sexta-feira, 13 de janeiro de 2017

''Scramble for Africa'' : Events commemorating 130 years of Berlin-Congo conference


A Commemoration of the Berlin Congo Conference
An Exhibition curated by Simon Njami
15th November 2014 – 26th February 2015

SAVVY Contemporary

Participating artists: Kader Attia, Sammy Baloji, Bili Bidjocka, Filipa César, Mansour Ciss, Theo Eshetu, Satch Hoyt, Cyrill Lachauer, Nadia Kaabi Linke, Henrike Nauman, Thabiso Sekgala, Katarina Zdjelar

This exhibition is dedicated to Thabiso Sekgala (1981-2014).

Concept (short): 

November 2014 marks the 130th anniversary of the Berlin Congo Conference and the official partitioning of Africa by Western (European, North American and Ottoman) colonial forces – in absence of African representatives. It is against this backdrop that the exhibition WIR SIND ALLE BERLINER: 1884-2014 reminisces this determining moment in world and its severe and ongoing repercussions and history and reflects upon Berlin’s historical and contemporary bond to Africa.

The exhibition proposes a space for deliberation on the repercussions of this conference on past and current socio-political and economic phenomena in a Europe of flourishing nationalism and racism, as it deals with issues like migration flow or border and identity politics.

More: Savvy

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Visions and Retrospection on the Occassion of 1884 Berlin Conference

 Ballhaus Naunynstrasse (Post-migrant Theatre)

Dance performance by Qudus Onikeku 


The contradictions and tragedies of our collective histories do not allow us to represent the “other” with certainty. There is nothing we could be more certain about than our self, our mortality and our ego – an ego that is able to draw clear demarcation lines between good and bad, until it gets wound up deep inside of us, not knowing distinction.

More: Ballhaus Naunynstrasse


Host: Joshua Kwesi Aikins

Afrikanisches Viertel (African Quarter) and Schlossplatz, “Mohrenstraße,” Wilhelmstraße and May-Ayim-Ufer: all of these very different places have one thing in common – they were the sites of German policies of enslavement and colonialism. This is where crimes against humanity were planned, committed or celebrated by honouring the aggressors. Goods, art treasures and also human beings stolen in the colonies came into this city. Up to the present day the colonial propaganda from the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich continues to have an effect in Berlin’s cityscape. And until this day people in Berlin, Germany and Europe benefit – unconsciously and self-evidently – from colonial continuities shaping everyday life – from the morning coffee to the smart phone. The bus tour provides insights into a history and present which are at the same time suppressed and existent, starting out from local vestiges while also addressing the resistance of Black people which quickly emerged.


 Theatrical Lecture by Prof. Wendy Sutherland

In her theatrical lecture, Das Übersehene sehen (Looking at the Overlooked), literary scholar Wendy Sutherland illustrates how 18th century global trade, colonialism and enslavement are reflected on theatre stages of that era.

Sutherland’s research demonstrates how Black presences were and continue to be marginalised in theatre and literary studies – and how this has the effect of their disappearance from the German culture of remembrance.

In the subsequent Artists’ Talk held in English, including Mmakgosi Kgabi, Branwen Okpako and Wendy Sutherland, the performer, the filmmaker and the academic, all of them retrieving the overlooked from archives, from the body, provide insights into their respective work.

Featuring: Mmakgosi Kgabi, Branwen Okpako and Wendy Sutherland


Curated by Jean-Paul Bourelly

The Spontaneous Town Meetings is an interdisciplinary jam session in the format of a talk show taking place every month in the context of the series WE ARE TOMORROW – Visions and Retrospection on Occasion of the 1884 Berlin Conference. Jazz musician Jean­-Paul Bourelly invites musicians and writers, DJs, historians and actors to an afro-futuristic meeting in order to open up the gates of a Black collective knowledge archive. In an interaction between language and music, guests and audience, emotion and didactics, current and historic discourses are negotiated so as to emphasise new aspects and develop perspectives which so far seemed limited by the framework of their negotiation. As a consequence, discussions on the situation of refugees living in Berlin, the destruction of family relationships owing to the continuity of colonial conditions, the power dynamics between Old Europe and New Africa obtain an unknown variety of fresh perspectives and possible interpretations.


