Germany Launch of Freeman's

with Fatin Abbas, John Freeman, Michael Salu, and Taiye Selasi

Wednesday | 25th November 2015 | 7 pm

Silent Green | Gerichtstraße 35 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

What does it mean to be of a place? Especially when, for reasons of color or class, you are not considered a citizen of that place like other citizens. How do you tell your story? Can your story be told?

In the inaugural edition of Freeman’s, the new biannual of unpublished writing, former Granta editor and National Book Critics Circle President John Freeman brings together the best new fiction, nonfiction, and poetry about that electrifying moment when we arrive.

In this SAVVY Contemporary literary event, Berlin-based writers Michael Salu, Fatin Abbas and Taiye Selasi read from and talk about their pieces in two new literary projects designed to provoke such questions. Salu and Abbas are contributors to “Freeman's”, and Selasi and Salu have written pieces for “Tales of Two Cities: The Best of Times and Worst of Times in Today's New York”, both edited by the former Granta editor John Freeman. Just out, Freeman's has been described by the BBC as "fresh, provocative, engrossing," and "sure to become a classic in years to come," by the San Francisco Chronicle. Come hear the writers that will make it so.

John Freeman was the editor of Granta until 2013. His books include “How to Read a Novelist” and “Tales of Two Cities: The Best of Times and Worst of Times in Today's New York”. He is an executive editor at the Literary Hub and teaches at the New School. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Paris Review.

Fatin Abbas was born in Khartoum, Sudan, grew up in New York, and attended university in the United Kingdom and the United States, gaining her PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard University and her MFA in Creative Writing from Hunter College, City University of New York. She is at work on her first novel, an excerpt of which appears in the inaugural issue of Freeman's.

Michael Salu is an award-winning creative director, writer, art editor/critic and occasional artist. His short fiction, non-fiction and art have appeared in a range of publications including Tales of Two Cities and his most recent story appears in the inaugural edition of the new literary journal Freeman’s. Salu was formerly the creative director and art editor of Granta Publications and now runs a multi-disciplinary creative consultancy [] and is one of three partners of the visual culture online magazine American Suburb X. He is currently finishing his first collection of stories and essays, whist working on a script for a feature film.

Taiye Selasi is a writer and photographer. Born in London and raised in Boston, she holds a BA in American Studies from Yale and an MPhil in International Relations from Oxford. In 2005 she published the seminal essay "Bye-Bye, Babar (Or: What is an Afropolitan?)," offering an alternative vision of African identity for a transnational generation. In 2011 she made her fiction debut with "The Sex Lives of African Girls," selected for Best American Short Stories 2012. In 2013 Selasi's first novel Ghana Must Go, a New York Times and Der Spiegel bestseller, was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013 by The Wall Street Journal and The Economist. She is writing her second novel.

Please find here the PRESS RELEASE & the German PRESSEMITTEILUNG.


regular: 8 EUR | reduced: 5 EUR

combi (entrance plus magazine): 15 EUR

"Freeman's" and "Tales of Two Cities: The Best of Times and Worst of Times in Today's New York" will be available for purchase during the event.


documenta 14


Team documenta 14, 2015, Photo: Gina Folly

Founder and director of SAVVY Contemporary, Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, will join the curatorial team of documenta 14 as Curator at Large. "Learning from Athens", the 14th edition of one of the world's most significant exhibitions of contemporary art directed by Adam Szymczyk, will be held from April 8 - July 16 2017 in Athens and in Kassel from June 10 - September 17 2017.

Excerpt from Adam Szymczyks's concept for documenta 14:

The city of Kassel has been the host of documenta since its inception in 1955. Likewise, over the past thirteen editions, documenta has served as host to many artists and cultural practitioners from around the globe. But, ultimately, this position of host—with all the privileges involved—appears to be no longer tenable and begs to be questioned, if only temporarily.

To this end, Szymczyk introduced documenta 14’s planned twofold structure: In 2017, documenta 14 will establish a second site—Athens —bringing Kassel and the Greek capital onto equal footing as the two locations of the exhibition. Thus documenta’s undisputed position as host will be abandoned for another role, that of guest, in Athens.

Szymczyk noted that the main lines of thinking behind this move are manifold. They have to do with the current social and political situation both in Europe and globally, which motivates artistic action. Further, they indicate the need to embody in documenta 14 the palpable tension between the North and the South as it is reflected, articulated, and interpreted in contemporary cultural production.

