Workshop Arkadi Zaides en Institut des Croisements

08-03-2021 to 19-03-2021
VANDENHOVE - Centre for Art Architecture, Rozier 1, 9000 Gent
S:PAM - Studies in Performing Arts & Media
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Choreographer, curator and researcher Arkadi Zaides (Institut des Croisements) and Christel Stalpaert (co-director S:PAM) organize a workshop on the research-based performance project NECROPOLIS.

The workshop takes place in the context of the faculty broad optional course Human Rights: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Eva Brems) and the UGent Human Rights Research Network, led by Eva Brems.

For over a quarter of a century, "UNITED for Intercultural Action", a network of hundreds of organizations from all around Europe, has been compiling a list registering deaths of refugees and migrants who have attempted to reach Europe. As of June 2020, the list mentions 40,555 deaths, the vast majority of which are not identified. The European jurisdiction establishes a clear distinction between criminal, natural, and accidental deaths, which determines the way the bodies are subsequently handled. As the many thousands of deaths that take place at the gates of Europe challenge this taxonomy, the forensic procedures consisting of collecting medical and biological data from the corpses are not carried out properly in most cases. The loss of irretrievable information that results from this neglect prevents any future identification of the victims. At the bottom of the sea, on the shores, and inland, a mass of decomposed bodies and body parts tells the story of a collective whose ghost hovers over European territory.

For their artistic research, Arkadi Zaides and his team delve into the practice of forensics to conceive a new virtual database documenting the remains of those whose death is to this day mostly unacknowledged. This growing archive, this map, this architecture of necrology is stretching in all directions across space and time, interrelating the mythologies, histories, geographies, movements, and anatomies of those who have been granted entrance to the city of the dead.


Points of Discussion:

How do we imagine alternative platforms for individual and collective mourning? What are the rights of one’s death to be investigated, and do the same rights apply to the community of the undocumented ones? What are the legal and ethical concerns when revealing information about the dead and making it part of the public domain? And how can a work of art transgress and challenge these conceptions? This and many other questions will be tackled together with students coming from diverse disciplines such as law, art studies and performance studies at Ghent University.

Who’s Arkadi Zaides?

Arkadi Zaides is an Israeli independent choreographer and visual artist of Belarussian origin, currently living in France. In Israel, he performed in several companies such as the Batsheva Dance Company and the Yasmeen Godder Dance Group before embarking on an independent career in 2004. He obtained a master's degree at the AHK Academy of Theater and Dance in Amsterdam (Netherlands). His performances and installations have been presented in numerous dance and theater festivals, museums, and galleries across Europe, North and South America, and Asia. Over the years he has curated projects such as New Dance Project (2010-2011) with choreographer Anat Danieli, Moves Without Borders (2012-2015), and Violence of Inscriptions (2015-2018) with the scholar, curator, and dramaturge Sandra Noeth. The latter gathered artists, thinkers, and human-rights activists to negotiate the role of the body in producing, maintaining, legitimizing, representing, and aestheticizing structural violence. He is a recipient of numerous prizes, among them a prize for demonstrating engagement in human-rights issues, awarded to Zaides by The Emile Zola Chair for Interdisciplinary Human Rights Dialogue (IL).