[De]colonial Migrations: From obscurity into the public eye
Deadline: January 31st 2022
Dekoloniale Memory Culture in the City is pleased to announce the second open call for the Dekoloniale Berlin Residency 2022. We invite artists, architects, designers, writers or urban practitioners to apply for a residency at Dekoloniale Memory Culture in the City in Berlin. Applicants are invited to uncover and transform historical colonial stratifications and dominant narratives in Berlin's public space.
In 2022, Dekoloniale Memory Culture in the City will focus on Berlin’s Southside, examining in depth the city districts of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Tempelhof-Schöneberg. Today, as in the pre-Nazi period between 1884 -1933, this area is characterized by an array of diverse international presences that are however neither anchored in the collective memory nor visible in the public sphere despite their significant impact on the area.
A poor precedent that is sadly emblematic for the obscuration of local memory culture is the memorial stone located at the burial ground »Garnisonfriedhof« in Neukölln, which glorifies seven German soldiers who were involved in the genocide against the Ovaherero and Namas from 1904 – 08. It was only after years of protest by civil society groups that a second small plaque commemorating their victims was added, albeit without any mention of the Ovaherero and Namas, their size, or the genocide itself.
At the same time, the southern districts of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Neukölln have been an ‘agenda setter’ in the renaming of colonial street names [May-Ayim Ufer (formerly Groebenufer) 2009, Lucy-Lameck Str. (formerly Wissmannstr.) 2021, Audre Lorde Str. (currently Manteuffelstr.) 2022].
Dekoloniale wants to encourage, support and enforce this budding transformation, and implement a memory culture in the city which honors and visualizes anti-colonial and anti-racist resistance fighters and empowers their descendants and related communities today.
With the 2022 Berlin Residency we seek to unhide biographical presences in Berlin’s South, to render their existences visible in the public space and to illuminate their resistance, heritage and oeuvres.
More specifically, hitherto obscured biographies from the context of colonial migration (1884-1919) as well as their related contemporary counterparts will take center stage in 2022. Our guiding theoretical perspective is Stuart Hall’s constructivist approach to representation: We thus consider our three invited resident artists as engaged social actors who use the conceptual systems of their respective (counter)cultures and their chosen linguistic and other representation methods as systems to construct meaning, to make these biographies and their practices purposeful and to communicate about them meaningfully to others in the public sphere.
As in the previous year, we are inviting three artists to spend the summer months of 2022 here in Berlin, each working on their proposed projects as described in the listing below as well as connecting and collaborating as a team.
The three positions are:
Dekoloniale Communication Design Residency
How can hitherto invisibilized biographies be presented effectively in the public sphere whilst embedding them in their respective connected historical sites? Apply for the Dekoloniale Design Residency with a proposal that stages one of the exemplary biographies found in the appendix with maximum impact. The aim of the Dekoloniale Design Residency is to develop a campaign for the cityscape that will be launched during the Dekoloniale Festival 2022. A total of 12-15 biographies will be thus presented at historical sites in the framework of the Dekoloniale Festival.
Dekoloniale Writing Residency
How can the fragments of the lost theater piece / revue “Sonnenaufgang imMorgenland” (»Sunrise in Morningland«) (authored and directed by Bebe Mpessa aka Louis Brody, 1930) be reimagined in a collaborative and contemporary form?
»In December 1930 a remarkable theater show opened in Kliems-Ballroom in Berlin, Neukölln. Inspired by Black theatrical productions in the US and in Paris, the revue ›Sonnenaufgang im Morgenland‹ (Sunrise in Morningland) was staged by members of the city’s diverse Black population. Written by, and also starring, the experienced Cameroonian actor Bebe Mpessa (better known as Louis Brody), the revue was reported to celebrate African history and to feature a live jazz band. Its staging helps to make evident the transnational connections in which Black Germans were active. Sunrise in Morningland can be seen as both an expression of a diasporic identity in the making as well as one of resistance—resistance against hegemonic stereotypes of race as well as a right-wing backlash against Black performers and Black cultural forms in late Weimar Germany.«
Apply for the Dekoloniale Writing Residency with a writing proposal that researches and addresses this historical subject whilst linking and embedding it in contemporaneity. The aim of the Dekoloniale Writing Residency is to curate an event in the remains of Kliems-Ballroom during the Dekoloniale Festival 2022. The writing process will be structured and accompanied by a participative workshop with Berlin community members who have already engaged with the piece, its meanings, contexts and repercussions
Dekoloniale Architecture Residency
How can biographies as well as objects be exhibited in public space in a creative, modular and mobile fashion? Apply for the Dekoloniale Architecture Residency with a design proposal for a temporary mobile structure that can easily be transported, built, assembled and erected in cityscapes in Europe and Africa alike. The aim of the Dekoloniale Design Residency is to develop a feasible design for a mobile exhibition unit that is to be constructed out of weather-resistant standard materials and eligible for a building permit. A prototype or model as well as its open source architectural plans should be presented during the Dekoloniale Festival 2022.
The three selected residents are expected to co-create an artistic intervention in the public sphere and are encouraged to consider hybrid modes of thought, research, and practice. We favor collaborative formats and forms of expression that expand disciplinary boundaries. Speakers of all mother tongues are encouraged to apply, however please note that the three residents are expected to be able to communicate and collaborate in English. The residents are provided with travel costs, accommodation and a per diem in Berlin throughout the residency period, a production budget for the implementation of the project, and a fee. They will have full access to the Dekoloniale project space, curatorial guidance, and production support depending on needs and availability.
The preparation for the Dekoloniale Residency will already start in March, when active cooperation of all residents is required to drive the official approval process of the urban interventions. Please apply only if you are available to communicate and contribute in the months prior. The production of the works in Berlin will take place within the period of mid-June to mid-September 2022 (tbd), with a final public presentation in late August / early September 2022 (exact dates tbd) in the framework of the Dekoloniale Festival 2022.
How to Apply
Applicants submit their application to firstname.lastname@example.org:
A short motivation letter (max. 1 page)
A short description and visualisation detailing your planned work (max. 1 page, pls specify if you are applying to the communication, writing or architecture assignment)
estimate production budget
CV (max. 2 pages)
Portfolio (max. 10 pages – 5MB)
The application process is entirely online.
Proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria: Their relevance to the tasks as described above, the contribution of the proposed project to the field of decolonial urban practice; on its aesthetic merit – either as a form of knowledge or aspect of design and their feasibility.
Appendix with reference materials for the applications:
Audre Lorde (1934 - 1992)
Bebe Mpessa aka Louis Brody (1892-1951)
Martin Dibobe (1876 - 1922)
May Ayim (1960 - 1996)
W. E. B. Du Bois (1868 - 1963)