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Culture of Torture, Torture in Culture

    March 2009    

Bazon Brock: “Being forced into cultural identities means to expect torture, at least the torture of your intelligence“ - Lecture at the Opening of the exhibition “Culture of Torture, Torture in Culture“ at Artneuland on March 26th 2009 at 7pm

Artneuland is a home for Trialogues of image, word, and people, an artistic platform for the three monotheistic cultures. In the frame of our cultural, social, and political engagement Artneuland has invited the following artists Hannan Abu Hussein, Raida Adon, Christian de Lutz, Tim Deussen, Dotan & Perry, Al Fadhil, Babak Golkar and Raha Rastifard from different cultures and of different origins to contribute to the topic of torture — with the use of installation, video, audio and photography. This is an invitation to be confronted with the questions of what between visual representations and the narratives of human suffering.

"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." These are the words of the 5th Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was passed on December 1948. It was a direct counter reaction to the horrors of the II World War, but its meaning is timeless and international. Its aim was, and still is, to protect human beings from the cruelty and arbitrariness of others, to counteract inhuman and debasing means of violence. Ideally, to preclude the horrifying phenomenon of torture altogether.

Torture is universally acknowledged as a wrongdoing and openly opposed by officials, on the other hand however, it seems it has never ceased to be perceived as a reliable way of eliciting information and an efficient method of fighting with political opponents.

It is a degrading assault on the mental and physic health of men. However, it has been present in the backstage politics of most countries in the world, and is still being used today. It is astonishing, that countries which proclaimed "a defense of civilization", and openly denounced torture back in 1948, today, over 50 years later, use it themselves.

It is as if a post-war utopia has failed, and the only thing left from it, were florid statements that fill the pages of idle declarations... (Excerpt of an article by Dr. Gehad Mazarweh on „Culture of Torture, Torture in Culture“)

With the kind support of Canada Council for the Arts.

The exhibition will be opened until April 23rd 2009.


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