The Studium Generale is a programme that hovers, as it were, over the departments: it addresses themes that may not have an immediate practical use, but are potentially relevant to each and every student. It aims to introduce students to fields that aren’t directly addressed within their own course such as theatre, philosophy, poetry, film, sociology, invention, science, or a combination of these subjects. It is, more or less, a semi-theoretical programme to help you assess your own work from a different perspective and to draw inspiration from other fields of knowledge. The Studium Generale is a gift to the students: specially for them, famous actors, photographers, scientists, and many others will visit the academy to deliver a lecture on their professional field, ending in a discussion open to all.
Each student’s work is fuelled by the impulses surrounding him or her by the society they live in, and it’s important to gain an understanding of this environment from which you can distill your own unique interests and determine your own position. Especially for artists, it’s imperative to see beyond the borders of your specific professional field, to open yourself up to the grand and unorthodox thoughts of others and to integrate these with your own ideas. The Studium Generale hopes to break down barriers between departments and initiate collaborations to pave the way for groundbreaking new ideas. To do so, the Studium Generale works closely with each department to complement and broaden their existing programmes.
We Are The Narcissistic Generation
Immigrants climb over four-meter tall fences and risk their lives trying to reach Europe in small boats. In their attempt to create a world where only the Sharia laws apply, people are decapitated by IS of which the imagery is spread through the internet and shared with the whole world. The beheadings seem to be a form of radical iconoclasm, the ultimate gesture of someone being silenced, not only in a gruesome but especially in a visual manner.
These are happenings that we cannot avoid any longer. They have become impossible to circumvent and we can't just remain looking at ourselves in the mirror.
At the same moment one could say that we live in a time of narcissism. 'We are focused on who we are and what we can get, instead of on what we can give to others. Social media aren't necessarily the driving force behind it, but they do have part in a more and more extensive navel-gazing. We speak of 'online sharing', but rather you send something into the world, only in the hope to receive something back. I constantly feel the need to be fed with external attention. It is this we hope to find online, but actually we hardly ever get there what we really want: love' said Nicolaas Veul in his lecture about his Television program Super Stream Me, a 24/7 live stream of his life.
An artist is not a journalist, because personal obsessions and fascinations lie at the core of his practice. 'What are my qualities? What do I do with great pleasure? What really keeps me busy? And,what defines me?' Yet in what ways do artist connect their own themes with what's going on in the world? And how do their practices –be they artistic, curatorial, or academic– engage in and open up these complex, though fundamental (socio-) political discourses? Engagement can be manifested in abstract ways, like in the performance of Juliacks, the fashion designs of Duran Lantink or the installations of Thierry Oussou.
In this paradox –narcissism fueled and made visible by the same media that engages and connects people in global conflicts through vast amounts of information– the contemporary artist too must find its way. This years' Studium Generale attempts to discuss this dichotomy and its consequences for the arts.
The second part of Studium Generale's 'We are the Narcissistic Generation' will be extended by a more geographical framework, Africa: twelve people from different professional fields will –among other topics– address the colonial histories that predominately determine strategies of urban planning, the neocolonial realities of material resources, economic and ideologic problematics of charity and the linguistic appropriation of a mediatised 'blackness'.
In a more general way, the lecture-series aims to break with a position towards art which anno 2016 remains strongly euro-centric.
by Hanne Hagenaars
Writer Said El Haji published the article The School of Mixed Love in the Volkskrant in which he describes how his relationship with his Dutch girlfriend gave him insight into his own cultural baggage:
"Assimilation is a mistake, since it implies a total denial of a culture that simply can not be denied." Through a mix of music and video clips, Said will tell more about the analysis of these experiences and he will read aloud one of his stories (that is translated into English). On his site we read: "I write for the restless. For the eternal seekers. Always apostates. I write for the other. I also write for anyone else who deviates."
Said El Haji (1976, Morocco) is a writer, publicist, columnist, blogger and a (writing) teacher. He studied Dutch language and literature in Leiden and won the El Hizjra encouragement prize for his story The Little Hamid in 2000. This story turned into his debut novel The days of Shaitan (2000), which caused a lot of media attention and has (already) been published in French. Said El Haji also works as a columnist for numerous regional and national newspapers and magazines, and as an editor of the literary-journalistic magazine Passionate Magazine. He published Divine Devil and The announcement and Arise and live, father.
