& before I forget, was involved in the 1st Ghetto Biennale in Haiti (2009)
Proposal 1: The Tap Tap Painters of Port-au-Prince
I intend to commission of a tap tap painting for the second Ghetto Biennale and produce a video documentary about the project (made in collaboration with artists from Ti Moun Rezistans). The project is an extension of the work I commissioned for the first Ghetto Biennale which was inspired by a love of sign painting inherited from my father who was a master sign-writer. The project will begin by making contact with local tap tap painters in Port-au-Prince to try and negotiate a tap tap painting dedicated to the Ghetto Biennale II. The negotiations, interviews and videography will be conducted by myself and Tele Geto. I hope to make a video document about the life, work, material and technical practices of the tap-tap painters in Port-au-Prince. A scratch version of the documentary will be screened during the Ghetto Biennale and the final edited and subtitled version of the documentary will be distributed via the internet and exhibited in participating galleries in 2012. It is expected that the final work will make use of proverbs, which have a profound role in Haitian culture and are often used in the decoration of tap taps.
Proposal 2: Télémaque in Marmelade (or How Mesmerism met Vodou in Pre-Revolutionary Haiti) – A Public Presentation at the Ghetto Biennale II
This project develops research I have been undertaking for several years exploring sources of anxiety about the influence of mass media on the popular mind. Sensationalist misrepresentations of Haitian Vodou in western popular culture have often merged the figure of the Zombie with the hypnotized Somnambulist, and the figure of the evil Mesmerist with the Voodoo Witch-doctor. Mesmerism, or ‘animal magnetism’ is the name given to a range of therapeutic practices which followed Franz Anton Mesmer’s discovery in 1774 of an ethereal fluid permeating all physical bodies. Blockages of this energy, it was believed, were the cause of many common ailments and diseases. Towards the end of his life Mesmer made the outlandish claim that he was responsible for the creation of the Haitian Republic after slaves had confused animal-magnetism with sorcery. It was while continuing my research into the story of the Bois Caiman ceremony for the first Ghetto Biennale that I came to suspect that Mesmer’s claim was not as outlandish as it first seemed. Since early 2010 I have been researching the historical facts behind it. ‘Telemaque in Marmelade’ will trace the story of Mesmeric Vodou in Western popular culture, and the social anxieties underpinning it.
Mentioned him yesterday re: Bataille/ Andrew Cooper – Primary school art teacher