K – V

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Vinny Golia needs no introduction.

He’s played in Vancouver numerous times and has recorded with a lot of local talent (Check his label 9 winds for releases).

Kathy Carbone might not be as recognizable to Vancouver.

I met Kathy my first year at CalArts and I was lucky enough to work with her in a variety of capacities while I was there. Kathy is many things: dancer, improviser, teacher, collaborator and researcher.  She is also a great reminder of how important art can be to communities, how important art can be to history, and how art can provide a place for discussion about issues that defy explanation.

Kathy is the founding librarian for the Interdisciplinary Genocide Studies Centre (IGSC) Library in Kigali, Rwanda.  She has spent portions of the last three summers there, researching and establishing the library that will celebrate its “Grand Opening” this July.  The library follows the mission of the IGSC:  to testify, to study genocide through rigorous cross-disciplinary scholarship, and to understand various mechanisms and structures of violence, with the goal of preventing genocide and mass violence.

We make art for a variety of reasons, and we justify that art for more reasons still.  This library project seems to both confirm and render obsolete many of these reasons.  We talk about making art to define or understand or comment on culture, but the idea of making art that will need to both rebuild a traumatized culture, and stand as a historic document is almost impossible to comprehend.  It just reinforces the connection between art, research, history and documentation, things that we often forget as art is dismissed as merely entertainment instead of being considered something essential.  I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to live in, and through, what happened in Rwanda, let alone make art in the aftermath. Thankfully artists like Kathy have stepped up to make sure that people are able to talk and examine and make art about one of the most unfathomable events in recent history.

The passion that Kathy has for research and for the preservation of art and information is quickly apparent when you meet her.  We worked together on a research project my second year at CalArts, and she proved to be as relentless when looking for information on the Canadian cultural economy as she was about locating rare complexist scores.  She was always available to talk about art (of any form) and that kind of attitude, one that isn’t afraid to address difficult topics about why and how we make art and how it can be integrated into our communities, is one of the principle ideas behind Atrux.

A bit more from Kathy about the IGSC Library: The library was one of the first libraries open to the public in Rwanda post-genocide and the first in the world whose collection is concentrated on the Tutsi genocide. The library’s collection is interdisciplinary in its approach and includes books, journals, DVDs and electronic resources in subject areas such as history, sociology, drama, literature, linguistics, theology, philosophy, poetry, painting, education, social ethics, peace-building, conflict resolution and cultural studies. The library encourages and facilitates interdisciplinary research.  The library is also a place where survivors can share and record their testimony, where writers and artists can share and store their work, and where scholars can research and share their ideas. In this way it is also a social and community center, a place where people come together on levels and in ways that they might not in other areas of life.

The IGSC Library collects and makes freely accessible materials about, from and artistic responses to the Tutsi genocide and genocide studies in general; enables the present and future generations to remember and honor the victims; helps us to know what happened in the past in order to prevent and resist future genocides and to create a culture of respect for human rights. The IGSC Library exists because of the generosity of others – everything in the library has been donated.

To make a donation please contact Kathy Carbone at kcarbone@calarts.edu

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