how does the world breathe now? | Wednesdays


That, Around Which The Universe Revolves | Chapter IV: Hamburg | Oct 19-21, 2017


Stone Theatre: A conversation between Camila Sposati and Diedrich Diederichsen | Oct 20, 2017


El Usman Faroqhi Here and a Yonder: On Finding Poise in Disorientation | Sep 14 - Oct 21, 2017


That, Around Which The Universe Revolves. On Rhythmanalysis of Memory, Times, Bodies in Space

A Choreo-Geographical Approach to Hamburg's Colonial History

Chapter IV: Hamburg

October 19-21, 2017

KAMPNAGEL | Jarrestraße 20 | 22303 Hamburg

Lucia Nhamo. KUKUNGURUKA (III). Performance during THAT, AROUND WHICH THE UNIVERSE REVOLVES | CHAPTER III: Harare August 2017. Lucia will develop this work further in her contribution for the Hamburg chapter

Everywhere where there is interaction between a place, a time and an expenditure of energy, there is rhythm. - Henri Lefebvre. Rhythmanalysis

The research, performance and exhibition project THAT, AROUND WHICH THE UNIVERSE REVOLVES brings together visual artists, urbanists, photographers, performers and theorists to investigate the interrelations of space and time, memory, architecture and urban planning through Henri Lefebvre’s concept of Rhythmanalysis. The cities of Lagos, Düsseldorf, Harare, Hamburg and Berlin will be engaged in a network that investigates their specific urban epistemologies and histories. The cities will serve as laboratories of an investigation into the temporal and spacial dimensions of everyday urban life, seen through the interrelations between the body, rhythm and urban structures.

The Hamburg chapter of THAT, AROUND WHICH THE UNIVERSE REVOLVES aims to understand Hamburg's colonial history choreographically, by way of a rhythmanalysis that introduces a play of encounter, drawing lines between past and present, between buildings, monuments, stories and the everyday movement of people through them. Of special interest is an interrogation of the so called public space and the presence of neo_colonial structures and realities in it. As public space we tend to define urban, geographic or architectural constructs in which we walk, move and gather. Expanding this concept, the project we will look at another aspect of public space which is the intellectual public in which we talk, write, publish and teach. The structures and politics of making voices heard within the neo_coloniality of a public, will be examined in the three-day programme. A crucial historical example to start the conversation on making public space intellectually and politically is the life and work of a fierce cultural and political anti-colonial activist at the beginning of the 20th century in Hamburg - Mpundu Akwa. His bilingual (Douala/German) periodical “Elolombe Ya Kamerun” (Hamburg, 1908) will serve as the focal point, the epicenter of the investigation, the lens through which the city's history is read.

With Georges Adéagbo, Simone Dede Ayivi, Nathalie Mba Bikoro, Gintersdorfer/Klaßen, Natasha A. Kelly, Philipp Khabo Köpsell, Tania Mancheno, Lucia Nhamo, Lloyd Nyikadzino, Katharina Pelosi, Vyjayanthi Rao, Tracey Rose, Lorenzo Sandoval, Louis Henri Seukwa, Greg Tate, Vassilis Tsianos



Artistic direction: Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung

Curators: Elena Agudio, Anna Jäger and Saskia Köbschall


A Collaboration of SAVVY Contemporary with Gintersdorfer/Klaßen, Q-Dance, Njelele Art Station, Hebbel am Ufer, FFT Düsseldorf and Kampnagel Hamburg

2016 – 2018 in Lagos, Düsseldorf, Harare, Hamburg and Berlin

The project is funded by the TURN fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation.


Stone Theatre: A conversation between Camila Sposati and Diedrich Diederichsen

October 20, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

Brazilian artist Camila Sposati will talk with Diedrich Diederichsen about her project Earth Anatomical Theatre (2014), a conical and subterranean anatomical theater based on a 16th century theater in Padua, and constructed on Itaparica island in Bahia, Brazil. The work established an intense dialogue with Itaparica’s Island in all of its spheres, demanding unorthodox negotiations with the geographic conditions, the island’s authorities and the local community. Throughout the process of collaboration with local workers, authors, dancers and musicians, Sposati took the theater space as a platform for experimentation. With Diederichsen she will talk about her use of materials, the ethics of art and how to work as an artist in a place (and on things) one is not part of. ‘Stone Theatre’ records the long and troubled history of the construction of the Anatomical Theatre of the Earth by the artist Camila Sposati during the 3rd Biennial of Bahia (2014). Placing the project in relation to earlier research and works, Stone Theatre brings out the specificity of the artist’s thought and gives a comprehensive introduction to Sposati’s layered practice.

