ONLINE VOCAL PRACTICE WITH THE POST COLLECTIVE

One of our ongoing and collaborative activities has been in producing and performing voice and language-based artworks in various contexts or arrangements. During the lockdown we carried out a series of online vocal and performative sessions. These turned out to be surprisingly effective and inspiring, as we used social media such as Jitsi and Skype in new and unorthodox ways via our vocal and language-based experiments.
We are now calling for new collaborators to join us in regular online weekly sound poetry and voice practices.
No previous experience is required other than being prepared to use your voice and language(s) in new and exploratory ways. We aim to create a virtual chorus where participants write and arrange their own songs for collaborative performing. This will draw from and ‘give voice’ to the diverse linguistic and poetic/artistic experiences and backgrounds of all those participating.
After an introductory session those who wish to continue will meet on a regular Friday basis to develop material for future online public performances.
 
“A voice means this: there is a living person, throat, chest, feelings, who sends into the air
this voice, different from all other voices.”
-Italo Calvino (A King Listens)
 

Introduction session: 06 November 11.00-13.00
and EVERY FRIDAY at 11.00

If you wish to join:
Please register your name and online contact details here: https://pad.pad.land/p/soundpoetry
Download ZOOM and find us here: https://zoom.us/j/99017738616

listen to other scores and improvs here: https://soundcloud.com/user-832058321/piece-of-hope 
 

A Piece of Hope

A short radio-phonic collage, cut from a three hours online meeting between the members of The Post Collective brainstorming/contemplating on the word ‘hope’ spoken in four different languages; Arabic, English, Greek, and Somali – mixed with incidental sounds of our everyday life in quarantine: interior observations and playful performances.

Performed by the members of The Post Collective: Mahammed Alimu, Marcus Bergner, Elli Vassalou, Sawsan Maher and Orkid

“Festival of Hope”: A Global Virtual Poetry Initiative by Versopolis

The Post Collective: A Piece of Hope, a sound poem, April 2020

Kunsthal Development Residency: Collaborative Speculation

“The only thing that is radical is space that we don’t know how to inhabit. This means space where we have to invent the ways to act and to live.”
Lebbeus Woods
Architect

From February 2020 to the end of 2020 the collective is hosted by Kunsthal Gent for a development residency. In these 3 months, the collective aims to build up artistic practices that transcend language and cultural barriers and address a broad audience. it also seeks to extend its network and knowledge on how to sustainably structure itself and its agency.

The group will work on the fields of speculative design, self-publishing, graphic design, performance/sound art, collective reading and viewing, cultural activism, and other artistic and critical practices.

PUBLIC PROGRAMME
The Post Collective offers free workshops, screenings, and public meetings in Kunsthal Gent between March and May 2020. Please join if you want to learn new skills, share stories and practices, want to augment your voice, and find new ways of expressing your voice:

– LUNCH ASSEMBLIES: COLLABORATIVE SPECULATIONS
Saturdays 22.02, 29.02, 07.03, 04.04, 11.04, 18.04, 13:00-17:00
Facilitated by Elli Vassalou, Sawsan Maher, and Mirra Markhaëva
The Post Collective is researching its own modes and conditions of collectivity and legal presence. How to design a collaborative environment regardless of the legal status of its participants? How to structure codes of conduct and build agency inside a group of people who do not only struggle with structural exclusions of race, class, and sex but also legal exclusions, citizenship, and human rights? How to surpass cultural barriers and create a safe environment of trust, commitment, and opportunities for all?

– VOCAL PERFORMANCE WORKSHOP
Fridays 13.03, 03.04,10.04, 17.04, 10:00 – 15:00
Conducted by Marcus Bergner
Visual work lead by Mirra Markhaëva
No previous experience required other than being prepared to use your voice and language in new and exploratory ways. We will create a chorus where participants can write and design their own songs for collaborative performing. After the introductory workshop (13.03) those who wish to continue will meet on a regular Friday basis to develop material for public performances. We will draw from the diverse musical, language, and poetical experiences of those participating.
The process will be documented by the visual representation of spoken sound by the use of different languages in their traditional calligraphies fused together. The letters will be done in lino cutting in order to create an abstract calligraphic ornament.

– PARALLEL PERCEPTIONS: a workshop on video walking
Friday 20.03, 10.00 – 15.00
developed by Elli Vassalou and Maya Dalinsky, with the insights of Christina Phoebe Thomopoulos
Since 2015, Elli and Maya have been making and researching video walking as a creative tool for community building, proprioceptive expression, group composition, environment-based art, participatory design, choreography, and counter-mapping.
On 20 March, together with Christina Phoebe and the post collective participants, they will explore the medium as another non-verbal tool of exploring collectivity.

– DESIGN A BOOK COVER WORKSHOP

Saturday 21.03 + Sunday 22.03, 10:00 – 15:00
Conducted by Hooman Jalidi A workshop open to all. Learn how to design and produce a book cover using the participant’s own illustrations, drawings, pattern making, collage, and handmade prints. Material such as paper, inks, and basic printmaking equipment will be provided.

– SCREENING ‘ON BELONGING’
Saturday 21.03, 15.30 – 18.00
introduced by Elli Vassalou
invited guests: Christina Phoebe Thomopoulos and Maxime Jean Baptiste
A dialogue between two filmmakers, the Post Collective and the audience. Screening of 2 poetic documentaries which merges questions of belonging, borders, and foreign-hood through dreamlike images and fleeting voices
– 15.30 introduction Elli Vassalou
– 16.00 “Nou voix” by Maxime Jean Baptiste (15′)
– 16.15 film fragments of Christina Phoebe Thomopoulos films
– 17.30 discussion with the audience

– ZINE WORKSHOP

Sunday 19.04 +Monday 20.04, 13:00 – 17:00
Conducted by Mirra Markhaëva
Open to all. A workshop about the designing and making of Zine publications.
Learn how to compose collectively a visual diary-like documentation, using your drawings, texts, and notes. We will work with the material created from the different workshops and art projects to create a small zine publication of our work together.

– FILM SCREENING – The Wasp and the Weather (2019, 19′, EN )
Wednesday 22.04, 20:00
Robin Vanbesien

In Robin Vanbesien’s new film poems ring out. At former youth centre Rzoezie, founded by young folks of Moroccan and Amazigh descent in Mechelen, some of the youngsters wrote poetry. Some of the original authors (M’Hamed El Ouali, Abdelhay Ben Abdellah) and contemporary poets (Samira Saleh, Mathieu Charles, members of the Post Collective) revisit, recite, and discuss these poems, probing their resonance in today’s social and political climate.

– ‘ON CO-ELABORATION’, study circle
Thursday 23.04, 10.30 – 18.00
with Robin Vanbesien, Vooruit, Ghent – Theaterzaal Foyer

The study circle facilitates an encounter of two artist’s collectives, The Post Collective and The Living and the Dead Ensemble, that both, through the exploration of storytelling, performance, and poetry, look for ways to compose new forms of alliance and common-ability. These are artistic practices that take up the role to reframe our gaze toward a work on co-elaboration. It is a work whose composition is continuously incomplete, ever to be sculpted – like a gift in the expanded present.

– COLLABORATIVE DRAWING WORK
ongoing
Conducted by Mohammed Tawfiq
An ongoing collaborative drawing that is open to everyone to contribute to producing a large onsite drawing work.



The Post Collective
is a young collective striving to establish an autonomous platform of co-creation, co-learning, and cultural activism created by and for refugees, asylum seekers, sans-papiers, and accomplices. It seeks to introduce a range of artistic, cultural, and employment opportunities, as well as provide an overall collaborative environment for the participants regardless of their legal status. The collective arose from the ‘Open Design Course for Refugees and Asylum Seekers’ 2018 at KASK school of arts, Ghent (BE) when some alumni and teachers decided to continue working together.

The Post Collective are Mirra Markhaëva, Marcus Bergner, Elli Vassalou, Sawsan Maher, Mohammed Tawfiq, Hooman Jalidi and Kinda Ghannoum

Supported by: Kunsthal Gent, Stad Gent, Arts in Society Award 2019 – 2020, Refu Interim, KASK School of Arts

#Justice4ZakZachie!

Justice For Zak/Zackie Oh! 
Screening/Discussion/Exhibition ,15 February 2020 @Pianofabriek
Visual material designed by Mirra Markhaeva and Elli Vassalou.

On 21 September 2018 Zak Kostopoulos, an activist of the LGBTIQ+ movement, HIV+ and drag queen (Zackie Oh), was brutally assassinated in the center of Athens in public view. He was fighting against all forms of discrimination and violence. Zak/Zackie Oh was murdered in Gladstonos street by two ‘respectable’ shop owners and eight cops, under the eyes and the phone cameras of passersby. Almost nobody reacted to the horrible sight.

Zak/Zackie Oh had been attacked several times in the past and said in interviews that he was getting away because he screamed loud and run fast. On that day Zak/Zackie Oh was not lucky. Kicked to death he succumbed to the wounds caused by the violent beatings of the owner of a jewelry shop (where he was supposedly entered to steal, which has proved false) and the owner of a real estate company (who is member of a far-right group). The Police then mistreated Zak/Zackie Oh who was lying on the ground, his face full of blood. He was transferred to the hospital handcuffed, while he was most likely dead.

After 16 months of unjustified delays and flaws in the investigation and disciplinary procedure and an unprecedented operation of covering up the murder, misinforming the public and re-victimizing the victim, the two shop owners and four Policemen have been prosecuted for negligent manslaughter (and not voluntary homicide).

The Greek justice has estimated that those who have beaten and handcuffed a helpless man bleeding on the pavement have killed him by negligence. This is an insult to Zak/Zackie Oh’s memory and goes against commonsense justice. We stand with his family to demand justice for Zak/Zackie Oh. We don’t forget, we don’t forgive, we are not afraid. We will keep on fighting against homophobia, fascism and “normality”. Our lives matter!

The event is supported by CADTM Belgique, Campagne ROSA, Zin•Tv, De Pianofabriek Cultureel Centrum.

