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Hank Willis Thomas, History doesn't laugh, 2013

Hank Willis Thomas, History doesn’t laugh, 2013

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 13.05.59

Chimurenga, African Solutions to American Problems, Posterserie, 2013

Chimurenga, African Solutions to American Problems, Posterserie, 2013

 

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SATELLITE N°2: NAIROBI

ROUNDTABLE SPEAKERS & PROGRAMME CONFIRMED!

mounir fatmi, History Is Not Mine, 2013, still from HD Video, Edition of 5. Courtesy the artist and Yvon Lambert, Paris

mounir fatmi, History Is Not Mine, 2013, still from HD Video, Edition of 5. Courtesy the artist and Yvon Lambert, Paris

In collaboration with Jimmy Ogonga (Centre for Contemporary Art of East Africa, Nairobi, Kenya) and hosted by THE NEST,  Giving Contours To Shadows presents its second satellite event, and the first of a series of roundtables that form the basis of our theoretical deliberations.

On Wednesday 12th March 2014, at 16.30 (EAT): “Beyond Amnesia: Alternative Narrations”
Moderated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung with
– Ruth Abade
– Jacob Barua
Danda Jaroljmek
– Wanja Kimani
– Dr. Tom Odhiambo

On Thursday 13th March 2014, at 16.30 (EAT): “The Written, The Spoken: Legends, Myths, Fictions & Histories”
Moderated by Storm Janse van Rensburg with
– Billy Kahora
– Miriam Syowia Kyambi
Ato Malinda
– Michael Soi
Binyavanga Eric Wainaina

In addition, an intervention will be staged in Nairobi by Brazilian artist Paulo Nazareth.

The roundtables will be broadcast live on 12th and 13 March 2014 from 16:30 (EAT, Nairobi) / 14:30 (DST, Berlin) at the following link: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/gcts-roundtables-nairobi

Giving Contours to Shadows is a project by SAVVY Contemporary and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.). Funded by the TURN Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation. Supported by Ernst Schering Foundation.

Curator: Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Co-curator: Elena Agudio, Roundtable Series Co-curator: Storm Janse van Rensburg, Curatorial Assistant: Maria-Gracia Guimarães, Project Coordinator: Susanne Husse

MORE INFORMATION:

www.givingcontours.net

THE NEST: House Number 4, Jabavu Maisonettes, Jabavu Road  TEL: +254 (0) 20 263 4428 EMAIL: theteam@becauseartisiife.org

JIMMY OGONGA: Jogonga@gmail.com

GCTS: Storm Janse van Rensburg: stormjvr@gmail.com

SATELLITE N°2: NAIROBI

mounir fatmi, History Is Not Mine, 2013, still from HD Video, Edition of 5. Courtesy the artist and Yvon Lambert, Paris

mounir fatmi, History Is Not Mine, 2013, still from HD Video, Edition of 5. Courtesy the artist and Yvon Lambert, Paris

In collaboration with Jimmy Ogonga (Centre for Contemporary Art of East Africa, Nairobi, Kenya) and hosted by THE NEST,  Giving Contours To Shadows presents its second satellite event, and the first of a series of roundtables that form the basis of our theoretical deliberations. On 12th and 13th March 2014 from 16:30 we will gather with leading Kenyan artists and thinkers to discuss in-depth two topics titled:

I. Beyond Amnesia: Alternative Narrations

II. The Written, The Spoken: Legends, Myths, Fictions & Histories

 In addition, an intervention will be staged in Nairobi by Brazilian artist Paulo Nazareth.

The roundtables will be broadcast live on 12th and 13 March 2014 from 16:30 (EAT, Nairobi) / 14:30 (DST, Berlin) at the following link:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/gcts-roundtables-nairobi

Giving Contours to Shadows is a year-long research and exhibition project by which artists, curators and thinkers relate to their epoch, to times past and to the drawing of prospective trajectories, thus weaving alternatives to established narratives. The aim of the project is not to re-write history, but rather to explore possibilities of pre-writing history, inquiry into the body as site of discourse, delve into the possibilities of sequestrating history, question the concept of a dominant canon, while poetically alluding to the sheer elasticity and fluidity of history.

