Ghetto Biennale: UCL Seminar

The forgotten victims of Haiti’s earthquake
A Tale of Two NGOs: In Haiti, Disaster Aid or Aid Disaster?

UCL Seminar: ‘Haiti’s Ghetto Biennale’

In December 2009, Atiz Rezistans, the Sculptors of Grand Rue, hosted their first Ghetto Biennale. They invited fine artists, film-makers, academics, photographers, musicians, architects and writers to come to the Grand Rue area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to make or witness work that was made or happened in their neighbourhood.

The Biennale aimed to be a “third space … an event or moment created through the collaboration between artists from radically different backgrounds” (John Keiffer). A second Biennale was held in December 2011. Yet while the Ghetto Biennale was conceived to expose social, racial, class and geographical immobility, it seemed to have upheld these class inertias within its structural core.

In this seminar, Leah Gordon addresses the contradictions and challenges posed by the event, and how the 3rd Ghetto Biennale seeks to confront them. Is the Biennale institutional critique or a season ticket to the institution? Poverty tourism or an exit strategy from poverty? What was the effect of the earthquake and the ensuing NGO culture on cross-cultural relations in Haiti? Can the 3rd event produce meaningful discussion about sameness and difference in an allegedly de-centred art world, and transcend different models of ghettoization?

Attendance is free of charge but registration is required.

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