This conversation was hosted by Karen Fiss, professor of visual studies at California College of the Arts. Maxim Gvinjia, the former foreign minister of Abkhazia was present on skype from Moscow, Russia.
A collaboration with BAM/PFA for MATRIX 257, The Secession Sessions is an exhibition and series of related public programs exploring a place caught in a contested narrative--the disputed region of Abkhazia, located along the eastern shores of the Black Sea. Consisting of a new film, Letters to Max (2014); a pseudo, unofficial embassy ("Anembassy") for Abkhazia staffed by the former foreign minister of Abkhazia, Maxim Gvinjia (also the star of the film); and a program of conversations and public events, The Secession Sessions invites visitors to investigate the question of statehood and representation through the prism of the stateless state of Abkhazia. Baudelaire establishes an open space for discourse and contemplation, while acknowledging both sides of the politically fraught situation.
Abkhazia is something of a paradox: a country that exists, in the physical sense of the word (a territory with borders, a government, a flag and a language), yet it has no legal existence because for almost twenty years it was not recognized by any other nation state. And so Abkhazia exists without existing, caught in a liminal space, a space in between realities.
Secession Session 1 vimeo.com/121178834
Secession Session 2 vimeo.com/121694812 and vimeo.com/124666197
Secession Session 3 vimeo.com/121801703
Secession Session 4 vimeo.com/124471246 and vimeo.com/120221133
Secession Session 5 vimeo.com/122398341