Readings and Conversations with Elaine Castillo, Athena Farrokhzad, Johan Harstad, Ishion Hutchinson, Elena Marcu and John Freeman

In collaboration with silent green Kulturquartier and The Reader Berlin

January 19, 2018 | 8pm

SAVVY Contemporary | Kuppelhalle at Silent Green

Gerichtstraße 35 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding


regular: 8 EUR | reduced: 5 EUR

combi (entrance plus magazine): 15 EUR

How thrilling to continue our tradition of hosting the Berlin launches of the fantastic literary journal Freeman's. The new year brings a special edition that asks all the right questions about the future of new writing.

Dissatisfied with the diminishment for literary culture to peer into the future of writing through narrowing confinements of nationality, genre or generation, Freeman’s: The Future of New Writing asks what happens if you take these restrictions off, and start reading across all fields?

The literary journal departs from the series’ progression of themes like Arrival, Family, Home. This special fourth installment instead introduces a list of twenty-nine poets, essayists, novelists, and short story writers from around the world who are shaping the literary conversation right now and will continue to impact it in years to come.

Drawing on recommendations from book editors, critics, translators, booksellers, and authors from across the globe, Freeman’s: The Future of New Writing includes pieces from a select list of writers aged twenty-five to seventy, from almost twenty countries and writing in nearly as many languages. This is a new kind of list, and an aesthetic manifesto for our times. Against a climate of nationalism and silo’d thinking, writers remain influenced by work from outside their region, genre, and especially age group. Serious readers have always read this way too—and Freeman’s: The Future of New Writing brings them an exciting view of where writing is going next.

“The greatest joy of reading for me is how it allows you to go anywhere, to be anyone. There’s an ethical dimension to this permission, though. And in our contentious times, it feels more important than ever to think of writing as a global enterprise, not a national one, and to try to peel back the layers of ageism, sexism, and regionalism which often encrust literary debate in that moment of regarding. I believe once we do that—and read the emerging writers assembled here—the future looks incredibly bright.”—John Freeman

In three issues, the literary anthology from leading editor John Freeman has gained an international following and wide acclaim: “fresh, provocative, engrossing” (, “impressively diverse” (O Magazine), “bold, searching” (Minneapolis StarTribune).

Elaine Castillo was born in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her debut novel America Is Not the Heart will be published by Viking (United States/Canada), Atlantic (UK), and Foksal (Poland) in 2018.

Athena Farrokhzad was born in 1983 and lives in Stockholm. She is a poet, literary critic, translator, playwright, and teacher of creative writing. Her first volume of poetry, Vitsvit, was published in 2013 by Albert Bonniers Fo?rlag (translated by Jennifer Hayashida and published as White Blight by Argos Books). In 2016, her second volume of poetry, Trado, which was written together with the Romanian poet Svetlana Ca?rstean, was published.

Johan Harstad is a Norwegian novelist, short-story writer, play-wright, and graphic designer. His novels include Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?—a Kirkus Reviews best book of the year, which has been published in thirteen countries—and Max, Mischa, and the Tet Offensive. He is also the author of 172 Hours on the Moon, which won the 2008 Norwegian Brage Prize in the young adult/children’s literature category; four plays; a collection of short stories; and a prose collection. He lives in Oslo, Norway.

Ishion Hutchinson was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica. He is the author of the poetry collections Far District (Peepal Tree Press, 2010) and House of Lords and Commons (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016). He teaches in the graduate writing program at Cornell University.

Elena Marcu is a partner and editor at Black Button Books, the first all-female run publishing house in Romania. She is a music junkie, formally the PR manager for a Romanian Independent Music Label. She is addicted to coffee, her headphones, her Kindle and Instagram.

John Freeman was the editor of Granta until 2013. His books include How to Read a Novelist, Tales of Two Cities, and Tales of Two Americas. Maps, his debut collection of poems, is out from Copper Canyon in fall 2017. He is the executive editor at Literary Hub and teaches at the New School and New York University. His work has appeared in the New Yorker and the Paris Review and has been translated into twenty languages.

SPEAKING FEMINISMS | Preliminary Excercises

8th Exercise with Tracey Rose


January 11, 2018 | 7 pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

[Would you like to bring your kids? Please send an email for childcare until J A N U A R Y 08 to with subject line CHILDCARE and tell us the age of your kid(s).]

"As part of SAVVY Contemporary's Speaking Feminisms series which tries to reflect on how feminist intersectional politics can be mobilise to decolonize discourse and artistic practices, Tracey Rose presents a puppet play titled Muschis mit Schwänzen.

Tracey Rose was born in 1974 in Durban, South Africa. She holds a Master of Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, University of London (UK) and received her B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in 1996. She was trained in editing and cinematography at The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance in Johannesburg. Rose belongs to a generation of artists charged with reinventing the artistic gesture in post-Apartheid South Africa. Within this fold, she has defined a provocative visual world whose complexities reflect those of the task at hand. Refusing to simplify reality for the sake of clarity, the artist creates rich characters that inhabit worlds as interrelated as the many facets of a human personality. Her reference to theatre and the carnival tradition also places her work in the realm of satire. As such, it has consistently questioned and challenged the prevalent aesthetics of international contemporary art, the emergence of a dominant cultural narrative of struggle and reconciliation in South Africa and also post colonial, racial and feminist issues in the wider world. Working with performance, often for the camera, Tracey Rose places her body at the center of her practice. She inhabits the roles given to Africans, to African women, and to women in a male dominated world, swallowing stereotypes whole. In her quest to understand the source of these cultural meanings that define the human condition, Rose is inevitably led to religious myths of creation. The scope of Rose’s work is not limited to the boundaries of South Africa, and it has indeed quickly found a global, humanist resonance. Rose has exhibited and performed widely both at home and internationally, including the South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Johannesburg Art Gallery; Dakar Biennial in 2000 & 2016; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg; The Project, New York; Venice Biennial, 2001 & 2007; The Haywood Gallery, London; The Brooklyn Museum; Tate Liverpool; Bildmuseet, Umea; and most recently Museo Reina Sofia; WIELS Brussels; Dan Gunn, Berlin; EVA International, Limerick; the São Paulo Biennial; Biennial of Moving Images, Geneva; Museum of Modern Art, Buenos Aires; Documenta 14, Athens & Kassel.


How does the meaning of ‘feminism’ change in different contexts and times? And, what can we learn from historical feminist practices? “Feminism”, Yemisi Aribisala writes, “cannot be globally defined because Pangaea broke into pieces 250 million years ago and many wild waters and hazardous bush must be traversed to evangelise my kind of savage. The world is not one.” On the other hand, Science-fiction writer Octavia Butler describes it in terms of the act of writing yourself into the world: “You got to make your own worlds. You got to write yourself in it.”

How do we – women, men, transgender, not-men – write ourselves into the world? And, how do we unwrite an already written page? How do we imagine a different language, another collective politics from the perspective of feminist practice today? When vulnerable communities continue to be threatened by racism, xenophobia, acts of bullyism, and violence against women, gay and trans-people, we feel the urge to address these and other questions in an attempt to mobilise and develop new feminist politics and practices.

For this series of preliminary exercises, our point of departure is the acknowledgement of a deep, and we hope productive, disagreement on the meaning of and the contemporary valence of this term. Perhaps this is already what feminism is about, a form of collective non-alignment.

Through a series of performative events, talks and workshops, SPEAKING FEMINISMS enacts the multiple histories, struggles, and voices that define ‘feminism’ as both a practice and a concept.



SAVVY Winter Market

December 15-16, 2017 | 2-7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

We have the impression that this ending year was as eventful and busy for you as it was for us! We think it is time to unwind!

After a year filled with exhibitions, talks and concerts, a radio in the gallery (how exciting was that?), screenings and readings and dancing, we would like to invite you come together for warmth and laughter, Glühwein and waffles.

On this occassion, we will open our book storage of all publications we made in the last eight years—for you to browse and find a treat for yourself or a gift for dear ones.

Feel welcome to join us for a cozy afternoon.


Untraining the Ear #2 with Audrey Chen

A project by SAVVY Contemporary, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and CTM Festival

December 8, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Gerichtstraße 35 | 13347 Berlin

Entrance Fee: 6 EUR

It is a herald, for change is inscribed in noise faster than it transforms society... Listening to music is listening to all noise, realizing that its appropriation and control is a reflection of power, that is essentially political. -- Jacques Attali, Noise: The Political Economy of Music, 1985.

With the UNTRAINING THE EAR LISTENING SESSIONS we propose exercises to decipher sound beyond its contextual affiliation of geography, genre, and valences of identity. It is an attempt to press II [pause] to the daily storm of sonic vibrations, and voice a call to examine and explore the auditory beyond the hearing and start to LISTEN.

Untraining the Ear #2 Listening Session presents Audrey Chen who works with aural and oral perceptions of time and living process, which in her performances, become a narrative and nonlinear storytelling. Her collection of sound materials (as filtered through the voice and cello) form a language which is freely used to express an abstract collage of her experience, memory, history, perspective, thoughts and emotions. The material is taken experientially and through feeling and listening, even subconscious hearing, which becomes stored as an accumulated “mass” of muscle memory, knowledge and personal biography.

In performance, all this “mass” becomes expanded again through a physical, technical process/release, which is part intellectual, ritual and part primal athleticism (resembling a state similar to what Ortiz Walton describes as “concentrated listening, allowing an expansion of self through identification with the symbolic communication of the performer” — Ortiz Walton. 1972. Music: Black, White and Blue. New York: William Morrow.

Chen creates/recreates a personal sonic narration via a momentarily perceptive exchange. Beyond what we hear, she is in a constant state of internal triggering and invocation, giving voice to a physical sensation of memory and experience filtered into sound.

"You can use the words extended technique, experimental but I feel they are inappropriate. What I use are extensions of a technique but they are also an audible process of myself trying to find sound inside and through my body."—Audrey Chen in conversation with the Listening Sessions Team

Having engaged for over 30 years with voice and cello, she has learnt to approach the instruments and understand the physical mechanical capabilities of both beyond the classical aesthetic tradition. In later years, she has broadened in scope and deepened her comprehension of how these instruments have become an extension of her own inherent language.

This evolution is less about education and technique, or even the instruments themselves, but is more about decisions and how in making them, creates the essence of process. The process is inherently tied to the passage of time and all experiences accumulate and become inclusive. Chen is a do-er. She doesn’t create per se but she is continually living and her performances reflect this state of doing and living. She breathes, desires, dreams and manages - as improvisation - on a daily basis. The moments of performance only punctuate and hold in a momentary suspension, her reflection upon that which she has some small influence but is happening already and moving without her.

Her practice tells a story of un-learning, de-skilling and re-negotiation of language through sound. It tells of her negotiation of life as it passes, a young single mother growing into an older one, an inexplicable love for a son now on the brink of manhood, a second generation Taiwanese/Chinese American now living in Europe, a woman looking inside of herself for what is essentially human and female while wrestling the currents of judgement, expectation and assumption – from history to future, and how everyday she is relieved to be still capable of doing.

For Chen, daily routine and movements also become an incentive for accumulating mundane junctures (in support of everything else) essential in daily life are in equal measure brought into her performances. Through a reification of a performative kind, the voice becomes material, turning ultimately into an sonic endeavour always under construction.

“You have all your years of preparation and all your sensibilities and your prepared means but it is a leap into the unknown.” —Steve Lacy to Derek Bailey cited in Improvised Music after 1950: Afrological and Eurological Perspectives, 1992.

Can Chen's self-illustrated ability to open up all (her) body's pores to use them as receptive listening organs inspire us to listen to the sacrosanct soundscapes in real-time through nonlinear receptiveness? Then, would we, as audience, be able to reevaluate both the conditioned self and the communal one as a part of our socio-political sonic pasts? In SAVVY Contemporary, such discussions will put at ease assumptions and sensationalist postulates around the existence of biographies, nationalities, genders and challenge the idea of needing empirical proof in an attempt to disentangle already institutionalized preconceptions.


PRESENTED BY SAVVY Contemporary, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and CTM Festival

CURATION Kamila Metwaly

CO-CURATION Marcus Gammel and Jan Rohlf

PRODUCTION Abhishek Nilamber and Beya Othmani

COMMUNICATION Jasmina Al-Qaisi, Anna Jäger and Elsa Westreicher


SUPPORTED BY Musicboard Berlin



COMING SOON TO YOUR SCREENS. On archives, legacies and new waves of Sudanese Cinema

A collaboration between the Sudan Film Factory, Studio Gad, Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art and SAVVY Contemporary

November 22-24, 2017

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 & Arsenal Cinema | Potsdamer Straße 2

STUDIO by Amjad Abu Alala


In the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, Sudan was at the cutting edge of film-making in Africa. Gadalla Gubara, a lesser known pioneer of African cinema, realised over 50 documentary and feature film productions and made some of the continent’s best-known films. He incepted Khartoum’s first film studio, “Studio Gad” and is a founding father of the Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers FEPACI and the FESPACO festival in Burkina Faso. Today Sudan is once again entering a new arena of film-making. The first ever film festival in the country, the Sudan Independent Film Festival (SIFF) has been launched in Khartoum in 2014, showcasing quality Sudanese and international films each year. Focused on independent cinema as a form of artistic expression for social debate and change, it has set out to diversify West­ern cinema paradigms by establishing itself as a platform celebrating African culture and aes­thetics.

COMING SOON TO YOUR SCREENS. On archives, legacies and new waves of Sudanese Cinema digs into the archives and traces the glorious legacy to present-day new waves of contemporary Sudanese cinema.

The first screening of the digitalised version of Gadalla’s first feature film TAJOUJE (1977) in Berlin will mark the opening of the programme on November 22nd at Arsenal Cinema. The Arsenal - Institute of Film and Video Art together with Katharina von Schroeder and Nadja Korinth have, over the past years, realised an extensive project dedicated to the preservation and digitalisation of the film holdings of Gadalla Gubara, produced at Khartoum’s famous “Studio Gad”. The film will be presented by his daughter Sara Gadalla who lives and works as a filmmaker in Khartoum. Gadalla’s final master piece LES MISÉRABLES will be screened on the second night, November 23rd at SAVVY Contemporary in attendance of Sara Gadalla. On the final evening, November 24th we will exit the archive and screen a curated night of five short films followed by a conversation on present-day Sudanese film production, cinematic state of the art and future directions with the curator of the programme Talal Affifi.


November 22, 2017 | 9 PM

Arsenal Cinema 1 | Potsdamer Straße 2 | 10785 Berlin

TAJOUJE by Gadalla Gubara / Sudan, 1977 / 90 min / Arabic with English subtitles - Berlin Premiere with Sara Gadalla in attendance

November 23, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

KHARTOUM by Gadalla Gubara / Sudan, 1960 / 24 min / Arabic with English subtitles - with Sara Gadalla in attendance

LES MISÉRABLES by Sara Gadalla and Gadalla Gubara / Sudan, 2006 / 112 min / English - Berlin Premiere with Sara Gadalla in attendance

November 24, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

COMING SOON TO YOUR SCREENS. A cinematic conversation on the present and future of Sudanese Short Films curated by Talal Afifi with the following selection:

EMAN by Mia Bittar / 40 min

NYERKUK by Mohamed Kordofani / 19 min

TASAMI by Tarig Suliman / 7 min

STUDIO by Amjad Abu Alala / 8 min

VEGANIZE by Khalid Salem / 8 min

Talal Afifi 1976, is a Sudanese film curator, creative producer, and the founder and director of Sudan Film Factory, a production house and film culture platform that works since 2010 in empowering and building youth capacities in the field of documentation, filmmaking and freedom of expression. He is the founder and president of Sudan Independent Film Festival since 2014 and art manager of Karmakol International Festival. He is also a member of the executive committee of the Sudanese Writers ‘Union. Previously working in cultural management in Egypt and Sudan, he also managed the production of a variety of documentaries and short films between 2010-2017, in addition to supervising filmmaking workshops and training in Sudan. Afifi is interested in further developing the independent filmmaking industry and supporting new modes of documentary production and presentation.

Gadalla Gubara is one of the less well-known pioneers of African cinema. He ran the first film studio in Sudan and was co-founder of both the Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers FEPACI and the FESPACO festival (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso). His oeuvre spans feature films, reports, educational documentaries, advertising films and home movies. He documented Sudan’s political and social developments for over 50 years, from independence in 1956 via the phase of socialist government and its policy of modernization all the way through to the proclamation of the Islamic Republic in 1983, equally capturing the obvious deterioration in conditions for filmmaking that went hand in hand with this development.

Sara Gadalla Gubara lives and works in Khartoum. She has directed feature films, documentaries and animated films. She is a long distance swimmer, and has participated in local and international competitions. In addition, she advises NGOs on questions of gender and equal opportunities. Sara Gubara is a graduate of the Academy of Arts in Cairo. Her films have been presented at festivals in South Africa, Zanzibar, and Uganda.

COMING SOON TO YOUR SCREENS. On archives, legacies and new waves of Sudanese Cinema is a cooperation between the Sudan Film Factory, Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art and SAVVY Contemporary.

Supported by the Cultural Desk of the Sudan Embassy in Berlin.

Project coordinators: Elena Quintarelli and Laura Klöckner


STRICKEN, the Installation by Magda Korsinsky

Opening: Nov 17, 2017 at 7PM | Open: Nov 18-19, 2017 | 2-7PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome


This project is based on interviews with Afro-German women whose white grandmothers lived during the times of National Socialism. How do different generations navigate these particular familial ties? Which values are transmitted from one generation to the next? Which are accepted, which criticised, questioned, changed, or rejected? What do Afro-Germans think about the National Socialist pasts of their grandparents? How does this knowledge influence their relationships? And how does it influence these women’s own views of themselves?
The critical confrontation with the heritage of our ancestors, and how we traverse these patterns and entanglements, constitute the core of this interdisciplinary work.

This project is visually constructed through an expansive textile installation. The textiles used are fabrics from the everyday lives of the interview partners: inherited and worn remains of their German familial histories. They are sewn into large webs, like floating screens dividing the room. The interviews show how these Afro-German women question the National Socialist pasts of their grandparents, and reveal both familial intimacy and conflicts.

The inspiration for this work was the book My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers her Family’s Nazi Past by Jennifer Teege, who found out as a 38-year-old that she was the granddaughter of Amon Göth, the commander of a concentration camp.

“Whomever is related to Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler, Hermann Göring or Amon Göth, is forced to confront their familial history. But what about all the others, all the nameless followers and accomplices?” (Jennifer Teege)

Magda Korsinsky is a visual artist, choreographer and lecturer of Czech-Eritrean heritage. She was born in 1981 in Prague, and grew up in Stuttgart, later studying Visual Art at the UdK Berlin, ENSBA Paris, and AVU Prague. She has worked as an independent artist since ending her “Meisterschüler” in the summer of 2007. Her work has been shown in numerous exhibitions, including at the Haus am Lützowplatz, Gallery Bourouina, Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien, Kunsthaus Dresden, Künstlerhaus Sootbörn, Städtische Galerie Böblingen, and Galerie Dengler und Dengler in Stuttgart. She received the “Screening 2014” award for her screen printing works from the Association for the Development of Visual Artists in Hildesheim. In November 2014, she also received the art prize from the „Neue Kunst hat Freunde“ association in Ahrenshoop. Her choreography works have been included in productions in the Tanztage (Sophiensaele), Maxim Gorki Theater, Uferstudios, and Ballhaus Naunynstrasse.

