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manifesta 6 canceled

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    June 4, 2006 CURATORS REPLY TO THE ANNOUNCEMENT BY NFA (NFA - bold, Curators - Italics) ANNOUNCEMENT BY NFA The President and the Board of Nicosia for Art Ltd.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 6, 2006
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      June 4, 2006


      (NFA - bold, Curators - Italics)


      The President and the Board of Nicosia for Art Ltd.
      wish to make the

      following public announcement:

      1. The Nicosia Municipality through Nicosia for Art
      (NFA) undertook the

      organization of Manifesta 6, the European Biennial of
      Contemporary Art in

      Nicosia. To this end the Municipality signed
      respective agreements with the

      International Foundation Manifesta (IFM) and a team of
      3 Curators (Mr.

      Florian Waldvogel, Mr. Anton Vidokle and Mrs. Mai, Abu


      2. During the implementation of the organization,
      which was initiated in

      2004 a number of problematic issues had arisen for the
      resolution of which

      NFA and its Board have spared no effort.

      NFA made no effort to find resolutions, propose
      compromises and showed no willingness to cooperate in
      any way.

      3. Recently and contrary to the original concept of
      the Manifesta 6 program

      the Curatorial team insisted in the establishment and
      operation of an

      essential part of the Manifesta 6 school in the
      occupied part of Nicosia.

      Not true: since the beginning of the project we
      consistently maintained that Manifesta 6 School will
      be located in various venues in the entire city of
      Nicosia. Every part and venue of Manifesta 6 school is

      4. Through relevant correspondence, NFA and its Board,
      have made clear from

      the outset that the establishment and operation on a
      permanent basis of an

      essential part of the school in the occupied part of
      Nicosia apart from

      being in conflict with certain aspects of Cyprus and
      International Law, was

      also outside the ambit of the terms of the respective
      agreements and in

      breach of NFA’s contractual right to have autonomy in
      making decisions of

      this kind. The above was a major obstacle in the
      continuation and the

      realization of Manifesta 6.

      Not true: since the beginning of the project Mr.
      Toumazis, Mr. Zambelas and Ms. Michaelidou
      consistently maintained that operation of venues in
      the North is fully possible and desirable. To
      emphasize this further, at a meeting with
      representatives of IFM board in Nicosia, Mr. Zambelas
      showed all of us his photo with Mr. Kutlay Erk (cover
      of a UN publication) and said that they are good
      personal friends and unofficial collaboration is fully
      possible. In May 2005 Yiannis Toumazis took Anton
      Vidokle and Florian Waldvogel for a meeting with Mr.
      Kutlay Erk at his office in the north to specifically
      discuss possibility of having Manifesta 6 venues on
      that side of the city. Starting late summer 2005 Mr.
      Toumazis authorised Constantinos Filiotis to conduct a
      research of various vacant buildings/spaces in the
      north and compile a map (see attached photo) and
      archive documentation on these possible venues. In
      early November a 4 story building belonging to Onar
      family was visited and discussed, a price was quoted.
      > From December onwards a house belonging to Zincir
      family was under discussion, blue prints were
      obtained, property deed presented and price quoted.

      No specific Cyprus or International law was ever cited
      to the curatorial team that could directly or
      indirectly prohibit renting any of these buildings for
      Dept. 2.

      The past precedents of five Manifest editions and our
      current curatorial contract clearly assigns to the
      Curators the task of selection of venues, not the Host
      (NFA). (see Curatorial contract paragraph 1.3).

      5. NFA made repeated efforts to lift the above
      deadlock calling upon IFM

      for a discussion of the issues involved. NFA also
      called upon the

      Curatorial team to engage in mediation in accordance
      with the terms of the

      Curators’ contracts.

