Jonas Staal is an artist whose practice is located at the intersection of art, architecture, democracy and ideology.
Staal is the founder of the New World Summit, an artistic and political organisation, which seeks to develop alternative parliaments with and for stateless peoples, autonomist groups and blacklisted organisations excluded from democratic processes. The parliament provides stated and stateless people with an arena for finding a closer commonality than with the states that wage war in their name (stated people) or against them (stateless people). The fifth and most recent iteration is New World Summit: Rojava, located in the originally Kurdish region of Rojava in Syria. The region is populated by Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and other groups, who have sought to self-govern, establishing the Democratic Self-Administration of Rojava in support of grassroots democracy, gender and religious equality, and a communal economy. This autonomous government commissioned the New World Summit for a collaboration to design a new parliament for facilitating their ‘stateless democracy’. For GIBCA, the scale model of the Rojava Parliament is on display, together with a video of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Amina Osse introducing the parliament and documentation of the construction process.This installation is presented at Göteborgs Konsthall.

Jonas Staal’s work Monument to Capital proposes the idea that architectural monumentality is connected to deep financial precarity. Staal uses the Barclays Skyscraper Index as a basis to elucidate the parallel relationship over time between the construction of the world’s tallest buildings and the largest crashes in the Dow Jones stock exchange. In each instance, the height of the new tallest building is in symmetry with the largest stock market crash. Monument to Capital considers capitalism as the dominant belief system in post-secular times – a “secular religiosity” demanding collective faith in the growth of the market. The installation has been developed as a site-specific one within the vast atrium of Chalmers University of Technology. Work presented at Chalmers University of Technology.

Jonas Staal lives and works in Rotterdam and Athens.

Supported by The Cultural Foundation of the Swedish Postcode Lottery

The work is commissioned for Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art (GIBCA) 2017.

New World Summit: Rojava, installation view, WheredoIendandyoubegin – On Secularity, Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art 2017, Göteborgs Konsthall. Photo Hendrik Zeitler.
Monument to Capital, installation view, WheredoIendandyoubegin – On Secularity, Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art 2017, Chalmers University of Technology. Photo Hendrik Zeitler.