Abstract – Françoise Vergès
In my lecture, I will talk about what I call “cartographies of invisible lives”, not national cartographies but those traced through history by slaves, indentured workers, migrants, exiles..., as well as plants, songs, ideas..., and about intangible culture and their cultural expressions. “Cultural Translation and Art for Social Transformation” is thus seen as ephemeris, temporary installations reflecting the constant adaptation of the “living”. It is art that seeks to contribute to social debate, not a prescriptive model, away from moralistic discourse, instead looking at conflicts, expressions of hatred and envy to find how and where common ground can be found.
Abstract – Kemang Wa Lehulere
"Script for an unfaithful translation:
Like writing your own song please decide your own tempo while licking a mirror with all your tongues. Does your mirror have a memory? What does your tongue feel? Can it taste the mirror? Is the feeling mutual, symbiotic even? Would the blank pages be loyal to history? Or will black hand resuscitate time when all have retracted to a wordless world?"
The work engages with notions of subjectivity and translation and the possible unfaithfulness of the act of translating. I will enter a portion of the text "Dog Sleep" as a way of translating it physically/performatively. It consists of the literal and metaphoric dissection of the text.
Abstract – Lizza May David
"Io am en vogel” - language games and other projects by Global Alien
What does it mean to create a non - hierarchical language? Like any form of communication, language remains highly context-specific. What happens if we alienate the context and disembody its speaker? Can we use this "mess" as a starting point for an artistic work?
Lizza May David will present some of Global Alien’s projects, which deal with the fragmentary effect of globalisation and cultural diversity. Working with aesthetic visibilities of social and urban realities, Global Alien’s approach is to invent ways of communication, where the audience is invited to participate in play and game-like performances. The aim of each action is to create conditions of performativity to show how identities and power relations are being constructed. Global Alien’s current collaborators are: Youngjoo Cho, Thorbjørn Reuter Christiansen, Lizza May David, Marte Kiessling, Nam-See Kim, Jae-Hyun Yoo.
Abstract - Nana Oforiatta-Ayim
The Cultural Encyclopaedia will be a 54-volume encyclopaedia of the cultural trajectories of each of the countries of
Africa. It is a translation, into African contexts, of Diderot's amalgamation of ideas, that together proved boundary-shifting and revolutionary, whilst less effectual when dispersed. To this day, cultural notions from the African continent are mistranslated or even considered absent, because they are expressed in different ways. The Encyclopaedia will bring together the works of cultural operators from each country in order to reflect on and enquire into the nature of their historical and contemporary foundations, trajectories and potentialities in this moment of renegotiation for the continent.
Abstract - Ntone Edjabe
Why a new paper?
In which ways do people live their lives with joy and creativity and beauty, sometimes amidst suffering and violence, and sometimes perpendicular to it? How do people fashion routines and make sense of the world in the face of the temporariness or volatility that defines so many of the arrangements of social existence here? These questions loom over a contemporary
Africa. Yet most knowledge produced on the continent remains heavily reliant on simplistic and rigid categories, the bulk of it unable to capture the complexities and ambivalences that inflect so much of contemporary quotidian life here.
During 2011 Chimurenga produced a publishing project in the form of a one-off, one-day-only edition of a fictional pan-African newspaper. Titled the Chimurenga Chronic, the project was published in collaboration with
Nigeria’s Cassava Republic Press and ’s Kwani Trust, and distributed across several African cities. Kenya
An intervention in both time and space, it embraced the newspaper as the medium best capable of inhabiting, reproducing and interpreting political, social and cultural life in places where uncertainty and turbulence, unpredictability and multidirectional shifts are the forms taken, in many instances, by daily experience.
Employing reportage, creative non-fiction, autobiography and analysis to offer a detailed, vivid and richly textured engagement of everyday life, The Chronic told stories of a complicated ordinariness.
Featured articles included the Benin-Nigeria okrika trade, Somali's capital in
Nairobi, a portrait of Juba, the story of a border fence, Cameroon's bass culture, the adventures of Dr Evil in Dakar, the Kenyan long-distance runner, a visual history of Thing Fall Apart and many, many more.
The response was testimony to the success of the project. Accolades poured in.
South Africa’s Mail & Guardian described The Chronic as “a cracker. The sort of newspaper you want to open at the end of every week.” Simon Kuper writing in the Financial Times described it as “better than The New Yorker.”
