how does the world breathe now? | Wednesdays


7th Exercise with Magdalena Górska and Deborah Ligorio | May 27


CRACKING THE SURFACE. Decanonisation as Method | June 3


EVERYTHING IS GETTING BETTER. Unknown Knowns of Polish (Post)Colonialism | April 27 - June 4


We have eyes to see but do not see | April 28- June 4, 2017


THE INCANTATION OF THE DISQUIETING MUSE. On Divinity, Supra-Realities or the Exorcisement of Witchery

SPEAKING FEMINISMS | Preliminary Excercises

7th Exercise with Magdalena Górska and Deborah Ligorio


May 27, 2017 | 7 pm

Free entrance - donations welcome


[Would you like to bring your kids? We will provide a self-organized child care. If interested please send an email until M A Y 25 to with subject line child care and tell us the age of your kid(s). The child care will cost a small fee, the amount of which will depend on the number of children.]

"Breathing is also an event of bringing the outside in and the inside out. As a continuous metabolism of air in the movement through the lungs; in the ow of oxygen through the veins, organs and cells; and in the exhalation that lets the breath out, breathing opens the horizon of what it means to be a human breathing subject beyond conventional boundaries of human embodiment.” Magdalena Gorska, Breathing Matters: Feminist Intersectional Politics of Vulnerability.

How does the world breathe? How do we breathe? Can breathing become a feminist practice? Through a collective and participatory experiment in embodying theoretical configurations through breathing exercises and techniques of body-awareness, scholar Magdalena Górska and artist Deborah Ligorio look at the politics of breathing, and consider the possibility of developing breathable feminist politics through engagements with breathing enacted in different kinds of vulnerable lives.

Magdalena Górska is the author of the book Breathing Matters: Feminist Intersectional Politics of Vulnerability. She is assistant Professor at the Graduate Gender Program, Department of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University. She holds doctorate in philosophy from the Department of Thematic Studies – Gender Studies at Linköping University, and developed her passion for feminist theory and politics at the Department of Gender Studies at Charles University. In 2012-13 she was a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz. Magdalena’s research develops a non-universalizing and politicized understanding of embodiment where human bodies are conceptualized as agential actors of intersectional politics. She is founder of the Breathing Matters Network.

Deborah Ligorio is an artist based in Berlin. Her current research brings together technological, ecological and feminist thinking. She is the editor of Survival Kits, published by Sternberg Press in 2013, and founder of the online platforms [The Eponym] (2014) and DadaAda(2015). She was awarded the 15th Quadrenniale di Roma Young Art Prize (2008), and the Special Prize GAI - Italre Italian Studies for PS1 MoMA (2004). International residencies include: (2003) MAK Schindler, Los Angeles. (1998) OMI International Arts Center, New York. She has participated in Manifesta7, and Sharjah Biennial 8.


Session N°26: Rocío

Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson present Fernando Ruiz Vergara

May 31, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson present the film Rocío (1980) from director Fernando Ruiz Vergara and producer and script writer Ana Vila. The documentary film examines the annual pilgrimage to the Virgin of Rocío in Huelva (Andalusia) as well as the repression of the region during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, revealing the destructive link between the fascist government and the Spanish Catholic Church. More information below.

'Rocío is the sole contribution from peripheral Andalusia to the feature documentary film movement that emerged in the Spanish cinema of the Transition to feed a critical discourse and the recovery of the memory lost during the Franco regime. It was censored in 1984, six years after the transition to democracy, and the distribution and screening in Spain of the uncensored copy is still illegal.

In focusing on the history of the pilgrimage, its rituals and social context, Vergara uncovered and recorded oral testimony of the repressions suffered in Almonte (Huelva) in the aftermath of Francisco Franco’s military coup in 1936. The film shows the journey, transformation, and subsequent mutilation that the sculptures of the Virgin of Rocio along the course of the pilgrimage, to reveal a dark picture of the abuse of power in the collusion of fascist forces and the Spanish Catholic Church.

