A Series of Artistic Interventions into the archive
F R A G M E N T S is a series of interventions where artists, researchers and activists are invited to engage critically with colonial histories and legacies. Participants are asked to use the content in the Colonial Neighbours archive as a point of departure in creating critical responses.
F R A G M E N T S # 1 with Tito Aderemi-Ibitola
Moving Still. How Do We Go From Here: Fragments Intervention #1 – Community Based Devised Theatre
Moving Still. How Do Go From Here is the culmination of a 6-week devised theatre workshop intervention into the Colonial Neighbours archive. The final performance was shown to the audience at October, 15 2016 at SAVVY Contemporary.
The project was conceived and lead by Tito Aderemi-Ibitola, a Lagos-based multimedia artist working primarily in performance and video. Her work focuses on the intersections of race, gender, and ethnicity. She is currently artist-in-residence at Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik (ZK/U) Berlin, Galerie Wedding and SAVVY Contemporary.
The workshops used physical movement exercises, experimental play, text examination, and community excursions as a means of delving deeper into Germany’s colonial history. The items of the archive serve as an impetus for consideration and play. Overlaying video, music, and movement, this theatrical presentation creates multifaceted points of entry into the archive and clears space for new forms of thinking about Germany’s colonial past. It is a representation of the deliberations and concerns of those who participated in the workshops. Though it is the final project for this series of workshops, the project is designed to be built upon and extend into new forms.
Participants: Tito Aderemi-Ibitola, Marleen Schröder, Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock, Pia Chakravarti Würthwein, Dyaa Naim, Nyambu Fifs Murage, Tito Fagbenle
F R A G M E N T S # 2 with Abrie Fourie, Part 1 + 2
Wir haben Augen, um zu sehen, aber sehen nicht // We have eyes to see but do not see – Continued Meditations on the Colonial Orbit
Colonial Neighbours invites you to the second edition of FRAGMENTS – a series of interventions with SAVVY Contemporary ́s archive project. >Wir haben Augen, um zu sehen, aber sehen nicht // We have eyes to see but do not see<, a series of photographic and video works by South African artist Abrie Fourie opens in parallel to the exhibition >Everything is Getting Better | Polish Colonialism< curated by Joanna Warsza.
In the second edition of the FRAGMENTS series, the South African artist ABRIE FOURIE explores the notion of meditations on places and landscapes, and the juxtapositions within them. The images confront both what is visible and invisible which speaks back to the unknown and known histories of colonialism. The images at first glance reflect a surreal beauty of the island and the Namibian and oceanic landscapes which become even more surreal once placed in relation to the history of these spaces. In his contemplative photographs of the Gorée Island, the Namibian desert and the oceanic landscape, – water and land emerge as formations of colors, light, shadows and textures but simultaneously reflect on them as places of fear, death, war and resistance.
His photo series HOUSE OF SLAVES, GORÉE ISLAND is a photographic approach to a place that is connected to the remembrance of European colonialism and the Atlantic Slave Trade. Gorée Island is a small island off the coast of Dakar, Senegal, which became one of the central departure points for the enslaved Africans. Nowadays, the island serves as a pilgrimage destination for the African diaspora to remember this history of violence and displacement. Parting from the Door of No Return on Gorée Island, the Atlantic waters became the ground of the Middle Passage – representing the deportations and journeys of millions of enslaved Africans to unknown and hostile lands.
These waters reappear in Abrie Fourie’s dreamlike OCEAN, a solemn and immersive encounter with dark waters and our own gaze. Mirroring ourselves, we become part of a metaphor of both past and present passages, of personal and collective projections on the sea, yet it simultaneously locates us in the here and now. Fourie’s Namibia series was taken in the early 90s, a time in which Namibia and South African underwent major political changes. The images become a reflection of this politically transitionary moment.
Fourie also invited his son Raoul Fourie and fellow artist Lukas E.D. Cuitak to re-install the archival collection Colonial Neighbours in order to subvert the way we look at these objects.
The first part of Abrie Fourie’s intervention, Wir haben Augen, um zu sehen, aber sehen nicht // We have eyes to see but do not see, a series of photographic and video works opened in parallel to the exhibition Everything is Getting Better: Polish Colonialism curated by Joanna Warsza.
The second part, on view during the S A V V Y FUNK, E V E R Y T I M E A E A R D I S O U N – a documenta 14 Radio Program, is a continuation of Abrie Fourie’s meditations on the colonial orbit, »We have eyes to see but do not see–because looking is proof, and finding something with your eyes very often contradicts what you are told.« Intrinsic to this arrangement of photographs, audio and text is an interest in the sometimes volatile and complex relationship between photography and fiction, and the disjunction between memory and what we as viewers and consumers of photography project onto the medium.
The idea of fences, particularly the »fences between neighbours« draws on a text written by Sean O’Toole as a response to Abrie Fourie’s image archive. It refers to a journey O’Toole took to the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa at Musina, a troubled border town marked by its proximity to the massive electric fence that stretches over thousands of kilometers, causing unspeakable violence until today. The photos of the Namibian landscapes bring to mind the continuation of this border into Namibian lands. The »Red Line«, an internal border that stands for a bordermaking process that reaches back to the nineteenth century as part of establishing colonial control during the German occupation.
Within the surrounding of Fourie’s personal digital archive of photographs of different locations, including Germany, the chalk line proposes a reflection on the notion of fences, not only in its material and visible functions, but also how fences traced back to colonialism, structure relations and spaces. »The fence« functions not only between neighbouring countries, neighbours in our neighbourhoods, or the person right next to us, but also between that which we see, which we remember and which remains unknown to our eye.