30.10 – 01.11.2020

The Diasporic Schools — Online

© Miko Revereza

To end the month of activities of The Diasporic Schools Kunstenfestivaldesarts organises an online public program: three days of lectures, conversations with the artists, and screenings, on the diaspora as a model of circulation of knowledge. Three days for a polyphony of voices, looking at the distance not as a gap between two spaces, but as a space in itself. Achille Mbembe will share an open lecture on the political dispositive of the diaspora. Bouchra Khalili will reflect with Abdellali Hajjat on sonic archives as a central element of the Maghreb-descendant diaspora. Otobong Nkanga and Sandrine Honliasso will share a reflection about Ikọ, their new platform created at this occasion. Some conversation will be the final moments of paths that took place during the whole month of October. Yael Bartana will present the collective school she opened for the month, embedded in the Jewish practice of blowing the shofar, and as a tool to rethink rituals beyond their normative codes. Christian Nyampeta will also share the result of École du soir, a collective re-writing of the history of Rwanda from the diaspora. The program ends with an evening around the work of the young Filipino director and writer Miko Revereza. Raised in Los Angeles, Revereza works on the relation between diaspora and cinema. For Kunstenfestivaldesarts he conceived a night bringing together the reading of his own texts (A Relational Here and There: Towards a Stateless Cinema) and the exclusive online screening of some of his works, in which the cinematographic language becomes a metaphor for the very idea of distance. The public program is the final act of The Diasporic Schools reflecting on the history, politics and future of distant conversations.

30.10

19:30 — 20:30 CET

Denise Ferreira da Silva in conversation with Natasha Ginwala

An academic and practicing artist, Dr. Denise Ferreira da Silva’s work addresses the ethico-political challenges of the global present. She is the author of Toward a Global Idea of Race (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), A Dívida Impagavel (Oficina da Imaginaçāo Política and Living Commons, 2019), Unpayable Debt (Stenberg/MIT Press, forthcoming) and co-editor (with Paula Chakravartty) of Race, Empire, and the Crisis of the Subprime (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). Her several articles have been published in leading interdisciplinary journals, such as Social Text, Theory, Culture & Society, Social Identities, PhiloSOPHIA, Griffith Law Review, Theory & Event, The Black Scholar, to name a few. Her artistic works includes the films Serpent Rain (2016) and 4Waters-Deep Implicancy (2018), in collaboration with Arjuna Neuman; and the relational art practices Poethical Readings and Sensing Salon, in collaboration with Valentina Desideri. She has exhibited and lectured at major art venues, such as the Pompidou Center (Paris), Whitechapel Gallery (London), MASP (Sāo Paulo), Guggenheim (New York), and MoMa (New York). She has also written for publications for major art events (Liverpool Biennale, 2017; Sao Paulo Biennale, 2016, Venice Biennale, 2017, and documenta 14) and published in art venues, such as Canadian Art, Texte Zur Kunst, and E-Flux.  

She is a member of several boards including Haus de Kulturen de Welt (Berlin), International Consortium for Critical Theory Programs and the journals Postmodern Culture, Social Identities, and Dark Matter. 

31.10

16:00 — 17:30 CET

Christian Nyampeta, École du soir
Public talk moderated by Eric Cyuzuzo

Once a week, for the whole month of October, Christian Nyampeta created an École du soir, a study programme about writing and visualising intellectual histories, drawing from the lives and afterlives of the Belgian colonial empire in Rwanda. Through an open call he invited a group of participants –based in different areas of the world– to an online platform where to collectively rethink the writing of History and its relation with coloniality. Together they appreach the possibility of making a timeline of their own lives, and linking these sociographic events to the extended history of Rwanda, a part of which has been written in the wake of the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994 when the search for peace and reconciliation required one uniting narrative. Through overviewing works in literature, music, theatre and cinema, this iteration of École du soir locates artistic models that honour and respect this acute social need and still approach history not only as a fixed record of the past but also as a process of cultural assemblage. This public presentation is an occasion to share this process that took part within The Diasporic Schools and reflect on pedagogical platforms and artistic practices in their possibility to challenge the canonical forms of History writing.

18:00 — 19:00 CET

Achille Mbembe in conversation with Ogutu Muraya

Achille Mbembe is Research Professor in History and Politics at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He is the author of On the Postcolony (2001), Necropolitics (2019) and the winner of the 2018 Ernst Bloch Award as well as the Gerda Henkel Award.

19:30 — 20:30 CET

Bouchra Khalili met Abdellali Hajjat
Conversation on An Audio Family Album moderated by Joachim Ben Yakoub

Conceived for the Diasporic Schools, with An Audio Family Album Bouchra Khalili starts from the legacy of Al Assifa, a theatre group active between 1972 and 1978 that consisted of a group of North African workers – all born colonised – and their French student allies, and whose shows were mainly performed in striking factories and community spaces. Al Assifa also published a newspaper, Al Assifa: The Voice of Arab Workers. In those years, members of the group used to read the newspaper in Arab cafes in Paris to allow illiterate members of the community to access the information as well; audio cassettes were also used to circulate this content among Maghreb-descendent communities in several French cities, reaffirming oral narration as a powerful practice of resistance to the official discourse and to dominant knowledge. During the last ten days of October, and collaborating with a younger generation of members of the same communities living nowadays in Europe, Bouchra Khalili constructs a growing archive of voices, accessible online on the website of the festival, and bringing together stories of emancipation that have helped shape the memories and contemporary strategies of diaspora struggles. Across geographies and generations, these stories form a collective family album where, as in the Al-halqa tradition, the voices embody the living and nomadic memory of people’s struggles for collective emancipation. As part of the final public program, Bouchra Khalili will be in conversation with Abdellali Hajjat on this sonic archive, initiated at the occasion of The Diasporic Schools, and that will continue after it.

01.11

16:00 — 17:30 CET

Yael Bartana, The Shofar Schools
Public talk moderated by David Bernstein (tbc)

Once a week, for the whole month of October, Yael Bartana created a Shofar School. Made from a ram’s horn, the shofar is an instrument played at different moments in the Jewish calendar, and almost an iconic element in Judaism and among its diasporic communities. The very history of the shofar is linked to the need for communication from a distance: it was used to communicate between remote mountain villages, to warn of the sighting of the new moon and to mark the beginning of the new month. Its loud sound is also strongly bound up in the history of the diaspora, and the fact that in several circumstances and for centuries Jewish people risked their lives to exit the obligation of listening to the loud call of the shofar. The person who is able to blow the shofar is seen as one of the most honourable members of the community. However, both historically and nowadays, learning to play the shofar is subject to normative criteria, and although women are not prohibited from playing the instrument, it is an honour reserved for men. In her work, Yael Bartana explores the imagery of identity, delves into the complexity of the Jewish diaspora and often confronts political and feminist issues by exploring rituals. For The Diasporic Schools, Bartana created an online platform to connect people in the Jewish diaspora, regardless of gender, to learn together how to blow the shofar. Selected through an open call, and based in different regions of the world, the participants meet online once a week in the month of October to learn to play the shofar, to share stories, and to discuss the shofar through the topics of diaspora, identity, animal rights or sexuality. Above all, for one month, a group of people in different parts of the world will simultaneously blow the horn as a collective call to challenge and reimagine new forms of identity. This public presentation with Yael Bartana is an occasion to share the process and the material emerging from it.

18:00 — 19:00 CET

Otobong Nkanga and Sandrine Honliasso, Ikọ
Public talk moderated by Diana Campbell Betancourt

As part of the final public program of The Diasporic Schools artist Otobong Nkanga and curator Sandrine Honliasso will share an online public conversation starting from Ikọ. Initiated in the frame of The DIasporic Schools, Ikọ is a podcast conceived by Otobong Nkanga and Sandrine Honliasso in the framework of Nkanga’s ongoing work Carved to flow, started in 2017 and acting as a support structure for initiatives engaged in nurturing social, cultural and economic life in distant and connected geographies. Bringing together a wide range of voices intermingling with various audio proposal, Ikọ seeks to expand approaches to contemporary cultural and artistic practices and to allow a plurality of voices to be heard. Every Wednesday during the month of October, Ikọ releases a podcast episode, assembling soundscapes as it gathers a multitude of voices in the form of conversations, poetry, interviews and music. Episode after episode, Ikọ accompanies the listeners in the mobility of idea, people and goods, and within a reflection on forms of circulation, economy and care. Sound is a way to dig in the inherent complexities of material elements and their potential value, and to disclose how land and its natural resources are entwined with emotions, memories and knowledge.

19:30 — 21:00 CET

Miko Revereza, A Relational Here and There: Towards a Stateless Cinema
Film screenings and conversations with Daniel Blanga Gubbay

Born in Manila and raised in Los Angeles Miko Revereza is an emerging voice of experimental cinema. In his short movies he discloses the complex landscape of the diasporic experience, and he does so not only through the choice of the subject, but also through a reflection on cinematographic language as a metaphor of distance: an unbridgeable gap between the position of the body and the desire to be elsewhere. He recently wrote a manifesto, A Relational Here and There: Toward a Stateless Cinema, disclosing the entanglement of cinema and migration (in being both manifestations of human movement in itself), the use of the zoom as mimicking the gesture of reaching out, and how moving images mediated distance and separation in Filipino American diasporic consciousness, and how the circulation of electronic images from the US to the Philippines has inspired waves of migration to the States including his own family. The final evening of the public program of The Diasporic Schools hosts Miko Revereza online for an evening composed of reading of his texts, screenings of a selection of his short movies, and conversations on cinema and distance. “A diasporic consciousness becomes less defined by where its origins are located than the reality that there is distance from it”.