The New World Summit is an artistic and political organization founded by visual artist Jonas Staal in 2012, dedicated to providing “alternative parliaments” hosting organizations that currently find themselves excluded from democracy. New World Summit opposes the misuse of the concept of democracy for expansionist, military and colonial gains to which the organization refers as “democratism.” The most recent excess of democratism has taken the form of the so-called War Against Terror. In opposition to democratism the New World Summit explores the field of art as a space to re-imagine and act upon a fundamental practice of democracy.
The six summits took place in Berlin DE (7th Berlin Biennale, 2012), Leiden NL (Museum de Lakenhal and De Veenfabriek, 2012), Kochi IN (1st Kochi-Muziris Biennale, 2013), Brussels BE (Royal Flemish Theater KVS, 2014), Derik, Rojava (2015) and Utrecht NL (Aula Utrecht University, 2016), and focused on the use of so-called designated lists of terrorist organizations, which are employed to systematically ban and isolate organizations from the political order. The New World Summit facilitated representatives of the Kurdish Women’s Movement, the Basque Independence Movement, the National Liberation Movement of Azawad and the National Democratic Movement of the Philippines, as well as lawyers, public prosecutors, judges and governmental advisors involved in high profile cases after the passing of the Patriot Act in the United States.
In 2013 the New World Summit founded its own academy in collaboration with BAK, Base for Contemporary Art in Utrecht, entitled the New World Academy. The academy invites organizations invested in the progressive political project to collaborate with artists and students to develop projects together that explore the role of art at the center of political struggle. Teachers, amongst others, have been the representatives of the National Democratic Movement of the Philippines, the refugee collective We Are Here and the international Pirate Parties, the National Liberation Movement of Azawad and the Kurdish Women’s Movement.
The New World Summit opposes the democratist notion that there is such a thing as a “limit” to democracy, for democracy is either limitless or it does not exist at all. The existing political order is unable to act upon this principle, as its interests are largely defined by geopolitical economic and political interests. The New World Summit thus claims art as a radical imaginative space “more political than politics itself,” as a space where the promise of an emancipatory, fundamental democracy can take shape.