Erste Indaba Schwarzer Kulturschaffender
Open Presentation

Indaba [in‘daba] – isiZulu term for:                  
(1) Gathering, assembly, conference;
(2) Issue, matter affair.

On occasion of We are Tomorrow, Ballhaus Naunynstraße will host a two-day conference of Black German cultural producers.

The conference engages with the question of what the challenges, obligations, and the responsibility of Black cultural producers in Germany in the 21st century are. This includes the discussion around issues such as if it is possibly part of the “duties” of Black cultural producers to negotiate racism and colonial continuities; if and to what extent "reactive antagonising“ against existing injustices influences the development of artistic potential; in which areas of the cultural scene Black decision makers are present or underrepresented; to what extent stereotyping has an effect on casting for stage roles and what proactive solutions can be found for this.

Participants of this conference are exclusively Black cultural producers: writers, actors/actresses, performers, musicians etc. In its format the conference roughly corresponds with academic conferences, including roundtable talks, an accompanying programme and workshops. These are initially exclusive events for the accredited conference participants. At 4 pm the outcomes will be presented to the public in an open discussion forum.

The outcomes will be presented and subsequently published, including all the diverse and potentially contradictory views, but also the consensus that was developed. The conference aims for a strong voice power of heterogeneity as opposed to the conformity of opinions. The publication of the outcomes and discussion reports serves the purpose of documenting the status quo and setting up guidelines, suggestions and demands which can in turn be used during cultural policy negotiations to be presented to the respective “gatekeepers”.

CURATED BY Philipp Khabo Koepsell


A performance by Annabel Guérédrat

A Freak Show for S. is a solo performance. It is a tribute to Sarah Baartman, the “Black Venus,” a woman of Khoisan heritage who in the 19th century was exhibited naked and against her will as an exotic curiosity for the amusement of a European audience. Annabel Guérédrat enters the process of exploring the scope of action of a sexualised Black woman.

Guérédrat experiments with eroticism and surrender, with control and resistance, and the question, if these things cannot actually be the same thing after all. She breaks the mould of self-perception and external perception of the sexualised body, of the exoticised. And in doing so, she simultaneously criticises the shocking normality of sexist and inherently racist viewing habits.

A Freak Show for S. is the attempt of a performative transformation for both the audience and the performer; from the dehumanized object of sexual desire to a resistant and self-determined Black woman right up to a state of pure dancing energy.


More events HERE

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 A Spoken-word performance 

 ''Before love there was gender / And before sex there was pleasure.'' DARK MATTER in a performance in Berlin. 

Watch their videos HERE

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Decolonial Narratives
Curated by Alanna Lockward & Julia Roth

November 20, 2014, 13-22.30 hrs at Grüner Salon, Volksbühne, Berlin

In the course of the so-called “Scramble for Africa”, the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 was held. At that moment, the colonial powers already on the African continent officially divided it among themselves. Under the Nazi Regime, German Jews, Sinti, Roma, Black Germans and People of Color were stigmatized and systematically exterminated.

The heroic refugees in the protest camp at Oranienplatz are only one recent sad example of how German internal and external policies are actively involved in funding and expanding the racist delimitation of the EU’s external borders with institutions such as Frontex. “BLACK DIASPORA + BERLIN. DECOLONIAL NARRATIVES” is dedicated to exposing and critically discussing the continuities of this state of affairs, decentering hegemonic accounts on this matter. Until today, predominant self-representations of Germanness and especially the cosmopolitanism of Berlin are still presented as white. Black German and African Diasporas’ narratives are considered as belonging to a constructed “Other”. However, for a very long time, Black and African Diasporas have played a relevant role in this city.

This one-day symposium will introduce counter narratives of Black German legacies as well as art and activism interventions in Berlin and other European metropolis. A film screening, live performances and contributions on art education from a Black Diaspora perspective are also part of the program. The symposium aims at decolonizing established notions of knowledge, sensing and being and at enabling a dialogue on the current articulation of white supremacist discourses in Berlin and elsewhere, offering strategies and practices to dismantle it.