Anatomical Theatre of the Earth was a wooden construction based on the form of a small circular arena with the stage in the center and around it the seats for the audience watching the scenic performances. In form and concept it referred to the Renaissance amphitheaters where the first dissections of human and animal corpses, in front of curious and astonished looks, took place. The theatre was however not built on the ground, but excavated in it to a depth of nearly six meters, behind the still standing façade of a colonial house in ruin, on the island of Itaparica, next to Salvador. Sposati intended not only to create a space for theatrical experiences, but also - and above all - a framework that would lead the public to leave the surface of the world and down, literally, into the immemorial depths of the Earth’s inside.

"The hole is an image and also a vacuum that makes us question and feel a belonging to the Earth, the experience of being alive, vitality," explains the artist, about the project that was started far from Bahia, in Turkmenistan, where Sposati researched "holes" produced by nature and also by the exploitation of man in the Soviet era. “Teatro Anatômico da Terra is not configured as an illustration or summary of those experiences. Its very existence proposes a staging of the drama of the Modern based on each of its acts: geologic layers, an archaeology of the species and of civilization, a brutal increase in scale, the eruption of a new time in space and, under the Bergsonian perspective, the confrontation with the void (that which nature abhors, the horror vacui) and the need for another form of energy that is able to fill it.” writes the curator and art critic Marcelo Rezende in one of the texts in this book that both analyses the challenging work of Sposati and questions the reader about the relations between art, nature, history and thought.

Camila Sposati was born in Sao Paulo and has been living and working between Brazil and Europe for many years. Her works investigate transformation and energy processes, using methods that often approach scientific research methodologies. She has examined processes on microscopic and global scale, such as the growth of crystals in laboratories and the geological effects on the Earth’s crust on different sites. In her work, Sposati juxtaposes material and historical processes in order to challenge official time and its significations.

Sposati’s research has taken her to the Amazon, the dry backlands of Northeast Brazil, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the United Kingdom, France, Holland and Japan. Her work has been supported by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture, Goldsmiths College, Goethe Institut, Mairie de Paris, British Council, University College London, Arts Catalyst, Tokyo Wonder Site, Centro Cultural Montehermoso Kulturunea. She exhibited ao at the 10th Mercosul Biennale, Porto Alegre (2015), CCBB Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro (2015), 3rd Bahia Biennale, Salvador (2014), Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo (2013), Eleven Rivington Gallery, New York (2013).

Diedrich Diederichsen is a writer, cultural critic and intellectual who works continuously on pop-music, contemporary art, modern composition, cinema, theater, design and politics. He was the editor of musicl journal such as “Sounds” and “Spex.” Diederichsen has taught in numerous university, amongst them ath the Merz-Academy in Stuttgart, the Art Center in Pasadena, HfG in Offenbach, Bauhaus-Universität in Weimar, Washington University in St. Louis, Städelschule Frankfurt. Since 2006, he is Professor for Theory, Practice, and Communication of Contemporary Art at the Institute for Art History & Cultural Studies at the Academy of Fine Art, Vienna.

His texts appear in several magazines, dailies and journals in the German speaking world (“Texte zur Kunst”, “Theater heute”, “Cargo”, “Die Zeit”, “tageszeitung”, “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and many others). His most recent books include Körpertreffer – Zur Ästhetik der nachpopulären Künste (Adorno Lectures), 2017; Über Pop-Musik,2014; The Whole Earth: California and the Disappearance of the Outside, 2013. For a complete list of publications visit:


Edited by Falke Pisano, Marcelo Rezende and Camila Sposati

With essays by Camila Sposati, Falke Pisano, Frédérick Keck, Marcelo Rezende, Paulo Rosenbaum and interviews with Andrea Sella and Juraci Dórea.