The challenge involves avoiding the traps of binary logic, while resonating with changing realities. To that end, instead of the singular spectacle, with its clearly designated location and temporal order, typical for great international exhibitions, documenta 14 will comprise two iterations set in dynamic balance in space and time.


Greece in 2014 is not an isolated case; it is emblematic of the fast-changing global situation, and it embodies the economic, political, social, and cultural dilemmas that Europe must face today—much as Kassel in 1955 embodied the need to deal with the trauma of destruction brought about by the Nazi regime and simultaneously served as a strategic location at the onset of the Cold War. If Athens exemplifies the current issues that extend beyond the proverbial notion of the “Greek Crisis,” these problems—which are as much European and global as they are Greek—remain unresolved. Yet they present us with an opportunity to open up a space of imagination, thinking, and action, instead of following the disempowering neoliberal setup that offers itself as (non)action implied in the (non)choice of austerity. While the specific timing and choice of locale of Kassel in 1955 were precisely the factors that allowed documenta to develop into a now half-century-old venture, those socio-political parameters that made documenta urgent are no longer in play. This sense of urgency, then, must be found elsewhere.

Szymczyk and his team concluded by noting that documenta 14—in its temporary displacement and doubling of perspectives—would enable those artistic strategies that reach toward the reality of a contemporary world, one understood as a place for a multitude made up of individuals, and not as a territory defined by hegemonic relationships that make it a place of suffering and misery for many.

It is this world that will be addressed in the exhibition, the world larger than Germany or Greece.


Ahmet Ögüt: One Ordinary Happening


is curated and organized by the Nationalgalerie as part of the collaborative project STADT/BILD

Ahmet Ögüt’s conceptual artistic practice often refers to Allan Kaprow’s work. In his projects, he collaborates with people and groups both within and outside of the art world, creating situations in which audiences must participate in order to experience them fully. An example of this is his The Silent University initiative, which was launched in 2012. This autonomous, nomadic “community of teachers and students” is organized for and run by refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers.

In his approach to Kaprow’s Fluids, Ahmet Ögüt chose the theme of ice, the material used in the happening. He explores its transformation process – its physical and economic cycle. In this age of climate change, the image of melting ice has taken on a radical new meaning. With this in mind, Ögüt addresses how the basic material used in Kaprow’s happening continues to circulate after the happening is over.

The ice blocks used to create Fluids melted into 12,420 liters (roughly 3,281 gallons) of water. For his project, Ögüt is distributing the same amount of water in bottles with a label designed by himself. The bottles will be given away at different locations during the Berlin Art Week, among them SAVVY Contemporary, and are not only free artist editions, but also a call for us to enact our own version of One Ordinary Happening.

Allan Kaprow’s work Six Ordinary Happenings from 1969 consisted of brief instructions for small interventions that played with existing social structures and processes. In one of these Six Ordinary Happenings titled Charity, participants were instructed to buy used clothing in a thrift store, wash them at a laundromat, and then return them to the shop. Ahmet Ögüt’s One Ordinary Happening lets people create their own interventions in the life cycle of the material that was used in Fluids through their use of the water. Some of the artist’s suggestions are “Make bubbles, Cool yourself, Leave it on a street corner.“

AHMET ÖGÜT (born 1981 in Diyarbakir, lives and works in Amsterdam, Berlin and Istanbul)

Further information under:


Giving Contours to Shadows

Edited by Marius Babias, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Elena Agudio, Storm Janse van Rensburg

"Giving Contours to Shadows" is a research and exhibition project which takes its cue from the Glissantian concept that history, a "functional fantasy of the West", cannot be left in the hands of historians only. In that sense, the project looks at ways, by which artists, curators and thinkers relate to their own epoch, to times past and to the drawing of prospective trajectories, thus weaving alternatives to established narratives. The exhibitions, performances and discussions took place in 2014 at n.b.k, SAVVY Contemporary, Gorki Theater and Gemäldegalerie. The project and publication will uncover, discover and recover narratives, memories, knowledge and other histories in the form of a thematic reader comprising a collection of essays and critical texts, as well as image and text material about the participating artists, and will essentially cover the sections Performing and Embodying History, Wandering through History, Sequestrating History, Pre-Writing History.

With texts by Elena Agudio, Storm Janse van Rensburg, Premesh Lalu, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Simon Njami, Tavia Nyong'o, Sarah Rifky, and Greg Tate

166 pages, with color illustrations, soft cover, German/English, 19.80 Euro / 15.00 Euro (members), Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne 2015, ISBN 978-3-86335-591-3

Read more about the project here: