FUTURE WAGNER

Two artists and one scholar, three perspectives on Richard Wagner’s legacy for German and Afican diasporic futures. The cooperative project of Philipp Khabo Koepsell and Susan Arndt scrutinises an often neglected part of the reception of Bayreuth’s most famous citizen: Wagner’s colonialist fantasies. Just as much as Hitler’s adoration of Wagner’s music was in line with its völkisch agenda and his antisemitistic brochure “Das Judenthum in der Musik”, Wagner’s  being a leitmotivic soundtrack of colonialist films corresponds to his colonialist visions of conquering places in Africa and the Americas.

After knowing about his devastating visions of the future of African and Jewish peoples, could we ever feel comfortable again with listening to his music as purely beautiful? What about confronting his visions with a future Wagner did not have in mind? Black scrutinies, abrogations and appropriations of his work?

Philipp Khabo Koepsell’s revisits Wagner’s future, making odd smells and new colours scrutinise and silence Wagner’s wordings and their futures. Afro-German voices, spoken word meets opera, have the last say. A poem by Philipp Khabo Koepsell and a Wagner aria by Lara Sophie Milagro as new „Zukunftsmusik“.

On the outside wall of the room, posters by Paul D Miller continue the project of Black remixing of Wagner. Imagination as intervention into historical truths and their futures. Cards are shiffled anew. Accordingly, motifs from Wagner operas are remixed with the iconography of card games — in itself a citation of popular culture.

This spectacle of Black remixing of Wagner finds ist close in DJ Spooky’s electronic rearrangement of „The Ride of Valkyres“ – another must have heard!

MICHAEL HAUHS

Michael Hauhs received his PhD in Forest Science from the University of Göttingen. He workes as researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research and the University of Göttingen before he became the Chair of Ecological Modelling at the University of Bayreuth. His main research interests are Forest growth models, Catchment models, hydrological modelling as well as information and complexity of environmental time series and categorial theory in ecology. At the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African studies he is a project leader at the subproject Visions of Nature: Concepts of Appropriating and Conserving Nature in Africa.

Some of his publications include:

Selle, B; Lange, H; Lischeid, G; Hauhs, M: Transit times of water under steady stormflow conditions in the Gårdsjön G1 catchment, Hydrological Processes, in press 9/2015

Hauhs, M; Trancón y Widemann, B: Application of algebra and coalgebra in scientific modelling, Electronic Notes in Theoretical Computer Science, 264, 105-123

Hauhs, M; Graefe, O: Sustainable use of water from natural and social science perspective, Geography Compass, 3, 1-20 (2009)

Hauhs, M: Production versus conservation in New Zealand and German beech forest management – A modeller’s perspective, New Zealand Journal of Foresty, 50(4), 31-41 (2006)

ANNALISA URBANO

Annalisa holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. As a post-doctoral researcher at the Academy for Advanced African Studies, she is working on a book project provisionally entitled Creating Somalia: The United Nations, nationalism and the end of empire in East Africa (1945-1969).

FLORIAN STOLL

Florian Stoll holds a Magister in Philosophy and Sociology and received his PhD in 2011 from Albrecht-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg on “Forms of temporal habitus in Recive, Brasil. He teaches at the University of Bayreuth and since May 1st, 2013 he holds the Post-Doc position of the research Project Middle Classes on the Rise: Concepts of the Future among Freedom, Consumption, Tradition and Moral, which belongs to the Bayreuth Academy Project “FUTURE AFRICA – Visions in Time

He is also part ofthe transnational research group “Global Inequality, Social Classification and Existance” under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Boike Rehbein (Humboldt-Universität Berlin).

Some of his publications include:

Stoll, Florian 2012: Leben im Moment? Milieus in Brasilien und ihr Umgang mit Zeit. Frankfurt/Main; Campus.

Stoll, Florian; Leithäuser, Thomas (Herausgeber; 2014) Mirian Geldenberg (Autorin) (Hrsg.) 2014: Untreu. Konstanz; UVK.

ABDI OSMAN

Abdi Osman is a Somali-Canadian multidisplinary artist whose work focuses on questions of black masculinity as it intersects with Muslim and queer identities. Osman’s video and photography work has been shown in Canada and internationally in both group and solo exhibitions. He holds an MFA in Documentary Media from Ryerson University, and B.A. in African Studies from the University of Toronto. Previous work has been supported by a grant from the Ontario Arts Council. His photographs are also in private collections and the Art Bank of the Canada Council for the Arts. Some of his work was in the year-long group show DiaporaArt: Strategy and Seduction by Canadian Artists from Culturally Diverse Communities at Rideau Hall. Abdi was a 2010 artist-in-resident at the McColl Centre for Visual Arts in Charlotte North Carolina. Most recently in 2012, he was a fellow at The Interdisciplinary Center for Culture and Creativity (ICCC) at the University of Saskatchewan.

