Film Programme and Roundtable

with the participation of Yaara Benger and Saverio Pesapane

Thursday, May 1, 6.30 pm pm

Curator: Marianna Liosi

Art directors: Dr. Bonaventure S.B. Ndikung, Dr. Elena Agudio

SAVVY Contemporary I Richardstr. 20 I 12043 Berlin-Neukölln

”Detour. One Particular Sunday”, Alexander Vaindorf, 2006-2008

Evening Programme:

Dubai Citytellers, Francesco Jodice, 2009, film, HD, 60’ (courtesy: Podbielski Contemporary)

Maid Servant, Deepa Dhanraj, 1981, 16 mm b/w, excerpts (courtesy: the artist)

•Conversation with Yaara Benger and Saverio Pesapane, 30’

One Particular Sunday - a trailer for Detour, Alexander Vaindorf, 2008, single channel DVD, 14’ (courtesy: the artist)


Leisure Complex is the first outcome of a long-term research project on the ambiguous relation between leisure and work. It consists of a compilation of two films by Francesco Jodice and Yugantar Film Collective and one video by Alexander Vaindorf, paying tribute to the social and political origins of the International Labour Day.

Historically, the 1st of May commemorates a series of workers’ strikes for the introduction of an eight-hour day, which were rocking the city of Chicago between 1867 and 1886.

This date symbolizes the paradox behind the working-time regulation: the right to work was essentially interweaved with the restriction to work.

The artworks narrate emblematic stories and extreme situations from various cultural and geographical contexts and specifically highlight the interpretation of leisure as a freed condition from work constraints and as symbol of dignity acknowledged to workers and human beings.

The excerpt from Maid Servant, 1981, by Yugantar, is a recovered part of an improvised fiction film depicting the oppressive working situation of hundreds of maidservants who came together and upraised in April 1980 in Pune (India) for the right of one day off twice a month and better conditions.
The presentations of working class women on screen as agents of their own history were at that time not part of the visual culture context. This film as the others produced by the collective was developed together with the respective women’s groups with whose lives the artists were engaged with. The collaborative working process adopted, which also included the incorporation of e.g. comments and discussions after rough-cut screenings into the narration of the film itself was pioneering at that time. How the films travelled throughout the country and were shown to different communities, often in improvised screening situations, is a unique example of what one could call a feminist third cinema practice and form.

The main characters of the video One Particular Sunday - a trailer for Detour, 2008, by Alexander Vaindorf are Ukrainian caregivers migrated to Italy, who spend their only day off – Sunday- in the “Park of Resistance” in Rome.
In a scenario of illegal migration, issues of double identity and the formation of informal groups and economies, the video narrates about these women leisure as the only occasion to take care of themselves and as a mean to reach personal emancipation and reconnect with their national community. Here the relation between private and public spheres has been overturned: a “pure” form of free time emerges into public space – usually recognized as working place – while the private context is devoted to labour.

Dubai Citytellers, 2009, by Francesco Jodice, is a documentary that depicts the slavery conditions of migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh in Dubai, deprived of their passports, forced to work 12 hours a day at 140°F to build the most impressive cathedral on earth in the desert and denuded of any free time for the sake of opulence and luxury of the happy few.
In a shining synthetic universe conceived and structured as a company, the craving of an endless economic development as well as the obsession for the landscape modification reflect how the human capital is totally submitted to the dominant capitalistic logic.
Nevertheless, with due differences are the portrayed work conditions so different from those we experience in Western countries?

In going through these three different narrations, can be claimed that free time is a natural human right or rather a subsidiary to work?

Further, does it still make sense to speak about a division between work and free time when human body is the central economic tool performing both?

The ongoing abstraction of money (credit cards, bitcoins), work place (co-working and portable devices supplied by companies), commodities (digital contents) and bodies (freed from manual work) allows the capital to appropriate the human body in all its own nuances, including the personal knowledge – the most important tool and human resources.
From this perspective – namely biocapitalism – there is no side of the human life freed from the market influences, and how leisure is conceived, perceived and organized becomes also directly determined by this process.

Starting with the show-casing commodities process – architecturally supported by buildings devoted to workers’ entertainment and glass windows displaying goods – the distance between market and everyday life start to shrink.

Within an open discussion with the audience, Yaara Benger, researcher at Max Planck Institute, Berlin will articulate through an historical approach her research focused on the influence of marketing on free time. Alongside, Saverio Pesapane, author of Dubai Citytellers, will share his experience during the film production and will analyse it from a social and political point of view.

A special thanks to: the artists, Yaara Benger, Saverio Pesapane, Podbielski Contemporary, Marco Vidor, Nicole Wolf.

