[artinfo] Stateless Democracy at Utrecht University

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Sun Jan 17 10:20:48 CET 2016

New World Summit: Stateless Democracy
January 29-31, 2016


  BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, in collaboration 
with Utrecht University, Utrecht; Centraal 
Museum, Utrecht; and the Unrepresented Nations 
and Peoples Organization (UNPO), Brussels, 
presents New World Summit: Stateless Democracy. 
This is the sixth iteration of the New World 
Summit, an artistic and political organization 
founded by artist Jonas Staal, dedicated to 
constructing "alternative parliaments" for 
stateless political organizations that find 
themselves excluded from democratic processes. 
New World Summit: Stateless Democracy is a 
three-day assembly that explores the 
possibilities of uncoupling the practice of 
democracy from the construct of the nation-state. 
Core speakers are representatives of the Kurdish 
revolutionary movement, which in 2012 declared 
Rojava, the northern part of Syria, an 
independent "stateless democracy" based on 
principles of self-governance, gender-equality, 
and communal economy.

The summit takes place at a time of rising 
ultranationalism, exclusion of refugees, the 
strengthening of the War on Terror, and the 
emergence of the so-called Islamic State, 
resulting in nation-states declaring martial law, 
increasing their surveillance apparatus, and 
enforcing political exclusion in the name of 
"defending democracy." In response, this summit 
brings together stateless and autonomist 
movements from all over the world to explore the 
potential of stateless democracy as a 
transnationalist paradigm that opposes state 
oppression in all forms, and to invest in a new 
emancipatory politics of the 21st century.

For this sixth summit a temporary parliament is 
built in the aula of Utrecht University. It was 
on this site that the Union of Utrecht was signed 
in 1579, which was to become one of the 
foundations of the Dutch state. The parliament is 
thus also a historical intervention, reaching 
back to the very origins of the Dutch state to 
engage its alternative in the form of stateless 
democracy: a space to confront our current crisis 
and occupy the imaginary of a new, common world. 
New World Summit: Stateless Democracy is the 
culmination of BAK's long-term collaboration with 
Staal in his capacity as BAK Research Fellow, 
which has materialized throughout the course of 
the last three years in the form of the 
educational platform New World Academy. The 
summit inaugurates and is part of the research 
exhibition Unstated (or, Living Without Approval) 
at BAK.

Failed Democracy
January 29, 7-10pm
Contributors include: Nancy Hollander (legal 
representative of Chelsea Manning and Mohamedou 
Ould Slahi); Birgitta Jónsdóttir (Pirate Party 
Iceland); chaired by Maria Hlavajova (artistic 
director BAK)

Stateless Democracy!
January 30, 1-8pm
Contributors include: Amina Osse (representative 
Democratic Union Party, PYD, Rojava); Dilar Dirik 
(Kurdish Women's Movement); Quim Arrufat (Popular 
Unity Candidacy, CUP, Catalunya); Jodi Dean 
(political theorist and writer); Leila Khaled 
(Popular Liberation Front of Palestine, PLFP); 
Jennifer McCann (Sinn Féin, Ireland); Ilena 
Saturay (National Democratic Movement of the 
Philippines); chaired by: Joost Jongerden 
(academic and writer); Vincent W. J. van Gerven 
Oei (writer); Sana Soleiman Elmansouri (World 
Amazigh Congress)

Future Democracy?
January 31, 1-8pm
Contributors include: Richard Bell (artist, 
Aboriginal Tent Embassy); Emory Douglas (artist, 
former Minister of Culture, Black Panther Party); 
Meike Nack (The Foundation of Free Women, Weqfa 
Jina Azad, Rojava); Suthaharan Nadarajah (Tamil 
Eelam); Simon P. Sapioper (Republic of 
West-Papua); Vivian Ziherl (Frontier 
Imaginaries); We Are Here (refugee collective); 
Barcelona en Comú. Chaired by: Jolle Demmers 
(academic, Center for Conflict Studies, Utrecht 
University); Radha D'Souza (academic and 
activist); Chris Keulemans (writer and journalist)

The activities of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst 
have been made possible by financial support from 
the City Council of Utrecht and the Ministry of 
Education, Culture and Science of the 
Netherlands. The project Future Vocabularies is 
realized with support from the DOEN Foundation, 
Amsterdam. New World Summit: Stateless Democracy 
is supported by The Art of Impact, Amsterdam, 
Democracy & Media Foundation, Amsterdam, and the 
CBK Rotterdam (Centre for Visual Arts Rotterdam). 
The related exhibition Unstated (or, Living 
Without Approval) is supported by the kfHein 
Fund, Utrecht.

Utrecht University
Domplein 29
3512 JE Utrecht
The Netherlands

T +31 30 231 6125
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