“I don’t know what most white people in this country feel. But I can only conclude what they feel from the state of their institutions. I don’t know if white Christians hate Negroes or not, but I know we have a Christian church that is white and a Christian church that is black. I know, as Malcolm X once put it, the most segregated hour in American life is high noon on Sunday,” James Baldwin said in a TV programme in 1968. He continued: “I don’t know whether the labor unions and their bosses really hate me — that doesn’t matter — but I know I’m not in their union. I don’t know whether the real estate lobby has anything against black people, but I know the real estate lobby is keeping me in the ghetto. I don’t know if the board of education hates black people, but I know the textbooks they give my children to read and the schools we have to go to.” Baldwin directs our gaze away from individual behaviour and towards the institutions, norms, and everyday practices that consciously, but more often unconsciously, shape our lives. They are not neutral, but traditionally white, male and heterosexual. If we do not subject these historically grown power structures to criticism, if we do not rethink and practice them differently, we will automatically reproduce the system. Thus, Geoffroy de Lagasnerie in PENSER DANS UN MONDE MAUVAIS (THINKING IN A BAD WORLD) calls for an “extended or social epistemological viewpoint.” The judgement about a theoretical or artistic practice can therefore not be based exclusively on the criteria of the latter, but must be made in consideration of the (historical) context. The value of art, but also of knowledge production in general, is measured by the extent to which they participate in an emancipatory enterprise.
In a series of conversations that run through the festival period, power systems such as educational institutions, the police or cultural institutions, especially museums and festivals, are discussed and linked with themes from the productions shown in the festival.
The protest movement launched at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in March 2015 initially and in a symbolic act turned against a statue of the imperialist Cecil Rhodes on campus, in order to then demand – as #RhodesMustFall initiative – the decolonization of the universities. African discourses were to be put in the focus of the curricula, the dominant Western traditions were to be dealt with only if relevant to one’s own experiences. The issue of social inequality was equally put on the agenda. Recently, German (art) academies have tried to gradually admit more diversity and inclusion, however the public in 2019 does not ponder the question of what should be taught and why. Is there a need for decolonisation here, too?
gamEdze and gamedZe is Thulile and Asher Gamedze – siblings, close friends, co-thinkers, and co-writers, based in Johannesburg and Cape Town respectively. They are both cultural workers involved in various art, education, and political collectives, interested, amongst other things, in the way the colonial education project is curated, and theorists, conversationalists, and other -ists seeking to re-curate, un-curate, and de-curate education towards pedagogies for social life – for connection, for liberation!
Julian Warner is a freelance cultural anthropologist focusing on the interface of art and science. He was a research assistant at the Institute for Cultural Anthropology in Göttingen and dramaturge for Oliver Zahns‘ essay performances and Anta Helena Recke‘s black copy of MITTELREICH. Warner co-edited the anthology ALLIANZEN – KRITISCHE PRAXIS AN WEISSEN INSTITUTIONEN and works as curator at Künstler*innenhaus Mousonturm (Frankfurt), Sophiensæle (Berlin) and Münchner Kammerspiele. He teaches and lectures on the conditions and possibilities of anti-racist reforms in the fields of art, culture and education.
Sophie Becker is Artistic Director of SPIELART Theaterfestival
Since the beginning of „Me Too“ in the autumn of 2017, the feminist movement has also received a strong boost in Germany. While initially the fight against sexual abuse was the focus of attention, the debate quickly turned into a fundamental discussion of patriarchal structures. Critics complain, however, that this feminism is generally determined by white Cis women from the middle class, and that the Western perspective often perpetuates the stereotypical portray of Arab women. (How) can different feminist positions be connected? Do we need a global sisterhood, and what might it look like?
Salma El Tarzi (b. 1978) is a Cairobased filmmaker, visual artist and essayist. Her independent directorial debut, DO YOU KNOW WHY?, a short documentary film about young models working in television advertising, won the Rotterdam Arab Film Festival Silver Award that year. In 2013, she directed her first feature-length documentary, UNDERGROUND/ ON THE SURFACE, which explores the local subculture of electro-shaabi music (also known as mahraganat) and won the 2013 Dubai International Film Festival award for best directing. That year, she returned to painting and drawing after a 14-year-long hiatus, culminating in the completion of a co-authored nonfiction graphic novel on institutional and societal gender-based violence during the first years of the 2011 uprising in Egypt. She is currently authoring an autobiographical graphic novel, in parallel to a research project and video installation about the representation of desire and normalization of rape culture in mainstream Egyptian cinema. The first iteration of the latter work-in-progress was shown as part of the Goethe-Institut Cairo's feminist arts festival TASHWEESH in November 2018.