Since the 2008 financial crash, Southern Europe has entered a new era of social, political, economic and cultural crisis. Now, after 42 years of monarchic democracy and countless struggles to bring those guilty of crimes against humanity to justice, a new left is rising: from the 15M movement and the Mareas, to PODEMOS and many more political and civic organisations and coalitions in various city councils and provinces. In these times of political turmoil, potential emancipation, and countless uncovered corruption cases, the unbroken chain of Spanish fascism is once again being confronted, challenging the inherent repression imposed by the political compromises made during the first transition from dictatorship to monarchic democracy, and the consequent erasure of historic collective memory. Rocío is, in its historical context and throughout the years, a striking testimony of how people in Spain keep traumatically struggling with “the pact of silence”.

Libia Castro, (ES) & Ólafur Ólafsson, (IS) have worked together since 1997 within a variety of media. They focus on everyday life, socio-economic, political and cultural questions. Their work is often realized with local residents, activists, decision makers, other artists and professionals. Among their projects are Your Country Doesn’t Exist (2003-ongoing campaign), ThE riGHt tO RighT/WrOnG (2012-ongoing) and the musical documentary Lobbyists (2009). They are working on their new project El (Im)pacto del Olvido and on a new work for the first Kosovo Biennial (2017). Past projects include representing Iceland in the 54th Venice Biennial (2011) and participating in Manifesta 7 (2008).


CRACKING THE SURFACE. Decanonisation as Method

June 3, 2017 | 6 PM - 6AM

SAVVY Contemporary c/o silent green, Gerichtstraße 35, 13347 Berlin

As part of the Long Night of Ideas, SAVVY Contemporary proposes a series of music, performances, lectures, dances, talks and video-screenings dedicated to an exploration of the idea of 'decanonizing as method'.

With: The SWAG, Zwoisy Mears Clarke, Shailja Patel, Guillermo Galindo, Köken Ergun, Adania Shibli, Qudus Onikeku, Petina Gappah, Isabel Lewis, Ricardo Domeneck, Albert Silindokuhle Ibokwe Khoza, Jodie Judy Lu, Vaginal Davis, Simone Zeefuik, Edivaldo Ernesto.

6 PM - 1 AM: Poetry, Lectures, Music, Dance, Performances

1 AM - 6 AM: DJ Sets

After last year’s challenge of UNLEARNING THE GIVEN, the task that lies ahead of us seems to be D E C A N O N I S A T I O N - that possibility of unmasking and revealing the inner workings of the canon, whether from the West, East, North or South, as the paradoxes of canon formation and maintenance. Decanonisation should be the possibility of elastifying the canon, by bringing in works from indigenous people, PoC, LGBT, other geographies and not seeing these new additions only through the eyes of those works that already inhabit the canon, but also the possibility of reviewing, rejecting and declassifying some works that were thought to have been canonized. By so doing, one achieves an ultimate flexibility and elasticity of the canon that is akin to a non-canon. Decanonisation should be the dismantling of hierarchical structures that produce canons, and strive at eliminating the emergence of parallel canons. Needless to say, that ‘the canon’ that is synonymous to ‘the western canon’ becomes redundant.

Decanonisation as method must be understood both in the sense of the destabilization of existing canons, and of stunting the growth of new ones. Decanonisation is de-erasure, that is the ability to make re-appear, re-write, re-articulate and re-phrase that which was erased, but not in relation or reaction to an existing canon, but in relation to topics, themes, subjects at stake. Decanonisation is a flux or flexibility of rank and files, a situation in which no one is in there to stay and is at any time interchangeable, depending on the social, political, economic and ethical issues at stake.

Decanonisation as method is choosing embodied practices as mediums and formats of discourse and knowledge, delinking from the conventional referencing phenomena and proposing a more phenomenological approach of dealing with histories, memories, cultures, sciences, religions and knowledges at large. The proposal of decanonisation as method is thus a proposal for what might be a global museum of self-reflexivity, whereby the idea will not be to create another or parallel canons, or place them side by side, or universalise the Western canon, but to decanonise the notion of the canon as a whole.

We would like to use this opportunity to think together how artistic practices can respond to the urgent need for a decanonisation of knowledge and imagine alternative forms of cultural and political praxis.

