AFRICANS IN THE SOVIET UNION

Africans in the Soviet Union. Visions of the future, memories of the past

This project is a fictional intervention into the past and pr
esents three documents. The first is a letter written by Kwawe Paintsil Ansah from Ghana in 1961, applying for a scholarship in the Soviet Union in 1961. The letter is part of the research archive of researcher Constantin Katsakioris. Ansah’s text describes the aspirations that made him consider Moscow in the context of Socialist Friendship at the utopian moment of African independence. His document is combined with a fictional letter: a response written by literary scholar Gilbert Ndi Shang which rejects/suspends Ansah’s application. The third text is a further response in form of a poem by the Mozambican writer Luís Carlos Patraquim. This fictional collage speaks about dreams and visions of a past future, its limitations and potential from the perspective of the present. The historic photographs displayed depict African students in Moscow and Kiev and add a visual layer. One in particular stands out, taken during the 1963 demonstration, when students protested against the unresolved deathcase of fellow student Edmund Asare-Addo.

CONCRETE AFFECTION – ZOPO LADY

This project by Kiluanji Kia Henda is a poetic journey into a moment in time and space, both utopian and dystopian: 1975 in Luanda, Angola’s capital. After a liberation war and the Carnation Revolution in Portugal, it is the year before Angola finally became independent from its colonizer. The film describes an choking condition from the perspective of a Portuguese individual who is about to leave the country where he lived his whole live and who contrary to the independent Angolans who lived a utopian moment, saw no future. But he also doesn’t know where to go. Inspired by the first chapter of the book of the Polish journalist and writer Rychard Kapuscinsky, “Another Day of Life – Angola 1975”, this film also transports the images of modernist architecture of Luanda into the past. At the start of the projection the narrator wakes up from a nightmare, only to see that reality is just as hopeless as his dream world. It is his last day in the city and he is hesitant to leave.

LUIS CARLOS PATRAQUIM

Luís Carlos Patraquim (Maputo, March 26, 1953) is a poet, playwright and journalist from Mozambique.

He moved to Sweden as a refugee in 1973. In 1975, he moved back to Mozambique, where he worked for A Tribuna magazine, the Agência de Informação de Moçambique (AIM), the Instituto Nacional de Cinema de Moçambique (INC) and Tempo magazine.

He has lived in Portugal since 1986.

Some of his works include:

Mariscando luas. Lisboa, Vega, 1992

Com Chichorro (ilustrações) e Ana Mafalda Leite

Lidemburgo blues. Lisboa, Editorial Caminho, 1997

O osso côncavo e outros poemas (1980–2004). Lisboa, Editorial Caminho, 2005

Antologia de poemas dos livros anteriores e poemas novos

Com um texto de Ana Mafalda Leite: O que sou de sobrepostas vozes

Pneuma Lisboa, Editorial Caminho, 2009

A Canção de Zefanías Sforza (romance) Porto, Porto Editora, 2010

Antologia Poética. Belo Horizonte, Editora UFMG, 2011. Coleção Poetas de Moçambique

PICTURE: https://sunshinesocialistcinema.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/the-birth-of-cinema-in-mozambique/

REVOLUTION 3.0

The research project investigates the entanglements of aesthetics and politics in situations of radical social transformation, and the becoming of icons. What constitutes the ‘seismographic power’ of images, and the sustainability of icons in terms of radicalism? Central to our investigation are diachronic and transcultural filiations within visual culture in the ‚longue durée‘of lusophone Africa. These images are part of visual memory cultures and are enmeshed in thriving political-social movements and recent medial transformations. Our research firstly focuses on Mozambique, particularly because of the foundation of „Instituto Nacional de Cinema“ right after independence in 1975; established in order to produce and promote ‚homemade‘ images for Mozambicans; and conceptualized as a contrast to colonial imageries. Furthermore, Mozambique as part of the „socialist international“ formed an integral part of political dynamics (eg in Algeria, Angola, Namibia, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau), which found its expression in the iconographies of the time. This internationalism, both ideological and factual, resulted in references and relations which reach beyond Africa as a continent (and connect with, eg, Cuba, GDR, Chile). Contemporary visions of futures seem to meander between political-economic pragmatism and nostalgic utopias and evoke the question of actual ‘originality’. The core question here is the negotiation of recent and historical imaginations of future in iconographies of revolutions; and the investigation of visual archives. The research is located at the triangle of fine arts, film and virtual imageries in digital media such as the internet. “Revolution 3.0” is one of the five research projects of the interdisciplinary Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies.

Picture: © Nayko – http://www.redbubble.com/people/nayko