Cities in Africa are faced with complex urban conditions marked by struggles over land rights, infrastructures and access to material and immaterial resources. Confronted with the legacies of colonial rule and the emergence of neocolonialism, new urban movements of resistance arise. Elke Krasny's lecture focuses on her research in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. The lecture will address issues of public memory of the planning strategies of the colonial past and the emergence of bottom-up urban transformation through self-organised cultural, educational and artistic practices.
Elke Krasny is a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. She holds a PhD from the University of Reading. In her work as a curator, cultural theorist, researcher and writer she focuses on issues of urban transformation, spatial justice, feminist art practices and curatorial knowledge production. In 2011 she was curator-in-residence at the Hongkong Community Museum Project. In 2012 she was visiting scholar at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal. She edited the book Hands-On Urbanism. The Right to Green 1850-2012, the exhibition of the same title was presented at the Vienna Architecture Centre, the Venice Architecture Biennale and is currently on show at the Moravian Gallery Brno. Her 2015 exhibition Suzanne Lacy's International Dinner Party in feminist curatorial thought was shown at the Zurich University of the Arts.
‘Everyone knows that Darling is an end-of-the-line monstrous war-cry kinda pseudonym, taken in defiance of a world that doesn’t love you.’
Jesse Darling is an artist and occasional writer based in London. JD works across various media including sculpture, video, installation, and text. In the broadest sense their practice is concerned with the human condition and how it is mediated through the structures, narratives and technologies that govern lived experience, knowing that what constitutes this experience is shifting along with ideas about sovereignty, gender, matter and even sentience itself. Considering the social and physical body as a site where architectural, [bio]political and social structures manifest and become transformed, Darling's recent sculptural work has sought to explore the story of colonial modernity and the military-industrial complex through the materials with which the domestic spheres of home and homeland are built and upheld.
Originally trained in dance and physical theatre, Darling is often credited as a forerunner of the 'post-internet' generation, pioneering notions of networked performativity and digital labor in between space and the screen. Influenced by their background in squatting and community projects they also founded a series of communal living and working projects in London, most recently Fondazione Non Grata in Croydon. Darling has recently published texts in the MIT Press anthology Mass Effect: Art and the Internet in the 21st Century and Best British Poetry 2015, and their most recent projects include a performance piece commissioned for the Serpentine Gallery's Park Nights series (NTGNE, 2015) and some new large-scale sculptures for MoMA Warsaw. Other recent shows include GREY at Brand New Gallery, Milan (both 2016); Alive for An Instant, Galeria Stereo, Warsaw; Absolute Bearing, LD50 Gallery, London; Spirit Level (with Takeshi Shiomitsu), AND/OR Gallery, London; Devotions, MOT Projects, London; They/Them, DREI, Cologne (all 2015). This spring they will publish a text with Former West and present a solo exhibition for Arcadia_Missa in London. JD collaborates frequently and teaches at Sandberg Instituut and Spike Island in Bristol; they also work as editor-at-large for The New Inquiry.
A conversation on racism, on abject representations of human beings, on the economic structures that lie hidden beneath these representations, and on whether artists can take responsibility for the society they inhabit.
"Perhaps in the future … Congolese plantation workers will sip cappuccinos in the jungle while discussing, say, critical strategies in contemporary art practice, just as they do in Shoreditch and Brooklyn."
Renzo Martens (1973) is a Dutch artist and filmmaker, living and working in Kinshasa, Brussels and Amsterdam. In 2010 he founded the Institute for Human Activities, that 'aims to gentrify the jungle', by establishing what he refers to as a settlement where art can fully embrace the terms and conditions of its won conditions.
In his conceptual documentary films Episode I (2003) and Episode III: Enjoy Poverty (2008) Martens used his position as an artist to highlight the exploitation of underpriviledged people by media industries and cultural producers, including Martens himself. Renzo’s films have been shown at the 6th Berlin Biennial, Tate Modern in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Van Abbe Museum Eindhoven, Kunsthaus Graz, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, as well as at numerous film festivals and on public broadcast channels. Since 2013 Renzo Martens is a Yale World Fellow. He participated in numerous international exhibitions, including the 19th Biennale of Sydney in 2014, the Moscow Biennale 2013, and the 6th and 7th Berlin Biennial in 2010 and 2012.
Quinsy Gario was born in Curaçao and raised in St. Maarten and the Netherlands. He studied Theater, Film and Television Studies at the Utrecht University with a focus on Gender and Postcolonial Studies. He won the Hollandse Nieuwe 12 Theatermakers Prize 2011, the Issue Award 2014, the Amsterdam Fringe Festival Silver Award 2015 and was a finalist in the 2011 Dutch National Poetry Slam Championship.