With kind support of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe, Berlin


Songs of a melting iceberg - Displaced without moving

November 7-12, 2017

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Still from Anahís Room, directed by Ivalo Frank

This year’s NORDWIND will explore questions about the unity, fragility and diversity of constructions of identity. In 'Songs of a melting iceberg – Displaced without moving', for the first time, artists and scholars from the Arctic, northern countries, the African continent, Berlin and Hamburg will be invited to work together on artistic projects. In the process, they will try to get away from stereotypes and prejudices and to formulate and exchange their own perspectives and artistic ways of working.

Especially in times when concepts such as ‘nation’, ‘identity’ and ‘cultural origin’ are being exploited by right-wing populist movements, it’s important to reappropriate these terms and resist a one-sided interpretation.

'Songs of a melting iceberg – Displaced without moving' will take place in five different venues in Berlin and Hamburg: SAVVY Contemporary, Silent Green, Studio 1 of Art Centre Bethanien, Galerie Wedding and Kampnagel. The festival’s cooperative partners are the XJAZZ Festival and the KW Institute for Contemporary Art.

Participants at SAVVY Contemporary: Dafna Maimon, Jessie Kleeman and Ivalo Frank, Marja Helander, Jonas Tinius, Frederikke Hansen, Aqqalu Berthelsen aka Uyarakq, Athi-Patra Ruga, Syowia Kyambi, Michèle Magema, Constanza Macras and Adham Hafez, Dávvet Bruun Solbakk, Siegmar Zacharias, Christine Fentz, Ibrahim Mahama, Lana Hansen, Jacob Remin, Nana Adusei-Poku, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, DJ Cambel Nomi, Esben Valloe, Inuk Silis Høegh


Artistic direction: Ricarda Ciontos

'Songs of a melting iceberg – Displaced without moving' is a NORDWIND project, funded by Capital City Cultural Fund Berlin, Danish Arts Council, German Foreign Office, Goethe Institute, Finland Institute, Institut français, the Hamburg Foundation for Culture, the Institute for Foreign Relations (ifa), Danse- og Teatersentrum, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Hamburg City Office for Culture and Media, TINFO Theatre Info Finland, Air Greenland, Ubeeqo, Stadtmobil Carsharing, the Norwegian Embassy, the Icelandic Embassy, the Canadian Embassy, the Swedish Embassy, the Danish Embassy, the Finish Embassy

In cooperation with the Kampnagel Hamburg, Silent Green, SAVVY Contemporary, Art Centre Bethanien, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, XJAZZ Festival Berlin, Theatre of Nations Moscow.

Media partners: Exberliner, taz – die tageszeitung, TANZ, Theater heute, Zitty, Oak – The Nordic Journal, Ask Helmut, Bpigs - Berlin Independents Guide


The Words That Are Missing. On (Soft) Censorship

A discussion with Ana Alenso (together with Cristina Moreno), Jesús Acevedo, and Alby Alamo. Organized by The Institute for Endotic Research

October 28, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

Picture by Ana Alenso

Organized by The Institute for Endotic Research, ‘The Words That Are Missing’ is an inquiry into formations of language in the public sphere. The series focuses on the lack of certain words in the public arena: by way of censorship or because they are not yet there to describe new situations, or phenomena that were overlooked. One can think of the lack of words as a wys of describing precisely the new different formations of a 'we', the movements of people across countries, or the emergence of what was traditionally known as fascism, which now seems to take new and old shapes. At the same time, one can observe how mechanisms of censorship and euphemism make words disappear from discussions, producing an empty spot. In that sense, words are sensors that indicate emerging niches of tensions or alliances, establishing common arenas. At the same way, they can hide what cannot be said by censorship, euphemism or by one’s own self-repression. When looking at public conflicts, words are inevitably at the centre of the discussion.

Taking these points into account, practices related to narration, fiction and wording should be revisited, reappropriated and reimagined to propose new terms. The departure point of these series is embedded in the question: how to gain access to the words that are not there?

In the first gathering called ‘On (Soft) Censorship’ we will introduce a series of different cases which had happened related to art projects in Spanish institutions in Berlin. In this session we will explore how cases of imposed censorship are bound to situations of precarity, which allow techniques of censorship beyond the mere rejection of artworks in a show.

The first case is the exhibition ‘Zwischen den Paradiesen’ in 2016, curated by Cristina Moreno after being awarded a prize by the Spanish Embassy. In this show the work of the Venezuelan artist Ana Alenso was partially removed because it used a Repsol oil barrel (Repsol is the biggest Spanish oil company that operates in Venezuela). Her work deals at large with oil exploitation in her country. The second case looks at Jesús Acevedo’s campaign for the celebration of the 5th centenary of the death of Cervantes. He was commissioned a project by the Cervantes Institute for which he selected a series quotes from the oeuvre of the author. His selection worked as political mottos that can be read nowadays. The former central direction of the Cervantes Institute in Madrid cancelled the project the last minute because it “didn’t fit with the aesthetics” of the organization, against the opinion of the team of Cervantes Institute in Berlin. To complete this presentation, we invited another censored author, again by the Spanish Embassy, Alby Alamo. He was asked to pixelate parts of his video work where genitals appeared in order to keep his work in the exhibition.

Ana Alenso is a Venezuelan artist based in Berlin, Germany. Working across sculpture, photography, installation, sound and video, her current work aims to expose the dire risks in the global oil industry and financial world. Through the use of industrial materials, her work identifies critical states—situations of precariousness and tension—in a poetic register. She holds an MFA in Art in Context from the Berlin University of Arts (2015), an MFA in Media Art & Design at the Bauhaus University Weimar (2012) and a Diplom from Armando Reveron Arts University in Venezuela (2004). Her works have been exhibited at Sixty Eighth Art Institut (DK), Museo de Porreres (ES), Kinderhood & Caracas (DE), Neues Museum Weimar (DE); Nietzsche-Gedächtnishalle Weimar (DE), Ex Teresa Arte Actual (MEX); Centro Cultural Matucana-100 (CH), Museo Alejandro Otero, Espacio Monitor, Gallery Oficina#1 and Gallery Abra (VE) and other diverse locations.

Jesús Acevedo develops his work since the mid 90’s, showing his work mainly in independent spaces. His work has a conceptual and humoristic approach produced with differnt media such as video, spatial interventions, performance, drawing or writing. He has been part of different collectives projects, among them ‘Circo Interior Bruto’, where he was one of the founding members. In 2009 he moved from Madrid to Berlin, where he lives.

Alby Álamo (Las Palmas, 1977) lives and works in Berlin and Canary Islands. He is graduated in Fine Arts and holds a Master´s degree in Art Theory at the Facultad de Bellas Artes de La Laguna Tenerife. His work has been exhibited at the CAAM museum (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), Junefirst Gallery (Berlin), Centro de Arte La Regenta(Las Palmas), Guasch Coranty Painting Award (Barcelona), Gallery Dom Omladine (Beograd) or Kunstraum Dreieich (Frankfurt). As a curator he co-directs since 2015 Urlaub projects in Berlin. He has been one of the selected curators for "Area60" 2017 programm in the museum TEA Tenerife.


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


UNTRAINING THE EAR: N°1 with Tara Transitory aka One Man Nation

A project by SAVVY Contemporary, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and CTM Festival

October 13, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Gerichtstraße 35 | 13347 Berlin

Entrance Fee: 6 EUR

It is a herald, for change is inscribed in noise faster than it transforms society... Listening to music is listening to all noise, realizing that its appropriation and control is a reflection of power, that is essentially political. -- Jacques Attali, Noise: The Political Economy of Music, 1985.

With the UNTRAINING THE EAR LISTENING SESSIONS we propose exercises to decipher sound beyond its contextual affiliation of geography, genre, and valences of identity. It is an attempt to press II [pause] to the daily storm of sonic vibrations, and voice a call to examine and explore the auditory beyond the hearing and start to LISTEN.

In this new series of of sonic encounters, each session will involve a curated auditory experience which suggests a voyage into a specific mode of listening proposed by an artist. Artists will to take part of SAVVY’s sonic exploration and understanding of sound based exercise-performance and an allegorical conversation appertaining to the theme of choice. Collectively, in order to understand, to question and possibly contextualize how we listen to the world today we (the space, the performers, the moderators and the audience) will sonically and rhetorically navigate through the proposed theme(s) to hear beyond our ears, and to hear canons found in sound.

Each session will be a conscious inquiry into the process of listening, an inquiry into how our listening is shaped, constructed or altered through filters of society, politics, economics, cultures and narratives. The sessions become a collective exercise in which, through a discussion and a performance, we ask the artists, moderators, listeners, and ourselves - as an art space - to (un)train and (re)train, (de)construct and (re)construct the process of normative hearing and give space for non-normative listening.

The unfolding process of the series will allow us to navigate through, explore within - and reflect on various topics. We will touch upon the re-representation of the marginalized and suppressed sounds, voices and noises. We will champion her and their stories by amplifying nonlinear and non-binary sounds and noises. We will question and challenge the power and politics of sound technologies, production aesthetics and the precepts/presets within the global narratives. The sessions will allow us to re-represent and re-position musics from the world.

For the first session of our new series UNTRAINING THE EAR we have invited Tara Transitory aka One Man Nation. Tara Transitory creates spatial and bodily sonic relationships with the listeners to enable listening through various bodies: the self, space, machines, movement, the collective body and the ultimate body of reverie.

She works with sounds to create various physical and material states of trance within and without the process of embodied listening. Through the process of arriving at and of being in, till falling out of a trance, the sounds of the various bodies may intersect. Thus they become one common body, a common body as a resonant space. In that sense, a singular body consisting of all forms of bodies becomes nodes of ethereal sources that Tara Transitory annexes to her own performance practice. With Tara Transitory we enter SAVVY Contemporary with an understanding of individual bodies and their singularities - specifically their singular (sound) identities - however, through experiencing the performance we become communitas.

Tara Transitory aka One Man Nation transforms research on gender+noise+ritual, into experiences that straddle the boundaries of art, music, and performance. Her act is of a shape-shifting nature, morphing between interventionist, performative and ritualistic/trance-like practices, defying any form of characterization under an umbrella of genre or label.

WARNING: Strobe lights are used during this performance which might trigger seizures for people with epilepsy.


PRESENTED BY SAVVY Contemporary, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and CTM Festival

CURATION Kamila Metwaly

CO-CURATION Marcus Gammel and Jan Rohlf

PRODUCTION Abhishek Nilamber and Beya Othmani

COMMUNICATION Jasmina Al-Qaisi, Anna Jäger and Elsa Westreicher


SUPPORTED BY Musicboard Berlin



Witnessing the Transition: Moments in the Long Summer of Migration

An e-book project in collaboration with refugees, migrants, and students of Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Launch with the editors and authors, joined by Arjun Appadurai and Bonaventure Ndikung

July 19, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

The so-called refugee crisis turned out to become, as we now call it, a long summer of migration in 2015. Following earlier movements across European borders, the arrival of a large number of refugees and migrants changed the realities in Berlin, Germany, and Europe in significant ways. Since then, local, national, and European politics in reaction to these movements increasingly polarize between hospitality and hostility. The e-book project brought together professors and students as citizens and scholars who got involved in everyday personal, empirical, ethnographic encounters with these moving realities. The authors document our common efforts to bear witness of the social, cultural and political transition resulting from these processes in Berlin and beyond.

With readings, discussions and comments by the editors Gökce Yurdakul, Regina Römhild, Anja Schwanhäußer, Birgit zur Nieden, and the authors Jelena Jovicic, Josefine Sarkez, Anne Van Wetteren, Michael Westrich.

Followed by a discussion with Arjun Appadurai (New York University & Humboldt Universität zu Berlin) and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (SAVVY Contemporary)



Hassan Khan: Twelve Clues

July 14, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Join us for the Berlin Launch of Hassan Khan's latest novella Twelve Clues - with an introduction by Antonia Alampi and a reading from the book by Anselm Franke - followed by a conversation with the author.

"Twelve Clues" is a fast paced freaked out little tale of secret societies; shimmering orbs; charismatic silverbacks; murderous sociopaths; smooth operators; love triangles and converted AI weapon systems. FIND OUT: Why is X stuck in his hotel room in Beirut? Who are The Holy Idiots Society (T.H.I.S)? How will Anna and Ida's relationship develop? Will the hybrids or the primes rule the world? And most importantly-Why does Carlo Bucci love his white suits?

For every book launch of 'Twelve Clues', Khan has invited someone he knows living in the city to make their own selection of passages to be read. Every reading has thus been very different: writer and e-fllux journal editor Brian Kuan Wood's reading in New York an evenly paced selection of some of the little mysteries that populate the novella, while critic Kaelen Wilson-Goldie's intense delve into the plot in the Beirut reading emphasized how certain threads came together in a specific narrative drive, finally sociologist Amro Ali's high-speed read in Alexandria gave it a strongly political twist. In Berlin, we are thrilled to hear the rhythms and roads, which curator and critic Anselm Franke will find in the book.

We still remember dearly Khan's performance in March at SAVVY Contemporary during the MaerzMusik Festival on Julius Eastman. Thus we are especially looking forward to the musical component of the reading that will entail his piece 'Club Gamelan.'

With artworks by Antonina Baever, Bonnie Begusch, Sacha Beraud, Veronica Gerber Bicceci, Clare Butcher, Hannah Fitz, Ericka Florez Hidalgo, Shahab Fotouhi, Patricia Boyd, Tomas Maglione, Cerrajero Rodriguez, Martine Syms.

Cover Design and text layout: Engy Aly

Editorial Support: Jenifer Evans

Hassan Khan is an artist, musician and writer. He lives and works in Cairo, Egypt.

Hassan Khan: Twelve Clues

Sommerakademie im Zentrum Paul Klee and Mousse Publishing


ISBN 978886749-236-7


Towards a Phenomenology of the Unknown

June 27, 2017 | 3-8 PM

SAVVY Contemporary at silent green | Gerichtstraße 35| 13347 Berlin

© Ivana Franke, Photographer: Kristina Lenard

The symposium 'Towards a Phenomenology of the Unknown' -a collaboration by Ernst Schering Foundation and SAVVY Contemporary- aims to explore the experience of seeing the “unknown” on a phenomenological level, while also shedding light on its transformative potential. The symposium is part of the project “Retreat into Darkness. Towards a Phenomenlogy of the Unknown” by the Berlin-based artist Ivana Franke. With Ivana Franke, vision scientist Bilge Sayim, curator and art historian Elena Agudio, artist and author Patricia Reed, science historian Jimena Canales, and Sylvia Pont, leader of the Perceptual Intelligence Lab in Delft.

How do we perceive and experience entities and events that we cannot properly categorize – how does the unknown as a subjective experience come about? What is the relationship between the unknown and the known within visual perceptual experiences, between the visible and the legible? What is the significance of the experience of the unknown in our lives, and what is its function in society?

These and other questions will be discussed by the speakers out of their various backgrounds. The symposium will provide a glimpse into this fascinating, little investigated aspect of human experience, while letting the audience engage in a scientific and artistic voyage into the mysteries of perception and the human mind – into how we fundamentally encounter and shape the world around us.

Please find the PROGRAMME HERE.

Kindly register by June 19 at


CRACKING THE SURFACE. Decanonisation as Method

June 3, 2017 | 6 PM - June 4, 2017 | 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 & Eva Georgitsopoulou


18:00 - 18:10 Introduction by SAVVY Contemporary

18:10 - 18:15 Music | The SWAG

18:15 - 18:35 Performance | Zwoisy Mears-Clarke

18:35 - 18:55 Performance | Shailja Patel

18:55 - 19:15 Lecture | Adania Shibli

19:15 - 19:35 Performance | Jodie Judy Lu

19:35 - 19:50 Music | The SWAG

19:50 - 20:35 Dinner Break & Tour through our current exhibition by artist Janek Simon in dialogue with Joanna Warsza

20:35 - 20:50 Music | The SWAG

20:50 - 21:15 Film | Köken Ergun

21:15 - 21:35 Lecture Gabi Ngcobo

21:35 - 21:55 Performance | Edivaldo Ernesto & Eva Georgitsopoulou

21:55 - 22:15 Literature | Petina Gappah

22:15 - 22:20 Music | The SWAG

22:20 - 22:40 Performance | Isabel Lewis

22:40 - 23:00 Performance | Albert Silindokuhle Ibokwe Khoza

23:00 - 23:20 Lecture | Simone Zeefuik

23:20 - 24:00 Lecture | Guillermo Galindo

24:00 - 24:05 Music | The SWAG

24:05 - 24:25 Poetry and Lecture | Ricardo Domeneck

24:25 - 24:45 Performance | Qudus Onikeku

24:45 - 01:10 Performance | Vaginal Davis

01:10 - 01:40 Music | The SWAG


01:40 - 03:20 Nico Adomako

03:20 - 04:50 DJ MoLateef

04:50 - 06:20 DJ Pambam

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:


RACISM(S) AND THE CITY: Neoliberalism and (Post-)Colonial Urbanities

Discussing two recent books with Noa Ha, Giovanni Picker and Kathy Ann Tan

May 18, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

How do race and racism(s) intersect with urban life, structures and infrastructures in the 21st century? How are experiences and questions of urban development, displacement and the use of public space imbricated in the making and perpetuation of racial hierarchies? How do critical race and postcolonial studies address urbanity in its various articulations and expressions? Urban scholars
Noa Ha and Giovanni Picker will engage these and related questions along with literary scholar Kathy-Ann Tan. The discussion will depart from two recent books: “Street Vending in the Neoliberal City. A Global Perspective on the Practices and Policies of a Marginalized Economy”, edited by Kristina Graaff & Noa Ha [Berghahn Books 2015] and “Racial Cities: Governance and the Segregation of Romani People in Urban Europe”, by Giovanni Picker [Routledge 2017].

Dr. Noa Ha received a doctorate in Architecture from Technical University Berlin and is currently a coordinator of an international graduate program at its Center for Metropolitan Studies. Her research interrogates the production of urban space from a feminist, de-colonial, critical race theory perspective and was funded by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation and the Technical University Berlin. Currently she is conducting a study on postcolonial urbanism in Europe and the spatial production of Asian diasporas in European cities. Publications among others are: Straßenhandel in Berlin. Öffentlicher Raum, Informalität und Rassismus in der neoliberalen Stadt. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag (2016). Street Vending in the Neoliberal City. A Global Perspective on the Practices and Policies of a Marginalized Economy. Graaff, Kristina und Noa Ha (Hrsg.). New York: Berghahn Books (2015). „Wer ist in der Stadt? Rassismus und Stadt. Zülfukar Çetin im Gespräch mit Noa Ha“, in: Gespräche über Rassismus – Perspektiven & Widerstände. Zülfukar Çetin und Savas Tas (Hrsg.), Berlin: Verlag Yilmaz-Günay (2015). „Kritisches Weißsein“, mit Andreas Schneider, in: Handbuch Kritische Stadtgeographie. Bernd Belina, Matthias Naumann und Anke Strüver (Hrsg.). Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot (2014). „Perspektiven urbaner Dekolonisierung: Die europäische Stadt als ‚Contact Zone‘“. In: s u b \ u r b a n. zeitschrift für kritische stadtforschung. Bd.2, Heft 1 (2014). )

Dr. Giovanni Picker is an urban sociologist, currently Marie Curie fellow at the University of Birmingham School of Social Policy. He is the author of Racial Cities: Governance and the Segregation of Romani People in Urban Europe. His main interests lie in the multiple intersections of race, neoliberalism and European cities from a historical and global perspective. He was Junior Fellow in Sociology at the Central European University Institute for Advanced Study, postdoctoral researcher at the Higher School of Economics, and Lecturer at the European University Viadrina.