The series “bpb metro”, initiated and conceptualized by Julia Roth for the German Agency for Civic Education, takes the Berlin urban/metropolitan “space of struggle and negotiation” as a starting point. This sixth edition is a co-operation with Berlin-based Caribbean author, curator and activist Alanna Lockward, who has initiated and successfully presented BE.BOP. BLACK EUROPE BODY POLITICS (2012-2014) at Ballhaus Naunynstraße.

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BE.BOP 2014

Spiritual Revolutions and the ''Scramble for Africa''

Curated by Alanna Lockward (Art Labor Archives)

Ballhaus Naunystrasse, Berlin



BE.BOP previous editions (2012-2013) have engaged European audiences in intricate detail with the outrage generated by Black/African Diaspora peoples when confronting a racist world order structured along the lines of coloniality. BE.BOP 2014 now brings re-existence into the hallowed grounds of healing by means of drawing the spiritual map of Pan-Africanism before and after the so-called “Scramble for Africa”. The event will include for the first time an exhibition and a simultaneous presentation in Copenhagen in connection to “Say it Loud!”, so far the largest overall presentation of Jeannette Ehlers’ videoworks at Nikolaj Kunsthal (15.0325.05.2014).
Ehlers’ video “Whip it Good”, which premiered as a performance during BE.BOP 2013, will be projected in the Foyer of Ballhaus Naunynstrasse. The self-explanatory whipping action in Ehlers’ work brings up unsolved issues regarding enslavement in the Caribbean plantation system and the challenges of coloniality. These are concerns that have been discussed thoroughly at BE.BOP since its pioneering introduction of the theoretical perspective modernity/coloniality/decoloniality conceptualized by a group of thinkers and activists from the Americas, the Caribbean and the US Latino Diaspora in the 90’s.
In his keynote entitled “Spirituality, Subjectivity And (Im) Migrant Consciousness: The Tasks Ahead”, Walter Mignolo, one of the founders of this group and advisor of BE.BOP, will address how the combination of these entanglements has created the conditions for reversing migration movements: from the colonies and ex-colonies to Europe and the US. 
Another extraordinary public lecture will be given by Dennis Dickerson with the title “Religious Insurgency and the Long Civil Rights Movement in the United States.” in the framekwork of the Du Bois Lectures organized by the English and American Studies Department, Humboldt University Berlin.
For the first time in Berlin, Héctor Aristizábal, an internationally known theater of the oppressed practitioner, will create a space for collective meditation after his 30 minutes performance Nightwind”. Also premiering in Berlin, the moving-image work of  Anika Gibbons, Sasha Huber, Joy Elias Rilwan and Jane Thorburn will be presented along the photo series “Platos para los Muertos” (Meals for the Dead) by Yoel Díaz Vázquez dedicated to the Orishas. The exhibition will open with “Poison”, a performance by Charo Oquet , who will involve the audience with her characteristic usage of colour and video projections as healing devices, opening the way to an unprecedented meeting which in the liberating tradition of performance art is free and open to the public.
In the compilation of moving image from previous editions with groundbreaking works by Adler Guerrier,Teresa María Díaz Nerio, Raúl Moarquech Ferrera Balanquet, Mwangi Hutter, Tracey Moffatt, Pascale Obolo and Caecilia Tripp, among others, the public will be able to appreciate how BE.BOP. BLACK EUROPE BODY POLITICS continues its contribution to the radical imagination of European futures in which immigrants are becoming fundamental players.
More: HERE

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Return to Sender 
 Artistic positions from Egypt, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Morocco, Mozambique and South Africa

HAU Theatre, Berlin 

 There is still a long way to go before Europe is able to look at the non-Western World without its colonial glasses. Perhaps the answer lies in repositioning Europe's role in the world, as voiced by one of Africa’s leading intellectuals, Achille Mbembe: “Europe is no longer the gravitational centre of the world.”