Taking place in four art institutions in Berlin and with five satellite interventions across the African continent (Marrakech, Nairobi, Lagos, Dakar and Johannesburg), Giving Contours to Shadows aims at creating space for diverse epistemologies, cast light on discourses that transcend the Western perception of history and propose narratives that brave the colonial/post-colonial.

Giving Contours to Shadows is a project by SAVVY Contemporary and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.). Funded by the TURN Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation. Supported by Ernst Schering Foundation.

Curator: Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Co-curator: Elena Agudio, Roundtable Series Co-curator: Storm Janse van Rensburg, Curatorial Assistant: Maria-Gracia Guimarães, Project Coordinator: Susanne Husse

MORE INFORMATION:

www.givingcontours.net

THE NEST: House Number 4, Jabavu Maisonettes, Jabavu Road  TEL: +254 (0) 20 263 4428 EMAIL: theteam@becauseartisiife.org

GCTS: Storm Janse van Rensburg: stormjvr@gmail.com

SATELLITE N°1: MARRAKECH

IF YOU ARE SO SMART, WHY AIN’T YOU RICH?

– On The Economics Of Knowledge 

An Official Parallel Project of the 5th Marrakech Biennale

28th Feb – 22nd March 2014

A Collaborative Satellite Project N°1 for GIVING CONTOURS TO SHADOWS

The crux of the exhibition If You’re So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich? is to deliberate on the ‘knowledgeable society’ by questioning, through artistic reflection, the place and confluence of knowledge and economy within society. Stemming its impulse from the same-titled piece by minimalist composer and pianist Julius Eastman, the project brings together twelve international artists working primarily with sound installations fathoming, among other subjects, the tug of war between the cognitive, intellectual and the economic, financial capital. Eastman’s oeuvre is a glimpse at the hassles in society, which he bluntly engraved in his timeless scores. With the aim to explore how sound becomes haptic, tactile and textural in arts, society, politics and economy, the exhibition If You’re So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich? will be curated by Dr. Bonaventure Ndikung and Pauline Doutreluingne and hosted by ESAV Marrakech (l’École Supérieure des Arts Visuels de Marrakech).

Initiated by SAVVY Contemporary and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.), the research and exhibition project Giving Contours To Shadows embarks with its first satellite project – a collaboration with the exhibition project If You’re So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich? in the framework of the 5th Marrakech Biennale. Both projects interweave especially through the intervention of Emeka Ogboh, whose work Oshodi Stock Exchange links the satellite projects in Marrakech and Lagos.

Giving Contours To Shadows takes its cue from the Glissantian conception that History cannot be left in the hands of historians only. In that sense, the project looks at ways, by which artists, curators and thinkers relate to their own epoch, to times past and to the drawing of prospective trajectories, thus weaving alternatives to existing narratives – from embodiment practices to the pre-writing of History. It is to this end that the first satellite exhibition in Marrakech If You’re So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich? will focus on sound as a medium for producing and transmitting epistemes, in an effort to establish a sonic History of the present, as seen through the prism of artistic engagement.

If You’re So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich?

Artists: Gilles Aubry Earpolitics (CH) & Zouheir Atbane (MA), Younes Baba-ali (MA), Tal Isaac Hadad (FR), Anne Duk Hee Jordan (DE), Brandon LaBelle (US), Marco Montiel-Soto (VEN), Emeka Ogboh (NG), Lukas Truniger (CH) & Ali Tnani (TN), Paolo Bottarelli (IT), and Evgenija Wassilew (FR/DE).

Curators: Dr. Bonaventure Ndikung & Pauline Doutreluingne

Curatorial assistants: Anneli von Klitzing, Gauthier Lesturgie

Giving Contours To Shadows is a project by SAVVY Contemporary and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.), Maxim Gorki Theater, Gemäldegalerie Berlin, Centre for Contemporary Art of East Africa (CCAEA, Nairobi, Kenya), Kër Thiossane (Dakar, Senegal), 5th Marrakech Biennale Satellite (Marrakech, Morocco), Video Art Network (VAN Lagos, Nigeria) and Parking Gallery/ VANSA (Johannesburg, South Africa). The project is curated by Dr. Bonaventure Ndikung, Dr. Elena Agudio, Storm Janse van Rensburg (round table series), Susanne Husse (project coordinator), Maria Gracia Guimaraes (curatorial assistant).