Prof. Dr. Kathy Ann Tan received her PhD and Habilitation in North American Literatures and Cultures from the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen. Her research and teaching interests lie in the fields of 18th to 21st Century North American Literatures and Cultures, Postcolonial Studies, Critical Race Theory, Citizenship Studies, Gender and Queer Studies, Language Poetry and Visual Cultures. She is currently a guest professor at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her second monograph, Reconfiguring Citizenship and National Identity in the North American Literary Imagination (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2015) investigates the configurations and articulations of U.S. and Canadian citizenship that are enacted, renegotiated, and revised in modern literary texts, particularly during periods of emergence and crisis. Her current research project, The Aesthetics of Decolonization: Performance, Affect and Visual Perception, explores how dominant narratives of western modernity are complicated, challenged and re-negotiated in performance and visual cultures (visual art, site-specific performances, museum interventions, etc.), cultural practices, and social formations.


CRACKING THE SURFACE. Decanonisation as Method

May 12 & June 3, 2017 | 6pm

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: Niv Acosta, Marwa Arsanios, Tsong-Zung Chang, Eli Cortiñas, Igor Eskinja, Hu Fang, Tsitsi Jaji, Alanna Lockward, Ana Mendes, Julia Morandeira, Ladan Osman, Shailja Patel, Ahmed Soura, The SWAG and Joanna Warsza.



06:00 - 06:15 Introduction by SAVVY Contemporary

06:15 - 06:35 Intermezzo | The SWAG

06:40 - 06:55 Dance Performance | Ahmed Soura

07:00 - 07:25 Reading | Tsitsi Jaji

07:30 - 07.50 Talk | Tsong-Zung Chang

07.55 - 08:10 Intermezzo | The SWAG

08:15 - 08:30 Reading | Ladan Osman

08:35 - 08:55 Talk | Marwa Arsanios

09:00 - 09:30 Dinner Break & Guided Tour through our current exhibtion

09:40 - 10:40 Dance Performance | Niv Acosta

10:45 - 11.10 Talk | Hu Fang

11.15 - 11.40 Talk| Julia Morandeira

11:45 - 00:30 Intermezzo | The SWAG


07:00 - 08:30 Film | Allen Report: Retracing Transnational African Methodism (Alanna Lockward), 2016, 76mins, Dominican Republic. Introduction by Siddhartha Lokanandi+ followed by a discussion

09:00 - 09:30 Guided Tour | EVERYTHING IS GETTING BETTER. Unknown Knows of Polish (Post-) Colonialism with curator Joanna Warsza

09:45 - 10:15 Film | The Most Given of Givens (Eli Cortiñas), 2016, 3 channel video, HD/ found footage, 9 min. Followed by conversation with the artist.

06:00 - 24:00 Durational Performance | Ana Mendes

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:


FREEMAN'S #3: HOME | Readings and Conversations with Xiaolu Guo, Nadifa Mohamed, Kerri Arsenault, Adania Shibli and John Freeman

SAVVY Reader: The Incantation of the Disquieting Muse with a DJ-Set by Lamin Fofana

In collaboration with silent green

April 22, 2017 | 7.30pm

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


regular: 8 EUR | reduced: 5 EUR

combi (entrance plus magazine): 15 EUR

SAVVY Contemporary and silent green are delighted to welcome back John Freeman for the third "strikingly international" (Boston Globe) issue of his magazine Freeman's. Focussing on the question what makes home, the new issue of the acclaimed anthology spotlights never-before-published stories, essays, and poetry by Edwidge Danticat, Herta Müller, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Gregory Pardlo, Kay Ryan, Aleksandar Hemon, and many more.

In light of the current global migrant movements and daily updates about the rise of homelessness in parts of America and elsewhere, reflecting on the idea and meaning of home has gained new urgency. On the night, John Freeman will be joined by novelist and film maker Xiaolu Guo, NBCC member and writer Kerri Arsenault, London based novelist Nadifa Mohamed and Adania Shibli novelist, playwright and essayist. In their readings and conversations, the authors will talk about the necessity and wonder that is home.

Following the first two issues on the themes of “Arrival” and “Family,” Freeman‘s circles a new topic whose definition is constantly challenged by the best of our writers: Home. Viet Thanh Nguyen harks to an earlier age of displacement with a haunting piece of fiction about the middle passage made by those fleeing Vietnam after the war. Rabih Alameddine brings us back to the present, as he leaves his mother’s Beirut apartment to connect with Syrian refugees who are building a semblance of normalcy, even beauty, in the face of so much loss. Home can be a complicated place to claim, because of race—the everyday reality of which Danez Smith explores in a poem about an encounter at a bus stop—or because of other types of fraught history. Kerri Arsenault returns to her birthplace of Mexico, Maine, a paper mill boomtown turned ghost town, while Xiaolu Guo reflects on her childhood in a remote Chinese fishing village with her grandparents. Many readers and writers, meanwhile, turn to literature to find a home: Leila Aboulela tells a story of obsession with a favorite author. The third issue also includes Thom Jones, Emily Raboteau, Rawi Hage, Barry Lopez, Herta Müller, Amira Hass, and more, writers from around the world lend their voices to the theme and what it means to build, leave, return to, lose, and love a home.

The reading will by followed at around 9.30 pm by a celebration with DJ Lamin Fofana on the occassion 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):

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.

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


SPEAKING FEMINISMS | Preliminary Excercises

5th Exercise with Grada Kilomba: ILLUSIONS

April 21, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

(c) Moses Leo


[Do you want to bring your kids? We will provide a self-organized child care. If interested please send an email until Wednesday, APRIL 19, 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.]

In this Performance, Grada Kilomba brings the oral African tradition of story telling into a contemporary context, to recover the memories and realities of a postcolonial world.
“It seems, we are still inhabiting the geographies of the past” insists the artist. To explore this coexistence of times, in which the past seems to coincide with the present; and the present seems suffocated by a colonial past, Kilomba stages the myths of Narcissus and Echo anew.

In the eyes of the artist, Narcissus becomes a metaphor for a society which has not resolved its colonial history, and takes itself and its own image as the only object of love. Thus, Narcissus is enchanted by his own image, immersed in himself, he is fixated in his own reflection on the surface of the lake. While Echois reduced to endlessly repeating what she’s heard - the words of Narcissus. The artist questions, how do we break out of this colonial and patriarchal mould?

In front of her mute film, Kilomba gives us the illusion of being part of a choreography, in which the characters Narcissus and Echo move inside a white infinity, while the artist, surrounded by an installation of microphones, retells us this story with a new postcolonial tone.

Grada Kilomba is a Portuguese artist and writer living in Berlin. Her work draws on memory, trauma, race, and gender, and has been translated into several languages, as well as, presented internationally. Her work is best known for her intense writing and her unconventional use of artistic practices, bringing text into performance, and using a variety of formats from publications to staged readings, to video installations, and performances. In her work Kilomba creates a hybrid space between the academic and the artistic languages, to explore forms of decolonising knowledge, bringing a new, experimental, and compelling voice into contemporary art and discourse. She has been featured at prominent international venues, such as the 32. Bienal de São Paulo 2016, Rauma Biennal Balticum 2016, Vienna Secession Museum 2016, Brussels Bozar Museum, 2016, London Maritime Museum, ArtBasel 2016, Cape Town Art Fair,2017, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin 2016, Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin, Teatro Vila Velha in Salvador da Bahia, Teatro Nacional de São Paulo, Transmediale 2017, Akademie der Ku?nste Berlin, Literature House in Oslo, Kampnagel, Müncher Kammerspiele, Wits Theatre in Johannesburg, Berliner Festspiele, among others. Her most recent artworks include the video installation “THE DESIRE PROJECT” and the Performance / Installation “ILLUSIONS” both first presented at the 32. Biennal de São Paulo (2016), and receiving remarkable praise by the international press “as one of the strongest artwork at this year Biennal".


Olu Oguibe remembers Chibok

April 15, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

On the night of April 14-15, 2014, 216 girls were abducted from their boarding school in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Chibok by members of the terrorist group, Boko Haram. To date, less than 30 of the children have been freed. The rest remain in captivity, some have since died, and almost all have been subjected to torture and rape. Many have become child mothers. To mark their 3rd year in captivity, Olu Oguibe will do a performance at SAVVY Contemporary on April 15, 2017.

Olu Oguibe is an artist and intellectual. He is currently participating in documenta 14.



Sounding the SAVVY bell for documenta 14

With DJs Lamin Fofana and Keir Fraser

April 6, 2017 | 10pm

six d.o.g.s | 6-8 Avramiotou str. | Athens/ Greece

Join us in grooving into a dense, intense, no-nonsense weekend – and dance!

SAVVY Contemporary | The laboratory of form-ideas is an art space, discursive platform, eating and drinking spot, a njangi house and space for conviviality in Berlin. We situate ourselves at the threshold of notions and constructs of the West and non-West, primarily to understand and negotiate between them, to deconstruct their ideologies and connotations. For this, it seems appropriate to invoke, convoke or deploy the cosmogenic powers of artists and artistic practice to guide us. On this journey, SAVVY Contemporary engages in the poetic power of artistic practice to un-name and re-name, de-institute and re-institute selves, silence imposed voices and un-silence suppressed voices in an effort to resolve the crisis of entrapment.

So far, we have realized a kaleidoscope art exhibitions, performances, film screenings, lectures, concerts, readings, talks, dances. SAVVY Contemporary has established a participatory archive on German colonial history, a performance arts documentation center, an open library, a residency program for curators, writers and artists, as well as educational projects with schools.

The body is central to our practice – as a site of discourse, mover and shaker, epitome of kinaesthetic literacy. Seen? Come and find out during TROUBLE SLEEP YANGA WAKE AM!

Lamin Fofana is an electronic producer and artist. His instrumental electronic music contrasts the reality of our world with what’s beyond and explores questions of movement, migration, alienation, and belonging.

