May 17 – June 30, 2019

Membrane Exhibition – Refracted Gazes

Date: May 17, 2019, 00:00 Uhr

Duration: May 17 – June 30, 2019

Location: Projektraum Römerstraße 2A

The Akademie Schloss Solitude exhibition takes place parallel to the MEMBRANE festival. In line with the festival exploration of permeability, flexibility and simultaneity it presents five artistic positions from within the international network of the Akademie.

Using different artistic approaches and formats, the artists attempt to question the limits of knowability. A membrane as a translucent tissue, allows flows of cells to enter an organism. Here, membranes stand for the permeability of knowledge and thought, the shifting of gazes, and the recalibration of historical heritage. Translucency as a precondition for change, and permeability as reflection on history and present to challenge existing world views: Membrane permits the re-positioning and re-formulation of hierarchies of knowledge.

The exhibition takes up the idea of membranes to display artistic positions that challenge predominant views and narratives. The urgency of decolonizing thought, language, sound and perception stand at the forefront of the artistic practices in the exhibition. The pieces investigate the representation of bodies and subjectivities, in order to challenge consensual realities. They permit a broader consciousness, one that navigates worlds in their differences and fosters the emergence of a pluriversal imaginary of the future.

In their installations and digital projects, the fellows JANINE JEMBERE & NICOLE SUZUKI as well as LUIZA PRADO DE O. MARTINS deal with power, writing and veiling, and with decolonial and gender theories. A sound installation by LAMIN FOFANA, participant of Membrane, and the artistic manipulation of German colonial photographic archives by Namibian artist VITJITUA NDJIHARINE complement the exhibition.

Lamin Fofana
Fugitive Dreams
sound installation, 2019

Lamin Fofana is an electronic producer and artist based in Berlin. He is from Sierra Leone, lived in Guinea and the United States. His instrumental electronic music contrasts the reality of our world with what’s beyond and explores questions of movement, migration, alienation, and belonging. 

The West is an insane asylum, a conscious and premeditated receptacle of black magic.
– Fred Moten

What happens when black people find themselves in the West? Their African aesthetic forced to permutate in the in-between spaces, the liminal zones, and on the outskirts of normative meaning. Black people are radically alienated, socially and politically, while simultaneously surrounded by an aesthetic hyper-exotification: seeing their otherwise undervalued bodies represented in media and on billboards selling products – Nike, iPhone – activating the inanimate, the mundane, to trigger the flow of capital. 

Scholar-Philosophers Sylvia Wynter and Hortense Spillers produced works in the second half the 20th century and in 21st reflecting on the paradoxical conundrum of the black person in the Western world. Fugitive Dreams attempt to transmute the artist’s interpretation of some of their ideas, which he finds deeply inspiring and illuminating of his own experience, into the affective medium of sound.

Janine Jembere
Nicole Suzuki
The Text Is Text-ile & Of Sounds and Something Else 

mixed media, 2018

Janine Jembere is an artist working in different constellations on performances and educational, video and sound projects. Her works revolve around sensuality and the body, mainly questioning concepts of representation and translatability, ableism, race and gender. She is interested in the resonances of embodied knowledge, sensual hierarchies and the concept of dissonance as a tool to think and live within difference.

Nicole Suzuki is an artist, a political scientist, a senior lecturer and a PhD-in-practice candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and runs the publishing house Zaglossus. She works in different media on questions of knowledge production and her work is in dialogue with postcolonial and queer of color critiques.

Paper is light and a powerful tool of knowledge production and disappearance, power reproduction and consolidation. The work puts into view some of the forms of writing, reading, coding and concealing. The exhibition invites to move away from the assumption of the empty page as a neutral space. Using paper and writing (as in history writing) as a starting point and drawing from the Japanese art of shifu, a Sun Ra song, asemics and old screensavers it aims to bring forth the possibilities of a material, emotional and disobedient reading-writing.

Vitjitua Ndjiharine
Ikono Wall/Mirrored Reality

digital print and mirror film on forex, 2018

Vitjitua Ndjiharine is a multidisciplinary visual artist who works across various media to develop strategies of deconstructing and re-contextualizing the pedagogical function of texts and images found within colonial archives. Her interdisciplinary approach utilizes drawing, painting, collage, and site installation as tools that enable a critical engagement with problematic historical content.

Colonial photographs are regarded as important sources of information on the German colonial period in Namibia. At that time, they enabled the public to imagine life in this foreign place. The photographs, however, create a distorted picture of colonised Namibia and give little insight into the experiences of the people depicted. Instead, they illustrate the world views of researchers, photographers, »discoverers«, collectors and historians of the time, which have had a lasting influence on today’s societies. 

After entering the museum, photographic prints were inventoried on so-called iconocatalog cards on which information on the time, place, subject and origin of the picture was captured. The disparaging attributions used to categorize the people depicted reflect a colonial order of knowledge. By removing the black subjects from the pictures, the artist removes them from the colonial and ethnographic perceptual regimes. The mirror foil inlayed in their place throws the viewers and their gazes back upon themselves.

Ikono Wall/Mirrored Reality was created as part of a research fellowship of the Gerda Henkel Foundation, in cooperation with the research center »Hamburg’s (Post-)Colonial Legacy« of the University of Hamburg.

Luiza Prado de O. Martins
All Directions at Once

video, posters, 2018

Luiza Prado de O. Martins’ work engages with material and visual culture through the lenses of decolonial and queer theories. In her doctoral dissertation, she examined technologies and practices of birth control and their entanglements with colonial hierarchies of gender, race, ethnicity, class, and nationality, offering the idea of »technoecologies of birth control« as a framework for observing and intervening in biopolitical articulations emerging around practices of birth control

The GIF essay on view in the exhibition, which is part of a larger body of work titled A Topography of Excesses, engages with practices of herbal birth control and transmissions of indigenous and folk knowledges as acts of radical, decolonizing care. Through the stories of ayoowiri and other contraceptive and abortifacient plants, the essay nurtures the idea of radical decolonizing care and unravels the poetic dimensions of excess as a fragmented, fast-paced pluriverse, meshing together perceived pasts, presents, and futures; a disjointed collective, moving to all directions at once. 

The GIF essay allows a reframing of the history of birth control, presenting narratives not as part of a linear and universal continuum, but rather as part of a fragmented, fast-paced pluriverse that meshes together what is perceived as past, present, and future. The series of images is meant to be presented and visualized as one single work, all in one page. Every image is a continuous loop; a disjointed collective, moving in all directions at once.

On May 18 at 4.30 pm, Vitjitua Ndjiharine will talk about her artistic work and during the Membrane festival on May 23 and 26 at 3 pm we are offering guided tours through the exhibition.

OPENING: May 16, 2019, 7 pm

ON VIEW: May 17– June 30, 2019

OPENING HOURS: Thur 5–7 pm, Sat/Sun 2–6 pm and prior to appointment by telephone
​+49 (0)711 996 19 474 
During the festival: May 23 to 26, 2–6 pm

GUIDED TOURS: May 23 and 26, 3 pm

ARTIST TALK with Vitjitua Ndjiharine: May 18, 4.30 pm