Amahl Raphael Khouri is a queer transgender Jordanian documentary playwright and theatremaker based in Berlin. Khouri is the author of several plays, including SHE HE ME (Kosmos Theatre, Vienna 2019), ICH BRAUCHE MEINE RUHE (Festival Politik im Freien Theater, Munich 2018) and NO MATTER WHERE I GO (Beirut 2014). Khouri is also a part of the Climate Change Theater Action and their play OH, HOW WE LOVED OUR TUNA! was read internationally as part of the initiative. Khouri was a selected playwright at the Arcola Global Queer Plays (London 2018) and the Lark hotINK international play reading series (New York 2015). Khouri’s work has been published in several U.S. journals.
Johanna M. Keller studied International Relations in Dresden, Florence, Berlin and Damascus. For the Goethe-Institut she worked in Syria, Lithuania and Egypt. Since the beginning of 2019 she has been with the GI headquarters in Munich. As Head of the Cultural Department for the Arab World she launched various projects on gender, sexuality and feminism, including the multi-year project Tashweesh, which explored the blind spots in transnational feminist debates and inspired two major festivals in Cairo and Brussels.
MUSEUM OF LUNGS, a play by Stacy Hardy, Nancy Mounir, Neo Muyanga and Laila Soliman, includes a reference to the Socialists’ Patients Collective SPK in Germany. In the 1970s, this radical Marxist organisation argued that illness is a form of protest against Capitalism, and, thus, they opposed the dominance of orthodox medicine. Today, the author Max Dorner is active in Munich, working under the slogan #BehinderungIstRebellion. What does it mean to be “ill” or “handicapped”? Isn’t illness also knowledge (Havi Carel)? May the patient refuse to be cured?
Maximilian Dorner lives in Munich, the city where he was born in 1973. He worked as a literary editor and managed the project “Art and Inclusion” at the Munich Cultural Department in 2015. Dorner has published nine books. For his debut novel he was awarded the Bavarian Prize for the Promotion of the Arts. In his publications he dwells on how people treat themselves and others. In addition to his very personal non-fiction he has written two novels and two travelogues. Maximilian Dorner is the managing director of the Impulsion – Netzwerk inklusiver Kunst & Kultur e.V. association and hosts the cultural magazine ANDERE SEITEN on TV München.
Stacy Hardy (born 1973 in South Africa) is a writer, teacher and researcher based in South Africa. Since 2008 she has worked as a researcher, editor and finally Associate Editor at the pan-African journal Chimurenga. Her writing as appeared internationally in a wide range of publications in Canada, Germany, Sweden, the USA and Bangladesh and others. Together with poet Lesego Rampolokeng she has published a libretto. She created the short film I LOVE YOU JET LI with Jaco Bouwer and more recently she scripted and performed in his production, UNTITLED (2008). She regularly collaborates with Angolan composer and musician Victor Gama on research projects and multimedia performances. A collection of her short fiction BECAUSE THE NIGHT was published by Pocko Books, London in 2015. She is also a lecturer in the MA in Creative Writing programme at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa.
The urgencies of our time are explored and discussed through art of all disciplines or the objects of art history such as archives and museum collections. But limited thought has historically been given to how these urgencies might also be addressed through the structures and cultures of the same institutions that serve as platforms for these artistic forms. The current moment of #MeToo, the ethics of institutional funding and other such concerns have very much brought this to the fore. Thinking through African museums and European festivals, what are some of the key questions and strategies to rethink these spaces and trigger potentials?
Eva Neklyaeva is a curator based in Helsinki and is concerned with the questions of freedom. She focuses her practice on exploring these questions across performing art, politics and sexuality. This summer she has finished her 3 years mandate as Artistic Director of Santarcangelo Festival. Her previous positions included director of a contemporary art organization Checkpoint Helsinki. Before that, Neklyaeva had been running Baltic Circle International Contemporary Theatre Festival for six years and in 2014 she founded Wonderlust – a festival of diverse and creative sexuality that takes place every June in Helsinki. At the moment, she is working towards “WITH PLEASURE – the only art program that will improve your sex life”, as a guest curator for Vooruit, Ghent.
Molemo Moiloa lives and works in Johannesburg, and has worked in various capacities at the intersection of creative practice and community organizing. Molemo’s academic work has focused on the political subjectivities of South African youth. She is also one half of the artist collaborative MADEYOULOOK, who explore everyday popular imaginaries and their modalities for knowledge production. Up until recently, she was director of the Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA).
Following the death of Süleyman Taşköprü, his father claimed to have spotted two men leaving the shop. He identified them as Germans with blond hair. The police did not keep track of this testimony. Another witness told the police that the suspect could be a racist or a Nazi who hates Turks or foreigners in general. The police did not follow up this lead either. They furthermore ignored statements made by relatives or the
survivors of the NSUʼs racist series of murders and attacks, or did not take them seriously. The investigative committees and investigations of commited journalists have brought to light new scandalous omissions and / or deliberate cover-up activities. The NSU case exemplifies the mortal danger of right-wing extremist networks as well as the institutional racism spreading in investigative and security authorities –
also in other cases of violence against migrants and refugees – which their appeasement, their ignorance of the statements of the victims, suspicions, biased investigations, or right-wing extremist attitudes on the part of public authority employees clearly demonstrate.
Based on the experiences from the NSU scandal and with a view to the current debate on racial profiling, Tunay Önder and her guest Eberhard Schultz discuss the various forms and manifestations of institutional racism in the police and judiciary. Before the conversation, Ayşe Güvendiren will read from her current production RIGHT(S). ON THE CRIME AGAINST MARWA EL-SHERBINI.
Ayşe Güvendiren was born in Vienna in 1988 and grew up in Munich. After graduating from high school, she studied law at the University of Augsburg and theatre studies and art history at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. She has worked as an intern at various theatres, including the Munich Volkstheater and the Munich Kammerspiele. Since 2017 she has been studying directing at the Otto Falckenberg School. Güvendiren holds a Richard Stury Foundation scholarship.
For four decades Eberhard Schultz has been fighting as a committed lawyer and human rights activist for his clients and against human rights violations. He is a board member of the International League for Human Rights and founder and board member of the Eberhard Schultz Foundation for Social Human Rights and Participation. In 2018 he published his book FEINDBILD ISLAM UND INSTITUTIONELLER RASSISMUS – MENSCHENRECHTSARBEIT IN ZEITEN VON MIGRATION UND ANTI-TERRORISMUS at VSA Verlag.
Tunay Önder works as a freelance author, curator and consultant. After having studied sociology and political science, she founded the blog Migrantenstadl together with Imad Mustafa. She has since used this project as an archive for book publications, installations and performances. Since 2010, Önder has participated in various theatre projects – as researcher, dramaturge, and author. From 2015 to 2018 she was a member of the Jury for the Promotion of Independent Theatres in the City of Munich. As part of the NSU-Komplex-Auflösen tribunal in the season of 2016/2017, she curated the series Aynwanderunk – Nix Sürük! at Münchner Kammerspiele. For the Wiesbaden Biennale 2018 Önder staged Migrantenstadl, a ten-day happening at the Wartburg. At the Bellevue di Monaco she has managed Studio Ö, a forum for artistic and activist positions from multi-home Almanya, since November 2018.
Careful! Handle with force: Rituals. Life is full of rituals: conventions of seeing, experiencing, accepting, non-action. Rituals are often empowering and invigorating actions, including those of guilt and grief. New rituals, rituals against the lack of amazement, against the ordinary, help overcome the dis-enchantment implied in the cultural script. May marvelling return in the sense of serendipity and play. For at present, institutions and collective forms are in demand: which rituals and non-rituals are needed to decolonize, thus humanise? In a conversation between the poet and musician Kwaku Afriyie (Canada / Ghana) and the performance artist Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja (Namibia) new rituals emerge, which work against the logic of today‘s de-wondering institution. They open, challenge and reject the division of the sensual world. A spiritual practice, an intimate conversation. Including the presentation of a zine of the publishing house iwalewabooks on the subject.
Kwaku Afriyie is a singer-songwriter, artist and writer based in Montreal, Canada. Musically, his influences are varied exploring contemporary R&B, poetry, folk and elements of African pop music. Kwaku’s break out came in 2013 with the release of his critically acclaimed sophomore album AFRIYIE. It showcased his peerless, delicate vocal delivery atop rich rhythmic foundations, shaping a new breed of African alternative pop music. He also co-conceptualized, the short movie and multimedia installation OCEAN’S APART(2015) for which he wrote and recorded the original music.
Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja is a performer, educator and writer with practice and research interests in embodied and spatial archives in movement formation. Mushaandja is also a PhD artist at the Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies at the University of Cape Town, researching resistance culture in Katutura, a township in Windhoek, Namibia.
Katharina Fink works for open processes in art and academy. At the University of Bayreuth's Iwalewahaus, she runs the Bavarian centre for inclusive cultural institutions and universities. She organises community-curated festivals such as the Sophiatown Arts Festival in Johannesburg or the inclusive literature festival Bayreuth blättert. Together with Nadine Siegert, she's the founder and publisher of iwalewabooks, a publishing house for art and discourse.