Visual material for the Protest Justice For Zak, Long Live Zackie Oh! that took place at Bours, Brussels at 21 October 2018, Queer Pride Ghent and Pride Brussels 2019.

 

Open Design Course LAB version 0.3

Posters, catalogue and invitations designed by Kinda Ghannoum

Invitation

Lecture-Performance, 30′

Radical Imagination, Integrated 2019, Biennial International Arts & Design Conference, 5-6-7 November 2019, DeSingel, Antwerp
https://integratedconf.org/

Who we are:
We are members of the Post Collective or POCO for short. We are artists, designers, activists, students, social workers, teachers, researchers etc. We formed the collective just under a year ago from the 2018 Open Design course for refugees and asylum seekers conducted at KASK in Gent. This course is a groundbreaking educational initiative that allows those who would not usually have access to education institutions and resources, namely refugees, asylum seekers and sans papiers, to develop over a period of three month skills and knowledge across a range of floss software, peer to peer learning activities, design making and co-creation projects. Our collective arose out of the wish to continue working together after the completion of the course and to continue developing possibilities for co-learning and co-working directed towards establishing a sustainable and collaborative platform for all the collective participants, regardless of their legal status.

 

We Invite you.
As our opening piece demonstrated in a rather vocal way we invite you as the participants of this conference to join us in thinking about, discussing and implementing our collective aims and aspirations. Not just at the conference but into the future and especially in regards to our three month residency at the Kunsthal in Gent. One of our fundamental aims is to build a environment where people like us do not need to struggle to be assimilated but instead are able to begin to rethink and re-conceptualize critically a future where the identity of the refugee is celebrated and valued; and as Hannah Arendt argued “to become the vanguard of their people.” It is usual to’ invite’ refugees into one’s world and society but the collective is about reversing this mindset and of inviting you to participate in our world and our project. The collective seeks to forge ongoing connections and modes of exchange with a range of other groups, individuals and organizations.

 

What needs are there?
It’s crucial for the collective to achieve a level of participation in society and the local communities and not just fill in the gaps of representing diversity and token inclusion. To achieve this we aim to bring about a situation where refugees, asylum seekers and sans papier are able to access resources and levels of agency that are usually denied them.

We are here to find allies and accomplices, to advice and support in accessing such resources, facilities and instigating these forms of agency?

Collective action
That we are a collective rather than another type of group or organization is significant. For one thing it indicates the importance of an equal level of involvement and participation by all its members in the all processes of co-production and co-management. A collective provides more fluid and open capacities for exchange with other organizations, institutions and individuals. 

It calls for collective action towards accessing resources and employment for its members and also of actively advocating and working towards bringing about increased access to resources and levels of agency for the broader community of refugees and sans papier.

The paradigm
Giorgio Agamben in his 1993 essay ‘Beyond Human Rights’ refers back to Hannah Arendt’s article “We Refugees” to argue that the role of the refugee in today’s world provides ‘a paradigm of a new historical consciousness. ‘  He explains that “ if we want to be equal to the absolutely new tasks ahead, we will have to abandon decidedly, without reservation, the fundamental concepts through which we have so far represented the subjects of the political, Man, the citizen and its rights, but also the sovereign people, the worker, and so forth) and build our political philosophy anew starting from the one and only figure of the refugee.”

The Wasp and the Weather

unnamed

the wasp and the weather’ is Robin Vanbesien’s new film that focuses on Rzoezie, a former youth center in Mechelen, Belgium. Rzoezie was founded and organized in 1978 by young people of Moroccan and Amazigh descendent. Inspired by Paulo Freire’s ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’, the center focused on education and organization by the youngsters, for the youngsters: bottom-up and from the inside. “Rzoezie” is the Arabic word for “wasp”.

In the center, the youngsters wrote poetry. These poems preserve to various extent the activist history of the moment in which they were written and dedicated to (1990-2000). In ’the wasp and the weather’, some of the original authors (M’Hamed El Ouali, Abdelhay Ben Abdellah) and contemporary poets (Samira Saleh, Mathieu Charles, members of The Post Collective) revisit, recite, and discuss these poems.

The vocal score ‘Twelve Words’ is a response to Rzoezie’s poetry by The Post Collective.  The performers of the collective – Fatma Alomrani, Muhned Bnana, Hooman Jalidi, Marcus Bergner, and Mohamed Tawfiq – improvise with twelve alliterating words in their mother tongue: Amazigh, Arabic, English, and Farsi.
 

’the wasp and the weather’ (2019) is part of an ongoing study of the imaginary which holds together self-organized social practices (starting with the film ’Under These Words (Solidarity Athens 2016)’ 2017).

Q&A

The premiere was on Sunday October 20th (20:30 – 22:00) and was followed by a conversation between the artist and M’Hamed El Ouali, Samira Saleh and Mathieu Charles, Abdelhay Ben Abdellah, Mirra Markhaeva, Elli Vassalou, Hooman Jalidi, Fatma Alomrani, and Muhned Bnana.

Photos from the Q&A at Nona by Daan Broos.