Keir Fraser is a DJ and musician, signed by Ninja Tunes in the UK and Blue Cheese in Rome.

What we also do well is surviving - as a still unfunded, non-profit art space mainly built on the shoulders of passionate volunteers. Your support for our work and vision is deeply appreciated and we would like to invite you to become a S A V V Y friend! S A V V Y friends is a registered non-profit institution with the purpose of supporting S A V V Y Contemporary’s work. Your contribution benefits our work directly! Interested? Please send us a message at



Her Ways and Means – Female Protagonists in the Arts and Science Contexts

Liliane Lijn in conversation with Humberto Vélez

March 21, 2017 | 7pm

Liliane Lijn, Young Universe, poem drum, Letraset on painted metal drum, painted wood case, motor. 1962. Courtesy the artist.

[Would you like to bring your kids? We will provide a self-organized child care. If interested please send an email until noon on Monday, MARCH 20, 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.]

HER Ways and Means – Female Protagonists in the Arts and Science Contexts is a series of conversations organised by Satellite Berlin, and which explores the relationship between art and science. Her ways… invites outstanding women artists who have been working at the intersection of art and science, to talk about their interest in science and in blurring the lines between disciplines, their experiences of working with scientists and researchers, and how their practices have been influenced by scientific methodologies. Invited guests include: Liliane Lijn, A K Dolven, Agnes Meyer Brandis, Patricia Coates and Lucy Palustris, Klara Hobza, Katrin von Lehman, Juliane Laitzsch, Eva Maria Schön, Amber Stucke.

For this first event, artist Liliane Lijn will be in conversation with artist and professor Humberto Vélez.

With collaboration at its core, SATELLITE BERLIN traces migratory thinking in contemporary culture, marking synergy, process and outcome. We get involved in art that engages with the sciences and humanities – from inception to event, exhibition and publication. Art becomes a language to convey the results of today’s agile thinkers at the forefront of scientific, social and political research.Our goal is to bundle competence, exchange knowledge and foster a disposition of open attitude towards forming transdiciplinary collaborations.

Liliane Lijn is a pioneer in connecting art, science and technology. She was born in new York in 1939, but has lived in London since 1966. Lijn was the first woman artist to work with kinetic text (Poem Machines), exploring both light and text as early as 1962. Utilising highly original combinations of industrial materials and artistic processes, Lijn merged art, science, technology, eastern philosophy and female mythology. In conversation with Fluxus artist and writer, Charles Dreyfus, Lijn stated that she primarily chose to ‘see the world in terms of light and energy’. Lijn describes her work as ‘A constant dialogue between opposites, my sculptures use light and motion to transform themselves from solid to void, opaque to transparent, formal to organic.’ She has worked closely with NASA scientists on varies projects.

Humberto Vélez, born in Panama in 1965 works and lives between Manchester (UK) and Panama. He has a Law and Political Sciences degree from the University of Panama. As an artist, art professor, independent filmmaker, and art producer, Vélez uses performance, film, installation, or photography as media for his creative processes. His interest lays is to explore the Aesthetics of Collaboration by working in collaboration with different people and communities in different countries and cultures. In 2011 he co-founded VISITING MINDS, an international forum based in Panama, devoted to art and education. Vélez has had solo performance shows at TATE Modern in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), a,.o., and participated in international art events, such as the Venice (2013 and 2015), Havana (2004, 2012 and 2015), Shanghai, Montevideo (2012 and 2014), Ireland and Liverpool Biennials, among others, and in many group shows. He created the farewell art event for Cornerhouse, Manchester, in 2015.

Berlin Workshop


March 6, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Hands Off Our Revolution, a new global coalition of artists and cultural practitioners, is dedicated to affirming the radical nature of art.

Join us for our first Berlin event in which artists, cultural practitioners and thinkers discuss the ways art can counter the rising rhetoric of right-wing populism and fascism, and its increasingly stark expressions of xenophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia, and unapologetic intolerance.

Confirmed contributors: Julieta Aranda (Artist, eflux), Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (Director SAVVY Contemporary), Jörg Heiser (Editor at large, Frieze Magazine, UdK), Rajeev Balasubramanyam (Author), Slavs and Tatars (Artists), Doris Akrap (Journalist and editor die Tageszeitung), Nasan Tur (Artist)

We need your help to identify the scope of what the cultural resistance to populism might be, the particular forms and public spaces in which it can and should occur, and how best to support cultural practitioners in their political resistance now!

Workshops are being held in London, NYC, and Chicago concurrently.

Join us at:

a documenta 14 radio program


February 23, 2017 | 7pm

SAVVY Contemporary at Silent Green | Gerichtstraße 35 | 13347 Berlin

With Angela Melitopoulos, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Emeka Ogboh, Hila Peleg, Adam Szymczyk, and Andreas-Peter Weber

Moderated by Vladimir Balzer

Musical interventions by Sonic Shadow aka Satch Hoyt with Earl Harvin and Dirk Leyers, DJ Lamin Fofana

Seating is limited, and we therefore encourage the audience to arrive promptly.

Every Time a Ear di Soun, a documenta 14 Radio Program, is being presented on February 23, 2017 in Berlin. Deutschlandradio Kultur and documenta 14 cordially invite you to join them for the event in the domed hall of SAVVY Contemporary. The Artistic Director of documenta 14, Adam Szymczyk, artists Angela Melitopoulos and Emeka Ogboh, and curators Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and Hila Peleg offer insights into the preparations for documenta 14 and talk about the ideas behind the radio program. The evening will be accompanied by musical interventions by Sonic Shadow aka Satch Hoyt with Earl Harvin and Dirk Leyers, as well as a DJ set by Lamin Fofana.
The event will be recorded and broadcast that same evening at 11:05 pm in conjunction with Deutschlandradio Kultur’s cultural magazine Fazit.

Every Time a Ear di Soun presents radio as both art and a medium for art. Eight radio stations in Greece, South Africa, Columbia, Lebanon, Brazil, Indonesia, the USA, and Germany will broadcast sonic art pieces for the documenta 14 Radio Program for three weeks each throughout the exhibition. In addition to their regular programs, the radio stations broadcast several hours of works produced specifically for documenta 14, recently rediscovered archive materials, and recordings of the Public Programs of documenta 14.

The transition and interconnection between vocal utterances, different modes of speech, sounds, and music as extending into performative practices are explored by the Radio Program of documenta 14, as is the embodied experience of such acoustical phenomena within psychic and physical space. Sound is fundamental to societies in which not only visual culture but also orally transmitted, acoustic knowledge plays a major role. Sonority functions beyond visual and written logic. In a manner transcending words, histories become audible and physically palpable and are passed from one generation to the next.

Acoustical practices are fundamentally participatory, implying the ability to share something, communicate with others, and create spaces for such exchange. Every Time a Ear di Soun explores the possibility of understanding oral traditions and acoustic phenomena as forms of knowledge exchange, while reflecting on how sound can create synchronicity between bodies, places, spaces, and histories.

The participating German radio station is an entirely new station, SAVVY Radio. Numerous artists have been invited to create a twenty-four-hour radio program for a period of three weeks, which will also be on view as a live performance at SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin. Together with Professor Nathalie Singer and Martin Hirsch, students of the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar plan to create an archive on-site, which brings together scholarship and artistic research on historical and contemporary radio art and radiophony.

Every Time a Ear di Soun is a documenta 14 Radio Program, presented in cooperation with Deutschlandradio Kultur, curated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and co-curated by Marcus Gammel.


'41st & Central: The Untold Story of the L.A. Black Panthers'

by and with Gregory Everett

January 16, 2017 | 7pm

Recommended Donation: 5 EUR

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

On the occassion of this year's Martin Luther King Day we are honoured to welcome Gregory Everett, son of black panther Jeffrey Everett, for a screening of his documentary '41st & Central: The Untold Story of the L.A. Black Panthers' which follows the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party from its glorious Black Power beginnings through to its tragic demise.Despite the Party’s formation of free medical clinics and a successful breakfast program for children, the L.A. chapter was also known as the most violent Black political group in the United States.

The 2010 documentary explores the Black Panther ethos, its conflict with the L.A.P.D. and the US Organization, as well as the events that shaped the complicated and often contradictory legacy of the L.A. chapter. Includes exclusive interviews with Black Panther Party leaders Geronimo Ji Jagga and Elaine Brown. Also featured are former Black Panther members Ericka Huggins, Roland & Ronald Freeman, Wayne Pharr, Jeffrey Everett, Long John Washington, Muhammad Mubarak.

The screening will be followed by Greogory Everett's comment on the place of the LA Black Panthers within the context of the Civil Rights Movement, and specifically in contrast to the legacy of Martin Luther King. Afterwards, we invite you to join the discussion around the panthers, MLK, their legacy and your views on recent movements.

Gregory Everett is an executive producer, writer and director of films, especially documentaries. Born and raised in Los Angeles, and the son of Black Panther Jeffrey Everett, Gregory Everett directed his first film at the age of nine. He received professional training in drama, film and video at the Ebony Showcase Theatre before attending film school at Los Angeles City College. Involved in the evolution of West Coast hip hop culture, he launched a dance promotions company and has worked as an assistant editor, freelance producer and assistant director on music videos. In 1998, he was a producer of the documentary “Eazy Duz It” about the late rapper Eazy E for B.E.T. Along with two partners, he has a Los Angeles film and television production company called Ultra Wave Vision, most known for producing the hit reality series for TVOne– KCi & joJo: Come Clean. Gregory and his wife Lorean live in Baldwin Hills and have two sons.

Lecture and Talk


A Talk by Arjun Appadurai, followed by a conversation with Jonas Tinius and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung

January 10, 2017 | 7pm

Recommended donation (for S A V V Y): 5 EUR

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

Photo Harry Shunk-John Kender. © Yves Klein, ADAGP, Paris (for the work). Photo credit : Harry Shunk-John Kender (for the photo). Photograph Shunk-Kender © Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.

