The Echoes of the South Atlantic conference on 10th and 11th July 2019 in Berlin, organised by the Goethe-Institut together with Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), looks into the future of South Atlantic relations and the role that Europe can play in them. What is the state of relations between Africa, South America and Europe today, after centuries of European hegemony and colonisation? The conference will take place as part of the 2019 Wassermusik festival at HKW in Berlin, which will have the theme ‘Black Atlantic Revisited‘. Until the fifteenth century, the Atlantic was the insurmountable border between Africa and Europe on the one side and America on the other. The history of crossing the Atlantic followed the well-known narrative of ‘discoveries’: colonisation, slavery, exploitation, migration and European prosperity. The exchange created a cultural dynamic that fundamentally changed all three continents. The Berlin conference will address the question of current relations between the three continents and come up with possible scenarios for future intercultural dialogue.
Alongside contributions from Paul Gilroy, Felwine Sarr, Achille Mmembe and Nanette Snoep, 19 artists from Africa, South America and Europe will present their projects illustrating the connections between the continents and asking questions about the cultural potential of South-South relations and the role that Europe plays, or can play, here. These include, Gabi Ngcobo, Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Elvira Dyangani Ose, Jota Mombaca and Michelle Mattiuzzi, among others. The projects take on a variety of themes, such as cultural traditions between the continents, post-colonial aesthetics in dance and performance and the sound of the South Atlantic.
The conference is the second part of the Goethe-Institut’s project Echos des Südatlantiks (Echoes of the South Atlantic), which is organising events in South America, Africa and Europe between 2018 and 2020 on the future of the South Atlantic. During this period, the participating artists and intellectuals will develop their own works, which will be presented at a closing festival in Africa next year.
4:00 – 17:30 | Panel talks on the projects and themes
All panels chaired by Ananya Kabir
14:00 – 15:30 – Panel I | Collecting and Creating
Nanette Snoep – “Restitution: Snippets of stories and personal and professional memories of a museum professional”
Ndidi Dike – “Commodities of Consumption and Sites of Extraction in the South Atlantic”
Selene Wendt – “Listening to the Echoes of the South Atlantic”
16:00 – 17:30 – Panel II | Explore and Encounter
Gabi Ngcobo/Thiago de Paula Souza – “I’ve seen that face before”
Paul Goodwin – “Black Is…Black Ain’t: Art and Refusal”
Kris Nelson – “Night Lift”
18:30 – 19:00 | Welcoming addresses
Bernd Scherer, HKW Director &
Johannes Ebert, Secretary-General Goethe-Institut
19:00 – 20:00 | Keynote: Paul Gilroy “The End of the Black Atlantic?”
This presentation will ask some provocative questions about the historical arc of the Black Atlantic formation. In particular, it will interrogate the place of racial difference and racial hierarchy in the current regimes of cultural and military diplomacy and the transformation of technological and communicative relations that has attended the rise of civilisationalist thinking and the resurgence of ultranationalism and fascism. Can the residues of the Black Atlantic archive yield resources for managing this crisis?
14:00 – 15:30 – Panel III | Dealing and Healing
Jean-Pierre Bekolo – “Colombiafrica Traducción”
Amilcar Packer/Anita Ekman – “Drafting beyond the Atlantic: Wombs of a Rainforest”
António Ole/ Nadine Siegert – “The Carnival Trilogy”
16:00 – 17:30 – Panel IV | Afrotopia and Radical Citizenship
Felwine Sarr – “Afrotopia,” response by The Otolith Group;
Elvira Dyangani Ose – “Radical Citizenship”
Mark Nash/Isaac Julien – “Lessons of the Hour” and other Atlantic-related works
17:30 – 18:00 | “Lessons of the Hour – Frederick Douglass”
Video Performance by Isaac Julien
18:00 – 18:30 | “2021”
Performance by Michelle Mattiuzzi & Jota Mombaça
19:00 – 20:00 | Achille Mbembe “Deglobalization – Bodies as Borders”
In this lecture, Achille Mbembe will reflect on the renewed investment in borders in the age of dematerialisation and high velocity. He will pay particular attention to the ways in which certain bodies and classes of populations are nowadays turned into mobile, portable borders. The consequences of these new ways of redistributing mobility and partitioning the Earth will be examined as well as what they entail in terms of a possible politics of the future world.
20:00 – 23:00 | DJ Samy Ben Redjeb
Haus der Kulturen der Welt