Bernard Akoi-Jackson: …it’s imperative, staying put, put into globalized imperative contexts, is imperative…
June 25, 4:30-6:30 PM & June 26, 5-7 PM, Old City Hall of Roskilde, Stændertorvet 1
The artist Bernard Akoi-Jackson creates participatory performances highlighting the pitfalls of the practical administration of immigration law and the language use in this context. His performances point at state administration procedures as a form of national self-protection against migration. In his new performance presented at Byens Hus in Roskilde (the old city hall), “…it’s imperative, staying put, put into globalized imperative contexts, is imperative…”, assistants usher audiences/“applicants” through labyrinths of administrative steps. Paperwork, border controls, thumbprinting and formulas to be filled in and revisited by “officials” as well as absurd tasks formulated in confusing administrative language is what the audience is exposed to. On the way through the system with many traps, the audience also encounter certain entice goods like sugar, gold, rock and sea salt. They go through all this in order to finally get a stamp as [NON-IMMIGRANT SELF], [IMMIGRANT OTHER], [NOMADIC CITIZEN] or [DIPLOMATIC VIP] by the administrators.
After the audiences has completed all requested tasks they are set to wait in front of a pseudo-altar in order to be called up to a celebrant, the authority, an ambiguous being enacted by Akoi-Jackson, to receive their certificate and slice of Ghanaian chocolate and Dutch Schnapps. The whole episode is filmed by CCTVs. The performance is in many ways a continuation of the recent performance by the artist at Lilith Performance Studio in Malmø, “Untitled: How to Usher the [an] African fully into [His]tory…”, 2015.
Akoi-Jackson moves between different genres; performance, dance, poetry, installation, photography and video to confront the complexities of the specific cultural moment. He recently took part in the group exhibition “If you love me - Loco Shed of the Kumasi Railway”, Accra, 2016 and performed at Lilith Performance Studios, “Wata don Pass - Looking West”, 2015. He also exhibited as part of “Time, Trade & Travel”, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam - SMBA, Amsterdam, 2012. He received his BFA and MFA from the College of Art and Social Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, in 2003 and 2006 respectively. He is now a professor at KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana.