online screening from 12 pm on, on 8–22 May 2021

Café Togo

Musquiqui Chihying, Gregor Kasper

 

2018

3-Channel Video Installation

27’ in Loop

Café Togo looks at the efforts to change street names with colonial connotations in the so called

Afrikanisches Viertel (African Quarter) in the district of Berlin-Wedding. According to Berliner Straßengesetz,

each street in the city of Berlin honors the person, the place or the event it is named after. The streets

Petersallee and Lüderitzstraße and the square Nachtigalplatz are named after personalities, whose

biographies are tainted with blood of German colonial victims – so honoring becomes a skewed undertaking

here. According to the mentioned law, those streets have to be re-named if they are not in consonance with

today’s understanding of democratic and human rights definitions.

Café Togo follows in its documental and fictional scenes the visions of the Black activist Abdel Amine

Mohammed, who is intensively involved in processes of re-naming streets with colonial connotations in

Berlin. His key argument is based on a perspective change of symbolic politics implemented by state

authorities in this regard: turning away from honoring colonial perpetrators into honoring victims and

resistance and freedom fighters of the German colonial regime. Abdel Amine (a member of the ISD –

Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland) is engaged in a collective of initiatives both from the Black

community as well as other civil society NGOs, whose activism seeks to implement change, by arguing from

a postcolonial perspective: a multi-dimensional politics of remembrance.

Café Togo is inspired by “Carl Peters”, a propaganda film produced in 1941 by the National Socialists to

honor the life and the person of the colonial criminal Carl Peters, in whom they see a pioneer, a visionary of

their racist ideology. The film depicts scenes of subjugation, racist stereotypes, eurocentric representations

and appropriation. The scenes about Africa were filmed on Rügen, a German island located in the Baltic

Sea. Appropriating this concept, Café Togo re-stages several scenes about Kolonie Klein Afrika (Small

African Colony) and Kleingartenverein Togo, which until 2015 was called Dauerkolonie Togo (Permanent

Colony Togo). A symbolically important location in the quarter, where one of Café Togo’s principal theater

took place, is Café Fredericks. The act of re-naming is already realized there, in the sense that the locations’

former name Lüderitz-Eck was changed in honor of the German-West-African resistance and freedom fighter Josef Fredericks II. As a contribution Abdel Amine wrote the story “With Colonial Love”, which lay the

fundament of Café Togo.

 

Musquiqui Chihying,

born in 1985 in Taiwan, is an artist and filmmaker based in Taipei, Taiwan and Berlin, Germany.

http://musquiquiabout.blogspot.com/⁠ 

Gregor Kasper,

born in 1986 in Germany, is an artist and filmmaker based in Berlin, Germany.

http://gregorkasper.de/