Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Acts of Memory

Anniversary — an act of memory

solo, collective and multi-lingual recitations, from memory, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Monica Ross and Co-Recitors

In response to the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes by Police in London on 22 July 2005, the artist Monica Ross decided to try and learn the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by heart and attempted to publicly recite the Declaration, from memory, in the performance rightsrepeated — an act of memory at Beaconsfield, London in November 2005.

The Anniversary — an act of memory series of recitations began with a solo recitation by Ross, marking the 6oth anniversary of the Declaration, during the British Library exhibition Taking Liberties: The Struggle for Britains Freedom and Rights on 7th December 2008. The intention of the Anniversary — an act of memory series is to carry out 60 solo, collective and multi- lingual recitations of the Declaration, from memory, with individuals and communities in tandem with cultural and social events and in alliance with organisations, campaigns and anniversaries whose intentions and significance resonate with those of the Declaration.

To date, 22 solo, collective and multi-lingual recitations have been produced in collaboration with individuals, independent groups, cultural and educational organisations. 173 co-recitors of all ages have memorised and recited one or more of the 30 Articles in 26 languages, including: Arabic, Armenian, British Sign Language, Catalan, English, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Irish, Italian, Macedonian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Turkish and Welsh.


Tuesday, 13 April 2010


Sounds New Contemporary Music Festival
15th May 2010, 11am-5pm
Whitefriars shopping arcade

Sounds New Contemporary Music Festival presents the first part of a new collaborative project, XENON, by artist Mikhail Karikis, that explores with the theme of ‘strangers’. In response to our continued exploration for life in outer space and our fascination with making contact with extraterrestrials, the artist will create a hovering choir of messages to aliens sent by the general public. At Whitefriars shopping arcade in Canterbury, Mikhail will create an audience participatory sound installation. First, he will record your messages, then he will create a composition, and at 4pm on the same day he will launch a spectacular bouquet of balloons singing your messages toward the sky.

XENON is an interdisciplinary project with concerts and public-participation events commissioned by six East Kent festivals forming the East Kent Festival Cluster. XENON Act 2 continues at the Whitstable Biennale on 27th June 2010.

XENON Act 2 - Whitstable Biennale

27th June & 4th July 2010

Whitstable Biennale

Umbrella Community Centre

St Mary's Hall
Oxford Street
Tel: 01227 274880

As a consequence of international economic calamities, a geographically expanding European Union, and continuing oppressive political regimes across the globe, there is an increasing mobility of populations. Moving away from home, people become strangers in their own country or abroad searching for financial stability or safety. XENON, a collaborative project by artist Mikhail Karikis, orchestrates a series of unexpected encounters on stage and in the streets of Whitstable, between strangers engaged in unlikely acts. Soldiers, an acrobat, a reciter of the Declaration of Human Rights, three sopranos and Death’s Ferryman stumble into each other evoking questions on belonging, memory, independence, territory and impossibility.

The performance on Sunday 27th June at Umbrella Community Centre in Whitstable, takes the form of a concert in an increasingly militarised and territorialised auditorium. Performing artists include Monica Ross, Juice Ensemble, Conall Gleeson, E.laine, Amy Cunningham and Ben Crawley. A promenade performance with the character of Death’s Ferryman will continue on the streets of Whitstable on 4th July.

Taking its name from the ancient Greek word for stranger/foreigner, XENON expands Mikhail Karikis’s research in notions of the stranger and vocal address, and is part of a major commission from six festivals in the South East forming the East Kent Festival Cluster. Incorporating performance, music and visual art, XENON is conceived as a response to John Cage and Pierre Boulez, seminal figures of 20th-Century music and philosophy of art, who regarded opera an anathema, with the latter suggesting that “the most elegant solution to the problem of opera is to blow up all opera houses.” Explaining that opera is a “super-genre embracing all other art forms”, Karikis devises XENON as an ‘exploded’ opera, featuring interdisciplinary performative and sound events, which take place across East Kent festivals. XENON continues with Karikis’s collaboration with the ex-miners’ vocalists of Snowdown Colliery Choir in Deal Festival.