His most well known work Zwarte Piet Is Racisme critiqued the general knowledge surrounding the racist Dutch figure of Black Pete which he followed up by bringing out into the open the governmental support that keeps the figure alive in the Netherlands. His latest focus is on state protection of the marginalized and political resistance as performance.
He is a member of the pan-African artist collective State of L3 and his work has been shown in Galleri Image (Denmark), Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (Belgium), SMART Project Space and Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (Netherlands). He has performed among other places in Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Contact Theater (Manchester) and Ballhaus Naunynstraße (Berlin). Currently he is enrolled in the Master Artistic Research program at the Royal Academy of Art The Hague.
Anoek Nuyens (1984) is a Dutch writer, dramaturge and theatre maker based in Amsterdam, though often she works internationally, such as in Kinshasa, Brussels and Berlin.
In May 2015, her first solo performance Hulp (Help) premiered at Frascati Theatre in Amsterdam. Hulp is a journalistic theatre project on the charity she inherited from her aunt, that forced her to think about a new mission: responsibility and solidarity in a time where individuality is paramount. But, which course is the right one? And, do we actually still believe in charities, NGO's and development initiatives? With these fundamental questions Anoek Nuyens traveled to Africa to visit some of the settlements of her newly owned charity.
Through her writing Nuyens tries to identify significant shifts in our present time. As such she wrote a series on released state secrets for the Dutch journalism platform De Correspondent and her essay West, wake up! was proclaimed the best theatre essay of 2013 and awarded with the Marie-Kleine Gartman Pen. Since 2013, Nuyens curates Nieuwe Grond (Nederlands Theatre Festival) and she founded het Transitiebureau. Het Transitiebureau consists of a group of thinkers and theatre makers that –through actions and theatrical interventions–try to redefine the role of theater in the 21st century.
At the moment Juliacks is working on a new participative performance that is the epilogue to Architecture of an Atom. Architecture of an Atom is a narrative film central to a trans-media project directed, written and co-produced by Juliacks. The film depicts a group of displaced ‘adult-children’ who move into an abandoned pool in France. In their creative escape from an impending war around them, they find a syncretic object, an anthropomorphic whistle that they use to grieve and move into death worlds.
Juliacks' work is about transformation through loss. As a layered narrative construction, Architecture of an Atom evolves using the elastic qualities of memory and imagination, enabling the manipulation of time, place and character with the mediums of narrative film, performance and comics. As characterized by the New York Times, "Juliacks whose work– crude, ornate, subjective and dreamy — is not for those who prefer their narrative crisp and tidy."
Juliacks (born April 9, 1986) is an artist, filmmaker, performer-choreographer,cartoonist and playwright living in the USA and the Netherlands. Her work has been screened and performed at the Moderna Museum of Malmö & many other places and was published internationally in magazines, including the Graphic Canon, Lumpen Magazine, and Insect Bath. In 2009 Sparkplug Comics published her book made in collaboration with Olga Volazova: Rock That Never Sleeps. She received a Fulbright grant for performance art in Finland and made the comicbook and film Invisible Forces. In 2012 her graphic novel Swell premiered as a play at Culture Project's Women Center Stage Festival in New York.
‘For the black collection I tried to use many techniques and fabrics to symbolize the different layers of society. I have a top saying in the front: ‘I’ll suck your dick!’ and in the back it says: ‘Lick my clit’, as nothing comes for free in this world. The logo I made for the underwear collection says ‘Fist Fucking God’s Planet’ and refers to all the big egos in this world who are at each others throat and in our ongoing craving for more, more and more. We are all laughing while fucking up this planet.’
In 2015 fashion designer Lantink and photographer Jan Hoek travelled to South Africa to start their project 'Sistaaz of the Castle', on the aesthetics and appearance of the transgender sex-worker community in Cape Town. In close collaboration with the local transgender support group Sistaazhood –made possible by sex-worker organization SWEAT– Lantink and Duran transform their appearances into fashion icons, through the creation of a fashion collection and photo series. The collection traveled from South Africa to the Netherlands and was presented at the International Amsterdam Fashion Week.
Lantinck will elaborate on Sistaaz of the Castle, by means of speech and a small fashion show.
