Profile — 23 Nov 2018
Jonas Staal’s ongoing project New World Summit is an artistic and political organization that invites communities excluded from mainstream channels of democratic participation to contribute to “alternative parliaments.” Participants have included representatives of stateless nations, blacklisted political organizations, and autonomous groups. Summits are convened at the invitation of cultural and educational institutions and developed with alternative diplomatic bodies such as the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organizations (UNPO) and the Progress Lawyers Network, and are held in parliaments conceived by the artist in collaboration with frequent collaborators such as architect Paul Kuipers and designer Remco van Bladel. The parliament’s architecture and the event’s visual materials are reimagined for every new iteration in direct collaboration with the participants, and the summit relocates to a new city each time it is produced, thus making it stateless in itself. All members are given full freedom to express their political beliefs in the process of building new alliances, but are held accountable for their positions by audience members.
In Freedom of Movement, Staal presents artistic documentation from New World Summit: Stateless State, which was held at the Royal Flemish Theater in Brussels from September 19-21, 2014. This fourth version of the summit centered around the question: To what extent is the concept of the state still capable of representing and protecting a person's right to self-determination in the 21st century?
About the artist
Jonas Staal (1981, Netherlands) studied at the AKI Academy for Visual Art and Design in Enschede, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and he holds a Ph.D from Leiden University. He is the founder of the New Unions campaign and the artistic and political organization New World Summit. His work includes interventions in public space, as well as exhibitions, performances, publications, and lectures. He has presented his work at venues including the Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; the Oslo Architecture Triennial; the Berlin Biennale; the Bienal de São Paulo; and the Kochi-Muziris Biennial. His recent books include Nosso Lar, Brasília (Jap Sam Books, 2014) and Stateless Democracy (BAK, 2015), and his book To Make a World: Propaganda Art in the 21st Century is forthcoming from the MIT Press.