KUPAKWASHE MTATA

Kupakwashe Mtata is a doctoral researcher in Religious Studies working within the “Visions of Nature” sub-project under the auspices of the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies. His research focuses on religion and nature by exploring on-going encounters between European colonial and African autochthonous ontological designs of human-environment relations in contemporary Africa, with Matobo National Park of Zimbabwe and its environs as a case study.

REMIXING WAGNER

DJ Spooky and Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner’s (1813-1883) operas and conceptual writings remain some of the most influential works of the last two centuries. With their complexity, abstract harmonies and deeply elaborate use of leitmotifs, Wagner set the tone for how we think about composition and multiple interpretations of set design, architecture, and the complete use of music to create a virtual tableau for 21st century digital media. It’s been argued that he is essentially the first multimedia composer.

Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies, the innovative research structure at the University of Bayreuth, have invited Paul D. Miller to explore some of the deep structural relationships between Wagner’s concepts and the tensions between his work as a composer and theoretician and the long standing controversy surrounding his career.

From 2015-2016, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky is Composer in Residence at Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies in the heart of Bayreuth where Wagner oversaw his crowning achievement – the legendary Festspiel Haus. The Residency is comprised of an exhibition, concert series. It will be part of the joint exhibition of Academy researchers and artists responding to the overarching theme “Future Africa – Visions in Time” which opens on November 7th, 2015, at Iwalewahaus in Bayreuth. Paul D. Miller’s project on the idea of Gesamtkunstwerk is devoted to explores the philosophical dimensions of Wagner’s work in relation to 21st Century aesthetics and compositional strategies. The Residency will culminate in an album that explores many of Wagner’s most well known works.

Artist statement:

I first encountered Wagner not just as a composer but as a friend of one of my favorite philosophers, Friedrich Nietzsche. The collected Aphorisms of Nietzsche Contra Wagner, and one of my favorite adages from it “For, as a rule, artists are no better than the rest of the world, they are even worse – they misunderstand love. Even Wagner misunderstood it…” are a big inspiration for my work. I did one of my degrees in Philosophy and focused on Ludwig Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Hegel, and the rise of humanism. The intriguing thing about Wagner is that his work was never meant to be “just music” – neither is mine. I started my Residency in Bayeuth by physically walking through the town and environs for many miles. I wanted to put myself in the scenario of Wagner’s architectural idea-form, the Festspiel Haus to explore the resonance between the composer as architect and philosopher. There’s also the dynamic engagement with some of my soundtrack work: Wagner’s music was used to sublimely powerful effect in DW Griffith’s deeply controversial film “Birth of a Nation.” I remixed the film and soundtrack with Kronos Quartet in 2016. The other aspects of Wagner – The Tristan Chord (which many musicologist a trace to the rise of Modernist post Harmonic tone sequences, etc), and Wagner’s relationship to cinema inform the project and Residency: Apocalype Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979), Amiri Baraka’s famous “Dutchman” (1964) on over to the Richard Burton 1983 biographic “Wagner,” to Stephen Fry’s “Wagner and Me” (2012), James Franco’s rendition of “Tristan and Isolde” (2006, Tony Scott, Director) and more currently, the rise of multimedia as the dominant global discourse of our time – all of these point to Wagner as more important than ever. From his relationship to modern cinema (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars etc) one can see his traces on almost every major aspect of Western culture – up to and including the main theme of many, many weddings: The “Bridal Chorus” (“Treulich geführt” in German), from the 1850 opera Lohengrin, is a march played for the bride’s entrance at many formal weddings throughout the Western world. Then there’s the whole issue of his concepts of Gesamkunstwerk and Zukunftmusik that anticipated our media discourse by a full century. While Wagner won critical acclaim for what he achieved in his theater works, his nuanced and passionately written, problematic philosophical works are less well known. I’ll balance music with art and philosophy in this Residency, and I hope you can join me for the journey.

Bayreuth, 2015

I’ll be exploring a digital media response to his work by looking some of the more complex issues informing his work.

relation to 21st Century aesthetics and compositional strategies. The Residency will culminate in an album that explores many of Wagner’s most well known works.

INGRID LAFLEUR

Ingrid LaFleur uses multiple forms of media to investigate possible avenues for psychosocial healing. With a special interest in the idea of transcendence, LaFleur researches ancient practices of ritual and alter making, mythologies, alternative healing modalities and spirit science. Ultimately LaFleur creates receptive spaces for engaging “blackness” and dismantling the fear associated with the black body.

In 2012, LaFleur founded AFROTOPIA, an evolving creative research project that uses Afrofuturism as a social engagement practice. The project website is afrotopiaisnow.com

Based in Detroit, LaFleur has presented her work on Afrofuturism at Centre Pompidou (Paris), University of Bayreuth (Bayreuth, Germany), Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA), TEDxBrooklyn, TEDxDetroit, College for Creative Studies (Detroit) among others.

PICTURE:  http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-139OB8Bgih0/T2X6udIQf2I/AAAAAAAADwY/60e3OZ-avpM/s1600/Ingrid%2BLaFleur.jpg

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/

SYOWIA KYAMBI

Miriam Syowia Kyambi (b.1979) is a multi-media artist of Kenyan and German heritage based in Nairobi, Kenya. Her work combines performance with impermanent and permanent mediums including clay, sisal, paint and photography. Much of her work dissects and brings to question perception and memory. She examines how the contemporary human experience is influenced by constructed history, past and present violence, colonialism, family and sexuality.

Often the result is an orchestration that engages the viewer in a dynamic process that leaves behind a powerful visual impression.

Syowia graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA (2002) where she resided for five years before returning to Kenya in 2003.

She has been the recipient of several prestigious awards and grants including 2nd place in the UNESCO Award for the Promotion of the Arts; the Art in Global Health Grant from the Welcome Trust Fund in United Kingdom; a grant from Mexico’s External Ministry of Affairs; and commissions by the Kenya Institute of Administration, the National Museums of Kenya and the Art 4 Action Foundation in Kenya. Her work has been shown in Belgium, Finland, Kenya, Mali, Mexico, South Africa, and the United States of America.

by Nabila Alibhai