Individual Project


Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi, Kerala (IN)

The New World Summit is an artistic and political organization founded by visual artist Jonas Staal in 2012.

Part I: The Choreography of Censorship
December 12, 2012 through March 13, 2013
Part of the 1st Kochi-Muziris Biennale, in Kochi, Kerala, India

Part II: History, According to the Resistance
Location: undisclosed

The New World Summit is an artistic and political organization founded by
visual artist Jonas Staal in 2012, dedicated to providing “alternative
parliaments” hosting organizations that currently find themselves excluded
from democracy, for example by means of international designated terrorist
lists. Its previous editions took place on May 4 and 5, 2012, in Berlin,
Germany, and on December 29, 2012, in Leiden, the Netherlands. Like the
two previous editions, the third edition zof the New World Summit consists
of a physical parliament structure and an actual summit.

Part I: The Choreography of Censorship
For the third edition of the New World Summit a triangular open air
parliament was built on the grounds of Aspinwall House, the main venue of
the Kochi-Muziris Biennale and an old colonial complex, combining a villa
with warehouses run by an English trading company. Within the triangular
construction, 45 large-scale hand-painted panels depicting flags of banned
organizations were organized by color. Half of them depict flags of banned
organizations in India, the other half organizations from abroad, thus
placing India’s policies of political exclusion in an international
context in which occupation plays a central role.

The structure was inaugurated on December 14, 2012. Two weeks later, on
December 28, the parliament of the New World Summit was raided by the
special branch of the Kochi City Police, with approval of the home
department and state intelligence. The panels they thought objectionable
were painted over by staff of the Kochi Biennale Foundation with black and
grey paints and the wall text announcing the planned summit was removed.
On January 9, 2013, this painterly gesture of the special intelligence was
supplemented with a charge against three members of the New World Summit,
among which its founder, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act
Section 10 (4). This is the very same act that is used to ban the
organizations that the New World Summit aimed to host. From this point
onward the Kochi-Muziris Biennale team, due to the presence on its board
of senior government advisors, proved unable to defend the summit which
they had commissioned.

As a residue of the performative intervention of the authorities, the
installation will remain open to the public until the end of the Biennale.

Part II: History, According to the Resistance
In India there seem to be profound ties between so-called terrorism and
the colonial legacy: many of the banned organizations in India are the
inheritors of movements that fought for the right to self-determination
against British rule. Beyond this unifying feature, the banned
organizations cover a wide range of orientations, including sectarian
movements of Sikhs, Muslims, Baptist-Christians and Hindus, the political
movement of the Maoist Naxalites, and the territorial struggles of
indigenous people of Tripura, Manipur, Assam, Orissa and Tamil Nadu. The
third edition of the New World Summit will attempt to explore a “history
according to the resistance,” in order to come to new understandings of
the relationships between colonialism, so-called terrorism and democracy.

Due to the above developments, however, the summit will not take place
within the installation in March 2013 as planned. The second part of the
New World Summit Kochi entitled “History, According to the Resistance”
will therefore be organized outside the context of the Biennale, later on
in 2013, on an as yet undisclosed location. The original plan for the
summit will still be implemented. It will host non-outlawed
representatives of organizations “banned” from the political arena by the
Indian government. For example the organization’s lawyers, negotiators, or
official spokespeople. The participants in the summit will give
presentations on the histories of their organizations, on their political
struggles and goals and their confrontation with anti-terrorist
legislation, as well as debate their views with one another and the

The first part of the New World Summit in Kochi took the visual shape of
the triangular cover of the parliament, whereas the second part of the
summit will consist of the triangular arrangement of benches. The
parliament thus “splits” in two, one (the form, or vessel) marked by the
intervention of the state, the other (the content) hosting organizations
banned by the state.


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