Paradox of Peace Arts Festival

The artwork at the 2018 Forum reflects the spaces that artist take in our society, showing up beyond gallery walls and inviting viewers to become participants. Sinking is a participatory performance of hand drawings and objects sourced by the audience to create virtual rivers on the sides of buildings calling into question how our relationship to objects connects with water. Our social space, WaterBar, is designed to create dialogue and build relationships by serving water. These projects invite attendees of the forum to step inside the artist space as full participants. The art also creates spaces for reflection and insight. Mads Nissen’s images capture the humans present in the struggle for peace in Colombia. Leon Wang’s protest signs from Hope, Love, Rise are an archive of the human response to violence and injustice here in Minnesota. Max Bray’s project considers the Mississippi River as a potent source of cultural production, looking at rhythms and shapes connected by water.  Images from ICAN give context to the continual and wide-spread work of peace around the world. The paradox of peace is embodied in these projects by the range of media and application of arts in the in-between spaces. Just like peace, this art invites people to action, movement, consideration, and are meant to be experienced.

The art installations will be viewable throughout the Forum, at various installation points around the Augsburg University campus.

Sinking by Jenny Schmid and Ali Momeni

The sea has long been an inspiring source of adventure, history, stories of faraway lands and mysterious and mythical creatures. From sea monsters to mermaids, giant squid to whales and the unknown, the sea has invited us to think expansively and dream of deep and faraway places.

But as ocean levels rise and plastics form islands at sea, we face the consequences of our consumption. The sea is in peril and it is an international crisis: waste has started washing up on shore in the Dominican Republic, floods are emptying debris into the ocean, the warming of the sea is destroying the great barrier reef in Australia and we are consuming microplastics in our seafood. The sea becomes a contentious topic that demands international cooperation.

Sinking is an interactive, live animation projection by Ali Momeni and Jenny Schmid, commissioned by the Nobel Peace Prize Forum. This project addresses both our mythical desires and the hard realities of our contemporary relationship with the sea. Sinking creates a narrative around the personal objects of audience members as well as poetic and historical associations of the sea.

Sinking is a participatory performance and draws on stories and objects provided by the audience.  We invite attendees of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum to reflect on their worldly possessions to identify an object with sentimental value that will outlast them. During the performance, a documentation station will be set up where audience members can lend their small object, a picture or drawing of that object, or a word that describes the object. Large projections will surround the space and immerse viewers in an animated build up and break down of our poetic associations with the sea and the challenging realities of the current international crisis.  

Water Bar & Public Studio

Water Bar & Public Studio is an artist-led benefit corporation based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They serve water to build relationships and transform the culture of cross-sector collaboration. They do this through a free tap water bar in Minneapolis, and at pop-up Water Bar events in other communities. Water Bar began in 2014 as a public art project, and is now a community art and science storefront space (or public studio) in northeast Minneapolis. Water Bar artists work in partnership with a network of other organizations, water advocates, government agencies, and local residents all across the State of Minnesota and the United States to #ServeWater

No Shelter From Fear by Mads Nissen

Mads Nissen is a Danish photographer with an international reputation, employed by the Danish newspaper Politiken and the winner of numerous awards, including the prestigious World Press Photo of the Year in 2015. He knows Latin America well, having lived in Venezuela as a teenager, and has previously produced a documentary series about the over five million internally displaced people in Colombia, people driven from their homes during the country’s 50-year long civil war. When it was announced on 7 October 2016 that Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos — and with him the entire Colombian nation — had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, it did not take long before Nissen was on a plane bound for Bogota.

Together with journalist Dorrit Saietz, Nissen travelled deep into the war-ravaged country — from the presidential palace to the slums, from the rainforest to the mountains. Everywhere, he met people tired of war, plagued by fear and hungry for peace. But he found hope in the eyes of the thousands of demonstrators who congregated day after day in Bogota’s Plaza de Bolivar after the first peace agreement had been voted down in a referendum. He also found hope on a bed in the FARC camp called El Diamante. Two-year-old Sara Manuela, who Nissen photographed as she slept surrounded by weapons and uniforms, is in herself a promise of peace. It is not normally allowed to have children in a FARC camp, but her parents took a chance that the peace process would succeed.

No Shelter From Fear is made up of 25 large-format photographs, taken in the tense weeks between the referendum’s no and the signing of a new peace agreement in Colombia. It was opened by Nobel laureate President Santos on 11 December last year, and will remain on display until November this year. The images of a people caught between fear and hope have not lost their topicality in the months that have passed since they were taken.

“I believe in peace,” says Nissen, who has been back to Colombia several times since last autumn. “The people I meet are so sensible and have such an incredibly lot more to lose if war continues than if there is peace. At the moment, I’m very concerned about the large number of civil society leaders who are being killed, and by the extreme poverty, uncertainty and levels of crime that still characterise all sections of society. But I am putting my faith in the growing middle class and the amazing spirit and heart of those who are building peace day by day.”

Going Down South by Max Bray

In Going Down South, Max Bray wanted to explore the idea of the Mississippi River as a potent sources of cultural production in America. Along its banks, through each state it touches, artists influenced by the river have created some of America’s most powerful and timeless music. Representing this music has to be done with a gut feelings and by hand using minimal materials with no second guesses.