      Not true: All efforts to produce a compromise or a
      solution were initiated by Curators and NFA. As the
      process bogged down after the Coffee Break Conference,
      on 16 of February, 2006, Florian Walvogel travelled to
      Tallin to a meet with the board of IFM and Yiannis
      Toumazis to discuss the problems, Toumazis claimed a
      gym accident and failed to attend the meeting. On
      March 11, Martin Fritz - a board member of IFM, on the
      request of Curators travelled to Nicosia to meet with
      Toumazis and Curators in attempt to mediate the
      serious disagreements. On March 25 IFM organized a
      meeting with Toumazis, Curators and IFM board Members
      in Berlin in yet another attempt to resolve the
      problems. On May 12 Hedwig Fijen came on an emergency
      visit to Nicosia to attempt to find a compromise
      solution with Mr Zambelas, Finally on May 26 Florian
      Waldvogel and Nicolas Efstahiou met for an official
      mediation meeting in Nicosia as provisioned in the
      contract. All the meetings were initiated by Curators
      or IFM and none produced any solutions or a compromise
      as the position of the Host was categorically

      6. IFM declined to engage in immediate talks with the
      purpose of lifting

      the existing deadlock; the Curators also rejected any
      form of mediation.

      The above facts together with IFM’s decision in
      disputing NFA’s contractual

      right to have full autonomy in the decision with
      regards to the place of

      establishing and operating the school and of the
      Manifesta 6 program in

      general, led to an essential deadlock.

      See reply to point 5. NFA has no contractual autonomy
      as the selection of venues is up to the Curators.
      Under our contract NFA's responsibility is to
      facilitate rental and maintenance of such venues. (see
      contract paragraph 1.3)

      7. At the same time the Curators by way of statements
      to the Press and with

      written comments in the forum of the official website
      of Manifesta 6, made

      every effort in creating a political issue out of a
      purely legal matter. In

      addition to this, IFM’s official statement that it
      would unilaterally make

      the necessary arrangements for the operation of the
      Manifesta 6 school in

      the occupied part of Nicosia gave the Curators the
      “necessary” support in

      disputing NFA’s contractual rights and to continue in
      their effort to

      create a political issue out of a purely cultural

      The Curatorial contract does not include a
      confidentiality clause or any expressed prohibition
      about speaking to press. We have done so in numerous
      interviews, presentations and conferences for the
      duration of the project.

      The issue was politicized exclusively by the NFA
      insofar as they insist on prohibiting venues in the
      north on political grounds: refusal of some of the
      Greek Cypriots to cross a check point, produce a
      passport in Nicosia, have a visa paper stamped. We
      deeply respect individual political views held by all
      Cypriots, but maintain that these are individual
      decisions that prevent them from crossing, not laws of
      Cyprus or International Laws. The curators recognize
      that this is an issue and planned to find creative
      ways of addressing it in the project.

      8. NFA considers the above actions of the Curators and
      of IFM as unilateral

      breaches of fundamental terms of their respective
      agreements with NFA. In

      addition NFA considers as unacceptable the effort of
      assigning political

      dimensions to a cultural event, which had as one of
      its primary aims the

      creation of a platform of cooperation between the two
      communities in

      Cyprus, within a spirit of solidarity and common

      The breach of conrtact is clearly an action taken by
      NFA as it unilaterally and arbitrarily fired the
      Curatorial team on June 1st, and cancelled Manifesta 6
      on June 2, thus breaching its obligations under its
      contract with IFM.

      Regarding political dimensions, please see reply to
      point 7.

      9. As a result, having exhausted all the possibilities
      to lift the ensuing

      deadlock, NFA with a view of protecting its
      contractual rights and in an

      effort to avoid organizing Manifesta 6 in
      contravention of the prevailing

      legal framework and the provisions of the respective
      agreements, terminated

      its agreements with IFM and the Curators Mr. Florian
      Waldvogel, Mr. Anton

      Vidokle and Mrs. Mai Abu ElDahab.

      This is completely wrong as per all the replies to the
      above points.

      10. In order to safeguard its legal rights NFA has
      instructed its lawyers

      in Cyprus and in The Netherlands Zomenis & Leontiou
      and Houthoff Buruma

      N.V. to take all necessary steps to claim damages
      against both IFM and the

      team of Curators.

      no comment.
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