Cultural Initiatives in North Africa and the Middle East
Tunisian Ministry of Cultural Affairs
Exhibited at the 57th Biennale di Venezia, from 13th May to 16th November 2017.
Catalogue is in the making.
Project Details After an absence of almost six decades, Tunisia was once more present at the Biennale di Venezia in 2017 and we were delighted in helping to make that happen.
Following an exploration into transnational movements and the utopia of a world without borders, the Tunisian pavilion was presented in an atypical fashion. Opting out of exhitbing artists’ work in a predetermined space, the contribution curated by Lina Lazaar, instead took on the form of an interactive action.
Split across three kiosks, looked after by nine young Tunisians who have been affected by migration, where so called ‘Freesas’ were issued, the performance was able to represent the spirit of the Biennale di Venezia, during which its host city Venice morphs into an outdoor amphitheatre seeking to represent - through a number of national pavilions - the world in miniature and as a place where human beings may move freely and unfettered from one nation to the next.
We took it upon ourselves to make visitors reflect on their own way of travelling and the paths they follow in this world, to evoke in them the desire to belong to a human community that seeks new possibilities to redraw borders and renegotiate outlines. In line with the desire to abolish frontiers and with a perspective that goes well beyond Venice, the reflection continues in an interactive online platform that introduces works by artists and intellectuals in a variety of forms ranging from essays to audio recordings. An edited selection of these contributions will at a later date be published as a follow-up catalogue of the project.
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Vice-présidente de la Fondation Kamel Lazaar et créatrice du festival Jaou, une caravane culturelle itinérante, Lina Lazaar organise, sous le libellé « The Absence of Paths », le tout premier pavillon tunisien à la Biennale de Venise, grand-messe de l’art contemporain qui se déroulera du 13 mai au 26 novembre 2017. L’idée ? Rompre avec les barrières nationales et favoriser la circulation des hommes comme des idées.
Lina Lazaar est la vice-présidente de la Fondation Kamel Lazaar et organise, sous le libellé "The absence of paths", le tout premier pavillon tunisien à la Biennale de Venise qui se tient jusqu'au 27 novembre 2017. Elle était l'invitée de #MOE ce dimanche 21 mai 2017 et revient sur les motivations de ce projet.
There is no artist representing Tunisia at the 2017 Venice Biennale, but the country does have a pavilion—its first one in 50 years—and a curator, Lina Lazaar, who has put together a project called “The Absence of Paths.” At three locations around the Arsenale, kiosks are issuing universal passports to all comers that, in theory, at least, make one a citizen of the world, with the ability to cross all borders.
Expanding beyond its Arsenale-based pavilion to three kiosks throughout the city, Tunis presents no artists, requiring instead the visitors to activate the ‘exhibition’. Each kiosk is manned by young Tunisian men who issue travel documents called “Freesas” which visitors validate by stamping with their thumbprint and, as one page in the passport sized booklet explains, an intangible agreement to “endorse a philosophy of universal freedom of movement without the need for arbitrary state-based sanction.”
Tunisia will have a national pavilion at the Venice Biennale this year for the first time since 1958, presenting a project that focuses on migration and freedom of movement. The project involves Tunisian nationals who will issue visitors with a "travel document" at three locations across the city throughout the Biennale (13 May-26 November).
Each year, the Venice Biennale’s national pavilions provide a platform for countries around the world to showcase their most relevant and influential art. This year, as the 51 pavilions scattered across the Giardini and Arsenale opened their doors, we sought out the highlights you can’t miss—from breakout artist Anne Imhof’s performative takeover of the German pavilion to Tunisia’s interactive meditation on global migration.
I am typing this with an inky thumb. I gained it when I successfully applied for a ‘Freesa’ – a ‘universal travel document’ – from the artist collective The Absence of Paths, which is representing Tunisia in this year’s Venice Biennale. Despite the light-hearted rigmarole involved – queuing, being questioned about my nationality and thumb-printed – the intention behind the performance (which is taking place across Venice) is a serious one.
Dans un monde où les frontières se creusent, où les portes se referment, un "Freesa"semble être le meilleur des alliés. On le trouve dans un micro-monde, où les nations se côtoient et les peuples se mélangent... En 2017, la Tunisie s'y réinstalle, après plus d'un demi siècle d'absence. "La Biennale de Venise" accueille le pavillon de la Tunisie, un pavillon triangulaire.