Film Screening


Matteo Frittelli's documentary film on Georges Adéagbo (present) / 62 mins

Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 7.30pm

Round Table on Georges Adéagbo's practice and REGARD Benin:

Kerstin Schankweiler, Stephan Köhler and George Adéagbo

Art Directors: Dr. Bonaventure S.B. Ndikung, Dr. Elena Agudio

SAVVY Contemporary I Richardstraße 20 I 12043 Berlin-Neukölln

SAVVY Contemporary is proud to present the documentary film LA PERSONNE DE GEORGES ADÉAGBO, which provides an outstanding bird’s-eye view on Georges Adéagbo’s conceptual artistic practice. The film is gracefully orchestrated around Adéagbo’s universe, not only as seen through his own eyes, but also as perceived by Daniel Birnbaum, Carlos Basualdo, Laura Cherubini, Stephan Köhler, Pier Luigi Tazzi, Chiara Bertola, Agustín Pérez Rubio, Octavio Zaya and Okwui Enwezor. The gravity and multifacetedness of Adéagbo’s oeuvre unfold as the film director Matteo Frittelli takes the viewer on a tour of Adéagbo’s installations from his Cotonou courtyard through the Palazzo Vecchio Florence and Venice Biennial 2009 to MADRE Napels.
It is no hyperbole to say that LA PERSONNE DE GEORGES ADÉAGBO, which was premiered at the Paris Triennial in the Palais de Tokyo in 2012, is a true revelation and sets a milestone in artist documentary filmmaking. The screening will be followed by a discussion round between Kerstin Schankweiler, Stephan Köhler and George Adéagbo, and open Q&A with the audience.

Director: Matteo Frittelli, Camera/Editor: Fabrizio Farroni, Production assistant: Anna Lisa Baroni Consultant: Stephan Köhler, Voice-over: Radha Guzzetta, Transcriptions: Stefania Rispoli, Production: Frittelli, Arte Contemporanea ITA/SP/FR/DE 2007-2012.

System D

Screening and talk on the concept of 'débrouillard'

Sunday, 6th October 2013, 7pm

Charles Tonderai Mudede

After-party with DJ Zhao

Art Directors: Dr. Bonaventure S.B. Ndikung, Dr. Elena Agudio

SAVVY Contemporary I Richardstraße 20 I 12043 Berlin-Neukölln

Is System D the Other Answer? is a part of “The Inhabitant Sessions”, which comprises a survey of contemporary power (human/human) and metabolic (human/nature) relations, particularly as these contribute to form human social organization and subjectivity. The session at SAVVY contemporary will thematize the history and limits of System D - the economy of the street inhabitants of Lagos, London, Sao Paulo, or NYC.

According to the journalist Robert Neuwirth (The Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy, 2010) System D is: “... a slang phrase pirated from French-speaking Africa and the Caribbean. The French have a word that they often use to describe particularly effective and motivated people. They call them débrouillards. To say a man is a débrouillard is to tell people how resourceful and ingenious he is. The former French colonies have sculpted this word to their own social and economic reality. They say that inventive, self-starting, entrepreneurial merchants who are doing business on their own, without registering or being regulated by the bureaucracy and, for the most part, without paying taxes, are part of ‘l’economie de la débrouillardise.’ Or, sweetened for street use, ‘Systeme D.’ This essentially translates as the ingenuity economy, the economy of improvisation and self-reliance, the do-it-yourself, or DIY, economy.”

System D apparently accounts for $10 trillion of the planet’s GDP and employs millions of people around the world. But does it have any revolutionary potential? Does it offer a serious and lasting alternative to the current state structured global capitalist order? Or is it simply a response to economic conditions that have been imposed by neoliberal policies over the past 30 years?

Charles Tonderai Mudede is a writer, filmmaker, cultural critic and associate editor of the Stranger, a Seattle weekly. He writes inter alia for New York Times, Arcade Journal and Cinema Scope. His films Police Beat and Zoo premiered at Sundance, and Zoo was screened at Cannes. He is on the editorial board for the Black Scholar, University of Washington, and lectured Post-colonial theory at Pacific Lutheran University.

The event will be streamed live to the internet and archived by


African diaspora in France: Film and Conflicts

Film screening and discussion

Wednesday, 25th September 2013, 7pm

Artists: Bouba Touré, Raphaël Grisey

The event is initiated by Tobias Hering

Art Directors: Dr. Bonaventure S.B. Ndikung, Dr. Elena Agudio

SAVVY Contemporary I Richardstraße 20 I 12043 Berlin-Neukölln

Photo: Bouba Touré

Photograph Bouba Touré and video artist Raphaël Grisey show episodes from movies shot by African diaspora in France of the 1960 & ‘70s. Touré and Grisey expound on film as an essential part of a comprehensive political campaign and as a tool for reflection and self-expression. In 1967 Med Hondo pioneered the field with Soleil Ô, which served as inspiration source for numerous works that followed, including Sidney Sokhona’s Nationalité: Immigré (1976) and Safrana ou le droit à la parole (1977). Bouba Touré starred in both Sokhona’s films, and from that time onwards never stopped to document social conflicts in France, as both photographer and cameraman. Back in 1976, he co-founded the cooperative 'Somankidi Koura' in Mali, which is still operating today at the initiative of West-African diaspora in France. Instigated by this project, Raphaël Grisey created the video work Cooperative (2008). As long-term collaborators, Grisey and Touré explore contemporary image production and experiment with various expressive forms, in their zeal to open Touré’s extensive archive to public view.

