Art Manifestation ‘On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam’ ~ The Guest Becomes Host

Joseph Sassoon Semah shares his lost rich Jewish Babylonian cultural heritage through art, performances and debates. He asks the public to review their own art, culture, traditions and identity.
The manifestation takes place mainly in 36 different public locations in Amsterdam, from September 7th – January 19th 2020.

Stichting Metropool Internationale Kunstprojecten
Curator: Linda Bouws.

On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam is an aesthetic and poetic research into the cities Baghdad, Jerusalem and Amsterdam, which has been conceived by artist Joseph Sassoon Semah and curated by Linda Bouws (Metropool International Art Projects). All these cities are said to have been tolerant at some time in their history, but how does that relate to ‘otherness’ and what does it mean today? The project focuses on two lines of thought. The first is what Semah called ‘The Third GaLUT’, the third Exile, a metaphor for disconnectedness.
The second is ‘The Guest’, he who is allowed to live and work in a foreign context tests his surroundings the very moment he articulates his particular position in exile without any reservations.
The Guest becomes Host. By this process Semah investigates one of the greatest achievements of human civilisation: hospitality. Joseph Sassoon Semah translates his cultural and visual heritage and its subtext into contemporary art. While doing so he reassesses and redefines lost heritages.
The project will translate the cultural heritage of Baghdad, Jerusalem, and Amsterdam, with the help of the different ‘Guests’, into a meaningful experience for a broad audience.

In On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam, Joseph Sassoon Semah shares his lost rich Jewish Babylonian cultural heritage and asks the public to review their own art, culture, traditions and identity. This will take place mainly in 36 public locations
in Amsterdam.

There will be new pieces of art, performances, debates, lectures, round-table discussions, video-interviews, a publication in English, articles on diverse platforms, a research – and a video-report.

Simultaneously in Amsterdam, Baghdad and Jerusalem a small house will be built: MaKOM in MaKOM. The project will translate the cultural heritage of Baghdad, Jerusalem and Amsterdam, with the help of different ‘Guests’, into a meaningful experience for a broad audience.

Artist Joseph Sassoon Semah
Artist Joseph Sassoon Semah was born in Baghdad (Iraq, 1948), as one of the last of a Babylonian Jewish family lineage, the grandson of Chief Rabbi Hacham Sassoon Kadoori (1885-1971). Kadoori was the head of the Babylonian Jewish community and preached of peace between Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Baghdad once was one of the most diverse an tolerant cities in the world. The Babylonian Jews in Iraq were one of the oldest and historically seen, the most important Jewish community. The Talmud Bavli was compiled in Babylon and during the British mandate in the 1920s, the well-educated Jews played an important role in public life. But from 1948, the year of independence for Israel, life for Jews in Iraq becomes extremely difficult.

Between 1950-1952, 120.000 – 130.000 Iraqi Jews were transported to Israel. The displaced Baghdadi Jews were forced to leave behind their culture and possessions in Iraq. Semah, together with his parents was displaced to the State of Israel in 1950. His grandfather Hacham Sassoon Kadoori refused to leave Iraq and stayed in Bagdhad until his death. His experiences in the Six Day War (1967) and the Yom Kippur War (1973) resulted in Joseph Sassoon Semah deciding to leave Israel: in this context he calls this a self-imposed exile.
As a Babylonian Jew who emigrated to the West (Amsterdam), he is part of GaLUT (Exile), an endless cycle of diaspora and return. You long for your country of birth and search for a way to relate to your cultural heritage and traditions. Heritage reminds us of our history.

On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam 
For this project Joseph Sassoon Semah designs a new series of drawings and scale-sized architectural models of houses, cultural institutions, synagogues and Jewish burial places in Baghdad from before 1948, that refer to their rich history.
At all 36 locations there will be an architectural art-model on show for at least a month, and activities will be organised with the partners.

On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam was realised in part with the support of AFK, BPD Cultuurfonds, Lumen Travo Gallery, Mondriaan Fonds and Redstone Natuursteen & Projecten.

Please mark the following data in your calendar and keep an eye out for our next newsletters or stay up-to-date at http://rozenbergquarterly.com/category/meritis_makom/ and www.josephsemah.nl

On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam will take place in 36 places:

1. Location: Lumen Travo Gallery, Lijnbaansgracht 314, Amsterdam
Date: 7 September – 12 October 2019
Exhibition, performance and meetings, opening 7 September, 17.00 hrs.
On Saturday 7 September at 5 pm: opening of On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam.
Performance: Joseph Sassoon Semah, Baruch Abraham, Peter Baren, Zuhal Gezik, Jom Semah.
Exhibition: drawings from the new series ‘Between Graveyard and Museum's sphere’, paintings, sculptures and a model cast in bronze of the Meir Tweig Synagogue of Hacham (Chief Rabbi) Sassoon Kadoori, who was also president of the Babylonian community in Iraq.
He lived from 1885-1971. Artist Joseph Sassoon Semah is his grandson. The model, key work of the project, will later be exhibited at other locations.
Lumen Travo Gallery, the gallery of Joseph Sassoon Semah, is the home of the entire event.
A space is also available as an information and research place and ad hoc lectures and meetings are organized for a small audience.