Duran Lantink is an artist and a stylist: ‘I focus on mixed media with fashion and my work usually consists of attracting opposites.’ Among others, his clients are de Bijenkorf, Solar, Tommy Hilfiger, Vogue, Babylon, 3D Printshow UK, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ. He has had expositions in during the Dutch Design Week 2013, the Mode Biennale Arnhem 2013, at Design Centre of London 2013, Coursell de Louvre Paris 2014 and Metropolitan New York 2014
directed by Boris Gerrets
19h, Auditorium KABK
Set in the poorer parts of the Sierra Leonese capital of Freetown, this sensitive-minded documentary operates roughly in the vein of “Dark Days” (minus those outcasts’ exit strategy), humanizing innocents scarred by a recent civil war who now dwell in the shadows of a city with no shortage of adversity. Of course, the damaged souls also come out in the day, though Gerrets seems determined to confine his shooting to the haunted midnight hour, as the crippled yet charismatic young men talk a big game and orphaned children curl up atop hard pavement, dreaming behind sightless eyes. Compositionally, the dimly lit footage reaches back centuries to a tradition of dark and evocative Dutch painting.
Without much-needed narration or a clear structure to guide its woeful succession of stolen moments, the documentary answers questions we hadn’t thought to ask about how these dispossessed individuals bathe, date and otherwise pass their nights. The film functions as an act of empathy, but how well can we really know such strangers when the film keeps them at a distance? Despite occasional flashes of familiarity, Shado’man expects too much of a distant public, counting on audiences to fumble and find moments of connection in the dark.
18h = BRAAI TIME !
Hannes Bernard is a South African designer based in Amsterdam, and one half of SulSolSal – a design & research practice run with his Brazilian partner. The studio has a specific focus on design problematics in the Southern Hemisphere. Based between Amsterdam, Cape Town & São Paulo, SulSolSal uses research, publishing, food and performance as a means of investigating the complex relationships between design, economy & society and the austerity politics of Europe. Food is often incorporated into the practice as both a research tool and a medium of communication. – sulsolsal.com
This lecture will take as a starting point the aphorism “A rising tide lifts all boats” – popularized by JFK during the early 60s in a clarion call for an expanded welfare society – as a fundamental principle of global social democracy. We will consider an arc from the rapid expansion of modernism in the colonies, to the neoliberal globalization of today and discuss the possibilities for post-capital/post-liberation design. We’ll speculate on the near-future, as the risen boats of the global periphery return to old shores in Europe, with new cultural cargo.
Bernard is the co-founder and director of Jungle Jim, the first pan-African pulp fiction magazine, publishing genre fiction from across the continent & African diaspora – junglejim.org and he is a member of the DDG (designdisplacementgroup.com), which recently presented Digital Campfire #2 – a summer academy at the Jan van Eyck in Maastricht. After completing his undergraduate in South Africa, he moved to the Netherlands in 2011 where he received a masters in design from the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam. Currently he teaches design and research at the KABK, Willem de Kooning Academie (Rotterdam) & ArtEZ (Arnhem).
After the lecture, we will make use of the KABK Braai werkplaats, located in the courtyard behind the cafateria.
Instructions will follow!
This time we screen Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo!
Manon came into contact with a group of illegal refugees who's asylum is rejected. They lived together in a big abandoned house and –in order to inform people on their situation– they handed out leaflets and invited people inside. But nobody came. Logical. Who wants to sit on bare mattresses?
Van Hoeckel came up with the idea to invent a neutral place where immigrants and residents can meet. A whitewashed gypsy wagon: In Limbo Embassy. Who represents these people? Not the media, not our government and certainly not any other government. Now there is In Limbo Embassy that does not represent a country but a group. Refugees without papers, without identity and rights, are the ambassadors.
Manon van Hoeckel (1990) is an Amsterdam based critical/social designer. Aside from self-initiated collaborative projects she does commissioned work for several clients. She studied at the Design Academy in Eindhoven and graduated Cum Laude in 2014 She has had exhibitions in WOW in Amsterdam (2015), Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam (2015) and at the Salone del Mobile in Milan (2015). She won the Connector Award 2014
by Werner Herzog
19h Auditorium KABK
Fitzcarraldo is a 1982 West German surreal film written and directed by Werner Herzog and starring Klaus Kinski as the title character. It portrays Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an Irishman known in Peru as Fitzcarraldo, who is determined to transport a steamship over a steep hill in order to access a rich rubber territory in the Amazon Basin.
Herzog could have used special effects for his scenes of the 360-ton boat being hauled up a muddy 40-degree slope in the jungle, but he believed we could tell the difference: 'This is not a plastic boat.' Watching the film, watching Fitzcarraldo raving in the jungle in his white suit and floppy panama hat, watching Indians operating a block-and-tackle system to drag the boat out of the muck, we're struck by the fact that this is actually happening, that this huge boat is inching its way onto land -- as Fitzcarraldo serenades the jungle with his scratchy old Caruso recordings.