CRACKING THE SURFACE. Decanonisation as Method is a SAVVY Contemporary project based on a concept by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, published in Mousse Magazine 58, April-May 2017.

The events take place in the context of the Long Night of Ideas in cooperation with Auswärtiges Amt:


EVERYTHING IS GETTING BETTER. Unknown Knowns of Polish (Post)Colonialism

April 28- June 4, 2017 | Thursday-Sunday 2-7pm

Artist talk: May 22 | 7PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Colonial and Maritime League demonstrating in support of Polish colonies, Poznan, July 1938 From the archive of Janek Simon


With: Agnieszka Polska, Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, Janek Simon, Karol Radziszewski, Linas Jablonskis, Marek Raczkowski, Oleksiy Radynski, Slavs and Tatars, Tomáš Rafa, Zbigniew Libera, Zorka Wollny with Christine Schörkhuber (on El Hadji Sy) and the Club of Polish Losers.

Curated by Joanna Warsza

Architecture: Janek Simon, Assistant curator: Mirela Baciak

GUIDED TOUR w/ the curator: May 20 | 4PM

ARTIST TALK w/ Agnieszka Polska & Federica Bueti - The Christ of the Nations has resurrected to take the monstrous form: May 22 | 7PM

In light of recent developments in Poland, you might have asked yourself what is in fact going on? Why have the government-fueled rhetoric of ‘rising up from the knees’; alienation from the EU; have an obstinate refusal of any critical self-examination and fear of the ‘other’ gone mainstream?

The exhibition Everything is Getting Better. Unknown Knowns of Polish (Post)Colonialism and the accompanying symposium propose to reverse the trope of permanent Polish exceptionalism and victimhood (always torn between Germany and Russia) by casting a light on how colonial and postcolonial forces have navigated the territories of Eastern-Europe. As a hegemon of its own history, Poland pictures its expansionary reveries both in its immediate vicinity (Ukraine and Lithuania) as well as overseas, echoes of which can be found in the current right-wing political rhetoric. The backbone of the show is the timeline/chronic of the Maritime and Colonial League performatively staged by artist-cum-traveller Janek Simon, including a selection of worksfrom his exploration of cultural geographies of the country’s colonial legacy. In fact, Liga Morska – The Maritime League, created in 1930 to implement the colonies in Cameroon or Madagascar, continues to exist in its present guise as a Maritime and River organization.

A choice of works presented in the show expands, contextualizes, and footnotes the timeline. Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa engage with the history of Polish refugees evacuated to Iran during World War II, from where some fled onwards to Uganda, where they were housed in refugee camps.The collective Slavs and Tatars features a body of works on other orientalisms, led by an antimodernist trope of facing backwards, towards history, but moving into the future. A new film by Agnieszka Polska refers to Slavdom as analyzed by renowned scholar Maria Janion: a concept which on the one hand inadvertently brings Poles closer to Russia, while at the same time sharpening their aspirations towards Western universalism at the price of self-colonisation. Karol Radziszewski depicts the life of August Agbola O’Brown, a Nigerian-born jazz musician and combatant of the Warsaw Uprising; Zbigniew Libera imagines a moment of Polish troops cheerfully joining the US missions in Iraq in 2003; in a new film commission, Kiev-based artist Oleksiy Radinsky reveals the current mechanisms of Polish infrastructural protectionism towards Ukraine while Vilnus-based Linas Jablonskis drafts an imaginable scenario for Lithuania once dominated by Poland. Zorka Wollny creates a sound extension of paintings by El Hadji Sy about distress and death of migrants at sea. Marek Raczkowski, Tomáš Rafa and the Berlin ‘Polish Loser Club’– Klub der Polnischen Versager diagnose the current madness of a country, where political elites are again dreaming of Intermarium – a geopolitical federation of Eastern-European bloc led by Poland from Baltic Sea to Black Sea. The exhibition tells a story of the nurturing of the (post)colonial psyche of a neurotic country, superior and inferior both to the east and the west, where “everything today is changing for the better.”

