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.
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“?
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
The title of the project is a sort of paradox: it highlights the distance between the process of appropriation of an external element or feature, becoming in such way part of someone´s identity (“My Own”) and the term “Exotic”, which Greek origin refers to the outside (exo), the foreign (exotikos).
That oxymoron constitutes the base of the work, that is composed of two artworks: an (unfinished) handmade booklet realised in 2014 during the first two weeks residence in Bayreuth and an artificial flower installation as result of the second residence in 2015. Both outputs invite to reflect on the clashes, connections, merges and blurs between waht is “originating in or characteristic of a distant foreign country”, something “out of the ordinary”, often “attractive or striking because colourful” and the efforts of constructing a purified, integral and original identity.
In the first case, the booklet highlights the idealised or distorted representation of the Angolan landscape and nature, as it was seen by the colonizers. It condenses an iconographic research based on the available books on Angola existing in the central library of Bayreuth, ranging from 1875 to 1975, where the artist focused on the understanding of different images displaying various natural forms.
In the second case, the artificial flower installation follows the three days photographic survey of different kind of flowers – natural or artificial – visible in the public spaces of Bayreuth city centre. Starting from the specific meaning of Exotics – “an exotic plant or animal” – the installation invites to reflect on the incorporation of allochthonous, exotic species into semiprivate and institutional public spaces of Bayreuth, some of which express the ultimate tradition and identity of the city.
Flowers are a central element of beautification of public, representative and important private space. They contribute to strengthen the image of a well kept, controlled, ordered and properly decorated city. But is there a logic and a symbolic meaning behinf the choice of certain species for those spaces? Do the compositions, design and associations of different flowers efer to any tradition? Should those flowers represent German identity along with the institutional flags and statues of local heros?
Fabio Vanin and Moses Serubiri will tackle those and other questions in their project “MY OWN EXOTIC”, putting in question the (shallow) understanding and public consciousness about the use and consumption of flowers, reflecting on the relation between their display and the public image of Bayreuth. Reproductions of autoctonous and allochthonous species will be positioned in opposite group rows, one facing the other, representing the disequilibrium/ unbalance between the two groups. Also, wireframes will reproduce the most recurrent geometrical that can be found in Bayreuth and 3D printed reproductions of flowers on representative monuments and buildings will be displayed next to each other.
Founded in October 2012 and inaugurated in a festive event on December 3rd, 2012, the “Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies” will expand the horizon of the well-established field of African Studies at this University at international, national and local levels. Across a broad range of disciplines, it will open dialogues with other Area Studies as well as with fields of research dedicated to ‘systematic’ (i.e. non-regional) approaches. Thus, in its first phase (2012-2016), the Bayreuth Academy will fathom concepts of the future emerging from Africa and its diasporas from different academic perspectives. An essential concern is to engage in general debates about the concept of ‘future’ through insights gained from regional research, notably African Studies. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding this project and the setting up of its institutional structures during the next four years.