As a counter move to the Berlin Conference of 1884, which paved the way for the political and economic devastation of the African continent by the European powers, HAU Hebbel am Ufer has invited six artists to examine the foreign-dominated history of their home countries and the resulting consequences. Over 9 days artists such as Bouchra Ouizguen, Faustin Lynyekula, Boyzie Cekwana, Adham Hafez, Panaibra Canda and Adissu Demissie will present their work and, as co-curators of the festival, invite an artist from their home country to take part in the festival.

With Marie Al Fajr, Panaibra Canda & Maria Tembe, Boyzie Cekwana & Nina Støttrup Larsen, Adissu Demissie & Junaid Jemal Sendi / Destino Dance Company, Dinozord, Ntone Edjabe, N’Goné Fall, Mona Gamil,  Adham Hafez, Kapwani Kiwanga, Mehdi-George Lahlou, Faustin Linyekula, Sifiso Majola, Bouchra Ouizguen, andcompany&Co. and others.

Faustin Linyekula
Statue of Loss

What remains 100 years after the deaths of the Congolese soldiers who fought and died in Europe and Africa? In his latest dance performance Faustin Linkeyula will explore one man’s attempt to build a monument to the Congolese soldiers who fought and fell during World War One.

On 13 October 1923, Firmin Leclercq, president of the Congolese Volunteers, wrote to Paul Panda Farnana, a veteran and the first ever Congolese graduate from Belgian and French universities, to acknowledge Farnana’s wish to build a monument at the river Congo’s mouth to the unknown Congolese soldiers who died during World War One. Seven years later Farnana died under mysterious circumstances, never realising his ambitious project.

Through his distinctive choreography Faustin Linkeyula will question what remains of the memory of these Congolese and African men who fought thousand miles away from their native land. What acknowledgment has been made of their sacrifice and what’s left apart from the ghost of a monument that was never built?
What remains 100 years after the deaths of the Congolese soldiers who fought and died in Europe and Africa? In his latest dance performance Faustin Linkeyula will explore one man’s attempt to build a monument to the Congolese soldiers who fought and fell during World War One.

Artist's reflections (audio): HERE

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GRADA KILOMBA / Writer, Theorist and Interdisciplinary Artist


sexta-feira, 24 de outubro de 2014

The Search for Decolonial Love

Follows an excerpt from a conversation between Dominican - American writer Junot Díaz and Paula L.M.Moya:

JD: [Nods quietly] One has to understand that all the comments, all the things that Yunior does in Oscar Wao, move him inexorably away from the thing that he most needs: real intimacy which must have vulnerability, forgiveness, acceptance as its prerequisites. So that even though Yunior is sexist, even though he’s misogynist, even though he’s racist, even though he mischaracterizes Oscar’s life, even though he’s narcissistic—at the end he’s left with no true love, doesn’t find himself, doesn’t find that decolonial love that he needs to be an authentic self. In fact, he ends up—like the work that he assembles and stores in the refrigerator—incomplete.

You know how he assembles this work on Oscar, how he says it needed someone else to complete, a someone he fantasizes as Lola’s daughter, Isis? Isis’s name, of course, is a bit of an inside joke, but an important one. Because, what does Isis do, what is she known for mythologically? In the Egyptian legends I grew up on, Isis assembles her lover/brother Osiris, she assembles the pieces of Osiris that have been chopped up and scattered by Set. That’s one of the great mythical tasks of Isis, except—What does she leave out? In the legends it says that Isis doesn’t find Osiris’s penis, but I like to believe she just leaves it out. Osiris comes back to the world alive but penis-less. Which for some is a horror but for others a marked improvement. In keeping with the Isis metaphor I’ve always thought, the thing with Yunior is that he couldn’t reassemble himself in a way that would leave out the metaphoric penis, that would leave out all his attachments to his masculine patriarchal phallocratic privileges. Which is what he needed to do to finally “get” Lola. In the end, Yunior is left . . . with not much. No Lola, no Isis, no Oscar.

Thinking about Yunior as having been raped made (in my mind at least) his fucked-up utterances in the novel have a different resonance. And while he wasn’t yet ready to bear witness to his own rape, it gave him a certain point of view around sexual violence that I don’t think would have been possible otherwise. It helped me produce a novel with a feminist alignment. A novel whose central question is: is it possible to overcome the horrible legacy of slavery and find decolonial love? Is it possible to love one’s broken-by-the-coloniality-of-power self in another broken-by-the-coloniality-of-power person?

