Tuesday, November 15, 6pm-9pm
Opening of the exhibition "One caption hides another"
Bétonsalon - Center for Art and Research
Wednesday, November 16, 6.30pm - 9.30pm
Evening programme - “Hantologie des Colonies" at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris
Event led by Laetitia Kugler, in the presence of Patrizio di Massimo, Brigitta Kuster and Uriel Orlow.
Elaborating on the exhibition My Last Life by Belgian artist Vincent Meessen at Espace Khiasma (30 September – 12 November 2011), the association Normal proposes a choice of films focusing on the re-emergence of the ghost of the colonial past in the contemporary artistic scene. Organised and produced by Khiasma, “Hantologie des colonies" spreads out to twelve art centres, intermediary spaces and cinemas in Paris and its suburbs.
Patrizio di Massimo, Oae, 13 min, french subtitles, 2009
Brigitta Kuster & Moise Merlin Mabouna, 2006-1892 = 114 ans, 7 min, french subtitles, 2006
Brigitta Kuster & Moise Merlin Mabouna, À travers l’encoche d’un voyage dans la bibliothèque coloniale. Notes pittoresques, 25 min, french subtitles, 2009
Uriel Orlow, The Visitor, 16 min, french subtitles, 2007
Penny Siopis, Obscure White Messenger, 14 min, french subtitles, 2010
Thursday, November, 7pm
Mummy lecture: an encounter with the group Artefakte//anti-humboldt at the Musée du Quai Branly
In the framework of the seminar "Under the free sky of history"
Through a film-lecture, Artefakte//anti-humboldt proposes a narrative whose central subject is the figure of the mummy in cinema. The mummy operates on a manifold site of historical coincidence, where the development of cinema, the European imperial project and the disciplines of archaeology and psychoanalyse meet. As a filmic “chronotopos”, the mummy deals with the liminality of the concept of “artefact”. As a lifeless body that colonialism and Egyptomania have appropriated and decontextualised, the mummy opens up a field of attraction and conflict between subject (human) and object (not human), death and life, nature and culture, real and representation. With the historical discovery of the Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, the creepy along with the mummy’s curse supersedes the mysterious, the fantastic and the curious associated with the mummy of the early films. In the museum or on its way to it, the mummy becomes disparate and dangerously destructive: it/(s)he embodies the undying resistance against the idea of objectification, reification. It/(s)he activates diachrony – the curse, the revenge, the unresolved history. It is only when the mummy’s corpse falls into dust that the mummy in film finds satisfying closure. Artefakte//anti-humboldt is a Berlin based group of artists and scholars that was founded in 2008 as part of the event “Der Anti-Humboldt” against the reconstruction of the Prussian castle and the Humboldt-Forum in Berlin. Following this event, Artefakte//anti-humboldt pursues its questioning of the ethnographic museums by organizing among other a workshop asking questions on restitution, a lecture and a debate with Françoise Vergès on the “Museum of the present” and an open-air film lecture with mummy films held at the construction site of the to-be-built castle in Berlin.
Saturday, December 10, 1pm-5pm
Study day around the exhibition « One caption hides another »: The circulation of objects as a postcolonial lever.
With Lotte Arndt, Françoise Vergès, Larissa Förster, Bernard Müller, Malick Ndiaye followed by an assembly invited by Agency.
Bétonsalon - Center for Art and Research
Program of the afternoon;
1.30pm-1.45pm : brief introduction to the day (Lotte Arndt)
1.45pm-2.45pm: lecture by Larissa Förster « These skulls are not enough ». Engaging with colonial violence, the history of science and postcolonial museology in Germany and Namibia. (in English)
3pm-4.30pm: roundtable discussion with Françoise Vergès, « Subaltern strategies: memories, objects, immaterial culture » and Malick Ndiaye, « Memories and migrations of the object: the example of the heritage of the slave trade and slavery ». Moderated and introduced by Lotte Arndt.
5pm-7pm: Assembly (One caption hides another). In Assembly (One caption hides another), Agency calls forth Thing 001635 (Australian Coat of Arms), speculating on the question: "How can objects be included within art practices?" Thing 001635 concerns the conflict between indigenous elders and the Commonwealth about the use of totems in the Australian Coat of Arms. On 10 December, Thing 001635 (Australian Coat of Arms) convenes an assembly at Betonsalon in order to bear witness. Agency invited a diverse group of concerned guests to "respond" to Thing 001635 (Australian Coat of Arms): Diana-Gabriela Ciobanu / Aurelie Foisil / Johann Morris (translators), Fiona Fouquin (lawyer), Beatrice Fraenkel (anthropologist), Barbara Glowczewski (anthropologist), Maurizio Lazzarato (philosopher and sociologist), among other participants.
Larissa Förster, researcher at the Centre for Advanced Studies Morphomata at the University of Cologne, is a social anthropologist with a regional focus on Southern Africa. In her PhD, entitled “Postcolonial Landscapes of Memory. How Germans and Hereros Commemorate the Colonial War of 1904” (Frankfurt 2010; original title in German), she has looked at contemporary ways of remembering colonialism in postcolonial Namibia by means of a comparative study of oral history and commemorative practices among German-speaking and Herero-speaking Namibians. Another field of study of hers is the history of ethnographic collecting and of ethnological museums, with a particular focus on most recent transformations. In her current research she looks at how colonial violence is represented in art works and museums and at processes of restitution and repatriation between formerly colonising and formerly colonised countries/ communities. Larissa Förster is also a co-curator of major exhibitions such as “Namibia – Germany: A Shared History. Resistance, Violence, Memory” (Cologne 2004 and Berlin 2005) and “Afropolis. City, Media, Art” (Cologne and Bayreuth 2010/2011).
Bernard Müller is a researcher who also elaborates cultural projects. With an academic basis in anthropology, his main area of activity is theatre, artistic performance and various live creations. Apart from his research, he conceptually develops various cultural and intellectual programmes: exhibitions, conference cycles, multimedia programmes. He co-ordinated the activities of CURIO, an independent structure contributing to the diffusion and to the de-compartmentalisation of knowledge.
Since 2002, he has co-ordinated a research project on objects looted during colonial wars, seen as fragments of historical narrative. One of the most important objectives of this project is to grasp the cultural and popular expressions of colonial memory by collecting narratives linked to colonial events during which objects were looted as military leverage. Special interest is reserved for the “memory of places”, that is the way in which the memory of colonial combat is transmitted today. Bernard Müller is the author of numerous articles on colonial memory. www.brokenmemory.net
Malick Ndiaye holds a PhD in History and Criticism of the arts from the University of Rennes 2. He is a specialist in contemporary African arts and postcolonial theories and has been a researcher for the programme « Art et Mondialisation » (“Art and globalisation”) of the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (National Institute of Art History), France and now is an intern / curator at the Institut National du Patrimoine (National Institute of Heritage). He co-ordinates the general inventory of heritage of black slave trade and slavery, under the direction of the department of strategy, research and scientific policy of the General Direction of Heritage of the Ministry of culture and communication. He is the author of « Réinventer les musées » (« Reinventing museums ») (2007), he collaborates with a variety of journals (africultures, critique d’art, cahiers d’études africaines, ethiopiques…) and participates in numerous international meetings on contemporary art, museums and postcolonial societies.
Françoise Vergès is Consulting Professor at Goldsmiths College, London and president of Comité pour la Mémoire et l’Histoire de l’Esclavage (Committee for the Memory and History of Slavery, www.cpmhe.fr). Françoise Vergès has published in French and in English on slavery, abolitionism, postcoloniality, Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, the worlds of the Indian Ocean and postcolonial museography. Her last book: « L’Homme prédateur. Ce que nous enseigne l’esclavage sur notre temps » (« The predator man. What slavery can teach us about our time »), editions Albin Michel (april 2011).
Lotte Arndt is a PhD student at the Universities Paris VII, Denis Diderot and Humboldt Universität Berlin. A member of the Frankfurt Research Center for Postcolonial Studies, she collaborates with Bétonsalon on the series of monthly conferences Under the free sky of history. She is a cultural activist and works on and within multiple postcolonial conflicts, notably a project with the Berlin-based group artefakte/anti-humboldt on restitution as a possible strategy for the contestation of colonial archives and of their contemporary repercussions, which leads her to question the collections of ethnographic museums.
Agency is the generic name of an agency that was founded in 1992 by artist Kobe Matthys and is based in Brussels. Agency constitutes an ongoing list of things that witness hesitation in terms of the split of nature into the ontological classifications "nature" and "culture".
Tuesday, January 10, 7pm-8pm
Aide-Mémoire (v.8) : a lecture performed by Uriel Orlow
Fondation d’entreprise Ricard
In Aide-Mémoire Orlow presents salvaged visuals of a possible film, reflects on blind-spots of history and explores the territory between travelogue, slideshow and immersive sound-scape. Chains of association, visual clues and narrative fragments are woven into new configurations of past and future and reconstructed meanings. Biblical Mount Ararat, a Ghost Town in Northern Armenia on the site of an earthquake, a Kurdish village in Turkey built out of the rubble of an ancient Armenian monastery, death masks of Soviet luminaries – all conjure symbols, ghosts from the past and the future of History.