Chamber of Public Secrets

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Chamber of Public Secrets (CPS) is a production unit of critical art and culture: an informative, non-profit, independent contributor to the global cultural scene, established in 2004 by Khaled Ramadan and Alfredo Cramerotti.[1][2]

The unit works as a network of artists, curators and thinkers who have been collaborating since 2003 in the organization, production and circulation of film and video festivals, art exhibitions, TV and radio programs, political fictions and documentaries. CPS members also set up debate forums and talks and publish books and articles on issues like media representation, migration, mobility, aesthetic journalism,[3] colonialism, gender and difference. CPS helps to debate the position of artistic and media narratives, and the function and responsibility of both in relation to society.

As a consequence of political developments around the world and the withdrawal of a silent intellectual majority from the social spectrum into the narrow passages of academia, socially and politically motivated art has become the driving force behind CPS’ collective practices. CPS regards art as an agent of empowerment and involves viewers from all different backgrounds and communities. It works on the history of visual aesthetics, art and culture with diverse interests in the fields of social history, scientific research and critical theory. It engages with the public space and the way people use it; questions institutional thinking, thought control and authority-inflicted fear, and modes of instilling self-censorship in cultural producers, as well as socio-political apathy as a general public phenomenon. Since 2004 members of the network have conceived and implemented art exhibitions, film festivals, radio and TV programs set up conferences and talks, and publish articles and books addressing media representation and the position of art and media narratives.[4]

Members of the art collective Chamber of Public Secrets live and work in places like Cairo, Antalya, Beirut, Trento, London and Scandinavia.

Activities[edit]

Chamber of Public Secrets curated the first Maldives pavilion at the 55 Venice biennale 2013, under the title Portable Nation Disappearance as work in progress – approaches to Ecological Romanticism.[5] Chamber of Public Secrets was elected as one of three curatorial editorial teams of the Manifesta 8 Biennial in Murcia, Spain 2010.[6] The contribution ¿The rest is history? envisioned Manifesta 8 as a series of transmissions (including works of art and interventions in the mass media) that use artistic methods and the strategies of negotiation to explore the specific geographic and socio-political structures that define reality today, and its history. This way, CPS sought out and promoted dialogues which simultaneously occupied and interrupted the basic boundary conditions that defined the framework of Manifesta 8, placing them in the public realm through the practices of media production, documentary-making, artistic research and aesthetic journalism.[7]

In 2009, Al Jazeera TV produced a 28 min. documentary about Chamber of Public Secrets' history and activities.

2009 was the year of the MidEast Cut festival. It offered an investigation of the cognitive, cultural, social and political 'space' of alternative / experimental short film, documentary and video from and about the Middle East, Iran and Turkey. It reflected on a popular development within alternative film stemming from recent geo-political events around the world. This has led to widened awareness and resulted in independent electronic art produced mainly by film and video makers who have made the widespread usage of the (video) camera into a visual statement and an alternative to the information flow of the mainstream media.[8]

In 2008, Khaled Ramadan of Chamber of Public Secrets was appointed research curator at the 3rd Guangzhou Triennial in Beijing, China, and curated the Middle East Channel.[9][10]

The team's interest in art, history and representation led to the establishment of Immigrant Image Archive in 2007. The archive collects, preserves, and provides photographs and video films about immigrants to North Europe. It solely contains images with relation to immigration taken by the immigrants themselves. Hence, visitors to the archive and its activities are confronted with the social realities and experiences of the contributors who are conveying their own stories.[11]

The new international festival Made in Video was introduced by Chamber of Public Secrets in 2006. The festival focused on the way contemporary artists use video as a medium to approach political and social problems from new angles. Methods used included manipulated news clips, video as visual evidence and experimental interview forms. It featured independent media, not only as an artist's tool, but as every citizen's tool to suggest their views in an artistic, journalistic or documentaristic way with the aim of wrestling the mainstream broadcast scope and definition of news.[12]

Chamber of Public Secrets has also been a steady contributor to the artist-driven TV-TV channel. The team has produced more than 30 programs [13] for the TV station since its establishment in 2005.[14]

Films & Documentaries[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]