Relentless, A film by Andy Amadi Okoroafor

Featuring: Nneka Egbuna, Gideon Okeke, Jimmy Jean-Louis.

Saturday, 24th August 2013

Q&A: Moderation: Marc-André Schmachtel (Director, Goethe-Institut Lagos)

Founder and artistic director: Dr. Bonaventure S.B. Ndikung;

Co-artistic director: Dr. Elena Agudio

Loneliness and love rise in an intricate duet from this storyline of self-discovery, set against the backdrop of the throbbing city of Lagos, Nigeria. The haunting plot delicately explores the effects of war and loss.

Obi is a peace-keeping soldier in war-worn Sierra Leone, where he meets Blessing, a local woman. His life is devastated when he discovers that she has been mutilated by rebels. On his return to Lagos, Obi is tormented by the scars of war. By day, he runs a small security company with Ola, his best friend and fellow war veteran. At night, he roams the lonely streets of Lagos. Meanwhile, elections are imminent in Nigeria and a powerful politician signs a lucrative contract with Obi's firm, in order to ensure the personal security of his candidate. Honey, a street hooker, enters Obi’s life abruptly, as she seeks for her lost girlfriend, last seen with powerful politicians and feared to be involved in a ritual sacrifice.

With music by award-winning singer/songwriter Nneka - featured here as leading actress, Tony Allen – late Fela Kuti's drummer, and Keziah Jones' “BluFunk” fusion, Relentless recounts the story of a sprawling big city, where its vibrant inhabitants are yet not impervious to the sporadic agony of lonesomeness.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Marc-André Schmachtel (Director, Goethe-Institut Lagos).

Punto Ciego, A Spotlight on Video Art and Politics

Screening & Discussion: Tuesday 20th of August

Presentation: Lucia Nieves

Discussion: Florian Wüst, Walter Imilan, Michelle-Marie Letelier, Kasia Odrozek and David Rych

Founder and artistic director: Dr. Bonaventure S.B. Ndikung;

Co-artistic director: Dr. Elena Agudio

Soy Cuba, Mijaíl Kalatozov.

Over the last years, a changing political landscape has taken the world unawares. In countries such as Chile, where political movements laid dormant after decades of dictatorship, specific causes — education, the rights of native peoples, ecology, or freedom of speech — have been at the center of both social and economical preoccupations for the first time in many years. Within institutions in charge of recovering and preserving our cultural heritage, the neoliberal “client” and “product” dichotomy is predominant, while at the same time, those entities are continuously forced to search for new means to sustain themselves. Across Europe and elsewhere, several social movements have arisen in response to the neoliberal crisis. Arab countries have been swept by a wave of voices which had been left unheard for much too long with unpredictable consequences, while the world hypnotically watches the royal baby birth broadcast from London.

Punto ciego is a film selection that attempts to tackle the following question: how do audiovisual artists cope with the changes in the global social and political landscape? The works presented range from experimental video art and documentation to animation - a compilation assembled by a multidisciplinary curatorial team in Chile. The film package comprises works from established artists, including works by Patricio Guzmán, Pedro Chaskel and Carlos Flores Delpino, as well as short films by emerging artists.

The screening will be accompanied by a discussion with Florian Wüst (artist and film curator), Walter Imilan (social scientist and urban planner), Michelle Marie Letelier (artist), Kasia Odrozek (editor and translator for Global Voices Online) and David Rych (video artist). The talk will be moderated by Lucia Nieves.


Short Film Screening: 17th of November 2012, 8.30 pm
Moderation: Andrea Heister

We cordially invite you to the filmscreening of three short films by Mickey Fonseca, a young Mozambican filmmaker and producer. Fonseca started his film activities as a production assistant in Cape Town, there after he started writing and producing his own films.
In 2009, together with Pipas Forjaz, he founded the production company Mahla Filmes in Maputo. Since then he has directed four short films, and produced six.
Fonseca is currently a guest at the film festival “Afrikamera”. At SAVVY Contemporary we will have the great opportunity to watch three short films that focus on the situation of women in Mozambique and address the topics of domestic violence. Please join us to watch and talk about contemporary Mozambican film practices.

Short films:

The letter, 26 min.
Poisoned love, 25 min.
The Dowry, 27 min.

For more information visit: