Berlin / Lagos
September / October, 2012
Co-Lab 10 invited Jelili Atiku and Lan Hungh to test their desire and ability to give up creative authorship by engaging and allowing audience members to act as co-collaborators and creators of an art work. The artists investigated the practicalities and problems of expanding authorship to the audience, thus redefining its boundaries and the artist/audience relationship. This collaboration made references to the questions: What would happen when artist and audience have the same agency? Can it be possible to erase the lines between performer and audience, resulting in an equally shared creative authorship?
The Co-lab 10 therefore, involved the collaboration between the presence of the Taiwanese artist, Lan Hungh and the absence of the Nigerian artist Jelili Atiku. Where is Jelili Atiku? was the product of this collaboration. The performance was developed on the context of visa denial. Atiku was retained in Nigeria due to the denial of his VISA by the German embassy. After the artist submitted the required documents with full support of the art project space Savvy Contemporary Berlin and the travel grant from Prince Claus Funds for Culture and Development - Netherlands, Jelili Atiku's VISA was denied.
The ambiguous reason for the denial of VISA as stated by German Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria was that “the information submitted regarding the justification for the purpose and conditions of the intended stay was not reliable”. The curator of this collaboration, Márcio Carvalho declared through a Communiqué that “this is even more surprising, as Jelili Atiku just returned to Nigeria from a performance art tour through several prestigious institutions in Europe, including the Tate London. He said further:
This situation is becoming a rather common issue, especially with regard to African artists that receive a grant or a collaboration possibility in the West, but are still refused the possibility of fulfilling these opportunities. But this time, both artists, Lan Hungh and Jelili Atiku, with full support of the Co-lab editions program and Savvy Contemporary, decided to go beyond the hurdles posed by the embassy and to give continuity to their collaboration. After many Skype conversations, telephone calls, emails and exchanges of pictures and relevant documents, all spiced by bad internet connections, both artists embraced this issue as a motivation to develop their collaboration. This collaboration between Lan hungh and Jelili Atiku will be an epitome of inventing ways of being together.
Furthermore, Co-Lab editions 10 will proceed with its initial conceptual approach of testing both artists’ desire and ability to share creative authorship by engaging and allowing members of the audience to act as co-collaborators and creators of an art work. Such accomplishment cannot take place without formulating a last question: What does it take to build a co-authorship work between artists and their audience, when both artists are situated in two different locations, 7,405 Km away from each other, in two different contexts, involved within two distinct groups of spectators?
Lan Hungh (Taiwan) has a practice that consists of performance, music, installation, video, sculpture and curatorial work. Influenced by Asian culture, Hungh artistically employs subtle references to denounce violence and question contemporary ways of life.
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Bangor, Wales, UK
The Bangor Greadigol Artists, which aalso known as The Old Goods Yard Group (TOGYG) artists worked with Jelili Atiku at their studio in Bangor, North wales. The collaboration entailed the transformation non-traditional spaces and integration of mediated-body into metaphorical objects. The collaboration culminated into the enactment of eight performances, which was done under a broad theme: One Human Seven Hurdles. Jelili Atiku and the TOGYG artists, which include Jaci Atkinson, Wanda Zyborska, Lisa Hudson, Andrew Agace, Richard Houghton, Femke van Gent and Jo Alexander converted materials in the environment into visual symbols and elements. The artists in this collaboration expressed their individuality but still remain in the collectivism of the group. Hence, each individual’s performance and premised and projected different themes, ideas and values: FLIGHT by Andrew Agace, DE-CONSTRUCTION by Richard Houghton, MARKS by Lisa Hudson; ENERGY by Jaci Atkinson, WAVES and ALIGNMENT by Femke van Gent, PROTECTION by Jo Alexander, EMERGENCE/APPEARANCE by Wanda Zyborska; and ROMANCE WITH WIND by Jelili Atiku.
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