CONCEPTS OF FUTURE IN MEDIASPACES OF AFRICA AND ITS DIASPORAS

Our sub-project is dedicated to fictional conceptualisations of the future in the intersection and overlapping of internet, imagination and Africa and its diasporas.

Description

The sub-project “Concepts of Future in Mediaspaces of Africa and its Diasporas” is dedicated to fictional conceptualizations of ‘Future’ in the intersecting trans-spaces of Internet, Fiction, and Africa/n Diasporas. In doing so, literary studies are mobilized as transcultural and transmedial “life science” (Ottmar Ette).

Terms

Diasporas constitute societal spaces that perform entangled (hi)stories and generate transcultural futures, promising creative solutions for global challenges. Fiction does not exist in a vacuum; rather, given constellations of knowledge, power and visions are negotiated polyphonously—affirmed, and/or subverted. Diasporas transgress borders between languages and nations just as much as fiction transgresses conventional boundaries of genres and media. The Internet has become a haven and home for these kinds of intersections and interactions of both Africa and its diasporas as well as media and genres. Weblogs, informational as well as social fora (to mention just the most obvious), are mediaspaces that are informed by given geopolitical power constellations and yet offer scopes of intellectual and aesthetic mobility that transgress them. Here, a poetics arises that (re)invents itself for the future, coping with history and negotiating the present.

Methodology and Theory

Literary Studies facing transmedial and transcultural fiction has to reinvent itself and resituate its structures, concepts and agendas. The various projects will rely on an expertise in African and African-diasporic Literatures, English and Anglophone Literatures, as well as German and Romance Literatures. Yet, conventional pigeonholes such as national literatures and one-language-one-nation-only frames of literary studies are likewise transgressed. As a result, the project performs Transcultural Literary Studies, relying on postcolonial theory and critical whiteness studies, Diaspora studies, gender and sexuality studies, and queer studies.

Questions

1. How are visions of ‘Future’ mediated via the Internet?

2. Which visions and projections of ,Future’—with particular reference to Africa/n diasporas, Europe, and the USA—are negotiated in fiction, above all in Afrofuturism, Africanist Science Fiction and African-diasporic Net-Art?

3. How have Afrofuturism, Africanist SF and African-diasporic Net-Art intervened and generated visions of histories that remember into futures? (How) do they influence conceptualizations of the future and intervene in contemporary processes? What are the implications of such interventions?

4. What are the impacts of visions of ‘Future’ on global archives of knowledge, on transcultural dialogicity, and on local and translocal conceptions of ‘Future’ in Europe, Africa and the USA?

5. (How) Does the Internet influence other media? Does it open specific potentials for future-oriented, transcultural and transmedial forms of expression, as well as, e.g., new economic and ethical formats of ‘intellectual property’? How do various genres interact, how are their stakeholders and/or agencies cross-linked on the local and/or transregional levels, and how do their literary-aesthetical visions of ‘Future’ influence political activism in ‘real’ (local) settings, especially in urban agglomerations—understood as contact spaces between Africa-/Europe/Northern America/Asia, and Africa/Diaspora(s)—, respectively?

6. Different Web formats (blogs, artists’ websites, publications in social fora, etc.) will be compared in order to address the following questions: To what extent do new aesthetic genres, especially those of particular relevance for the development and/or presentation of visions of ‘Future’ in/for Africa, emerge from and through the Internet? In a comparative perspective, Internet literature of the African Diaspora(s) can be analyzed in relation to other, ‘classical’ literary media (publishers, booksellers, literary cafés, academia, etc.), and the relevance of the Internet for different regional spaces shall be considered. Insomuch as Web-based aesthetic production presents itself as polyphonic genre-crossing, prose and Spoken Word Performances will be compared with genres such as fine (visual) arts, photography, music, and theatre/film production in/of African Diaspora(s).

7. (How) Can research on new literary representations of future (e.g. ‘Afrofuturism’, SF, African-diasporic Net-Art) determine coordinates for the future of a ‘Literary Study in Motion’ (Ottmar Ette), contribute to new paradigms and mappings, and thereby result in the advancement of both literature and literary studies?