Developed in collaboration with Acud Macht Neu (Berlin), the “Kinzonzi” of Laboratoire Kontempo 2021/22 will bring together artists, specialists, researchers and theorists from Kinshasa, Berlin and other places in an analog and digital transdisciplinary experimental space in order to question the structures of postcolonial power and dominant trends in contemporary international art scenes. The emphasis is on an exchange between local perspectives of Kinshasa, and subjects which are discussed at the international level but which have a direct influence on daily life and artistic trends. These topics include stereotypes in the perception of Africa and African cultures, (post) colonial realities and their power dynamics, and linguistic, intellectual and epistemic hierarchies.
In Kikongo, one of the national languages, the word “Kinzonzi,” is referring to a meeting incorporating codified customary and traditional practices. This procedure, commonly called the African palaver, is a valuable tool for carrying out negotiations within the family or the society whether in Congo or in Africa in general.
The Laboratoire Kontempo 2021/22 interprets the term “Kinzonzi” according to contemporary popular culture in Kinshasa in the sense of conspiracy, consultation, a space of necessary interactions to question the Imagination, the foundation of our futures and our contemporary realities.
Since Independence, informal collective structures have emerged in the Democratic Republic of Congo which can and must constantly adapt to rapid social changes and uncertainties. Today, in pandemic, globalized times, these forms of collectivity, resilience and adaptability are more relevant than ever. From this, specific artistic strategies and experimental forms of presentation have developed in Kinshasa, characterized by spontaneity, flexibility and changeability.
Building on the experiences from Kinshasa, the artists will bring the Laboratoire Kontempo method to Berlin. Within this framework, participants from Berlin will take part in the Laboratoire Kontempo in Kinshasa in October 2021, either on site or digitally, and develop projects and works in exchange with the participants there, which, between exhibition, discourse and intervention, will deal with the situation on site and react to it. Subsequently, the artists will come together in May 2022 for a Berlin Laboratoire Kontempo to continue their work in the new environment. Building on the shared experiences and projects in Kinshasa, Kunsthaus ACUD will become the centre and starting point for an appropriation and multi-perspective reinterpretation of the city. Over a period of two weeks, discursive, performative and installative interventions and formats will experimentally test approaches and possibilities for a redefinition of the public sphere between local and global perspectives and pose the question: How can hybrid mutability be used as a dynamic approach to life in times of crisis?
Laboratoire Kontempo is a project founded by the Congolese/German duo Mukenge/Schellhammer in Kinshasa in 2019.
“Kinzonzi” is a project by Laboratoire Kontempo and ACUD Macht Neu Berlin.
It is funded by the TURN2 Fund of 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.
The executing agency of the project in Kinshasa is Option ONGD.
Further project partners are: Goethe-Institut Kinshasa, Plateforme Contemporaine, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Rawbank Kinshasa, Bracongo, Institut-Français Kinshasa, Académie des Beaux-Arts de Kinshasa, Planète culturelle Esi Esimbi, Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg.