Florian Göttke: 'Burning Images - Hanging Dissent' + Taf Hassam: 'Some Cruel & Unusual Records'

Lecture and musical performance on 'Scaffold'

Thursday 22 May 2014, 20-22 hrs
Location: 'Scaffold', President Kennedylaan 5, The Hague (opposite entrance Omniversum)
Admission: free
Read report on seeyouinthehague.nl

Part of See You in The Hague

Artist Florian Göttke talks about hanging or burning effigies as a sign of dissent in political protests. Taf Hassam presents a collection of songs and pamphlets related to the death penalty. Sam Durant's Scaffold will function as a platform.

Florian Göttke
Hanging or burning effigies as a sign of dissent is a longstanding and recurring practice in political protests, performed in demonstrations all over Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, North Africa, India and many other Asian countries. The practice is full of ambiguities and slippages, as the protesters readily incorporate influences and combine practices from various origins (annual purification rituals, carnival, formal justice, and communal shaming) for diverse purposes.

In his lecture Florian Göttke delineates the practice in US history from the burning in effigy of British tax officials and loyalists in the American Revolution until the hanging and burning of the last two US presidents Bush and Obama. Looking at this alternative history of effigy protests, one can easily trace the societal conflicts haunting the United States: the formation of the Union through the struggle against British rule, the abolition of slavery, the civil war, WWI, depression, WWII, civil rights issues, racial segregation, contentious wars overseas, and the current partisanship.
Enacting this performative practice, the protesters enter the discourse about the constitution of a just society, of legal and political legitimacy, political representation, the role of the citizens, and the possibilities of direct action. As the effigy practices are closely related to formal and informal justice, the lecture draws parallels with Sam Durants work Scaffold and its subject, the iconic official executions by hanging in US history.

Taf Hassam
Taf Hassam will be presenting Some Cruel & Unusual Records, a collection of topical songs relating to the death penalty in the United States, specifically historical instances of both civil rights activists and other politically engaged citizens being issued this sentence - from the nineteenth century up until the present day. The songs are presented in their own individual record covers and are coupled with a pamphlet - reminiscent of 'confession pamphlets' or 'broadsides', widely used in nineteenth-century popular culture surrounding public hangings - detailing the historical contexts and legal battles of the condemned.

The pamphlets and songs in this collection have been specially made and brought together to reflect some of the concerns in Sam Durant's work Scaffold and the talk Burning Images-Hanging Dissent by Florian Göttke. After the talks the pamphlets and songs will be made available for the audience to read and play on top of Scaffold.


Florian Göttke, 'US effigies'
photo: © Florian Göttke
Taf Hassam
photo: Image source: www.Abu-Jamal-News.com
Poster 'See You in The Hague'
photo: graphic design: Autobahn