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"The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago
perform Initiation"
, 1997.
Reviewed by Joseph Houseal, U.S.A.


-some excerpts are here -this page is under construction-

number 43
March 1998

News & Letters

page 2

Ridván Music Contest Winners
by Anne Perry.

Nudity in Art by David Taylor
.....text to come........


Report on arts course at Bahá´í Academy, Panchgani, India.

The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago by Joseph Houseal, U.S.A.
.....text to come.......

Outside / Inside - Documenta ,
A 100 day exhibition of contemporary art
in Kassel, Germany.
by Sonja van Kerkhoff, The Netherlands.

...David said in various television and newspaper interviews that she was presenting a different position between politics and aesthetics than one of entertainment or show. Reading this excited me, but the positioning of the words, "poetics" and "politics" above one another as David did for the cover of the catalogue, while a nice concept, in itself, was not enough...

...Over the days, it was rare to find some resonance in the exhibition itself. On the whole, the art by the 250 or so artists didn't match the calibre of the lectures and I felt annoyed because there are artists of calibre who do address many of the issues raised in the lectures and in the 830 page catalogue. What was her critera for her choice or artists or their work? My problem was that I couldn't find any, not that she needed an obvious one. But because I was so disappointed by the works I encountered, I started looking for some point in, say, the room after room of small black and white journalistic images from the '60s and '70s.

Still from the film, Berlin or a Dream with Cream,
by Marcel Broodthaers (1924-1976, Belgium).

...there was a broad representation of the Belgian Marcel Broodthaers' work, with photos, slide projections and a video interview with the artist, so the visitor felt welcome to explore his world. Unfortunately it was situated by an entrance, so it was not physically possible to pause for a work that had a lot to offer. For me, his work was one of a handful that really fitted David's theme of the poetic and political. Broodthaers' 'museum of eagles' was poeticising and politicising, through his tongue-in-cheek use of popular images...

Was there some sort of message? And if not, then what made this exhibition any different from one that used sensationalism as a ploy?

...It did feel as if David intended to use the Documenta to present an opposite to iconophilia, an embracing of the pleasures of popular culture. But she didn't engage in a debate on these issues in the Documenta show itself, while many of the lectures such as those by the Indian cultural studies critic, Gayatri Spivak, the philosopher Edward Said, the Palestinian filmmaker, Elia Suleiman, the urbanist Saskia Sasson, or the South African curator, Okwui Enwezor, did...
These lectures presented alternatives, alternatives I found missing in the exhibition.
The catalogue, presented in strict chronology beginning with 1945, was a paradox in my view. There were useful and interesting essays in it, but as a whole, history was presented in linear fashion, much like David's parcous.

She presented her parcours, a 'right' route to follow, so that the visitor could experience the Documenta in a particular order. When I followed this route, I kept wondering what it was that I was supposed to notice. That it began at the railway station? That a handful of works were in underground shop spaces - a few video monitors in shop windows? A shop filled with second-hand clothes? I kept thinking this is 1997 and surely the sighting of works outside of a museum setting couldn't be the only point here...

Artist Profiles

page 6

Judy Small, singer/songwriter, Australia.
Interviewed by Sue Barrett,Australia.

image to come...,

-------excerpts to come.......

...excerpts to come.....

Filet by Christophe Doucet,
1994, woven wire, France.

pages 7 - 10

Miep Diekmann, author, The Netherlands.

Miep Diekmann

In this interview Miep Diekman focuses on her coaching writers from Curaçao and Aruba, and her novel set in the Dutch slave trade.

...A prominent Curacao businessman from the Lions Club, came to the Netherlands to ask me if one of the books I was working on for the Antilles primary schools could be connected to the "Keep Caruacao clean and beautiful' (Tene Korsow limpi bunita) action that they had initiated. They didn't have much money, and they wanted to reach the young with this action, so I thought 'why not?'

This detective story is based around a national clean up action on Curacao, where a group of 7 or 8 year olds are the main characters. The story begins with a photographer attempting to get the crowd to disperse so he can take a clear shot of the old woman, Cirila's heap of old furniture, plastic containers, and so on. Slogan-like phrases throughout the dialogue give the effect that everyone is involved in this action in one way or another...

...Ever since I was 20 I had wanted to write a history of the slavery in the Antilles, and so I spent fifteen years researching everything I could get access to in all languages and, in museums in various countries. The journals of ship doctors were a major source as was the journal written by the voyager Adriaen van Berkel in 1672. This only exists in two museums in the world, and the only way I could read it was with gloved museum attendants to turn the pages for me.

A lot of my material about the sugar plantations in Berbice (now east British Guyana) came from this source, where in it all the plantations, their exact locations, their owners, the type of sicknesses, the conditions of the slaves, etc, were described in great detail. It was a gift from heaven. There were even drawings in it that my illustrator adapted from for my book. All these details were vital for me, as my novel is full of these sorts of details to give as full a picture as possible. ...

...Another problem I had with the English translation, which is roughly half the size of the Dutch version, was the scene where Oeba forces Knikkertje to put her own party dress at her 15th birthday party, which shocks Oeba's prospective husband Floris, and the guests, and results in having Knikkertje moved to the slave quarters.

Here Oeba's desire to share with Knikkertje is so strong that it does harm, but it is also illustrates the deepness of prejudice. Here Knikkertje was the belle of the ball, and Floris's reaction was to scream in horror. For me this is the crucial point of the story. Knikkertje is in Oeba's dress, but she is not the same as Oeba.

The publisher had already said that the book had to be much smaller to fit into a series, and I was happy about editing it myself (a whole chapter about the Indians and their relationship with the slaves is omitted) as I had done the same with the French version. But now the publisher said that this part had to come out.
Marijn and the Lorredraaiers (translation: Marijn and the freebooters. Printed in the U.S. with the title:
"The Slave Doctor" -William Morrow and Company, N.Y., 1970.) .
Drawn by Dick de Wilde
from the 1990 edition, Leopold Publishing, The Netherlands.
This was in 1970 and I had just been in Curacao and had been involved with the Black Power there, so I was sensitive about these issues and said no. Then publisher said that they had an African American editor who agreed that it should come out. I felt this was discrimination, so I said that I would cancel the contact if this part was omitted. It was printed but it didn't sell very well...

Carving by Philip Moore, Berbice, Guyana.

...This relates to the theme in my book about the slave trade too. If something goes wrong it is due to something being wrong with the way the economics of a society is set up. During the slave trade multinationals governed the ethics and functioning of a society...

pages 10 - 12

Ian Kluge, poet / writer, Canada.

.....excerpts to come.........

page 12 - 14

Mary Jane Volkmann, visual artist, Namibia.

.....image to come.......

...excerpts to come........


page 11

Consumers of the Sun

.....text to come......


pages 14 - 15

The City as Dreamworld and Catastrophe: Part three

by Susan Buck-Morss, U.S.A.

.....excerpts to come........

Photographs and Illustrations of work by:

Elena Ostrer , Russia, Carolynn Newport, Australia, David Taylor , U.S.A., Mary Jane Volkmann, Namibia, Philip Moore, Guyana, Christophe Doucet , France, Sjra Marx, The Netherlands, Ropata Davis , Aotearoa - New Zealand, Taraneh Mozoun, The Netherlands, Bruno Maximus, Finland, Heiko Schulze, Germany, P. Kouslita, Albania, Juul Sadée, The Netherlands.

Translations, editing, co-ordination, layout, by:

Kathleen Babb, Japan, Alison Marshall, Aotearoa / New Zealand, Steve Marshall, Aotearoa / New Zealand, Sonja van Kerkhoff, The Netherlands.

Arts Dialogue, Dintel 20, NL 7333 MC, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
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