The congratulations were still ringing in our ears when we realised the irony. The Chronic may well have been the newspaper African readers wanted to open every week but clearly they wouldn’t be doing that. The Chronic was a one-off - not a newspaper but an art project, the performance of a newspaper. Here today, gone tomorrow, it appeared as a spectacle that came dangerously close to perpetuating the very thing it sought to critique. It presented
Africa as a land of never-ending present and instant, where today and now matter more than tomorrow, let alone the distant future.
This negated the true value of the newspaper, the very thing that drew us to the medium in the first place: its ability to be present, to create the effect of presence in the present while simultaneously moving through different temporal orders, instrumentalising spatial fragmentation and creating a point of transition from the past to the future.
So why leave it there? We clearly do not lack the talent, the ingenuity or the voices to tell our own story. Nor do we lack the readership -
Africa is hungry for intelligent and challenging writing that takes seriously the task of uncovering the stories that underpin our current condition. We have in place the networks of circulation to move ideas and distribute goods in innovative ways.
What is missing is the bravery to challenge prescribed modes of production that favour one-off projects. To do this we must take seriously the rules, regularities, the reproductive logics and the labour involved in making everyday life possible – despite the conditions of precariousness and uncertainty that continue surround us. We need to draw on the way African societies compose and invent in the present and embrace our capacity to continually produce something new and singular.
Abstract – Bisi Silva
Can Art Transform Society?
In which way can artists use their art as a ways to impact on their society? What are the strategies and formats that are implicated in such a vision? My contribution will focus on the way in which the Centre for Contemporary art, Lagos as one of the few independent contemporary art organisations in Lagos provides a platform for art that socially engaged art. This will be highlighted through the example of one or two projects as well as the work of political and social activist, Jellili Atiku through his performance art.
I will talk about Picha (the biennale and the art center) and its appropriation of history and urban and mental space in the context of the city of Lubumbashi. The idea is to question notions of the attractiveness of this space in order to posit another way of assessing work on the imaginary. In an industrial area such as the one where we work, attractiveness is defined in economic terms and creativity is sidelined. But industry itself and the notion of community and work it generates brings with it a history and a restructuring of society that only creativity can perceive.
Abstract – Gio Dì Sera
the topic and format & the title :
Die StreetUnivercity Berlin als soziale Skulptur ( Der Dritte Weg der Bildung )
StreetUniverCity® Berlin (SUB) e.V. is a non-governmental educational association (private cooperating with public) focusing on a social, physical, cultural and art education programme for socially disadvantaged youth and young adults.
Our main aims are to help young people from deprived areas increase their self-esteem by showing them that they CAN achieve something, that they can develop a certain status and dignity based on skills, capabilities and knowledge, and not on physical strength or age. Finally to help them take their lives into their hands and enable to choose and start a professional career. The association was founded by Giò Di Sera, ErhanEmre and Martin Kesting in Berlin Kreuzberg 2006 and is led by President Gio Di Sera and Executive Director Philip Marcel.
The StreetUniverCity Berlin does not accept the fact that the social and creative potential of at-risk youth (migrants and non-migrants) is scarcely used or developed. From our point of view, this situation is degrading both for the young people and for society.
We believe that our society needs these young people to fulfill their potential and that they must therefore be challenged and supported. SUB is not a school, a university or professional training centre but rather an informal, extracurricular teaching and learning programme. Our work is based on co-operation with mentors and role models that come from the young people´s social and cultural backgrounds. SUB believes that the lack of identification with society is caused by the absence of future perspectives and young people´s lack of hope. The young people are actively involved in developing educational content and organising projects. We are a democratic, secular organisation, not affiliated with any political party. Our work is based on the Declaration of Human Rights by the UN. These Rights are universal and can never be negotiable. StreetUniverCity
fights against all forms of exclusion, racism, political or religious extremism and anti-semitism. One of our main objectives is the promotion of equality between women and men and providing further information on this aspect. Berlin
Structure of the organization:
non-profit organization (e.V.) based in a youth culture centre in Berlin-Kreuzberg. SUB is a non-governmental, educational organisation focusing on a social, physical, cultural and art education programmes for young people from deprived areas.
Most important activities:
We focus on the universal development of individual creativity. Our main aims are to help young people from socially disadvantaged areas choose and start a professional career, to increase their self-esteem by showing them that they CAN achieve something, that they can develop a certain status and dignity based on skills, capabilities and knowledge and not on physical strength or age, and finally to help them take their lives into their hands. Once all qualifications have been fulfilled students will receive a degree entitled ‘StreetMaster’.There are a certain number of compulsory and optional courses and workshops. Global street culture is given a new value by being integrated in our schedule, such as street art, hiphop culture & underground youth scenes.
_The ‘Master of StreetUniverCity’ is awarded to candidates who complete all compulsory courses. This degree, certified by the State of
and famous personalities, informs and proves the future employer of the creative and social potential of the applicant. Berlin
_SUB Students are trained to pass on what they have learned; motivated ‘alumni’ will return and support members in this way, a continual training programme will be ensured. A non-profit association was established and a non-profit foundation should be founded in the future.
StreetUniverCity is also a label for street culture.
We are proud to have HipHop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa (Zulu Nation/NY), Joy Denalane (Berlin)/’German Soulqueen’, Cem Özdemir (Berlin)/politician, Benno Fürmann/movie actor, Sibel Kekilli/movie actress, HipHop group Culcha Candela (Berlin) and other well-known local and international role models as SUBporters. They represent and support the spirit and progress for what StreetUniverCity stands for.
SUB has an internationally oriented network involving various partners from different urban art & media scenes in
Berlin, Europe and the . US
Module and credit system: the young people make their own schedule and collect credits. There are a certain number of compulsory and optional courses (mostly projects). The ‘MASTER OF STREETUNIVERCITY’ degree will be awarded to the candidates who complete all compulsory courses. An exam can be taken in form of a public performance/presentation/exhibition and/or a cultural production. Examples of the student’s work could be enclosed with the certificate. Other certificates will be awarded for students who only finish parts of the programme. We count on the active support of mentors and (prominent) role models, ‘respect-persons’ (SUBporters), from the cultural backgrounds of the young people. Work placements/internships represent an important part of the programme. They could be possibly organised in the form of voluntary work which would be certified by the State of
. Attendance for the young people who still attend school will be voluntary. Berlin
_bases its programme on the characteristics and needs of the area while developing a global approach
_combines cultural, social and international youth work with a vocational training programme, provides extracurricular education and training as part of lifelong learning uses English and German as working languages
_there are no special entry requirements
_is based on co-operation with mentors and role models that come from the young people’s social and cultural background
_We also are regularly promoting and producing music and cultural events (HipHop JAMS, among other things). Professional musicians support our project. They are also important role models for the youth as they have proven success in public, presenting themselves.
Transformations of the city
The contemporary art center doual’art was founded twenty-one years ago in Douala, Cameroon.
Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital and most populous city, has no cultural facilities whatsoever. This city of close to four million inhabitants does not have a single museum, entertainment venue, concert hall, cinema, or public library. The megalopolis, whose population in 1961, the year of Cameroon’s independence, was 300,000, has grown exponentially without being able to put infrastructure in place to accompany this growth. “Informal” settlements proliferate unchecked and, today, a majority of the city’s population does not have access to basic services.
doual’art was born in this context and specializes in the relationship between contemporary art and urban development. L’Espace doual’art is a space for the visual arts as well as a documentation center specializing in art, architecture, and urban planning. The real defining character of the center, however, is the way in which it intervenes systematically into public urban space, whether it be the city as such or the shantytowns on its outskirts.
Since the first « Ars &Urbis » symposium hosted by doual’art in 2005, which brought together a panel of artists, curators, architects, and urban planning researchers and decision makers, the center’s program of activities has been based on a three-year cycle, culminating in an international triennial festival of public art, the Salon Urbain de Douala, SUD. The « Ars &Urbis » symposia, which set the stage for and accompany the SUD festivals, are periodically organized by doual’art.
For a period of three years, public art projects are conceived in dialogue with and, most of the time, involvement of the inhabitants of the concerned neighborhoods. The completed projects are then officially unveiled during the SUD festival, during which artists can also submit proposals for public art events.
In order to insure local residents’ acceptance of their work, the contributing Cameroonian and international artists are invited to perform public « immersions » in the early stages of conceiving their projects before they install them in a specific place.
It is with this strategy that doual’art has produced more than fifty objects—sculptures, installations, lightweight structures, gardens, and street furniture—and positioned them in the public urban space of Douala, thus transforming the city and the way the inhabitants perceive it.
The introduction of artistic works into a city like Douala gives rise to a whole range of questions on the impact of this kind of occupation of public space, the strength of social ties, social diversity, international social networks, urban tourism, and the transformation of the inhabitants’ imaginations.
In addition, in a country where education is utterly devoid of any attempt to foster critical reasoning and where knowledge of modern history is deliberately obscured, the issues tackled by the artists and the glimpses into the city’s history presented on nearly twenty pieces of street furniture contribute to the creation of civic awareness among the population of Douala.