Counter Narratives and Resilience in Practice: On Decolonial Strategies in Art and Communities
The hybrid workshop "Counter Narratives and Resilience in Practice: On Decolonial Strategies in Art and Communities" addressed the potentials of performative, community-based, editorial and curatorial practices as narratives against the dominant canon of colonial histories. In the framework of a roundtable discussion, the five speakers Elena Agudio, Anna Ehrenstein, Patrick Flores, Yvette Mutumba and Alper Turan each contributed short impulse lectures, ideas and critical thoughts, in order to open the discourse to all participants afterwards. Methods of storytelling, queer curating, fictional archiving, the curatorial reconstruction of the global modern project and the rewriting of social constructs through the building of communities were discussed as resiliencies against, or rather, as Yvette Mutumba argues in her contribution, making visible parallel narratives existing next to master narratives and colonial systems.
The workshop is part of the transfer project "Circulating Narratives - Entangling Communities: Case Studies in Global Performance Art" based at the Cluster of Excellence EXC 2020 Temporal Communities, Freie Universität Berlin. It contributes to the project's broader inquiry into how embodied creative practices, such as performance, can unfold alternative narratives, practices of embodying histories and the transfer of embodied knowledge and can be considered a continuation of the two-part video series "On Performance and Communities" (2020) and "On Narration and Embodiment" (2021).
The project is a collaboration with Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin, initiated on occasion of the museum's recently ended exhibition "Nation, Narration, Narcosis: Collecting Entanglements and Embodied Histories" curated by Anna-Catharina Gebbers, together with Grace Samboh, Gridthiya Gaweewong and June Yap. The exhibition was initiated by the Goethe-Institut in 2017 and addressed art’s relationship to political protest, historical trauma and social narratives from the 19th century to the present, as well as climate and environment.
Organization by Dr. Anna-Lena Werner and Till Rückwart
EXC 2020 Temporal Communities, Freie Universität Berlin
Research Area 2: Travelling Matters
Project: "Circulating Narratives – Entangling Communities: Case Studies in Global Performance Art"
Project Lead: Prof. Dr. Annette-Jael Lehmann
Workshop video documentation: "Counter Narratives and Resilience in Practice: On Decolonial Strategies in Art and Communities“
Biographies of the Speakers
Elena Agudio (PhD) is a Berlin-based art historian and curator. Since 2013 she has been artistic co-director of SAVVY Contemporary – The Laboratory of Form-Ideas. She also writes and teaches, currently being theory lecturer at the Master Degree in Spatial Strategies at the Weißensee School of Art in Berlin. In 2017 and 2018 she was Guestprofessor at HFBK in Hamburg and Resident Fellow at Helsinki University of the Arts. The principal concerns of her practice are: migration and diasporic belonging, decanonisation, feminisms, ecological and planetary habitability, and the creation of sustainable infrastructures for and with vulnerable communities. From December 2022 she will be the new director of Villa Romana in Florence.
Anguezomo Mba Bikoro
Anguezomo Mba Bikoro’s visual and text work analyses processes of power and science fictions in historical archives that critically engage in migrational struggles and colonial memory, focusing on queer indigenous and Black feminist biopolitics central to the practice of ancestral healing. Anguezomo has developed frameworks of rituals and healing in performance work that often reveal the entangled colonial histories of migration at site-specific spaces to dismantle prejudices and build independent emancipatory tools for liberation, education and repair. Anguezomo is artistic director of Squat Museum in Gabon (2008), a mobile museum and performing archive, and Nyabinghi_Lab Collective (2020; non-profit). Their work has been shown in numerous international exhibitions and Biennales including the Dak’art Biennale (2012, 2018), Venice Biennale (2016), La Otra Bienal, Bogota (2013), and RAVY Biennale, Yaoundé (2018).
Anna Ehrenstein lives between Berlin, Tirana and the cloud and works in various mediums in artistic or curatorial production, examining how technology and digital-material culture reshape power relations. She investigates varying forms of knowledge and their constructions through south-south collaborations and redistribution of global north resources. Photography, Text, Video, Installation, Performance and Sculpture are created through working in community and throughout process-based artistic and curatorial research and mediation. How are we as a society produced by the media and through lens-based realities? Networked processes are key in untangling capitalistic structures of greed in a world of ongoing crises. Anna Ehrenstein studied photography and media art in Germany and attended curatorial courses in Valetta, ML and Lagos, NG. In 2022 she received the INITIAL scholarship for artistic mediation, in 2021 the Research Scholarship of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe, Berlin and in 2020 the C/O Berlin Talent Award 2020 for "New Documentary Strategies" with her collaboration Tools for Conviviality. She worked for the educational program of BB10 curated by Gabi Ngcobo and curated exhibitions for the Triennale of photography in Hamburg, amongst others. In 2019 she received a DAAD scholarship for a research semester in Bogota, Colombia. In the past year she has exhibited at the Ural Biennale in Yekaterinburg, the Lagos Biennale in Lagos and at KOW Berlin, the C/O Berlin Foundation and the Kunstraum Kreuzberg, among others.
Patrick Flores is Professor of Art Studies at the Department of Art Studies at the University of the Philippines and curator of the Vargas Museum in Manila. He is the director of the Philippine Contemporary Art Network. He was one of the curators of Under Construction: New Dimensions of Asian Art from 2001 to 2003 and the Gwangju Biennale (Position Papers) in 2008. He was a Visiting Fellow at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in 1999. Among his publications are Painting History: Revisions in Philippine Colonial Art (1999); Past Peripheral: Curation in Southeast Asia (2008); Art After War: 1948–1969 (2015); and Raymundo Albano: Texts (2017). He was a Guest Scholar of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles in 2014. He was the artistic director of the Singapore Biennale 2019 and convener of the forums for the Taiwan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2022.
Yvette Mutumba is co-founder and artistic director of the platform Contemporary And (C&). She is curator-at-large at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and lectures at the Institute of Art in Context at the University of Arts, Berlin. Yvette was part of the curatorial team of the 10th Berlin Biennale (2018) and Guest Professor for Global Discourses at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (2017-2018). From 2012 to 2016 she was curator at the Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt am Main. She studied art history at Free University Berlin and holds a PhD from Birkbeck, University of London. Yvette was awarded "European Cultural Manager of the Year" in 2020, together with Julia Grosse.
Alper Turan (born 1993, Ankara) is a curator and writer currently based in Istanbul and Berlin. His curatorial research and practice draw from / respond to queer strategies, genealogies, and languages, which include but are not limited to abstraction, speculation, and appropriation. His recent curatorial projects include Smoothing (lines into circles) (at A Tale Of A Tub, Rotterdam, 2022); How does the body take shape under pressure? (with Nazım Ünal Yılmaz, at Queer Museum Vienna, 2022). He is a Ph.D. student at the College of Fine Arts in Hamburg (HFBK) and an assistant curator at Protocinema.