Giving Contours To Shadows is funded by the TURN Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and Ernst Schering Foundation. If You’re So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich? is partly funded by Goethe Institute Rabat, Goethe Institute Nigeria, Pro Helvetia and crowdfunders.

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RESEARCH JOBURG: JANUARY 2014

Team members Elena Agudio and Storm Janse van Rensburg traveled to Johannesburg from 26 till 29 January 2014 to meet project partners and artists and connect with practitioners and thinkers in the city in the lead up to our satellite project in the city in November 2014.

Storm traveled to Johannesburg by car from Cape Town, a trip that took two days, with an overnight stopover in Richmond, a tiny Karoo town exactly half way between the two cities. He was hosted by M.A.P (http://map-southafrica.org/) a beautiful artist’s residency and art collection initiated by South African collector Harry Sietsema, and housed in a couple of properties in the small town.

Elena arrived early on Sunday morning 26 January from Berlin, and checked in at our guesthouse. She was picked up by Dawood Peterson later in the morning, and explored the inner city on the back of his scooter, visiting the Sunday market on Arts on Main and surrounds.

DAY 1

We started on Monday morning with a visit to Dorothee Kreutzfeld, meeting in Troyeville and taking a short tour through the inner city, including to the recently disappeared Joburg landmark Top Star Drive Inn (originally located on a mine-dump, re-mining has shifted the topography of the city over the past 10 years dramatically).

Then to the Bag Factory and meeting with South African contemporary art stalwarts David Koloane and Pat Mautloa in their studios, followed by lunch at the Oriental Plaza. We had our first meeting after with our Johannesburg project partners, Visual Arts Network South Africa (VANSA) and Parking Gallery. It was great to meet new VANSA director Molemo Moiloa, and connect with Lester Adams a project manager for VANSA. A fruitful meeting led to a decision on dates for the satellite, as well as an indication of content. Parking Gallery representative Simon Gush indicated that a discussion forum should be an integral part of the project, which echoes our interest in a strong theoretical and discursive underpinning or our endeavors.

A busy day ended with dinner with Simon, co-founder of Parking Gallery and his partner, artist Ruth Sacks, in their inner city apartment in the iconic Ansteys Building.

DAY 2

Our first meeting on Tuesday kicked off with a tour of the recently opened Wits Art Museum (WAM) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Braamfontein. Julia Charlton, chief curator, took us on a walkabout through the impressive museum, including the new exhibition by Zanele Muholi (at the time still in installation progress). Julia also took us into the storage spaces – a great journey through an incredible and important South African and African collection of traditional and contemporary art.

Afterwards we walked through Braamfontein, and visited a couple of galleries in the neighborhood. We were greatly impressed with the haunting installation of Jane Alexander at Stevenson, and kudos to the gallery for what must be the first solo exhibition by the artist in a commercial gallery. Afterwards met with David Andrew, chair of the Fine Art division at Wits University for a wonderful lunch at WAM, and had a positive and productive conversation which opened possibilities for further exchanges with our project in Johannesburg. We were joined by Bettina Malcomess, a brilliant young thinker. The meal was happily interrupted by many friends and colleagues passing by.

After lunch we stopped by the Johannesburg Art Gallery and were greeted by Musha Nehuleni, curator of contemporary art. We also blitzed to Constitution Hill, and explored the collection in the Constitutional Court. It left us with just enough time to get to the Standard Bank Gallery, for the opening of a retrospective by Walter Oltmann. We ended the evening with drinks with some friends, including Nontobeko Ntombela, Cara Snyman and Emma Lawrence at the Reef Hotel, a new inner city hotel.

DAY 3

Our last day started early, with a studio visit with Nandipha Mntambo in her large space. Frantically busy with installations for a solo exhibition and group shows, it was great to see her blossoming in Johannesburg. It was followed with a brief stopover at the studio of William Kentridge. Afterwards we met with the new Johannesburg director of the Goethe Institute, Dr. Norbert Spitz and Cara Snyman, to inform them of our project and explore possible institutional links and synergies.

Our last hours was spent with a brief studio visit with Minette Vari, who showed us her recent video works and drawings, and then had to rush to the airport. After checking in, we did our last meeting for the trip at an airport bar, with Donna Kukama. We were happily exhausted but delighted to be able to confirm Donna’s involvement in ‘Giving Contours to Shadows’.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS

Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc (GF)
Jelili Atiku (NG)
Fayçal Baghriche (DZ)
Neïl Beloufa (FR/DZ)
Halida Boughriet (DZ)
Marcio Carvalho (PT)
Virginia Chihota (ZW)
Chimurenga Lab (ZA)
Em’kal Eyongakpa (CAM)
Mounir Fatmi (MA)
Badr el Hammami & Fadma Kaddouri (MA)
Adelita Husny-Bey (IT/LYB)
Wanuri Kahiu (KE)
Bouchra Khalili (MA)
Kiluanji Kia Henda (ANG)
Kapwani Kiwanga (CA/TZ)
Ato Malinda (KE)
Nástio Mosquito (ANG)
Ingrid Mwangi/Robert Hutter (DE/KE)
Paulo Nazareth (BR)
Otobong Nkanga (NG)
Ahmet Ögüt (TR)
Lerato Shadi (ZA)
Alexandre Singh (FR/USA)
Hank Willis Thomas (USA)
Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, UK. (UK)

PROJECT CONCEPT

“History (with a capital H) ends
where the histories of those peoples
once reputed to be without history come together.
History is a highly functional fantasy of the West,
originating at precisely that time
when it alone ‘made’ the history of the world.”
Édouard Glissant
The Quarrel with History – The Known, the Uncertain

It is common knowledge that history and the privilege to write history is one of the most prestigious chalices, earned or seized by any victor or person in power. In its multi-dimensionality, it is the concoction of the real/truth, the fictitious, and the untold that makes history what it is, especially as it is the case that the silent voices in history are much louder than the voices which have found a way into our ears today.

The art and research project Giving Contours to Shadows focuses on voiceless shadows and on alternative narrations in which all is said without necessarily uttering words. The reference to Édouard Glissant’s opacity in the title is a poetic allusion to giving forms to historical narratives, but also a wink at the sheer elasticity and fluidity of history: artists and contributors to the project Giving Contours to Shadows do not strive to find words for a history that has been omitted; willingly or unwillingly, they recount the past and history’s trace to the present through works that stand as a voice of the unspoken or the unuttered, and they do not seek to represent “historical facts” but dare to portray an alternative historical narrative and question the dominant canon. As an alternative medium to language, art succeeds in occupying the space between the “factual” and the “nonfactual”.

Giving Contours to Shadows will have Africa as its point of departure to reflect on philosophical and historical aspects of global concern. The project is thus interested in casting light on alternative narrations and epistemologies, as well as on another art history. The project will investigate and deliberate on new narratives beyond the colonial/post-colonial discourse.
The artists and their positions are not defensive, but rather offensive about contemporary socio-political issues and deal with seminal issues of the last four decades, e.g. science fiction, computer age, homosexuality-transsexuality-othersexuality, the wave of economic crisis across Africa in the late 80s and early 90s, the political wave of multi-partism in the 90s and the embracing of the post-Apatheid era, the migration movements towards the West, a re-birth of an African consciousness reflected in a renewed interest in pan- and trans-Africanism, the new economic boom across many African countries, the diasporic experience and beyond.

Giving Contours to Shadows brings together the efforts and energies of different institutions from various cities in Africa and in Germany with the will to activate a long-term dialogue and discourse on the possibilities of deliberating on history, pre-writing history and even sequestrate history.

The project is structured in 4 different chapters:

1. a. A collective art exhibition in Berlin

1. b. 5 satellite artistic interventions in partner spaces in Lagos, Dakar, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Marrakech

2. Round table series in Nairobi and Berlin

3. A publication