Assembly: Chronicles of Displacement

Dublin Core


Assembly: Chronicles of Displacement


The Assembly Chronicles of Displacement is an online gathering to address urgent issues of our time, explore alternative futures, and discuss and share knowledges and practices, facilitating international and transdisciplinary conversations on displacement and forced migration. Through a series of public talks and conversations alongside screenings, the Assembly will reflect on the outcomes of prior workshops (led by Jonas Staal and Bread and Puppet Theater) and further the discussion on the intersection of art discourses and socio-political activism.

Although entirely online, the Assembly’s base is in Singapore and Southeast Asia where many of the participants are from, and will focus on border politics, ethics of documentation in conflict zones and refugee camps, as well as the euphemisms and government rhetoric used around forced migration, which in the ASEAN region is referred to as “irregular migration.”

With contributions by:

Shahidul Alam (Bangladesh), Bodies of Power / Power for Bodies (Sanne Oorthuizen and Alec Steadman) with Mumtaz Khan Chopan (Indonesia), Bread and Puppet Theater (United States), Center for Political Beauty (Germany), Kin Chui (Singapore), Kirsten Han (Singapore), Nursyazwani Jamaludin (Singapore/United States), Stefan Kruse Jørgensen (Denmark), Raeesah Khan (Singapore), Dima Mabsout (Lebanon), Ayman Nahle (Lebanon), Erkan Özgen (Turkey), Alfian Sa’at (Singapore), and Jonas Staal (Netherlands).

Mf  D’s inaugural Assembly is hosted and supported by NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore.



Saturday, 28 November 2020 

Lecture: Aggressive Humanism by Thilda Rosenfeld, Center for Political Beauty
The Center for Political Beauty (ZPS), active since 2009, is an art collective based in Germany that combines performance and human rights activism. In this presentation, ZPS member Thilda Rosenfeld will convey the main ideas behind the Center’s initiatives and introduce three projects in detail. Their interventions focus mainly on genocides, migrant rights, and political apathy. Founder Philipp Ruch understands why some consider their work controversial: where people are expecting fiction, they encounter reality. 

Screening and Q&A: Wonderland, Erkan Özgen, 2016, 3 min 54 sec
A deaf-mute boy called Muhammed uses gestures and sounds to describe the experiences his family went through when escaping the war. Muhammed’s home city Kobanî in the Kurdish area of Syria at the border of Turkey became famous in 2015 when it was besieged by jihadist organisation Isis. After long battles, Kobanî managed to become liberated, but thousands of Kurds were forced to leave their homes. The wordless story by the 13-year-old Muhammed is a powerful statement against war, captured on video.

Lecture: Insurrection, Resurrection, Lamentation—the role of the arts in confronting our failed normality by Peter Schumann, Founder, Bread and Puppet Theatre

Roundtable: Kirsten Han, Nursyazwani Jamaludin, Dima Mabsout, moderated by Mohammad Golabi

Screening and Q&A: Now: End of the Season, Ayman Nahle, 2015, 20 min
Documentary détournement on the state of the Syrian crisis. The film pictures the everyday entanglement of refugees, tourists, and passersby in the Turkish seaport town of Izmir, where a sense of limbo and standstill looms as illegalised migrants await departure to the unknown. The soundtrack to the film is from a phone call by Hafez al-Assad to Ronald Reagan made some thirty years earlier. A caller on hold, an impatient translator… In Nahle’s words, “more confused than ever, the world is on the edge, showing the disoriented face of a smiling disaster.”


Sunday, 29 November 2020

Lecture: Stateless Assembly by Jonas Staal
Artist Jonas Staal founded his artistic and political organisation New World Summit in 2012. Ever since, he has developed alternative parliaments for stateless and blacklisted organisations, amongst others in collaboration with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation UNPO (Brussels, 2014) and the Autonomous Administration of North and West Syria (Dêrik/Eindhoven, 2015-18). Can we understand statelessness not only a term that signifies a condition of exclusion, but also as a precondition for liberating democratic practices from the state? Building on the theories of revolutionary Abdullah Öcalan, Staal will discuss his own projects as well as that of artists that are part of stateless movements, in order to explore unstated practices of art and culture. He will expand this exploration also in the field of ecologies of non-human comradeship, through his recent Interplanetary Species Society (2019).

Roundtable: Bodies of Power/ Power for Bodies, Mumtaz Khan Chopan, Kin Chui, moderated by Ana Sophie Salazar

Screening and Q&A: The Migrating Image, Stefan Kruse Jørgensen, 2018, 28 min 
By following a fictional group of refugees across Europe, the film questions the production of images surrounding real-life tragedies. Each segment of the film takes its cue from the destination of the refugees, from FRONTEX depicting the refugees on the Mediterranean Sea, to a photojournalistic reportage from a warehouse in Belgrade. Where do all these images about refugees come from? How do they reshape the geography of Europe?

Roundtable: Shahidul Alam, Raeesah Khan, Alfian Sa’at, moderated by Canan Batur


28 - 29 November 2020


Programme Item Type Metadata

Short Description

Through a series of public talks and conversations alongside screenings, the Assembly will reflect on the outcomes of prior workshops and further the discussion on the intersection of art discourses and socio-political activism.

Programme Type







Commissioned Work






“Assembly: Chronicles of Displacement,” NTU CCA Singapore Digital Archive, accessed June 26, 2022,