A place of unlimited opportunities and information for some, the internet continues to elude others as a result of the (poor) quality and prohibitive cost of the connection. Some also simply lack the electronic devices that allow them to connect, or are unable to access online information not offered in their native language. These realities mean that the privileged dominate the production of narratives. Indeed, most online articles about Kinshasa are written by authors who are not actually located in Africa, a fact which impacts their perception of the continent considerably. The project Laboratoire Kontempo continues to make its mark on the Web by offering virtual content and alternative reports that transcend mainstream narratives.
Laboratoire Kontempo’s Kinzonzi 2.0 unites artists, experts and researchers from Kinshasa and other locations in an experimental, transdisciplinary digital space to question postcolonial power structures and dominant trends found within contemporary international art scenes.
The focus is placed on an exchange between local perspectives from Kinshasa and topics that are the subject of international discussion, but have a direct influence on everyday life and artistic trends. These include stereotypes relating to the perception of Africa and African cultures, (post-)colonial realities and their power dynamics, as well as linguistic, intellectual and epistemic hierarchies.
In the DR Congo, especially in the Western region, »Kinzonzi« in Kikongo, one of the national languages, refers to a meeting invoking customary and traditional practices that have long since been codified and adapted, to a certain extent, to the prevailing modernity. This process constitutes a valuable tool for performing family and societal negotiations in the Congo and in Africa in general.
The Laboratoire Kontempo 2021/2022 interprets the term »Kinzonzi« according to the current popular culture dominating in Kinshasa in the sense of conspiracy, reconcilement, an interactive space necessary to question the imaginary, the foundation of our futures and our contemporary realities.
»Kontempo« is a term that emerged as a neologism in the Kinshasa independent art scene. As a counter-narrative to the Western-influenced academic discourse, »Kontempo« has established itself as a new code and a reinterpretation of the term »contemporary« in Kinshasa.
Laboratoire Kontempo is a project which was founded by the Congolese/German duo Mukenge/Schellhammer in Kinshasa in 2019.
Kinzonzi 2.0 is a project by Laboratoire Kontempo, supported by Africa No Filter, developed in cooperation with ACUD MACHT Neu Berlin and Akademie Schloss Solitude.
The agency implementing the project in Kinshasa is Option ONGD.
Laboratoire Kontempo’s Kinzonzi is supported by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation) and by the Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien (Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media), Goethe Institut Kinshasa, Plateforme Contemporaine, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Rawbank Kinshasa, Bracongo, Institut Français Kinshasa, ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), Académie des Beaux-Arts de Kinshasa, Planète culturelle Esi Esimbi and the Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg (Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University; DHBW).