Design: Åbäke

Publishers: Revolver (English) / Iluminuras (Portuguese)

27 € as retail price


El Usman Faroqhi Here and a Yonder: On Finding Poise in Disorientation

A Project in the Framework of the Harun Farocki Retrospective

OPENING | September 13, 2107 | 6 PM

OPENING HOURS | September 14 - October 21, 2017 | THUR-SUN 2-7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

(c) Harun Farocki / Courtesy Antje Ehmann


With: Candice Breitz, Ariani Darmawan, Fehras Publishing Practices, Shilpa Gupta, Samson Kambalu, Olaf Nicolai, Ho Tzu Nyen, Michael Zheng & performance collaborator Johanna Thompson

OPENING | September 13, 2107 | 6 PM with a performance by Michael Zheng in collaboration with Johanna Thompson

Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety. And at such a moment, unable to see and not daring to imagine what the future will now bring forth, one clings to what one knew; to what one possessed or dreamed that one possessed. Yet, it is only when a man is able, without bitterness or self-pity, to surrender a dream he has long cherished or a privilege he has long possessed that he is set free - he has set himself free - for higher dreams, for greater privileges. -- James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name, 1961

It is said that there is much in a name.

That there is much in naming.

If we were to leave the historical and religious etymologies and connotations aside, names still tend to carry their weight in gold, as they open and close doors within certain societies. In recent years, there has been much outcry about selectivity for example for job interviews and otherwise, based rather on the names applicants bear, than their competencies. In her 2015 NY Times article 'Appreciate the History of Names to Root out Stigma,' Morgan Jerkins elaborates on the discrimination tendencies in hiring in the USA, whereby résumés with names that sounded African-American were 50 percent less likely to be invited for job interviews than identical résumés carrying names that sound like ‘white names.’ Essentially, it is a narrative about racialization through naming, whereby ‘unusually’ sounding names lead to bias. Interestingly, it seems as if names do not only reveal race, but also betray class, and of course gender. This phenomenon is everything but new, as people have always been profiled as ‘the other’ whenever they bore the names Mohammed, Shaniq, Shimon, or otherwise.

It is said that there is much in a name.

That there is much in naming.

Harun Farocki (1944 - 2014) is indisputably until this date one of Germany’s most important filmmakers and artists. Is because while he passed on and his body is no longer with us, his spirit and his works are still very much alive and preoccupy us in thought and doing. Thank heavens one can’t reduce ‘Sein/being’ to the presence or absence of bodies.

At some point in his remarkable being and career as an artist, writer, scholar, and intellectual, Harun Farocki, who was born in Neutitschein (German-annexed Czechoslovakia) and grew up in India, Indonesia and Germany, did a slight surgical operation in an effort to simplify his name. Born Harun El Usman Faroqhi, he dropped off the middle names and modified his last name in what might be considered a germanization of the name using a ‘ck’ instead of a ‘qh’ common in the German language.

The reasons for this change might have been manifold, including just making appellation easier or an effort to adapt, integrate and conform. Maybe he changed the name to avoid being classified the ‘other’ within a society in which ‘othering’ is cultivated. Maybe he changed the name to avoid being exoticized or to avoid that his person and work are seen only through a certain prism. Maybe to enjoy certain political and social amenities, while avoiding other restraints. Maybe just for aesthetic reasons. Whatever the particular reason was seems irrelevant at the moment… of importance is to deliberate on names, naming and re-naming as philosophical, as well as socio-political tools and acts.

The project El Usman Faroqhi Here and a Yonder: On Finding Poise in Disorientation is a research exhibition by SAVVY Contemporary in the framework of the Harun Farocki Retrospective in 2017. The project zooms into a detail in Farocki’s life and practice, one that may be considered a minor aspect but that plays a crucial philosophical, social and political role. One that, inspired by Harun’s own work, leads towards unexpected new relevant narratives.

The project takes Farocki as a point of departure to reflect on wider issues of nomenclature that go beyond geographical and temporal frames. For it, artists, filmmakers and intellectuals from here and from a yonder ruminate on naming as philosophy, mnemonic tool, as disorientation, on re-naming and its political and social implications. They address the performativity of language, naming and its role in warfare and in pornography. They revisit, question or challenge Farocki's positions and offer new ways of seeing, and experiencing, his oeuvre.


Curated by Bonaventure S. B. Ndikung and Antonia Alampi

Project Manager: Lema Sikod

Assistant Curator: Cornelia Knoll

Research Assistant: Gwen Mitchell

The Harun Farocki Retrospective is organized by Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) in cooperation with Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, the Harun Farocki Institute, Harun Farocki GbR, Silent Green Kulturquartier and SAVVY Contemporary.

Funded by the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa.

Media partners: taz and Cargo.

A special thanks goes to Antje Ehmann for her advice and support.

FILM SERIES: how does the world breathe now?