Roger Ebert to Werner Herzog: What I admire above all about your film is the ambition of your imagination. You do not make small films and you do not have small ideas. You told me once that our time is starving for lack of images: All the images have been worn out by television and the movies and so we have nothing more to feed our vision. And you come up with images in your film that are so remarkable, including these countless red crabs in this one, that are so frightening to me -- because they are life, yet they are mindless and they just keep going on and on despite whatever we think or whatever we hope.
Jeroen de Lange (1968) was Member of the Dutch Parliament for the Labour Party from January 25 to September 20, 2012. He worked as an economist at the World Bank in Kampala (Uganda), as diplomat in Kigali (Rwanda), he was one of the managers of the aid organization Cordaid and head of the staff of the city manager of Amsterdam.
During his career as diplomat and World Bank economist Jeroen de Lange struggled with the 'white man’s burden'. His ambition was to bring about positive change in faraway, poor and conflict ridden countries. Full of idealism and determined to make a difference he started his job as first secretary at the Netherlands embassy in Rwanda, some years after the genocide. He lived through shocking horrors, deep disappointments and incredible frustrations.
In 2010 De Lange published the essay Winning Hearts, Changing Mindsets. Interventions as Change Management: instead of instant solutions we should try to find out which solutions may work, in order to bring about and sustain a process of change. He investigated and questioned the mixed results of humanitarian and military intervention in Rwanda and other crisis countries. De Lange opens up new strategies for the Netherlands to cope with the situation in which we have to live with ‘the other’.
In his lecture, Jeroen de Lange will talk about his experiences as diplomat and economist working in Rwanda, Uganda, and South Sudan. He will discuss the representation of the other whom we would like to help. He will talk about the consequences of aid from the West in Africa. He will question your vision on the relationship between the West and Africa. Is aid helpful? And if so, what kind of aid, and how? Or, would it be better to stop all aid, as African Economist Dambisa Moyo proposes? Let them fix it themselves, let them fight it out? Giving war a chance?
Jeroen de Lange initiates 100weeks.nl : Temporary cash for permanent change. He believes that the poor know best how to spend money given to them. Because of new ICT developments –payment methods and platforms– we can now know for the first time in history all the poor by name and money can now be distributed widely at very low costs. 100weeks's appropriates these developments as strategy to help as many poor people as possible in developing countries to move out of poverty.
During RijksakademieOPEN 2015 Oussou showed a new installation. The starting point was an oral history recorded on a cassette tape. The story was narrated by a traditional singer in Fon, the language of the region of Allada, Benin. It dates back to the 13th century and tells about the royal family’s history, which is Oussou’s history as well as that of historical figures like François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture. It’s a story of migration, love, war, a search for power – topics that still dominate the world. By making a first official translation into English and French Oussou makes this oral history accessible in order to discuss its contemporaneity and universality.
Thierry Oussou is an autodidact, but was picked up by the art world by winning numerous awards. In 2012 he was selected for a photography studio at the Biennale in Benin. Thierry is best known for his videos. For admission to the Rijksacademie, he made an experimental documentary based on the four elements that was presented in the House of Cultural and Social Cohesion in Molenbeek, Brussels. He won at the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo Oneminute the prize for 'Local Spirit'.
Vincent Meessen will discuss his exhibition for the Belgium Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennial Personne et les autres with James Beckett, one of the artists who took part in the show.
Vincent Meessen’s work and artistic research have consistently explored the history and afterlife of colonial modernity. Through the use of various media he re-animates hidden or forgotten narratives of the relationship between Europe and Africa into speculative scenarios, pointing to the colonial matrix of western modernity. Both in his work as an artist and in his para-curatorial activities, Meessen likes to use procedures of collaboration that undermine the authority of the author and emphasize the intelligence of collectives.
Representing Belgium at the 56th Venice Biennial (2015), Vincent Meessen breaks with its (the biennial's) tradition of national representation by proposing Personne et les autres, an exhibition for which he invited 10 international artists. Through the work of the artists, Personne et les autres traces a timeline of references that connect the critique of colonial modernity with the so called Western avant-garde movements Dada, CoBrA and the Situationist International (1957-1972) and the emancipation of black people, Pan-Africanism, African independence movements, and ‘Global 68’.
