Breve Arqueologia de uma Modernidade Bissau-Guineense
October 4th – 6 pm
Tickets – 5 euros
As part of the project AURA CABRAL, made possible by Sonderstipendium INITIAL 2 / Joint performance-reading, approximately 30 min in length, employing voice, performative action, video projection and sound resources.
Collective Project developed by
Filipa César, Kristin Bethge
Lucas Rehnman and Welket Bungué
Photographs by Kristin Bethge
Video images by Filipa César
Text-essay Lucas Rehnman
Performers Lucas Rehnman and Welket Bungué
Scenic Images by Filipa César
© Kristin Bethge
Soon after its independence from Portugal, between 1974 and 1980, Guinea-Bissau was able to experience a brief socialist period having as its first president Luís Cabral, brother of anti-colonial leader and Marxist theorist Amílcar Cabral. The construction of a national identity with pan-Africanist and universal consciousness, as well as the concept of the “New Man”, had to be urgently implemented in the various areas of cultural, social, and political life. In this context, education, cinema, and music were able to flourish, as well as public sculpture and architecture – largely in tune with Amílcar Cabral’s concerns. The basic premise of this performative intervention is that both architecture and monuments commemorating post-colonial Guinea-Bissau provide a great opportunity to investigate and estimate the complexities, difficulties, and dilemmas that this country experienced from 1963 (the year that marked the beginning of the armed struggle for independence) to 1983 (the approximate date of the complete dissolution of the socialist project and the subsequent economic liberalization). By presenting solid evidence that a local coordination of architectural and monumental production did indeed occur in Guinea-Bissau between 1973 and 1983, a historical fact never properly investigated, the intervention aims to rectify this gap, in order to challenge the prevailing narrative that insists that African countries, once independent, were merely passive recipients of Western-derived technical, architectural and cultural knowledge. This intervention instead argues for local agency, that is, that the consolidation of modernity in the Guinean context was a process where the people actively worked to achieve their modernity, rather than simply becoming modern through foreign influence. By relating the anti-colonial struggle spearheaded by Cabral and his national project to Brazilian anthropophagic theory, the intervention seeks, from the paradigmatic case of Guinea-Bissau, to trigger important consequences for future research about the History of Modernism in Africa.
Lucas Rehnman is an artist and curator born in São Paulo, Brazil. He lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Master of Arts in Public Spheres at édhéa (École de Design et Haute École d’Art du Valais), Switzerland, as a Wyss Foundation scholar, his research and practice thereafter develops from drawing and conceptual art to a broad reflection on decoloniality, democracy and strategies of oral and written transmission. He is a member of the sound collective EPICAC Tropical Banda and also works as an independent educator.
Welket Bungué *1988 (Guinea-Bissau) is a transdisciplinary artist living in Berlin. He is co-founder of the production company KUSSA, has a degree in Acting Theatre (ESTC/Lisbon) and a post-graduate degree in Performance (UniRio/RJ). Member of the European Film Academy, and a member of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art. His films have competed internationally including at the Berlinale, ABFF (USA), Africlap, Zanzibar IFF, Afrikamera, BFI London, IndieLisboa, DocLisboa, or CurtaCinema (RJ). Welket is the author of the book ‘Corpo Periférico’, an autobiographical essay on authorial filmmaking based on the homonymous concept of “cinema of self-representation”.
Supported by the Akademie der Künste, Berlin, with funding from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media as part of the NEUSTART KULTUR program