What If There Were No Centre of Gravity? – Reflections on Decentralisation and Nonconformism

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

21. April 2015

In Focus

The main goal of the Muthesius University in Kiel is to promote art, design and spatial strategies via research and development projects as a focal point for work and intellectual debates. As the only art university in the State of Schleswig-Holstein, the Muthesius is not only a place to develop culturally relevant biographies but with its project studies also a place of particular experimentation and realisation. To a certain extent, the profile of the Master’s programme represents study courses and development possibilities for students unique in the Federal Republic of Germany.

“At the centre of the Muthesius University’s focus is art and design, the creative and productive. Around this centre there revolves the fundamental relationship between theory and practice. This reciprocal relationship is a permanent process, a circular movement around the centre held by art and design. It needs free space to move. Thus, the firt condition for art and design at our university is freedom! To study at the Muthesius is the desire to use this freedom to mature into an equally creative and productive personality. In this way, we can provide our students with personal biographies”, promises President Dr. Arne Zerbst.

Around 630 study places are currently spread across the study courses in Fine Arts, Art Teaching at Grammar Schools, Scenography/Interior Design/Spatial Strategies, Communication Design and Industrial Design.


Training and education at the Muthesius are project-oriented. Students are encourage early to gain experience with real clients. The Project Office, the Publication Office and the Centre for Media are interdisciplinary departments which help students to complete their projects successfully.
By particpating in the excellence clusters the Muthesius University is one of the internationally visible and competitive research institutes contributing to the sustainability of research in Germany. Numerous cooperation partners at local, national and international level appreciate the Muthesius University’s interdisciplinary structure and the personal atmosphere of the class sizes of a maximum to 20 students – an excellent basis for discourse leading to innovation.


Each term, students and lecturers discuss national and international positions in art and design within the framework of interdisciplinary workshop weeks and internally organised, public symposia. International lecturers are always a part of these required courses. Young people from over 30 countries around the world come together in Kiel to study art and design. They make up 14 per cent of the student body, with an increasing tendency. This puts the Muthesius University above the national average.


In order to make the variety of the Muthesius University more informative, in addition to the »official« information pages (the coloured half of the website) there are over 30 weblogs (the white half of this website) updated by the individual study courses/departments themselves (in German only).



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