Vincent Meessen (born in Baltimore in 1971), studied journalism and cultural policies before he completed his postgraduate studies at the HISK (Higher Institute for Fine Arts) in Antwerp. He is a founding member of Ambassade Universelle, a facility for undocumented people (2001-2005), of the artist collective Potential Estate (2006-2012) and of Jubilee, a Brussels-based platform for research and artistic production. Recent exhibitions include: Sire, je suis de l'ôtre pays, WIELS, Brussels, 2016; Patterns for (Re)Cognition, Kunsthalle Basel, 2015; My Last Life, FRAC Aquitaine, 2015; Patterns for (Re)Cognition, KiOSK, Gent, 2013 ; Mi Ultima Vida, MUAC, Mexico City, 2012.
James Beckett (born in 1977 in Harare, Zimbabwe) is an artist and musician, living and working in Amsterdam. His research-based practice explores minor histories, mostly concerned with industrial development and subsequent demise across Europe, a process of investigation which is as much physical as it is biographical. Beckett often relies on museological display mechanisms to present manufacturing developments, at times staged from the particular vantage point of product evolution. His more recent works focus on the disparate practices of architecture and dentistry and the more metaphysical subculture of dowsing.
Beckett was resident at the Rijksakademie (2001-2002). Exhibitions include: 5th Thessaloniki Bienalle, (GR); KaVo 1520 A, Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam (NL);Dowsing Schools, Artspace, Aukland, (NZ); Passionate Advocate, TWAAS, New York (US), Khevsurvite Derivative, T293, Rome (IT), Annals of 21st C. Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge (UK); A Thousand Varied Uses, Nogueras Blanchard, Madrid (SP); Liquid Assets, der steirische herbst, Graz (AT); Beyond Imagination, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL); When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes, CCA Wattis, San Fransisco (US). In 2003 he received the Prix de Rome for art and public space, and has published two monographs: Constant Interjections, TWAAS/Koenig books, 2013; James Beckett, Kehrer Verlag, 2009.
Studium Generale screens Hyènes, by Djibril Diop Mambéty :
Check the article Neoliberalism and the New Afro-Pessimism: Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Hyènes on e-flux to get in the mood.
Where does the work on Cultural Diversity start: with ourselves, or with the other? Can we find meaningful answers through researching databases? Or rather through social inquiries, and by making visible those who have been excluded from this discussion? Drawing on developments in contemporary arts, this lecture will focus through a historical perspective on knowledge from various disciplines that has been neglected in a European context, in order to use these as a starting point for a discussion on what Cultural Diversity might mean today. The talk will unfold the potential that lies within seeing diversity as a state of constant change.
Nana Adusei-Poku is Research Professor in Cultural Diversity at Rotterdam University and Lecturer in Media Arts at the University of the Arts, Zurich. She was a scholarship doctoral student at Humboldt University, Berlin, working on the curatorial concept post-black in relation to contemporary Black artists, following degrees in African studies and gender studies at Humboldt University, and in media and communications at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She published The Challenge to Conceptualise the Multiplicity of Multiplicities—Post-Black Art and Its Intricacies in Post-racial Imaginaries, a special issue of Dark Matter.
"Hyènes (Hyenas) … views African failure as something far more profound and universal. Its pessimism is found not in the depth of the African character but in the human one. In fact, if one were not told of the true origin of Hyènes, one would naturally assume it is 100 percent African, that it’s rooted in black culture … It looks like a perfectly black African parable of the dangers of greed and the foibles of communal life. One could even imagine transforming its main characters into animals, a common feature for African folk tales: the wise lion, the crafty rabbit, the persistent turtle, the pensive elephant. Indeed, the film begins with a herd of elephants, who, at the stroke of one cut, become human beings. But this is all an illusion. … the source of its story isn’t anywhere in Africa but in the heart of Europe. The story of the prostitute who returns to her village to exact revenge on the man who broke her heart when she was young and vulnerable was all dreamt up in the head of a Swiss. Hyènes turns out to be a very faithful adaptation of The Visit, a play by the German-Swiss dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt. And it is this link between a work that is so European and one that appears so African that captures the essence of Mambéty’s genius as an artist and the humanity of his pessimism."
Hyènes is a 1992 Senegalese comedy film adaptation of Friedrich Dürrenmatt's Swiss-German satirical play The Visit, directed by Djibril Diop Mambéty. The intimate story of love and revenge parallels a critique of neocolonialism and African consumerism. It was entered into the 1992 Cannes Film Festival.