A curatorial intervention exploring 21st century prospects for international peace through a series of symposia, exhibitions, lectures, and films



Learn how peace is discussed and negotiated in different institutional contexts and cultural spaces

Fields of Knowledge
  • Curatorial practice
  • Pedagogy
  • Philosophy / Theory
  • Politics / Economics
  • Public culture

Organizing Institutions

Slought, Syracuse University Humanities Center

Contributing Institutions

European Union National Institutes of Culture (EUNIC), International Peace Institute (IPI), United Nations University


Aaron Levy, Ken Saylor


Graphic design by Project Projects. Exhibition design by Saylor + Sirola. Media featured in the exhibition directed by Laura Hanna, Alexandra Lerman, Aaron Levy,and Gregg Lambert. Production equipment provided by ScribeLabs.

Opens to public


On the web


50% Formal - 50% Informal

New Museum of Contemporary Art

235 Bowery, New York
October 6, 2010 to January 9, 2011

Although peace is a topic that has long interested artists, the Perpetual Peace Project does not seek to showcase artists or artworks. Rather, it seeks to frame the discourse about how peace is negotiated and understood by encouraging discursive moments within the space of the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Through seemingly minimal gestures, including media stations and a variety of social situations, we reclaim the space of the museum for dialogue, interaction, and reflection about our project and the issues it raises.

Media stations are scattered throughout the building in ancillary spaces including the lobby, stairwells, and hallways. Viewers are invited to view selections from the Perpetual Peace Project film initiative, which features practitioners, philosophers, and the public in conversation about contemporary prospects for reducing geopolitical conflict. These media stations culminate in the gallery space on the fourth floor for public programming, for seminars about peace by invited philosophers and statesmen, also available online. This space will also be shared with the other artists and organizations featured in The Last Newspaper. A variety of seating arrangements will occur within this space over the course of the exhibition, ranging from the formal to the informal.

The project also includes an intimate reading room in the small stairwell gallery. Providing a semi-private retreat from the public nature of the rest of the exhibition, this room invites visitors to further engage with Immanuel Kant's foundational essay Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch (1795), newly republished and available here. It allows a respite for the public from the more specialized discourse contained within the media stations throughout the museum. Reprinted in the french fold tradition of Kant's time, our publication invites the reader's active participation to access the text concealed within. Blank pages interspersed throughout the book offer a space for contemplation and individual contribution.

In addition, we have invited students from Beaconhouse National University in Lahore, Pakistan--whose voices are otherwise excluded or invisible--to share their thoughts. This softly amplified audio recording will add another layer of voices to the subject of peace, and is emblematic of the variety of cultural exchanges that the Perpetual Peace Project has undertaken across a variety of spaces both private and public.

Organized as part of the exhibition The Last Newspaper, a discursive exhibition gathering various agencies and working groups together, which was co-curated by Richard Flood, Chief Curator, and Benjamin Godsill, Curatorial Associate.

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Kigali Institute of Science and Technology

Department of Architecture
Avenue de l'Armee
Kigali, Rwanda
July 22, 2011 to August 9, 2011

The installation of Perpetual Peace Project at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) is an outgrowth of a series of collaborative activities exploring the relationship of peace to hospitality, reconciliation, and socio-political change with regard to current conditions in Rwanda. Participants to the project include approximately fifty of Rwanda's first architecture students. It is situated within the arcbox, a shipping container repurposed as an exhibition space. The purpose of this reinvented space is to provide students as well as the community in Kigali with a place to foster creativity, innovation and architectural culture. The installation emerges from a kit of materials including graphics, writing instruments, texts, and media. The students physically inscribe these materials onto the space, collectively transforming the shipping container through processes of translation.

This curatorial approach develops from an understanding that there are multiple definitions and practices of peace, and that the discourse of peace can itself be understood as an ongoing negotiation and process. The collective act of reading, writing, and translating Immanuel Kant's Perpetual Peace occurs within the city of Kigali, across the school, and in the exhibition space, which allows us to enact this idea across a variety of scales and spaces. The exhibition space multi-functions as a space of hospitality, pedagogy, and display. Meals and social encounters, workshops and seminars, as well as graphic and media presentations establish the shipping container as a place for conversation about and participation with Kant's philosophical ideals.

Organized by Yutaka Sho at KIST, with faculty and students in the Department of Architecture at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST). Special thanks to exhibition coordinator Nerea Amoros Elorduy at KIST and the support of Musagetes Foundation.

Haverford College and Slought

Haverford and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 10 to March 10, 2011

The Perpetual Peace Project seeks to explore how the discourse of peace is negotiated and understood on the campus of Haverford College. Through seemingly minimal gestures, including media stations, public programs, and student workshops, the Perpetual Peace Project re-imagines academic and cultural spaces at this historically Quaker institution, in order to promote renewed dialogue, interaction, and reflection about peace and conflict in contemporary society.

Seven media stations have been strategically distributed throughout the Haverford College campus in public spaces including cafeterias, libraries, and hallways. At each media station, the Haverford community is invited to view selections from the Perpetual Peace Project film initiative, which features practitioners, philosophers, and the public in conversation about geopolitical conflict and possibilities for perpetual peace. A series of public programs and workshops further complement these media stations, establishing curricular ties to undergraduate courses concerned with Immanuel Kant's writings on perpetual peace and its contemporary relevance.

At Slought Foundation, the rear exhibition gallery has been transformed into a discursive space and reading room that invites visitors to explore the translatability of peace and cultural difference. The space will be framed by a panorama of the Lahore cityscape by artist Sajjad Ahmed, a short film about hospitality featuring scholars Achille Mbembe and Kwame Anthony Appiah, and East Asian artifacts from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The reading room features Immanuel Kant's 1795 essay on peace, newly reprinted for the installation and the inspiration for the installation's title ("in narrow or wider circles"). A series of informal conversations with artists and activists will take place within this room on an ongoing basis.

Presented by Haverford's Center for Peace and Global Citizenship and Hurford Humanities Center. Facilitated at Haverford College by Israel Burshatin, Alexander Kitroeff, Parker Snowe, James Weissinger, and Matthew Seamus Callinan.

Related publications

Philosopher Immanuel Kant explores the idea of perpetual peace in the form of an international treaty between states, in a new printing inspired by the French-fold tradition of his time.

Philosophers, statesmen and members of the UN Security council engage in a filmed conversation about how to reduce geopolitical conflict, building upon Immanuel Kant's essay Perpetual Peace (1795).

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