Grasplatz, Karas, Namibia, 1992_Abrie Fo

Image by Abrie Fourie

8 May – 20 June 2021

TERRITORIES UNDER MY SKIN

Performances and conversations reflecting the history of the African Quarter, Berlin / Wedding


 

Artistic Concept

Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez

Jaro Straub


Ella Ziegler

 

 

Participating Artists

Akinbode Akinbiyi (Nigeria/England) lives in Berlin

Declan Clarke (Ireland) lives in Berlin


Sarah Perks (UK)
 lives in the UK

Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez (Columbia) lives in Berlin

Zandile Darko (Germany) lives in Berlin

Abrie Fourie (South Africa) lives in Berlin

Donna Kukama (South Africa) lives in Berlin

Deva Schubert (Germany) lives in Berlin

Ella Ziegler (Germany) lives in Berlin

 

Concept Film Program

Jaro Straub (Germany)

Caspar Stracke (Germany)

 

Films by

Nicola Brandt (Namibia)

Musquiqui Chihying (Taiwan) und Gregor Kasper (Germany)

Laura Horelli (Finland)

Katrin Winkler (Germany)

Hildegard Titus (Namibia)

Joel Haikali (Namibia)

Tuli Mekondjo (Namibia)

Caspar Stracke (Germany)

 

Human history is marked by political, ideological and territorial occupations and struggles for freedom, which are manifested in our culture of remembrance and commemoration in the form of memorials, monuments and anniversaries. Every year, on 8 May, the Allies’ victory over the hegemonic rule of the Nazis is commemorated in Germany and beyond. On this historic day of remembrance, our artistic performative event series TERRITORIES UNDER MY SKIN is set to begin. The events will be hosted by the project space CHANGING ROOM in Berlin/Wedding, located on Lüderitzstraße in the middle of the African Quarter, an area which once served to “glorify and anchor German colonial rule in the public consciousness”.[1]

 

The artists participating in TERRITORIES UNDER MY SKIN have been invited to create performances and interventions that reflect on and investigate the history of the African Quarter and the impending renaming processes of Lüderitzstraße, Petersallee and Nachtigalplatz, which are named after German colonialists. There is ongoing public controversy around these street names due to contradictory administrative acts by local Berlin authorities, the different opinions of residents and business people in the African Quarter and various associations and initiatives; the street names are remainders from the time of German imperialism and colonialism. The name “Afrikanisches Viertel” itself is also considered problematic, as it is reminiscent of Carl Hagenbeck’s colonial-era plans to present animals and people from German colonies on the African continent next to each other in a public park in what is now Wedding.

 

As the title TERRITORIES UNDER MY SKIN: Performances and conversations reflecting the history of the African Quarter suggests, the participating artists will seismographically explore, articulate and artistically reveal urban, political, intellectual and social territories and their boundaries – all of which exist beneath the surface of public and private discourses alike.

 

TERRITORIES UNDER MY SKIN uses artistic interventions to look at and investigate the current state of affairs, atmosphere and uncertainty regarding the renaming of the three aforementioned streets. The local initiatives’ resistance towards renaming the streets acts as a strong motivation for us to move into the public realm. In this state of limbo, we see many potentials and feel called to become artistically and discursively active in the surrounding urban space.

 

The artistic performances, talks, interventions and guided tours through the African Quarter can be seen as an exploratory process in which the invited artists are formulating innovative and experimental ways of looking at the past. The guiding principle of the programme is the attempt to expose the superimposition of supposedly past and present values, and to disrupt *toxic* interactions.

 

Located in the actual centre of this discourse on the African Quarter, we want to establish an open platform for exchanging views and opinions. 

 

TERRITORIES UNDER MY SKIN will conclude with a film program that explores the impact of German colonial history in contemporary Namibia from a variety of cultural perspectives.

[1] Christian Kopp and Marius Krohn: Blues in Schwarz-Weiß: Berlins Black Community im Widerstand gegen kolonialrassistische Straßennamen (Metropol 2013)

The project is kindly supported by Stiftung Kunstfonds

TERRITORIES UNDER MY SKIN / Program

 

Friday, 8 May 2021

6pm: Walk with Berlin Postkolonial e.V. through the African Quarter

Meeting point: Nachtigalplatz

Reservations required!

8pm: Opening and introduction of “Territories Under My Skin”, including a talk with Berlin Postkolonial e.V. at Changing Room

8–10pm: Projection of the photo series “We Have Eye to See but Do Not See – Namibia” by Abrie Fourie in Changing Room’s backyard

 

Abrie Fourie (South Africa) 


WE HAVE EYES TO SEE BUT DO NOT SEE – NAMIBIA

Large-format billboards in public space in Berlin/Wedding

On view: 7–27 May 2021

 

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Donna Kukama (South Africa)


Installation and performance at Changing Room

 

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Akinbode Akinbiyi (Nigeria/England)

WALKING, TALKING AND TAKING IN


A guided tour through the African Quarter with Akinbode Akinbiyi followed by an

artist talk

Meeting Point: Changing Room / Lüderitzstr. 11

Reservations required!

 

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Declan Clarke (Ireland) and Sarah Perks (UK)

ONE DAY THE SADNESS WILL END

Lecture performance at Changing Room

 

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez (Columbia) and Zandile Darko (Germany) SCHWERBELASTUNGSKÖRPER

Performance and artist talk at Changing Room

Friday–Sunday, 18–20 June 2021

Deva Schubert (Germany) and Ella Ziegler (Germany)

SYSTEMATIC VERTIGO

Interactive performances in public spaces in the African Quarter

 

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Filmprogram TERRIRTORIES UNDER MY SKIN / RE-VISITED

at Changing Room

 

Films by

Nicola Brandt (Namibia)

Musquiqui Chihying (Taiwan) und Gregor Kasper (Germany)

Laura Horelli (Finnland)

Katrin Winkler (Germany)

Hildegard Titus (Namibia)

Joel Haikali (Namibia)

Tuli Mekondjo (Namibia)

Caspar Stracke (Germany)

 

 

Projects / Artists

 

Akinbode Akinbiyi (Nigeria/England)


WALKING, TALKING AND TAKING IN


A guided tour through the African Quarter with the artist Akinbode Akinbiyi followed by an artist talk. Meeting point: Changing Room / Lüderitzstr. 11

“Starting at Changing Room, we will walk together through the African Quarter. In the process, I will explain individual chapters of the neighbourhood’s history in detail. I will focus on the colonial-era idea to establish a zoo and a human show at the dune, which still exists in Wedding, as well as the first street names and the housing developments in the founding years, the subsequent Bauhaus buildings and the counter-movement of fascist architectural designs that arose shortly thereafter. The tour will go up to the northern part of the neighbourhood and then back through the Schreber garden colonies and the more modern post-war areas, eventually arriving back at the original meeting point. During the tour, the acts of telling, explaining and talking while walking, and, most importantly, inwardly absorbing the space, its atmospheres and moods are dear to me.—Akinbode Akinbiyi, Berlin March 2021

Declan Clarke (Ireland) and Sarah Perks (Ireland)


ONE DAY THE SADNESS WILL END


Installation with performance and talk at Changing Room

ONE DAY THE SADNESS WILL END is an ongoing project by artist Declan Clarke and curator Sarah Perks that tracks the traces and movements of post-revolutionary space through their collection and publication of the names of people, groups and places they believe were betrayed by revolution. Their initial research on 66 individuals and events formed a picture of specific historical events that attempted, each with varying degrees of success, to disrupt or influence courses of history. These failures were due to both the revolutionary process and the reactionary counter-impulse.

As part of the project TERRITORIES UNDER MY SKIN, Perks and Clarke will present the first performative version of ONE DAY THE SADNESS WILL END. In doing so, they will consider the phenomenon of post-revolution as a framework for questions of activism, social change and reconciliation.

 

 

Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez (Colombia)
 with Performer Zandile Darko (Germany)
 

SCHWERBELASTUNGSKÖRPER (Heavy Stress Body)

Performance followed by a talk at Changing Room

Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez’s choreography performed by Zandile Darko is a work that takes migration and resilience as its main theme, beginning with mutual tolerance and openness. The performance is as much about forgetting as it is about remembering, thus incorporating the stress limits that are constantly repeated within this field of opposing forces. The artist wants to counter this phenomenon by the emphatic means of “observing and feeling”. Symbolically, the balance and order between the ground and one’s lying or standing upon it are continuously visualised and questioned. The opposing forces of movement, tension and body, as well as the attraction of the earth, are embodied by the underlying choreography. Zandile Darko will alienate bodily sounds with her voice and a hidden microphone. The audience will be actively involved in the performance to make collective memories physically tangible.

