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[Nettime-ro] manifesta 6 out of cyprus
Cosmin Costinas on Tue, 6 Jun 2006 12:53:04 +0200 (CEST)


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[Nettime-ro] manifesta 6 out of cyprus


June 4, 2006



CURATORS REPLY TO THE ANNOUNCEMENT BY NFA

(NFA - bold, Curators - Italics)





ANNOUNCEMENT BY NFA



The President and the Board of Nicosia for Art Ltd.
wish to make the

following public announcement:



1. The Nicosia Municipality through Nicosia for Art
(NFA) undertook the

organization of Manifesta 6, the European Biennial of
Contemporary Art in

Nicosia. To this end the Municipality signed
respective agreements with the

International Foundation Manifesta (IFM) and a team of
3 Curators (Mr.

Florian Waldvogel, Mr. Anton Vidokle and Mrs. Mai, Abu
ElDahab).



Indeed.



2. During the implementation of the organization,
which was initiated in

2004 a number of problematic issues had arisen for the
resolution of which

NFA and its Board have spared no effort.



NFA made no effort to find resolutions, propose
compromises and showed no willingness to cooperate in
any way.



3. Recently and contrary to the original concept of
the Manifesta 6 program

the Curatorial team insisted in the establishment and
operation of an

essential part of the Manifesta 6 school in the
occupied part of Nicosia.



Not true: since the beginning of the project we
consistently maintained that Manifesta 6 School will
be located in various venues in the entire city of
Nicosia. Every part and venue of Manifesta 6 school is
essential.



4. Through relevant correspondence, NFA and its Board,
have made clear from

the outset that the establishment and operation on a
permanent basis of an

essential part of the school in the occupied part of
Nicosia apart from

being in conflict with certain aspects of Cyprus and
International Law, was

also outside the ambit of the terms of the respective
agreements and in

breach of NFA?s contractual right to have autonomy in
making decisions of

this kind. The above was a major obstacle in the
continuation and the

realization of Manifesta 6.



Not true: since the beginning of the project Mr.
Toumazis, Mr. Zambelas and Ms. Michaelidou
consistently maintained that operation of venues in
the North is fully possible and desirable. To
emphasize this further, at a meeting with
representatives of IFM board in Nicosia, Mr. Zambelas
showed all of us his photo with Mr. Kutlay Erk (cover
of a UN publication) and said that they are good
personal friends and unofficial collaboration is fully
possible. In May 2005 Yiannis Toumazis took Anton
Vidokle and Florian Waldvogel for a meeting with Mr.
Kutlay Erk at his office in the north to specifically
discuss possibility of having Manifesta 6 venues on
that side of the city. Starting late summer 2005 Mr.
Toumazis authorised Constantinos Filiotis to conduct a
research of various vacant buildings/spaces in the
north and compile a map (see attached photo) and
archive documentation on these possible venues. In
early November a 4 story building belonging to Onar
family was visited and discussed, a price was quoted.
>From December onwards a house belonging to Zincir
family was under discussion, blue prints were
obtained, property deed presented and price quoted.



No specific Cyprus or International law was ever cited
to the curatorial team that could directly or
indirectly prohibit renting any of these buildings for
Dept. 2.



The past precedents of five Manifest editions and our
current curatorial contract clearly assigns to the
Curators the task of selection of venues, not the Host
(NFA). (see Curatorial contract paragraph 1.3).



5. NFA made repeated efforts to lift the above
deadlock calling upon IFM

for a discussion of the issues involved. NFA also
called upon the

Curatorial team to engage in mediation in accordance
with the terms of the

Curators? contracts.



Not true: All efforts to produce a compromise or a
solution were initiated by Curators and NFA. As the
process bogged down after the Coffee Break Conference,
on 16 of February, 2006, Florian Walvogel travelled to
Tallin to a meet with the board of IFM and Yiannis
Toumazis to discuss the problems, Toumazis claimed a
gym accident and failed to attend the meeting. On
March 11, Martin Fritz - a board member of IFM, on the
request of Curators travelled to Nicosia to meet with
Toumazis and Curators in attempt to mediate the
serious disagreements. On March 25 IFM organized a
meeting with Toumazis, Curators and IFM board Members
in Berlin in yet another attempt to resolve the
problems. On May 12 Hedwig Fijen came on an emergency
visit to Nicosia to attempt to find a compromise
solution with Mr Zambelas, Finally on May 26 Florian
Waldvogel and Nicolas Efstahiou met for an official
mediation meeting in Nicosia as provisioned in the
contract. All the meetings were initiated by Curators
or IFM and none produced any solutions or a compromise
as the position of the Host was categorically
intransigent.





6. IFM declined to engage in immediate talks with the
purpose of lifting

the existing deadlock; the Curators also rejected any
form of mediation.

The above facts together with IFM?s decision in
disputing NFA?s contractual

right to have full autonomy in the decision with
regards to the place of

establishing and operating the school and of the
Manifesta 6 program in

general, led to an essential deadlock.



See reply to point 5. NFA has no contractual autonomy
as the selection of venues is up to the Curators.
Under our contract NFA's responsibility is to
facilitate rental and maintenance of such venues. (see
contract paragraph 1.3)



7. At the same time the Curators by way of statements
to the Press and with

written comments in the forum of the official website
of Manifesta 6, made

every effort in creating a political issue out of a
purely legal matter. In

addition to this, IFM?s official statement that it
would unilaterally make

the necessary arrangements for the operation of the
Manifesta 6 school in

the occupied part of Nicosia gave the Curators the
?necessary? support in

disputing NFA?s contractual rights and to continue in
their effort to

create a political issue out of a purely cultural
event.



The Curatorial contract does not include a
confidentiality clause or any expressed prohibition
about speaking to press. We have done so in numerous
interviews, presentations and conferences for the
duration of the project.



The issue was politicized exclusively by the NFA
insofar as they insist on prohibiting venues in the
north on political grounds: refusal of some of the
Greek Cypriots to cross a check point, produce a
passport in Nicosia, have a visa paper stamped. We
deeply respect individual political views held by all
Cypriots, but maintain that these are individual
decisions that prevent them from crossing, not laws of
Cyprus or International Laws. The curators recognize
that this is an issue and planned to find creative
ways of addressing it in the project.



8. NFA considers the above actions of the Curators and
of IFM as unilateral

breaches of fundamental terms of their respective
agreements with NFA. In

addition NFA considers as unacceptable the effort of
assigning political

dimensions to a cultural event, which had as one of
its primary aims the

creation of a platform of cooperation between the two
communities in

Cyprus, within a spirit of solidarity and common
understanding.



The breach of conrtact is clearly an action taken by
NFA as it unilaterally and arbitrarily fired the
Curatorial team on June 1st, and cancelled Manifesta 6
on June 2, thus breaching its obligations under its
contract with IFM.



Regarding political dimensions, please see reply to
point 7.



9. As a result, having exhausted all the possibilities
to lift the ensuing

deadlock, NFA with a view of protecting its
contractual rights and in an

effort to avoid organizing Manifesta 6 in
contravention of the prevailing

legal framework and the provisions of the respective
agreements, terminated

its agreements with IFM and the Curators Mr. Florian
Waldvogel, Mr. Anton

Vidokle and Mrs. Mai Abu ElDahab.



This is completely wrong as per all the replies to the
above points.



10. In order to safeguard its legal rights NFA has
instructed its lawyers

in Cyprus and in The Netherlands Zomenis & Leontiou
and Houthoff Buruma

N.V. to take all necessary steps to claim damages
against both IFM and the

team of Curators.





no comment.

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