Of course I can’t write about flowers and beads and birds and trees. And lovers in the park and all of that stuff n dem. But what the use to write about them something dem, when you sit late in the park at night and a man comes and shoots you and take your woman and rape her. What the use to write about flowers, when the pollution will wither it up! You have to write about the reality or the different. You have to write about South Africa and the youths in the ghetto. You have to write about the England. You have to write about all these things. Mutabaruka, Intro to Check It
Mutabaruka’s statement could stand as an epitome of the work we do at SAVVY Contemporary and my curatorial practice in general. SAVVY Contemporary was conceived at a time in Berlin, when the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall and the 125th ‘anniversary’ of the Berlin-Congo conference of 1884 were being commemorated. In the midst of the ‘celebrations’ of these historic events that shaped the destiny of millions of people in the world and left a standing political impact world wide, in the middle of political and social discussions on the influences of the Iron Curtain, the after-effects of the fall of the wall on citizens both in the former East and West blocks, in the middle of reflections on the consequences of colonialism, the status of the post-colony and the rise of neo-colonialism, I had the impression that all the art scene, especially in Berlin, was interested in was talking about flowers and beads, birds and trees. But how can we only talk about the beauty of trees and birds when 700 people die in the Mediterranean sea in one day, and 1000 in one week?
This lecture will look at artistic and curatorial practice in times of precarity and other crisis. As James Baldwin once wrote in a letter to Angela Davis in prison, “silence is not an option”. Not even for art is silence an option.
Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, PhD (born in 1977 in Yaoundé, Cameroon) is an independent art curator and biotechnologist. He is the founder and artistic director of the art space SAVVY Contemporary Berlin and editor-in-chief of the journal SAVVY Journal for critical texts on contemporary African art.
His recent curatorial projects include If You Are So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich? On the Economy of Knowledge, Marrakech Biennial Satellite, 2014; Giving Contours to Shadows, n.b.k., Gorki Theater, Gemäldegalerie, SAVVY Contemporary as well as satellites in Dakar, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Marrakesh, 2014; The Ultimate Capital is the Sun, nGbK, 2014; but the sea kept turning blank pages looking for history – on the state of refugeeness, SAVVY Contemporary, 2014; Discursive programm – Wir Sind Alle Berliner: 1884-2014, Institute for Cutural Inquiry Berlin, 2015; Satch Hoyt: Riding Celestial Vessels, Galerie Wedding, 2015; Ilja Karilampi: Hauptstadtrevier, Galerie Wedding, 2015. He is curator of the year long art project An Age of our Own Making for Images 2016 in Holbæk, Roskilde and Copenhagen.
Ndikung has lectured amongst others at Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, 2013; IKT Lab#3, Fondation Gulbenkian Paris, 2013; Critical Dialogues, Tyler School of Art Philadelphia, 2014; Haverford College, 2014; Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle, 2014; CuMMA Discourse Series, Aalto University Helsinki, 2015. He is currently adjunct professor on Postcolonial Theory and Art to the class of Prof. Antje Majewski at the Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel.
Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung
What If There Were No Centre of Gravity? – Reflections on Decentralisation and Nonconformism
Mittwoch, 22.04.2015, 19:00 Uhr, Kesselhaus
Vortrag auf englisch / Talk in english
Kunst- und Designkurs. Studierende aller Klassen sind herzlich willkommen.
Auf Einladung von Prof. Antje Majewski