 

Abrie Fourie (South Africa)


WE HAVE EYES TO SEE BUT DO NOT SEE
 – NAMIBIA

Large-format photographs mounted on billboards in the African Quarter and it’s surrounding

The photographic series WE HAVE EYES TO SEE BUT DO NOT SEE – NAMIBIA  by South African photographer Abrie Fourie is a meditation on places and landscapes in Namibia. Fourie embarked on a journey to Namibia in the 1990s to photographically document the formerly colonised territories. The images confront both the visible and the invisible, harking back to the unknown and known history of colonialism. At first glance, they reflect a surreal beauty of Namibian landscapes that become even more surreal once placed in relation to the colonial history of these natural spaces.

A selection of Fourie’s photographs will be displayed on large billboards in the African Quarter and it’s surrouding.

 

Donna Kukama (South Africa)


Performance and installation at Changing Room

Donna Kukama uses performance as a means of resistance against established artistic methods. Through these performative actions she attempts to deconstruct and reinvent classical artistic formats. In addition to performance, she develops texts, videos and sound installations in public space. Her works address social structures, the construction of narratives, the way history reaches out and how it is documented and recapitulated. Through bodily actions, Kukama constructs a counter-narrative that challenges conventional notions of hegemonic structures.

Deva Schubert (Germany) and 
Ella Ziegler (Germany)

SYSTEMATIC VERTIGO


Interactive performances in public space in the African Quarter

With SYSTEMATIC VERTIGO the dancer and performer Deva Schubert and visual artist Ella Ziegler take geodesy – the science of measuring and mapping the earth's surface – as the starting point for interventions and actions carried out in the African Quarter, an urban colonial landmark. The two artists investigate the connection between the measurement of the earth’s surface and the emergence of uniform reference systems as well as the accompanying strategic and political conquests of terrestrial territories.

The starting point of this artistic research and intervention is Adolf Lüderitz’s so-called Meilenschwindel (or, “mile fraud”): The Bremen merchant and colonialist came into possession of a large coastal strip of land in South West Africa, a German colony, by means of deliberate fraud.

 

TERRITORIES UNDER MY SKIN / RE-VISITED


Film program at Changing Room

Concept by Caspar Stracke (Germany)
 and Jaro Straub (Germany)


Films by

Nicola Brandt (Namibia)

Musquiqui Chihying (Taiwan) und Gregor Kasper (Germany)

Laura Horelli (Finnland)

Katrin Winkler (Germany)

Hildegard Titus (Namibia)

Joel Haikali (Namibia)

Tuli Mekondjo (Namibia)

Caspar Stracke (Germany)

The film program „Territories under my Skin / Re-visited" is looking at the

manifold questions which the history of Namibia and its past and present

(post-)colonial entanglements with Germany are posing to contemporary

filmmakers from Namibia, Germany and those from elsewhere looking into

the relationship of the two nations. The film program is taking its viewing

location - a backyard in the African Quarter in Berlin - as a starting point to

expand the post-colonial circles of inquiries. What begins in

Lüderitzstrasse, Berlin eventually brings us to Lüderitz, Namibia.

 

Beyond the „African Quarter“ in Wedding, Berlin; Musquiqui Chihying and

Gregor Casper explore the aftermath of the nearby Schrebergartenverein.

Socialist ties between SWAPO and GDR revive a long forgotten

ideological relationship in Laura Horelli’s work. Followed by Kartin Winkler,

who has a long research history with Namibia which brought her

eventually to Windhoek in the 90s, whereas Caspar Stracke recently

continued to collect observations and voices in Swakopmund and

Lüderitz. From here the perspective reverses with accounts from

contemporary Namibian artists and filmmakers - Hildegard Titus, Tuli

Mekondjo, Joel Haikali and Nicola Brandt who are reflecting upon postcolonial

identity from the idiosyncratic viewpoint of today’s Namibia with

its diverse ethnic origins, ranging from Ovambo to Herero, from

Nama to white descendants with German/European heritage.

 

 

 

 

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