The creatore of "Blank Noise", a project combating violence against women, has won the award promoted by Fondazione Zegna and Cittadellarte
The Visible Award 2019, promoted by Fondazione Zegna and Cittadellarte, has been won by Jasmeen Patheja, creator of “Blank Noise”, a project that combats violence against women. The Indian artist’s project centers on the struggle against sexual harassment on the streets and vindicates women’s right to live without constant fear of being attacked. Jasmeen Patheja put together a dossier of testimonies on sexual aggression and promoted a series of performances called “Meet to Sleep” that focus on the sexual attacks that happen in public parks.
In southern Asia in fact, victims of sexual aggression are too often made to feel blame, when not actually deemed “provocatrices” because of clothing some think inappropriate. To this end, Jasmeen Patheja launched “I never ask for it”, a project that aims to collect from and display to the public articles of clothing worn by women who were victims of sexual harassment or aggression.
The Visible Award 2019, which took place in the council chamber of the Hôtel de Ville in Paris, is the fruit of collaboration between Cittadellarte and Fondazione Zegna, the founders of the project, with Lafayette Anticipation. The event was organized by Visible, which was set up in 2011 by Fondazione Pistoletto in partnership with Fondazione Zegna and has been curated since the outset by Judith Wielander and Matteo Lucchetti. It’s a biennial research project tied to a European award designed to produce and sustain socially engaged artistic practices in a global context.
The public jury that assigned the award numbered over 200, including 60 students from Master’s programs all over Europe. Further, five Satellite Sites took part via live streaming. These Satellites are nodes in the Cittadellarte network: Open Source Gallery in New York, with its founder, the artist and curator Monika Wuhrer; Kayu Lucie Fontaine in Bali, with its founder, the artist and curator Marco Cassani; Espronceda Institute for Arts and Culture in Barcelona, with its co-founder, the artist and curator Savina Tarsitan; the BA course in curating at Goldsmiths London, with Ginevra Naldini and her group of artists and curators, and lastly, UNIDEE in Biella, where the project originated in the context of postgraduate courses held by Valerio del Baglivo, with Janna Graham and Valeria Graziano providing mentoring.
Everyone taking part in the event was also a member of the temporary “parliament”, which actually occupied the space of a real governing body. “The setting,” the organization wrote, “lent the debate a genuinely democratic spirit and at the same time highlighted the social potential of the projects submitted. The active engagement of the public in the assessment and final voting of the projects contending the Visible Award make this a unique opportunity for collective learning and the widening of the debate on the topics raised by the projects themselves”.
The other nine finalist projects were Embassy by Richard Bell (Melbourne); Climavore: On Tidal Zones by Cooking Sections (Isle of Skye); Undercover Worker by Luke Ching Chin Wai (Hong Kong); Killing in Umm al-Hiran by Forensic Architecture (London); Tequiografías by Daniel Godínez-Nivón (City of Mexico); Trampoline House by Morten Goll and Tone Olaf (Copenhagen); Dar Yusuf Nasri Jacir for Art and Research by Emily Jacir (Bethlehem); CareForce by Marisa Morán Jahn (various cities in the United States) and Carved to Flow by Otobong Nkanga (Athens, Uyo). Jasmeen Patheja has won a euro 25,000 scholarship.
“Jasmeen Patheja’s art project, in its 12 years in existence,” say the two curators of Visible, “has managed to become a movement by rethinking the role of the artist horizontally and transforming the project’s participants into co-authors. Looking ahead to 2023, the Blank Noise movement is planning a public art installation at India Gate in New Delhi, where 10,000 garments of victims of violence will form, in the words of the artist, a living museum enabling us to collectively share the experience of violence and create a new alliance between social partners for a different future”.