PM: You have a new collection of short stories, This is How You Lose Her, appearing in print very soon. And you are also at work on a new novel, a portion of which you had intended to read from yesterday before you decided instead to give that amazing and insightful lecture. Will you tell me a bit about Monstro?
I have to wrestle with all this weirdness, have to wrestle with the voice, have to wrestle with the characters.

JD: Of course. Monstro is an apocalyptic story. An end of the world story set in the DR of the near future. It’s a zombie story. (On that island, how could it not be?) It’s an alien invasion story. It’s a giant monster story. It’s about the Great Powers (China, the United States) attempting to contain the growing infestation by re-invading the Island for, what, the twelfth time? I always say if people on my island know about anything they know about the end of the world. We are after all the eschaton that divided the Old World from the New. The whole reason I started writing this book is because of this image I have of this fourteen-year-old girl, a poor, black, Dominican girl, half-Haitian—one of the Island’s damnés—saving the world. It’s a book is about this girl’s search for—yes—love in a world that has made it its solemn duty to guarantee that poor raced “conventionally unattractive” girls like her are never loved.

PM: That’s so interesting because just a couple of days ago I went to a talk by the Stanford sociologist Corey Fields; he is doing some pilot studies about the impact of race on black women’s love lives. During his talk, Fields mentioned a book by Averil Clarke called Inequalities of Love. The thing about this book is that it talks about the fact that college-educated black women, in particular, date less, marry less, and have fewer romantic relationships than their college-educated white and Latina counterparts, and than non-college-educated black women. But the important intervention that Clarke makes is that she points out that everyone talks about this fact as a kind of difference. Well, sure it is a difference, but it is not just a difference—it’s an inequality. So she frames the situation in terms of an inequality and describes it as a “romantic deprivation” that black women suffer.

JD: Love this!

PM: And this romantic deprivation has all manner of cascading implications for everything else in their lives.

For the full interview with the writer go hERE 

Poética da relação

 What follows is an intro to Édouard Glissant's book "Poetics of Relation":

                                                      A BARCA ABERTA

Aquilo que petrifica, na experiência da deportação dos africanos para as Américas, é sem dúvida o desconhecido, enfrentado sem preparação nem desafio.

A primeira treva foi o ser arrancado à terra quotidiana, aos deuses protetores, à comunidade tutelar. Mas isso ainda não é nada. O exílio suporta-se, mesmo quando sidera. A segunda noite foi de torturas, de degenerescência do ser, provocada por tantos incríveis sofrimentos. Imaginem duzentas pessoas amontoadas num espaço que mal poderia conter um terço delas. Imaginem o vómito, a carne viva, os piolhos pululantes, os mortos jacentes, os agonizantes apodrecendo. Imaginem, se forem capazes, a embriaguez vermelha das subidas ao convés, a rampa que é preciso subir, o sol negro no horizonte, a vertigem, esse deslumbramento do céu colado às ondas. Vinte, trinta milhões de deportados durante dois séculos ou mais. A degradação, mais sempiterna que um apocalipse. Mas isso ainda não é nada.

(Édouard Glissant: Poética da relação)

Manthia Diawara's lecture on Édouard Glissant and their journey documented in the film "One World in Relation" can be found hERE

Border Dwellers (SP)

                                      Carlos Motta, still from "Nefandus", part of the "Nefandus Trilogy", 2013.

How to talk about things that don't exist? Border Dwellers is a collab between a frequent traveller-thinker and a filmmaker from the tropics. It is inspired by the journeys across the Atlantic, such as the recent trip by Caribbean poet and thinker Édouard Glissant and African theorist and filmmaker Manthia Diawara from UK to Martinique on the board of Queen Mary II (recorded by Diawara); or the trip by French philosopher Félix Guattari to Brazil following the invitation by the psychoanalyst Suely Rolnik, in the aftermath of the military dictatorship, when new things began to emerge, which resulted in a book- Molecular Revolution in Brazil.

