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Artúr van Balen / Tools for Action: Barricade Ballet

Dortmunder U | 3rd Floor

Artúr van Balen / Tools for Action
Barricade Ballet
HD-Video, 2016, 5:01 min.

In the series HMKV Video of the Month, HMKV presents current video works by international artists for the duration of one month each. In June we are presenting Barricade Ballet by Artúr van Balen / Tools for Action.

The mirror-barricade is a social sculpture consisting of silver-colored, inflatable cubes which can be transformed into a barricade within seconds. The playful tools for blocking streets have been created over several weeks by people in Dortmund, Germany, who protested against xenophobia and against the neo-Nazi event „Day of the German Future“ on 4 June 2016.

The airy sculptures made from adhesive tape, Velcro fastener and insulations foil reminding one of Any Warhol’s Silver Clouds are used to activate the ludic drive in people during demonstrations, they serve as a protection and as a powerful symbol of resistance against right-wing tendencies in our society. On 4 June 2016 108 inflatable cubes were given out to interested groups who could decide for themselves how to use the cubes: from a visible sign of protest to the non-violent blocking of the neo-Nazi rally.

The video Barricade Ballet shows aerial views of the barricade training involving more than 200 participants as well as the action on 4 June during which the police attacked the cubes with knifes and cut them to pieces. This led us to asking which values are being defended in our democracy.

Tools for Action is an art and activists group around Artúr van Balen. Since 2012 the group offers workshops and open source tutorials for the production and the use of inflatable sculptures during political actions. The group believes in non-violent resistance, tactical frivolity and the power of poetry.

Artúr van Balen, *1983 in Budapest, HU, lives and works in Berlin, DE, and The Hague, NL. 2002-2006 studied philosophy (B.A), University of Amsterdam, NL; 2008-2009 Environmental Art & Ceramic Design, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, GB; 2005-2011 Fine Arts, University of Arts, Berlin, DE. Exhibitions a.o. 2014 Disobedient Objects, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, GB.

Camera: Jan Voges (documentation 4 June 2016), regenfrei produktion (aerial views)
Sound: Sander Manse
Editing: Artúr van Balen 2016

An action by Tools for Action in cooperation with the Schauspiel Dortmund, the Kommunales Integrationszentrum der Stadt Dortmund and the Netzwerk Schule ohne Rassismus – Schule mit Courage.

Funded by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, the Kommunales Integrationszentrum der Stadt Dortmund, the Koordinierungsstelle Vielfalt, Toleranz und Demokratie der Stadt Dortmund, LUSH Nächstenliebe, StadtbezirksMarketing Dortmund eV and a crowdfunding campaign.

Text: Artúr van Balen
English translation: Inke Arns