Democracy Now! - August 12, 2015

At the Venice Biennale, the oldest and most prestigious international biennial art exhibition in the world, we speak with one of the most celebrated Palestinian artists, Emily Jacir. In 2007, she won the Golden Lion here at the Venice Biennale for her work "Material for a Film," a large-scale installation based on the life of Palestinian writer Wael Zuaiter, who was assassinated near his home in Rome, Italy, by Israeli Mossad agents in 1972. For years Jacir has created groundbreaking art to capture the Palestinian experience and other issues. In 2001, she presented a piece titled "Memorial to 418 Palestinian Villages Destroyed, Depopulated, and Occupied by Israel in 1948," consisting of a large refugee tent on which the names of 418 Palestinians villages were embroidered. She later did a project called "ex libris" that commemorated the approximately 30,000 books from Palestinian homes, libraries and institutions that were looted by Israeli authorities in 1948.

We are on the road in Venice, Italy, the site of the Venice Biennale, the oldest and most prestigious international biennial art exhibition in the world. We are broadcasting from the Creative Time Summit here at the Venice Biennale, which on Tuesday featured a public discussion between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his daughter, the acclaimed artist Mariam Ghani, who is based in Brooklyn. She joins us to discuss how she has worked for the past decade on a number of art projects looking at how the United States responded to the Sept. 11 attacks. Along with the artist Chitra Ganesh, Ghani created an "Index of the Disappeared" — a physical archive documenting post-9/11 detentions, deportations and renditions. Ghani and Ganesh also created "The Guantanamo Effect" — an interactive digital archive defining, illustrating and linking key terms and events in the so-called global war on terror.

As Secretary of State John Kerry prepares to fly to Cuba for a ceremony Friday to open the U.S. Embassy in Havana, we speak with an artist here at the Venice Biennale who used art to challenge the U.S. embargo of Cuba. For his project called "Trading with the Enemy," Duke Riley spent four years planning and eight months breeding and homing a kit of 50 pigeons in Key West, Florida. His goal was to prove that pigeons could make the 90-mile flight from Havana back to Key West carrying Cuban Cohiba cigars, which are banned in the United States. Riley also installed video cameras on the pigeons. He began with 50 pigeons. Eleven returned.

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