Border Dwellers is also much indebted to Tropicália movement, to which we would like to pay a homage, in form of “inverse antropofagia”, digesting Brazil's artistic and intellectual stimuli, and this way shifting the focus south.

As Madina Tlostanova puts it: “I would not even say that I consciously chose border thinking. Rather it chose me! When you are the border, when the border cuts through you, when you do not cross borders in order to find yourself on either side, you do not discuss borders from some zero point positionality, but instead you dwell in the border, you do not really have much choice but to be a border thinker.”

In São Paulo we would like to present a freshly squeezed and meticulously curated screening followed by Q&A, where the public is encouraged to engage as an active participant. Border Dwellers (SP) features a constellation of artworks that delve deeply into the issues proposed by this edition of the biennale (such as the “turn” or paradigmatic shift we're assisting), and elaborate on “things that don't exist”, unfolding artworks which we believe would have a special resonnance within the Brazilian context and beyond.

Édouard Glissant: One World in Relation” is a forementioned transatlantic journey filmed by Manthia Diawara, during which Glissant shares his thoughts, at the same time poetic and philosophical, while arguing for “one world in relation”. His ideas, inspired by the condition of archipelagos (islands in relation), take shape according to the poetics of multiplicity- a fragmentary theory of global relations.

“Waiting” by Zarina Bhimji, an artist who explores history and memory, especially of postcolonial Africa and Europe, was shot in a factory in Kenya, based on the previous research into this slice of history. The resulting artwork is an “abstraction that hovers somewhere between film and painting- a monochrome that combined with a soundtrack becomes immersive.”

“Nefandus” by Carlos Motta is the first film from the Nefandus Trilogy that explores the relationship between colonialism and homosexuality from the viewpoint of the colonized. It is at the same time a personal and historical account, as well as a poetic journey into a vast and nameless landscape haunted by the ghosts from the past - a dark river in the tropical forests of Colombia. In other words: Decolonial aesthetics.

“Otolith II” by the Otolith Group (Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar) is the second film in the Otolith Trilogy. Shot partly in a Mumbai slum and narrated by a fictional character Dr. Sagar, it interconnects the harsh reality and improvisation of the life in the slum with “third world” feminist concerns and outwordly gravity.

“Ativu” by César Schofield Cardoso is a video inspired by resistance fighter Amílcar Cabral, a leading figure of the independence movement in Guiné-Bissau and Cape Verd, that reconnects his poetic legacy with the present-day activist positions from the archipelago.

Neil Beloufa's “Kempinski” is a fiction-doc that features people in Mali revealing their hopes and dreams for the future. The “actors” recount in present tense how they envisage the future to come. Their imaginaries reflect (un)realizable utopias. And precisely there lies their potential. Since we arrived at a point in history- perhaps a major historical turning point, a rupture in space and time- where we cannot any longer continue to “move forward”, putting the Western fiction of progress into question.

+ Free journal for take-away.


Rosana Sancin + Victoria Verissimo
Cape Verd Islands, February 27, 2014.

"I charge you to leave this body"

                                         ruby amanze: "i know who are. you are me.", 2013.

"Learning how to fly was the most necessary skill to acquire. To be okay at living in between, it was imperative that she remain light, leaving as gentle of a mark on the surface for fear it might crumble beneath her. This is how she became a ghost. Always a hybrid. Sometimes an alien. Borders are just pencil lines.

How can you divide something that is fluid [space]?

The whole world is mine."

: : Excerpt  from "I charge you to leave this body" by ruby onyinyechi amanze. Read the whole text and engage with the original drawings made by the artist hERE

sexta-feira, 31 de janeiro de 2014

Micropolítica: Cartografias do desejo

Suely Rolnik justifies her constant migration from one field of knowledge to another by arguing that '... what I was searching for was in none of them.' Her interest in what she calls the 'politics of desire' or 'micro-politics' grew out of her understanding that 'the colonial experience... was the repression of the body's knowledge, which was present in the cultures who founded Brazil, namely the African, native Indian and the Jewish-Arab cultures. Thus the primordial resistance, from a micro-political perspective, consists in summoning this knowledge.'