Session N°39 | Moscow’s cine-internationalism in Berlin |  Iris Gusner presented by Doreen Mende 

October 25, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

Still: Die Taube auf dem Dach (1973/90)

For our 39th screening, Doreen Mende brings us Iris Gusner’s Die Taube auf dem Dach and “disco films.” Screening followed by a conversation with Iris Gusner, filmmaker and writer.

Disco film 16: Karat, Albatross (Jürgen Steinheisser, 1979, GDR, 7.55 min)

Disco film 28: City, Träume (Jürgen Steinheisser, 1979, GDR, 6.08 min) <

em>Die Taube auf dem Dach (Iris Gusner, 1973/1990, GDR, 82 min)

German with English subtitles

In 1973 Iris Gusner realized her debut film, Die Taube auf dem Dach (The Dove on the Roof), after finishing her studies at the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography in Moscow (VGIK), which she had entered as one of the few East-German students of her generation. During the 1960s in particular, the VGIK provided an environment for a cine-internationalism due to a moment of ideological “thaw” that voiced itself through upheavals, re-evaluation, reforms, and experimentation under the Krushchev regime with its possibility of de-Stalinization.

Die Taube auf dem Dach portrays Linda Hinrichs, a young architect, who engineers the construction of a new prefabricated housing block in East Germany. Iris Gusner shows the reality of a world of labor in socialist Germany through the eyes of people who are not as standardized as the buildings they erect. Instead of a socialist worker-heroism, the film therefore conveys a fragment of the cultural history of everyday struggle, which is narrated through social relations on the construction site and a complicated love triangle between Linda and two men. The film furthermore includes a commentary on state pretensions to solidarity when the worker Karim speaks about his Beirut home while mounting Palestinian posters on the walls of the room he shares with the student Daniel. Here Gusner proposes a narration of friendship among workers instead of solidarity (which she once described as a “bureaucratic act” of the GDR). Die Taube auf dem Dach remained un-premiered, prohibited, and seemingly lost in the GDR. The film’s working copy was found in 1990, although everything else had been destroyed. A black-and-white version was drawn from this color copy (35 mm), then everything disappeared again. In 2009, the 1990 version was found by chance and digitized for DVD release.

This evening will also include the screening of two so-called “disco films”, a genre crossing documentary, feature, and music-video, that perhaps only existed in the GDR. Disco films were produced by the DEFA, the centralized and state-owned film studios of the GDR, and projected—as the name suggests—in discos, for example, at the Kosmos 73 Film-Beat-Treff vor Mitternacht on Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin.

Iris Gusner studied film-directing at the VGIK in Moscow during the 1960s. After returning to Berlin, she worked as an assistant director to Konrad Wolf for his film drama Goya or the Hard Way to Enlightenment (1971) before joining the DEFA as a director. Aside from various feature films, Gusner directed the famous fairytale film Das Blaue Licht (1976), a crime movie, dramas, and romances. In the summer of 1989 she emigrated to West Germany, and returned from Cologne to Berlin in 2003. Together with the filmmaker Helke Sander she co-authored the book Fantasie und Arbeit. Biografische Zwiegespräche (2009), about the similarities and differences between being a filmmaker, a mother, and a woman in East and West Germany. Gusner’s book Start in Moskau will be published In 2018. It tells of her studies and teachers at the VGIK, as well as her co-students’ subsequent developments up to the present, based on ongoing conversations with international filmmaker friends who studied together at the Institute.

Doreen Mende is a curator, theorist, researcher and writer, and currently directs the CCC Research Master and PhD-Forum of the Visual Arts Department at HEAD in Geneva. She has been a founding member of the Harun Farocki Institut in Berlin since 2015. Her research interests include spatial politics in image regimes, as well as exhibition-making, curatorial politics, archival metabolisms, navigational aesthetics, display processes, and concept work. She holds a PhD in Curatorial/Knowledge from Goldsmiths, University of London. Recent publications include KP Brehmer: Real Capital Production, for Raven Row, London, and the ongoing publications series HaFI (with Tom Holert and Volker Pantenburg). For an introduction to Die Taube auf dem Dach see her “Letter to Iris Gusner,” manifesta journal, December 2013.

Thanks to the DEFA-Stiftung Berlin and the DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst/U.S.

< how does the world breathe now?> is a 52 week film series at SAVVY Contemporary inviting artists, thinkers, activists, poets, scientists, curators and other practitioners to select movies of our nows.