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Platform presents The Bergen Sessions The Bergen Sessions will be held the last weekend of the exhibition The Secession Sessions.
Free Entrance!

Scholars from both the artistic and political fields are participating: Maria Moseng, Lina Dzuverovic, Kim West, Leon Colm, Gyda Marås Sindre, Mélanie Mermod and Gela Patashuri, together with the artist Eric Baudelaire and Max Gvinjia.

Questions raised by Eric Baudelaire’s exhibition The Secession Sessions, the meaning of the transformation of an art institution into a temporary embassy, will be discussed from different points of departure.

The seminar will be held in English, and streamed live online here and to Bétonsalon in Paris.

Download the seminar programme here

Please sign up for the seminar at julie(at)kunsthall.no.

Live stream

Live streaming video by Ustream

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Abkhazia is something of a paradox: a country that exists, in the physical sense of the word (a territory with borders, a government, a flag and a language), yet it has no legal existence because for almost twenty years it was not recognized by any other nation state. And so Abkhazia exists without existing, caught in a liminal space, a space in between realities.

Which is why my letter to Max was something of a message in a bottle thrown at sea.

How do you build a new State? Does the State include? Does it exclude? On what criteria can a State be considered to exist? And what forms of representation allow, or prove, this existence to be “real”? If all States are fictional collective constructs, what to make of Abkhazia: a fiction within a fiction?

Abkhazia seceded from Georgia, in the Caucasus, during a civil war in 1992−1993. Like all disputed lands, Abkhazia is entangled in a conflicted narrative. To many Georgians, the breakaway State is a rogue nationalist regime, an amputated part of Georgia. To the Abkhaz, independence saved them from cultural extinction after years of Stalinist repression and Georgian domination. To many observers, Abkhazia is simply a pawn in the Great Game Russia and the West have always played in the Caucasus. “The Secession Sessions” acknowledges these competing narratives and does not seek to write an impossible objective historiography. It does not parse, verify or document any competing claims to a land. The project starts with this observation: Abkhazia has had a territorial and human existence for twenty years, and yet it will in all likelihood remain in limbo for the foreseeable future, which makes the self-construction of its narrative something worth exploring. If Abkhazia is a laboratory case for the birth of a nation, then its Garibaldis and George Washingtons are still alive and active. Maxim Gvinjia is one of them.

When I dropped an envelope in a mailbox in Paris a year ago, I fully expected that a letter addressed to Maxim Gvinjia, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sukhum, Republic of Abkhazia, would come straight back to my studio with the notice “destination unknown.” But to my surprise, ten weeks later, I got an email from Max telling me he had received my letter, but could not reply on paper since the post office in Abkhazia cannot handle international mail. I have no idea how or why my letter arrived.


- Eric Baudelaire, 2014

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PROGRAMME

Abkhazia is something of a paradox: a country that exists, in the physical sense of the word (a territory with borders, a government, a flag and a language), yet it has no legal existence because for almost twenty years it was not recognized by any other nation state. And so Abkhazia exists without existing, caught in a liminal space, a space in between realities.

Which is why my letter to Max was something of a message in a bottle thrown at sea.

How do you build a new State? Does the State include? Does it exclude? On what criteria can a State be considered to exist? And what forms of representation allow, or prove, this existence to be “real”? If all States are fictional collective constructs, what to make of Abkhazia: a fiction within a fiction?

Abkhazia seceded from Georgia, in the Caucasus, during a civil war in 1992−1993. Like all disputed lands, Abkhazia is entangled in a conflicted narrative. To many Georgians, the breakaway State is a rogue nationalist regime, an amputated part of Georgia. To the Abkhaz, independence saved them from cultural extinction after years of Stalinist repression and Georgian domination. To many observers, Abkhazia is simply a pawn in the Great Game Russia and the West have always played in the Caucasus. “The Secession Sessions” acknowledges these competing narratives and does not seek to write an impossible objective historiography. It does not parse, verify or document any competing claims to a land. The project starts with this observation: Abkhazia has had a territorial and human existence for twenty years, and yet it will in all likelihood remain in limbo for the foreseeable future, which makes the self-construction of its narrative something worth exploring. If Abkhazia is a laboratory case for the birth of a nation, then its Garibaldis and George Washingtons are still alive and active. Maxim Gvinjia is one of them.

When I dropped an envelope in a mailbox in Paris a year ago, I fully expected that a letter addressed to Maxim Gvinjia, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sukhum, Republic of Abkhazia, would come straight back to my studio with the notice “destination unknown.” But to my surprise, ten weeks later, I got an email from Max telling me he had received my letter, but could not reply on paper since the post office in Abkhazia cannot handle international mail. I have no idea how or why my letter arrived.


- Eric Baudelaire, 2014

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PROGRAMME

Friday February 14th at 18:00
Are you here?
A talk with Eric Baudelaire and Kim West about the exhibition The Secession Sessions.



Saturday February 15th
Parts of programme to be streamed to Bétonsalon in Paris http://www.betonsalon.net/

10.30-11.30
Improbable Abkhazia:
A conversation with Maxim Gvinjia and Leon Colm


11.40- 12.30
Maria Moseng on Eric Baudelaire’s practice of filmmaking in relation to film- and art theory.


12.45- 13.30 LUNCH

13.30-14.30
Reprazent:
Gyda Marås Sindre and Lina Dzuverovic on visual vs. political representation


14.40- 15.30
WithOut Wall
Mélanie Mermod and Gela Patashuri
An intervention by Georgian artist collective WithOut Wall


15.30 – 16.30
Wrap-up with all participants.
Moderator: Asbjørn Grønstad


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The exhibition is a co-production of Bergen Kunsthall, Bétonsalon – Centre for art and research (09.01. – 08.03. 2014), Argos – Centre for Art and Media (2015), UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM / PFA) (04.02. – 22-02. 2015) in partnership with Kadist Art Foundation.

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Supported by Institute Francais and Fritt Ord.

Platform is Bergen Kunsthalls own lecure series

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