2. Location: Advocatenkantoor Bynkershoek, Herengracht 310, Amsterdam
Date: 24 September – 6 October 2019
Art and private meeting 24 September, 18.00 hrs.

3. Location: Goethe-Institut Amsterdam, Herengracht 470, Amsterdam
Date: 12 September – 12 October 2019
Lecture & Performance, 12 September, 20.00 hrs.

Lecture: dr. Yael Almog, Goethe Universität Frankfurt
The lecture will engage with the presentation of the East in the works of the great German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe particularly in his major work on Eastern aesthetics, the West-Östlicher Divan. In his Divan, Goethe portrays the possibility of cultural exchange through art between the East and the West. What was the meaning of this vision in Goethe’s time? How can we understand the West-östlicher Divan in light of contemporary polemics on migrants and refugees? The Israeli migration to Western Europe will be taken as a unique case study with which to examine the contemporary validity of Goethe’s vision.

Performance – Photo: Ilya Rabinovich

Performance:
Joseph Sassoon Semah, Baruch Abraham, Levent Aslan and Zuhal Gezik – Aslan Muziekschool with 6 students, Dali Heymann, Uzi Heymann, Atousa Bandeh, Peter Baren, Mikko Fritze, Jom Semah, Yvonne Strang and Els Wijnen.

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Noam Chomsky And Robert Pollin: If We Want A Future, Green New Deal Is Key

Noam Chomsky

Climate change is by far the most serious crisis facing the world today. At stake is the future of civilization as we know it. Yet, both public awareness and government action lag way behind what’s needed to avert a climate change catastrophe. In the interview below, Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin discuss the challenges ahead and what needs to be done.

Noam Chomsky is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at MIT and Laureate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona. Robert Pollin is Distinguished University Professor of Economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Chomsky, Pollin and Polychroniou are co-authors of a book on climate change and the Green New Deal, forthcoming with Verso in Spring 2020.

Robert Pollin – Photo: UMass Amherst

C.J. Polychroniou: Noam, let me start with you and ask you to share your thoughts about the uniqueness of the climate change crisis.

Noam Chomsky: History is all too rich in records of horrendous wars, indescribable torture, massacres and every imaginable abuse of fundamental rights. But the threat of destruction of organized human life in any recognizable or tolerable form — that is entirely new. The environmental crisis under way is indeed unique in human history, and is a true existential crisis. Those alive today will decide the fate of humanity — and the fate of the other species that we are now destroying at a rate not seen for 65 million years, when a huge asteroid hit the earth, ending the age of the dinosaurs and opening the way for some small mammals to evolve to pose a similar threat to life on earth as that earlier asteroid, though differing from it in that we can make a choice.

Meanwhile the world watches as we proceed toward a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. We are approaching perilously close to the global temperatures of 120,000 years ago, when sea levels were 6-9 meters higher than today. Glaciers are sliding into the sea five times faster than in the 1990s, with more than 100 meters of ice thickness lost in some areas due to ocean warming, and current losses doubling every decade. Complete loss of the ice sheets would raise sea levels by about five meters, drowning coastal cities, and with utterly devastating effects elsewhere — the low-lying plains of Bangladesh for example. This is only one of the many concerns of those who are paying attention to what is happening before our eyes.

Climate scientists are certainly paying close attention, and issuing dire warnings. Israeli climatologist Baruch Rinkevich captures the general mood succinctly: After us, the deluge, as the saying goes. People don’t fully understand what we’re talking about here…. They don’t understand that everything is expected to change: the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the landscapes we see, the oceans, the seasons, the daily routine, the quality of life. Our children will have to adapt or become extinct…. That’s not for me. I’m happy I won’t be here.

Yet, just at the time when all must act together, with dedication, to confront humanity’s “ultimate challenge,” the leaders of the most powerful state in human history, in full awareness of what they are doing, are dedicating themselves with passion to destroying the prospects for organized human life. Read more

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To Confront Climate Change, We Need An Ecological Democracy

Dr Marit Hammond

Climate change represents the biggest existential crisis that has ever faced the human race. However, we have yet to come to terms with the moral, political and economic dimensions of the climate crisis. As we confront climate change, we must ask: What would real climate justice look like? And what is the connection between the pursuit of true democracy and the battle to stave off a climatic change catastrophe? Marit Hammond, a lecturer in environmental politics at Keele University in the U.K., advocates for the necessity of an “ecological democracy” in order to meet the climate emergency urgently and sustainably. In this interview, Hammond offers insights on what this new form of democracy would look like and how we can get there.

C.J. Polychroniou: The challenge of climate change has been confronted so far on both political and economic grounds. Yet fewer people are engaging in conversations about the moral element of climate change. Isn’t global warming, first and foremost, a moral issue?

Marit Hammond: It is. However, it is important to stress that this moral dimension is not separate from, but rather stretches into the political and economic dimensions — for it is not just about private individuals’ moral behavior.
Climate change is a moral issue insofar as it is knowingly caused by human actions, and in turn causes significant, existential harm — avoidable harm — to humans, other species, precious cultures and ecosystems. As is widely known, threats such as crop failures, weather extremes and sea level rise threaten the quality of life, if not life itself, particularly of those who already have the least resources to draw on to manage their lives. It is those who cannot afford to protect themselves against heat waves that die or suffer severe health problems; those already living in precarious, [severe] weather-prone regions are forced to migrate elsewhere and make themselves economically vulnerable in the process. Although climate change is a complex phenomenon at the planetary level, it is causing suffering in the lives of concrete individuals — as well as the irreversible loss of countless species and unique ecosystems.

If there were a more direct cause-effect relationship, it would go without saying that causing such harm would be immoral. The only difference with climate change is that the actions that cause it are only indirectly related to the suffering it causes, and distributed amongst the global population — everyone who lives in an industrial society contributes to climate change. Thus, it is more difficult to determine intentionality and agency. Moral blame applies where harm is caused intentionally or through negligence — where there is agency to either cause or avoid [dealing with] it. In the case of climate change, this is the clear case, where people intentionally and knowingly lead high-emission lifestyles, such as driving, flying, or otherwise consuming more, or in more highly emitting ways, than they need.

Yet to a significant extent, individuals in industrialized societies actually have very little agency over their lives in these regards. Even those who want to be morally responsible, who have every intention to stop climate change and avert the suffering it causes, are forced to live the kinds of life the socio-economic system around them expects and demands; they inevitably rely on the agricultural, industrial and energy systems that are much more to blame. To make a living, they mostly have no choice but to contribute to a growth-oriented economy, whose ideology of exploitation (of people and nature alike) is the real underlying cause of climate change.

Thus it is important to remind ourselves of the moral dimension of climate change so that people don’t just see it as a managerial challenge to embrace — like another phase of modernization, which the growth economy has to adapt to but can ultimately benefit from — but as a prompt to get very angry about this wider system we are forced to live in. As concern about climate change is now growing amongst Western populations, it has become fashionable to consume ‘greener’ products and to object to the use of plastics, for example. These responses fit into a picture of embracing the need for societies to overhaul themselves, to become better by becoming greener — the spirit of ecological modernization. They do not, however, challenge consumerism per se, accept the need for general restraint and degrowth, or push for radical change at the level of the socio-economic system and its exploitative ideology. If it is at that level that climate change is caused, this is where the moral outrage people feel needs to be directed at. Now that we know about climate change, we have a moral responsibility not just to drive less and carry a reusable coffee mug, but to condemn the political and economic structures that are the real driver of the problem. Read more

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De eerste vier pagina’s van het dagboek van Paula Bermann – Kurrentschrift

Paula Bermann schreef haar dagboek in het Duitse Kurrentschrift. In de jaren tachtig van de vorige eeuw heeft de familie opdracht aan dr. Johan Winkelman gegeven om het dagboek te vertalen naar ‘leesbaar’ Duits. De heer Winkelman heeft in de voorbije jaren het dagboek ook vertaald naar het Nederlands. Zie voor Kurrent Duits: http://rozenbergquarterly.com/kurrentschrift/

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Kunstmanifestatie On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam ~ Gast wordt Gastheer

Kunstmanifestatie in Amsterdam door stichting Metropool Internationale Kunstprojecten

Joseph Sassoon Semah deelt zijn verloren gegane culturele erfenis door middel van beeldende kunst, performances, debatten en lezingen. De manifestatie vindt plaats op 36 verschillende locaties in Amsterdam, van 7 september 2019 tot en met 19 januari 2020.

Stichting Metropool Internationale Kunstprojecten
Curator: Linda Bouws.

The Introduction in English: http://rozenbergquarterly.com/the-guest-becomes-host/

On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam is een poëtische en kritische zoektocht van kunstenaar Joseph Sassoon Semah naar de steden Amsterdam, Bagdad en Jerusalem. Deze steden waren van oudsher gastvrije en tolerante toevluchtsoorden. Zijn ze dat vandaag nog? Wat is de plek voor ‘De Gast’, degene die in een vreemde context leeft en werkt en zijn omgeving toetst op het moment dat hij zijn specifieke positie als ’Gast’ in ballingschap zonder enig voorbehoud toont en zijn plaats opeist? De Gast wordt Gastheer. Deze bijzondere kunstmanifestatie gaat over twee onlosmakelijke grootheden: de dynamiek van de derde ballingschap en de evolutie van Gast naar Gastheer.

Joseph Sassoon Semah ontwerpt voor de manifestatie 36 architecturale modellen op schaalgrootte van huizen, culturele instituties, synagogen, joodse begraafplaatsen in Bagdad van voor 1948, die refereren aan de rijke geschiedenis van zijn verloren gegane joodse Babylonische cultuur, en een nieuwe serie tekeningen. Hij vraagt het publiek opnieuw te kijken naar zijn eigen kunst, cultuur, tradities en identiteit.

De manifestatie vindt plaats op 36 zeer diverse locaties van musea tot fietswinkel, van theaters tot hotel, van schaakwinkel tot garage. Op alle plekken verschijnt zijn kunst en worden met de partners activiteiten georganiseerd (artistieke interventies, performances, lezingen, en debatten). Daarnaast bouwen wij een huis in Amsterdam (Hermitage Amsterdam), in Bagdad (voor de synagoge Meir Tweig) en in Jeruzalem (Jerusalem Biënnale): MaKOM in MaKOM.

On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam’ is mede tot stand gekomen met steun van AFK, BPD Cultuurfonds, Lumen Travo Gallery, het Mondriaan Fonds en Redstone Natuursteen & Projecten.

Over de kunstenaar Joseph Sassoon Semah
Joseph Sassoon Semah is geboren in Bagdad (Irak, 1948) als één van de laatsten van de Babylonische joodse familielijn, de kleinzoon van Hacham (chief-rabbi) Sassoon Kadoori (1885-1971). Kadoori was de president van de Babylonische gemeenschap en predikte vrede tussen het jodendom, de islam en christendom. Bagdad was een van de meest diverse plaatsen ter wereld. Vanaf 1948, het jaar van de onafhankelijkheid van Israël, hebben de Iraakse joden het echter zwaar. Tussen 1950-1952 werden 120.000 -130.000 van de joodse gemeenschap van Irak naar Israël getransporteerd. De ontheemde Bagdadi-joden werden gedwongen hun cultuur en bezit in het Midden-Oosten te verlaten. Samen met zijn ouders werd Joseph Sassoon Semah in 1950 ‘verplaatst’ naar de staat Israël. Zijn grootvader Hachem Sassoon Kadoori weigerde Irak te verlaten en bleef tot zijn dood in Bagdad. Ervaringen in de Zesdaagse Oorlog (1967) en de Yom Kippur Oorlog (1973) deden Joseph Sassoon Semah besluiten Israël te verlaten: in deze context spreekt hij van een ‘zelfopgelegde ballingschap’.

Als Babylonische jood die is geëmigreerd naar het Westen (Amsterdam) is hij onderdeel van GaLUT (Exile), een eindeloze cyclus van diaspora en terugkeer. Je blijft altijd verlangen naar je geboorteland en zoekt een manier om je te verhouden tot je culturele erfenis en tradities. In Irak zelf is geen enkele herinnering meer aan de eens zo machtige joodse Babylonische gemeenschap. De Babylonische cultuur is driemaal vernietigd: in Irak, in Israël, maar ook in Europa speelt ze nauwelijks nog een rol. Alhoewel er geen joden meer leven in Irak en de Babylonische cultuur lang is ondergeschoven in Irak, Israël en in Europa, kan hun cultuur niet langer worden genegeerd. Een terugkeer naar de cultuur en identiteit die ze in Irak, Israël en Europa hebben verloren.

Joseph Sassoon Semah spreekt van ‘architectuur in ballingschap’.

In On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam onderzoekt Joseph Sassoon Semah hoe verloren gegane culturele erfenis weer betekenis kan krijgen. Hij vertaalt zijn verloren gegane, rijke joodse Babylonische culturele erfgoed in beeldende kunst en performances. Terwijl hij dat doet revalueert en herdefinieert hij dit erfgoed samen met anderen. Zijn gasten.

Activiteiten en Locaties: On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam Kunstmanifestatie van 7 september 2019 t/m 19 januari 2020

Op elke locatie verschijnt voor een maand een ander architecturaal model en een selectie uit de serie nieuwe tekeningen.

Alle bijeenkomsten:

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Marianne van Tilborg | On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) III

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