FAINT TESTIMONIES

What are the interrelations between Africa and Europe in World War I? How is Bayreuth involved, which history is told and how many different versions of history exist and how do they influence the future(s)? Ultimately, the project Remembering the Future through World War I poses existential questions about power structures, memory and alternative histories. Download the booklet here.

Booklet Faint Testimonies

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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.

QUEER VOLATILITY

We are happy to introduce you to another project of the exhibition, the cooperation of Ato Malinda and Sybille Bauriedl: queer volatility: the indecipherable achievement of a socially utopic state

We are especially interrested in knowledge production on queer identities, the translation of queerness by LGBTQI-NGOs in African countries and body performances of queer people in Nairobi and European cities. In our observation international NGOs and global (western) media have a huge influence on queer identity in Nairobi, on denying precolonial queerness in Africa and on universalizing LGBTQI-politics (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer-intersex).

We want to examine the multiple translation practices of / between queer performativity, queer representations, queer politics and queer theory with a focus on Nairobi within its global cultural, postcolonial context. We started with a queer perspective on future Africa with relational interconnectivity and subjectivity, sameness and otherness in mind.

We think that queer people in Nairobi and African diaspora contribute to more divers ideas of possibilities of future by challenging daily practice of oppression and liberation of sexual and gender identities. We discuss queer futures in the sense of breaking down multiple binaries of sex and gender.

With our contribution to the exhibition of Future Africa we want to ask:

How are queer African identities related to diaspora and European queer identities?

What can we learn form these identities about possible futures and/or „Future Africa“?

References 

Ekine, Sokari & Hakima (eds.)(2013): AbbasQueer African Reader (anthology on queer identies and politics)

Mwachiro, Kevin (2014): Invisible. Stories from Kenya’s queer community. Nairobi.

NEST, 2014, Stories of our lives (five short film drama)

Muñoz, José Esteban (2009): Cruising Utopia. The Then and There of Queer Futurity

Butler, Judith on Performativity and sexuality

Massey, Doreen on power geometries and global sense of place

MY MOTHER´S MOTHER

We are more than happy to give you a little preview on the exciting project My Mother´s Mother by Syowia Kiambi.

The work My Mother’s Mother is a room installation that fuses women´s voices from both German and Kenyan urban spaces, women living in the middle class milieu. The domestic references created with wallpaper, floor laminates, curtains and ceramic cups symbolize both fragility and strength.

We all have aspirations for a better life that goes beyond the basics of food, shelter, income and love. Often the idea of what this life should consist of is influenced by the consumer market, is governed by our educational and work environment and influenced by political, business and social agenda´s. Thinking that we make choices completely on our own accord is wishful thinking. Gender issues are extremely coded and elusive to grasp in their entirety. Women are the backbone of social structures and they in various ways, hold varying degrees of influence, utilising often-subversive approaches in the shaping of our lives.

In the work My Mother´s Mother you will hear a few voices some content with their lives but most are in a battle of self-preservation.