a navigate commission
The performance will take the form of a series of activities/interventions over the 4 day period of navigate.
On each day for a period of 3 hours [16.00 - 19.00] Andr? Stitt will engage in a dialogue with the wall navigating it's physicality and making interventions upon it's structure. Interventions will include creating openings, embedding objects, climbing through, moving around, being still, listening, inscribing text and image.
Architectural space is a precondition, an invented and remembered fiction for something else, for something potentially forgotten. Forgotten spaces.
Forgotten spaces recalled are emblematic of the inevitable corruption of power. The power of desire, the power coercion, and repression; the power of empire. The power of fiction as truth.
Berlin - Beijing - Belfast
Berlin Wall - Great Wall - Wall of a Million Bricks
Historically it can be said that man made walls have been erected to accommodate a dual functionality; to keep intruders out and to keep it's citizens within. Walls are an outward manifestation of fear. Fear of difference, fear of the alien and other. Walls create enclosure, suffocation, abuse. Walls create security, power and paranoia.
The attributes of being human are embodied and exposed to the ways they make or are made into history. The work investigates recurrent themes and issues of colonisation and imperialism. In general, be it performance akshun, wall based, sculptural, or ersatz ethnographic displays the work delivers assaults on the colonising procedures of western culture and weaves a complex thread of poetry and political invective.
My work continually searches out those small elusive moments and images that actually represent and implicate us in a larger global narrative.
Artworks located in a formative experience and a response to an encoded past embodied in the present that identifies with the marginalised and dispossessed. Social and ethnic cleansing becomes global cleansing via inquisition technology. The human body and by association, all life, becomes the unknowing and disempowered object of surveillance.
The work physically, emotionally and psychically embodies the divisive forces of capitalism and materialist addiction. The brutalising and dehumanising effects of global conflict based on individual and group narcissism have created a world in which the vulnerable become the focus of manipulative and abusive economies.
My artworks seek to embody and identify with processes of transition, the resolution of conflict, community and communion. These elements constitute an evocation of the individual and communal body on a journey towards redemption. A treatment towards a new communionism.
a parasitic economy
towards a new communionism
commodity and product
in continual practice
recycling at climax
Journey's end - still alive,
this autumn evening
Even in my town
now, I sleep
like a traveller
by the stream
I would like to say
Coyote is forever
But it's not true.
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
The endless collapsing on every surface.
Travelling a silent road.
dispensing with the overload.
History as catastrophe
recouped as a story
of stylistic connections
I walk around and meet these men.
These men my age.
I walk around and smell their breath.
Their breath that smells of death.
A clinical cruelty under the alibi of art.
They know about those who disappear.
The headless corpses and the man
whose tongue had been pulled
through the hole in his throat
like a necktie.
The institution has failed us.
Sleep walking towards a police state
A present inside my mind
where no one else
Once I was the same age
as everyone else
you know what happened
friends slip thru walls
of buildings, and
turn to dust
fields of golden
along the M4.
Thinking of gun towers
speaking in tongues
families cast out
The high walls we erect
to protect ourselves
We all eat, and
make our peace
as we find it
The evil that men do. He checks his tendency to shovel the shit under the carpet. Institutional censorship. Linguistic censorship. He seeks validation from his victim. Trying to rationalise and find a philosophical basis for his actions. Talking about love, God, country and nature. This is what we expect of our world leaders. What we don't realise is that when the man comes through the door he is already dead. Nothing changes.
It's somewhere in northern Iraq. 2003. He shows me this thing in the back of the taxi. He says it's a child's brains. Eight years of age. Child's brains in the back of a taxi. Later, I'm looking out the window of the tour bus. Standing on the sidewalk is a girl, a one time hippy looking chick. Very wasted with a sign around her neck that says "Where's the band staying?"
Drawing the line
In August 1961, a fresh Stasi recruit named Hagen Koch walked the streets of Berlin with a tin of paint and a brush, and painted a line where the Wall would go. He was twenty-one years old, and he was Secretary-General Honecker's personal cartographer. Unlike most heads of state, Honecker needed a cartographer, because he was redrawing the limits of the free world.
In this land
I have wandered, lost
In this land
I have hunkered down to see
What will become of me.
In this land
I have held myself tight
So as not to scream
But I did scream, so loud
That this land howled back at me
As it builds its houses
In this land
I have been sown
Only my head sticks
Defiant, out of the earth
But one day it too will be mown
Making me, finally
Of this land.
The primary concern is to
regardless of the ideology.
There are five thousand of us here
in this small part of the city
We are five thousand.
I wonder how many we are in all
in the cities in the whole of the
How hard it is to sing
when I must sing of horror.
Horror which I am living
horror which I am dying.
To see myself among so much
and so many moments of infinity
in which silence and screams
are the end of my song.
What I see, I have never seen
What I have felt and what I feel
will give birth to the moment.
In the summer of 2002 a senior adviser told me that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community', which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality'. I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously if you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors..and you, all of you, will be left to study what we do.'
Located on the northeast outskirts of Lhasa city, Drapchi is Tibet's largest and most notorious prison. Several of it's inmates have died from torture, extreme ill-treatment or denial of medical care. The prison is home to a garrison of [Chinese] People's Armed Police troops, who supervise debilitating sessions of military style drills. These are life threatening for prisoners already weakened by ill-treatment and inadequate food. Female political prisoners are held at Rukhag-3. The name 'Drapchi' is derived from nearby Drapchi Monastery. Most of Drapchi's prisoners are monks and nuns imprisoned for the peaceful expression of their political beliefs.
Andr? Stitt is considered one of Europe's foremost performance artists. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, he has worked as a live artist since 1976 creating hundreds of unique performances at major galleries, festivals, alternative venues and sites specific throughout the world.
Stitt is identified with a strain of performance relating more to visual art and art action (identified in his work as 'akshun'). His work focuses on difficult and traumatic themes, issues of oppression, freedom, coercion, subversion, experiences of alienation, appropriation of cultures, globalisation and communal conflict.
His artistic output includes live work, relational activity, installations, digital print, videography, photography, painting and drawing.
In 2000 he opened trace: Installaction Artspace in Cardiff, initiating a robust programme featuring international and local performance and interdisciplinary artists. In 2001 he curated Span2, with Roddy Hunter, which was the biggest performance art event in London for over a decade and featured a four week programme of 21 international artists.
At present he is director of the Time Based Art course at Cardiff School of Art and a Professor of the University of Wales.