets. Bourcart took the images from the internet, and most had been taken by soldiers. The artist was not so much interested in levelling accusations, but rather in projecting images of the reality of war into the peaceful, clean environment of the country that was waging this war in a far away country. In 1993, Bourcart had produced a series of black and white photographs on the siege of Sarajevo.
Disappointed by the lack of resonance to demonstrations of the open alliance Art Workers Coalition (AWC), Jon Hendricks and Jean Toche founded their own initiative within the New York art scene in 1969: the Guerrilla Art Action Group (GAAG). The artists’ critique focused on the U.S. military intervention in Vietnam, domestic policies that suppressed minorities, and the art establishment, which was controlled by political and economic interests. GAAG’s goal was to force institutions, politicians, and celebrities to take a moral stand on U.S. politics, through provocative actions, interventions, letters, posters, and theater projects.
Eyal Sivan’s first film made in 1987, Aqabat-Jaber, passing through, was about a Palestinian refugee camp, and was followed in 1996 by Itsembatsemba, in which Sivan engaged with the genocide in Rwanda; the film’s subheading Rwanda One Genocide Later points out that the genocide in Rwanda is/was not the only one. At the same time Sivan was already working on his documentary The Specialist, finished in 1999, which was about the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem in 1961. Sival pursues the question of how such cases of collective violence and mass murder can occur.
David Reeb, who taught at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem from 2003 to 2007, has participated in the weekly demonstrations against the separation wall in the border town of Bil’in near Ramallah in the West Bank since 2005. He documents the events in the border area with a video camera, uploads the footage to his website and to YouTube, and uses some of the stills as the basis for paintings. In this way, the images are disseminated in very different contexts, for example, as part of the work of human rights organizations, and as evidence in courts of law.
Anna Halprin is considered one of the most important pioneers in the area of conceptual and interdisciplinary work in contemporary dance. Her Jewish heritage, and thus belonging to a minority, has made her especially sensitive to socially and politically precarious situations, both on a personal and a global level. She conceives dance as a collective process of creation as well as a ritual and communal force, which can serve as a means for personal, social, and political transformation.