This project is funded by HAUPTSTADTKULTURFONDS

FRAGMENTS #2 with Abrie Fourie

We have eyes to see but do not see. Continued Meditations on the Colonial Orbit

April 28- June 4, 2017 | Thursday-Sunday 2-7pm

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Abrie Fourie. Road between Aus and Lüderitz, Namibia, 1992

Curated by Lynhan Balatbat, Marleen Schröder, Marlon Denzel van Royen and Jorinde Splettstösser.

Colonial Neighbours invites you to the second edition of FRAGMENTS - a series of interventions with SAVVY Contemporary ?s archive project. >Wir haben Augen, um zu sehen, aber sehen nicht // We have eyes to see but do not see<, a series of photographic and video works by South African artist Abrie Fourie opens in parallel to the exhibition >Everything is Getting Better | Polish Colonialism< curated by Joanna Warsza.

In the second edition of this series, the South African artist ABRIE FOURIE explores the notion of meditations on places and landscapes, and the juxtapositions within them. The images confront both what is visible and invisible which speaks back to the unknown and known histories of colonialism. The images at first glance reflect a surreal beauty of the island and the Namibian and oceanic landscapes which become even more surreal once placed in relation to the history of these spaces.

In his contemplative photographs of the Gorée Island, the Namibian desert and the oceanic landscape, - water and land emerge as formations of colors, light, shadows and textures but simultaneously reflect on them as places of fear, death, war and resistance. His photo series HOUSE OF SLAVES, GORÉE ISLAND is a photographic approach to a place that is connected to the remembrance of European colonialism and the Atlantic Slave Trade. Gorée Island is a small island off the coast of Dakar, Senegal, which became one of the central departure points for the enslaved Africans. Nowadays, the island serves as a pilgrimage destination for the African diaspora to remember this history of violence and displacement. Parting from the Door of No Return on Gore?e Island, the Atlantic waters became the ground of the Middle Passage - representing the deportations and journeys of millions of enslaved Africans to unknown and hostile lands. These waters reappear in Abrie Fourie's dreamlike OCEAN, a solemn and immersive encounter with dark waters and our own gaze. Mirroring ourselves, we become part of a metaphor of both past and present passages, of personal and collective projections on the sea, yet it simultaneously locates us in the here and now. Fourie's Namibia series was taken in the early 90s, a time in which Namibia and South African underwent major political changes. The images become a reflection of this politically transitionary moment.

Fourie also invited his son Raoul Fourie and fellow artist Lukas E.D. Cuitak to re-install the archival collection Colonial Neighbours in order to subvert the way we look at these objects.

FRAGMENTS is a series of interventions where artists, researchers and activists are invited to engage critically with colonial histories and legacies. Participants are asked to use the content in the Colonial Neighbours archive as a point of departure in creating a response which critically contributes to the context of the archive. The series is curated by the CN team that is Lynhan Balatbat, Marleen Schröder, Marlon Denzel van Royen and Jorinde Splettstoösser.


THE INCANTATION OF THE DISQUIETING MUSE. On Divinity, Supra-Realities or the Exorcisement of Witchery

We have the pleasure of presenting you our new SAVVY Contemporary publication: THE INCANTATION OF THE DISQUIETING MUSE. On Divinity, Supra-Realities or the Exorcisement of Witchery edited by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and Federica Bueti. The book is designed by Elsa Westreicher and published by THE GREEN BOX.

How do 'witchery' phenomena and practices manifest within cultural, economical, political, religious and scientific spaces in Africa and beyond? This publication is a compendium to the eponymous exhibition project and public programme curated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and Elena Agudio at SAVVY Contemporary, in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut South Africa in the framework of the project African Futures. Through an exhibition and a series of invocations, the project considered 'witchery' as an epistemological space and a medium of continuities between the African continent and its Diaspora. The publication includes essays by Erna Brodber, Seloua Luste Boulbina, Vladimir Lucien, Percy Mabandu, and Greg Tate a.o, and visual contributions by artists Georges Adéagbo, Haris Epaminonda, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Emeka Ogboh, Priscilla Rezende and Minnette Vari a.o.


312 pages, 34 illustrations, English / German

ISBN 978-3-941644-95-3

EUR 19,00

This publication has been generously supported by Goethe-Institut South Africa via TURN Fund der Kulturstiftung des Bundes.