What is the role of promises and trust in a postfactual age? How are emerging technologies tied up to the political and economic crises of the last years? What can we learn from the role of risk-taking and failure for our political futures – and what's language got to do with it all?

Professor Arjun Appadurai, one of the world's leading theorists of globalisation and cultural economies, will be discussing crises, economies, and political language with S A V V Y Contemporary's director Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and anthropologist Jonas Tinius (HU Berlin). Appadurai is author of seminal texts, including Modernity At Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (1996), editor of The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective (1986), and has been at the forefront of theorizing the relation between cultural creativity, global economies, and political emergence.

This lecture will explore the financial crises of the last few decades in the advanced economies and beyond to look at how failure is part of the logic of design and risk in the world of emerging technologies in finance and beyond. This presentation is part of an ongoing research project on failure, which explores how failure is a globally variable and circulating idea which can reveal far more than the study of success. <

Arjun Appadurai is the Goddard Professor in Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, where he is also Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge. He was previously Senior Advisor for Global Initiatives at The New School in New York City, where he also held a Distinguished Professorship as the John Dewey Distinguished Professor in the Social Sciences. Professor Appadurai was born and educated in Bombay. He earned his B.A. from Brandeis University in 1967, and his M.A. (1973) and Ph.D. (1976) from The Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Currently, he is visiting Professor at the Department of European Ethnology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Among Appadurai's latest books are: The Future as a Cultural Fact: Essays on the Global Condition (Verso, 2013) and Banking on Words: The Failure of Language in the Age of Derivative Finance (University of Chicago Press, 2015). For more information, visit

Jonas Tinius (PhD) is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Centre for
Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH), co-funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and based at the Department of European Ethnology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany. His research focuses on contemporary art in Berlin, specifically looking at negotiations of alterity and otherness through post-colonial and other curatorial strategies. He is editor of Anthropology, Theatre, and Development: The Transformative Potential of Performance (Palgrave, 2015, with Alex Flynn) and convenor of the Anthropology of Art_ Network of the _European Association of Social Anthropologists (with Roger Sansi, Goldsmiths). For further information, visit

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (PhD) is an independent art curator and biotechnologist. He is founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary Berlin and editor-in-chief of SAVVY Journal for critical texts on contemporary African art. He is Curator at Large for Documenta 14. Most recent curatorial projects include Unlearning the Given: Exercises in Demodernity and Decoloniality, SAVVY Contemporary, 2016; The Incantation of the Disquieting Muse, SAVVY Contempirary, 2016; An Age of our Own Making in Holbæk, MCA Roskilde and Kunsthal Charlottenborg Copenhagen, 2016-17, The Conundrum of Imagination, Leopold Museum Vienna/ Wienerfestwochen. Lectureships a.o. Tyler School of Art Philadelphia; Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle, Aalto University Helsinki, Art Basel, Villa Arson Nice, Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel, MASS Alexandria; HfbK Hamburg; Gwangju Biennale.

The event is a cooperation between SAVVY Contemporary, the Centre for
Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH), and the
Anthropologies of Art Network.



Lecture Performance by Kristof Trakal

December 16, 2016 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Lecture performance in the framework of our current exhibition IMMORTALITY FOR ALL

The Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles has been at the forefront of the funerary business for the past 100 years. Its first manager Hubert Eaton was an art collector and attracted many celebrities to be buried in his theme-park-like cemetery as a business strategy (among them Michael Jackson and Walt Disney).

Since the civil war embalming has defined the US context of the death care industry. Embalming is a practice which preserves a body short term for especially orchestrated viewings, that multi-national corporations have tried to introduce into a European market in the 1990s but failed.

The election campaigns to the US presidency 2016 have resurrected political formats that were long thought dead. They have used an unprecedented amount of big data as well as fake news to target voters. In post-truth politics national polls were not able to predict the outcome of the election, which led journalists to declare the death of data.

Kristof Trakal is an artist and writer, who lives in Berlin. Trakal’s work is process-based and often collaborative and participatory. It includes strategies such as acting, writing, LARPing, film-making, installation-making, dialog, research or photography. He is the founder of the Occult Acting Group and currently working on the film project Preparations IV. His works have been shown at Raumerweiterungshalle, Berlin (DE) 2014; the Sims OST. article in Till Wittwers collection: Songs for immaterial labourer, group show: Kongress der Artikulation, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (DE) 2014; Power House, collaborative participatory event over 5 days, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (US); The jaw is beeing screened at God is Love, exhibition curated by Ben Marvin, sunset terrace, Vancouver (CAN) 2013; Money on Monday. talk series about alternative business models and economies, held at Udk, Berlin (DE) 2012; CASINO. participatory installation, over the course of 4 days held at the year end show, UdK Berlin (DE) 2011; The Scottish Pub. interactive/relational installation, UdK Berlin (DE) 2010.

Reading & Talk


Abdourahman Waberi meets Bonaventure Ndikung

December 6, 2016 | 7pm

(c) Gilles Vidal

What if…

Africa would be the rising continent – its wealth and quietness only threatened by the flow of refugees coming from the impoverished regions of Europe and America?

… a cat would tell the fictitious biography of Gil Scott Heron or a man would return to his homeland Djibouti haunted by the ghosts of his family? The work of Abdourahman Waberi opens up to a multitude of perspectives and invites us to reconsider traditional ways of thinking and be open to new points of view.

The current Samuel Fischer Guest Professor Abdourahman Waberi will read some passages of his recent work and have a talk with Bonaventure Ndikung, founder and curator of SAVVY Contemporary.

A collaboration between Samuel Fischer Gastprofessur and SAVVY Contemporary.

Presentation & Discussion


December 5, 2016 | 7pm

On the occasion of Neo Muyanga's - singer, composer and researcher from South Africa - presence in Berlin, the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program and SAVVY Contemporary cordially invite you to an evening dedicated to the open exchange and questioning of African opera and transcultural aesthetic criteria in music theatre. The evening is planned in three parts, a presentation in words and sounds by Neo Muyanga on his research and artistic work, an open but moderated discourse of people with an interest in decolonization, black opera, contemporary music theatre, aesthetics, singing traditions and an informal get together. This evening is part of an ongoing questioning of normative aesthetics in the global context by the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program / Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD.

Additionally to Neo Muyanga the researcher Dr. Lena van Hoven (University of Bayreuth) and the director Shirley Apthorp ((educational) opera projects in South Africa) will give an input about the opera practice in South Africa in opera houses and townships, about social and cultural contexts. The evening will be moderated by the music journalist Uwe Friedrich.

Welcome and introduction by Julia Gerlach, DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program / Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD.

Neo Muyanga: “south africa is such a musically self-assured country that many citizens consider themselves expert at reaching easily for a song to accompany any occasion: there are songs to sing at a birth as well as a death; songs of good cheer at feasts such a weddings and songs of lament and political protest; we have songs even for lampooning at times such as we are living now, when the president is often seen hitting the news headlines under the cloud of some egregious scandal other.

in my talk, i will present a brief survey of the songs that were instrumental in liberating a new african nation, first from colonialism and then later from apartheid. it will be a story that touches on the advent of four-part harmony among the black community in south africa, and it will be a tale that teases out some of how this liturgical hymnody began to infuse the musical theatre stage, the opera and even the revolutionary camps populated by fighters-in-exile in lusaka, morogoro and further afield. it is a story of a south africa of modernist pretensions during the 19th century and a south africa of our afro-futurist present of the 21st century.“

Neo Muyanga was born in Soweto, Johannesburg, into a family of musicians and makers of the Mozambican Timbila (precursor to the marimba). He studied the Italian Madrigal tradition with choral maestro, Piero Poclen, in Trieste, Italy. His knowledge of African musical forms, combined with his studies of the western classical tradition, have resulted in a range of compositions fusing those traditions and placing him at the forefront of the South African avant-garde.

In the mid 90’s he co-founded the acoustic pop duo, BLK Sonshine with Masauko Chipembere, garnering a following throughout Southern Africa and internationally. He continues to tour widely both as a solo performer and in various band guises. Neo co-curates the Pan African Space Station, which he co-founded in 2008 with Chimurenga’s publishing editor, Ntone Edjabe. The Station is a continually evolving host of cutting-edge pan African music and sound art, on the internet and across stages in Cape Town and other parts of the globe.

For two months in winter 2016 he is guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program.


Lamin Fofana: Doubleworld

Listening Session and Conversation with Lamin Fofana,

Binyavanga Wainaina and Lisa Blanning

November 18, 2016 | 8pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Album art by Nkiruka Oparah

Join us for an evening dedicated to the intense listening of Lamin Fofana’s new album Doubleworld. Inbetween selections from the album, author Binyavanga Wainaina and music journalist Lisa Blanning will talk with Fofana about the concepts, ideas, and inspirations behind the project.

Lamin’s debut album Doubleworld is out November 18th via the SCI-FI & FANTASY imprint. Doubleworld addresses the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, questions of identity, the discomforting sci-fi realities of our present climate, and maintaining one’s sanity in these seismic times. More info on SCI-FI & FANTASY

“Fofana, who was born and raised in Sierra Leone and Guinea, runs the Sci-Fi & Fantasy label—home to, among other things, Lotic’s first releases. His own work is part of a dialogue between techno, as it’s broadly understood, and more abstracted forms. With the Another World EP, he attempts to link techno back to the real world, to bridge aesthetics with socio-economics, with ocean currents, with stale bread and dirty water. It’s right there in the subtitle of the third track: '(Realist Mix)'.” – Philip Sherburne, Pitchfork

“Fofana paired techno beats and nebulous pads to create instrumentals that seek to contrast the reality of our world with what’s beyond.” – Michelle Kim, The Fader

Lamin Fofana is an electronic producer and artist. His instrumental electronic music contrasts the reality of our world with what’s beyond and explores questions of movement, migration, alienation, and belonging.

Binyavanga Wainaina is a writer and journalist. He is the author of ‘How to write about Africa’ and ‘One Day I Will Write About This Place’. In 2003 he founded the literary magazine and organization Kwani? in Nairobi. Currently he is an artist in residence of the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm.

Lisa Blanning is an American writer and editor on music, art and culture. She is a former editor at The Wire Magazine, Electronic Beats and PLATOON MAGAZINE. She is especially engaged in movements in contemporary electronic music and digital art and culture. She has published cover stories for print publications and led panel discussions and artist talks for festivals and events such as Unsound, CTM, and Ableton's Loop, as well as presenting talks at institutions such as University of East London. 


Natasha A. Kelly: Afrokultur

November 11, 2016 | 7pm

Die Veranstaltung findet auf Deutsch statt.

Freier Eintritt - Spenden erwünscht

Das Buch kann für 16 EUR gekauft werden.

Afrokultur bringt über die Biografien der Schwarzen Wissenschaftler*innen und Aktivist*innen W.E.B. Du Bois, Audre Lorde und May Ayim Schwarze deutsche Geschichte, ihre Gegenwart und Zukunft in einen globalen Zusammenhang und schreibt damit eine intellektuelle Tradition fort.

Werden ihre Wissensre_produktionen in einen sozialpolitischen Kontext gebracht, so bedürfen sie keiner Über_Setzung, sondern können in laufende Konventionalisierungs-, Autorisierungs- und Normalisierungsprozesse eingebunden werden, um in der aktuellen politischen Debatte über »Rasse« den Weg zu einem racial turn in Deutschland aufzuzeigen.

Was aus postkolonialer Beobachtungsperspektive als Intervention in die bestehende vermeintlich »objektive« Ordnung des deutschen Wissen(schaft)ssystems verstanden werden könnte, veranschaulicht anhand kolonialer Ent_Wahrnehmungsgeschichten, inwieweit Kolonialität in Deutschland noch immer andauert, sich in Gesellschaft und Medien widerspiegelt, den Zugang von Schwarzem Wissen ins deutsche Wissensarchiv verhindert und eine Schwarze Perspektive auf die Welt unmöglich macht.

Folgerichtig trennt sich die vorliegende Arbeit weitestgehend von rassifizierten Annahmen und sucht selbstbestimmtes Schwarzes Wissen zu akkreditieren und an die Kommunikation von Schwarzen Wissenschaftler*innen und Aktivist*innen weltweit anzuschließen, um Afrokultur als Wissenskultur auch in Deutschland kontingenzfähig zu machen.

Natasha A. Kelly ist promovierte Kommunikationswissenschaftlerin und Soziologin mit den Forschungsschwerpunkten race und gender. Die in London geborene und in Deutschland sozialisierte Panafrikanistin ist die gewählte Hauptvertreterin der Europäischen Union im Landesbeirat für Integrations- und Migrationsfragen des Berliner Senats (2012–2017). Sie selbst versteht sich als »akademische Aktivistin«, die stets versucht, Theorie und Praxis miteinander zu verbinden, um die Wichtigkeit und Notwendigkeit von Transferleitungen zwischen Politik, Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft zu betonen. Die Autorin und Dozentin hat an zahlreichen privaten und staatlichen Einrichtungen in Deutschland und Österreich gelehrt und ist in diversen ehrenamtlichen Projekten engagiert.

Natasha A. Kelly: Afrokultur »der raum zwischen gestern und morgen« erschien im Unrast Verlag im Juni 2016.


Sound and Cerement // Technologies of Decay

by Stadtsprachen Literaturfestival, SAND Journal & The Reader Berlin

November 4, 2016 | 7 pm

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

"In that in-between zone, when surfacing from sleep but not yet fully awake, images can get condensed into words that seem entirely made up of sounds or silences” —Firefly, Severo Sarduy.

"So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive" –– Audre Lorde, The Black Unicorn, 1978.

“That the impossible should be asked of me, good, what else could be asked of me” –– Samuel Beckett, Unnamable, 1953.

This exhibition has insisted on the impossible: invite artists to leave their studios and established work habits and come together in the form of a ‘spontaneous community’ and un-produce their work in situ. The technology of the spontaneous community presents a new model of social reconfiguration; a web of “affiliation and affect” (to use Paul Gilroy’s formulation) that rejects masculine formations of lineage, kinship or nationhood.

The structure of the ‘spontaneous collective’ resembles that of a ‘sound’: something that emerges abruptly out of the blackness of the mouth only to live temporarily in the air, in the ear of the addressee, and then to die.

Sound, like the ‘spontaneous community’ formed by the invited authors, workshop leaders, and other participants, exists in the temporality of the instant moment. It is this fleeting nature, this premature death, that gives sound its force: only after sound has stopped, only in silence, in stasis, in memory, is sound the loudest. It is the pure image: the this, the now, the present as well as the portent of its decay and its afterlife.

Invited artists: Marie-Pascale Hardy//Alan Mills//Jane Flett

Sarnath Banerjee//Göksu Kunak//Klaas von Karlos

Kenny Fries//John Peck//MoreBlackThenGod

8pm Audiovisual Performance by Klaas von Karlos

10pm Sound Intervention by MoreBlackthenGod

A project by SAND Journal and The Reader Berlin, in partnership with Africavenir and SAVVY Contemporary.

Curated by Valentina Ramon de Jesus


The "As If" of Poetry and other Discourses on Technology

by Stadtsprachen Literaturfestival, SAND Journal & The Reader Berlin

The workshop is booked out!

October 30, 2016 | 11-17 pm

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

"So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive" –– Audre Lorde, The Black Unicorn, 1978.

"Cultivate a flavour that/grows from within/for the sake of our own/starvation" -– Marie Pascale Hardy, personal records, 2016.

“That the impossible should be asked of me, good, what else could be asked of me” –– Samuel Beckett, Unnamable, 1953.

Is the poem an artifact? Is technology a poetic medium?

This day-long workshop will serve as the platform for poets and all kinds of sound enthusiasts to come together and reason around the issues concerning the discursive and material intersections of poetry and technology.

As part of the Stadtsprachen Literaturfestival, participants of all backgrounds and levels of experience are invited to join a group of selected artists in creating and conceptualizing texts and sonic devices. During the first part of the workshop, Donna Stonecipher will help participants to familiarize themselves with alternative translation techniques that use sound, memory, and one's own relation to space as the tools to “translate” a poem and the potential for the translation of texts within a single language. Finally, all participants will have the chance to write their own homophonic poems and translations.

The second part of the workshop –led by the sound poets and performers of Rudolf Kollektiv– will focus on taking these poems and translating them again into pure sound. To do this, participants will learn to build a range of simple sonic devices; contact microphones, optical theremins (a light sensor noise device) and amplifiers. These devices will be used to intervene (an interfere) the texts created.

In the process of doing so, the workshop will ask: is sound the medium of that what resides outside the world of 'meaning'? The material that results from this day-long workshop will be presented in the exhibition "sound and cerement//technologies of decay" which will take place on the 4th of November at SAVVY Contemporary.

Invited artists: Marie-Pascale Hardy//Alan Mills//Sarnath Banerjee//Goksu Kunak//Jane Flett//Kenny Fries//John Peck//Klaas von Karlos

PLEASE REGISTER WITH EVENTBRITE -- The Workshop is already booked out.


Third Space at SAVVY Contemporary

Three Days and Nights with Ahmed Al-Nawas and Christopher Wessels

October 27-29, 2016

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

End of October, SAVVY Contemporary will be taken over, amicably, by our colleagues from Third Space - a Helsinki based collective of artists and curators seeking to unsettle preconceived notions of the other. As cross-border transcultural operatives, the collective seeks to make visible the invisible lines that separate us. Armed with the intangible weapon of sound and the understanding of the power of visual culture, Third Space forms cracks in knowledges situated around us.

So how do you approach narratives that on the surface appear to have no connection? Al-Nawas and Wessels will be unpacking their current research over a few evenings at SAVVY Contemporary. They will be talking about their latest project, The Center for the Study of the Impossible, The Museum of Impossible Forms, Babylon, migration, pipelines, Verdi, oil, Maroons, the legacy of bohemia in Germany, Suriname and South Africa. Join us we will break bread and drink wine and infuse the madness with the funk.

Christopher Wessels (Internationalist, with roots in SA and branches in FIN) artistic and curatorial research and practice focuses on finding strategies and practices for looking at silenced narratives / memories and knowledge from the margins of the margin to the margins of the centre. But he thinks he is a is a husla pimping subjectivities seeking to contest and unsettle the construct of 'western civilization'. He is located within the discourse of the Funk.

Ahmed Al-Nawas(IRQ/FIN) is in-between an art curator and an artist. He is located in the interstices of society, constantly examining and contesting the notions of margins and center.

And they'll bring us:

27th October | 7pm


Ahmed Al-Nawas and Christopher Wessels will be talking about their current research on '(re)positioning the center'. Al-Nawas & Wessels artistic and curatorial research and practice focuses on finding strategies and practices for looking at silenced narratives / memories and knowledges from the margins of the margin to the margins of the center. Part of their work asks what it is that is represented in archives and cultural history museums?

"Our research will investigate the possibilities of curators and institutions in the mediation of work that include the silenced and disregarded memories of marginalized communities from the global South. Our use of the global South here is not limited to a geographical location, but includes diasporic and displaced communities in Europe, as well as communities constructed as ‘Other’ by the coloniality of power. Our research is located in the Moravian Church Unity archives in Herrnhut Germany and three Cultural History Museums on three continents: the Bohemian Museum in Neukölln Germany, the Genadendal Mission Museum in South Africa and the Surinaams Museum in Paramaribo Suriname."

28th October | 6pm


A discussion with Giulia Palladini, a researcher in Performance studies who recently co-edited the book Lexicon for an Affective Archive: To study an archive or archival materials is to encounter an affective and critical practice involved in the construction of memory. Lexicon for an Affective Archive, edited by Giulia Palladini and Marco Pustianaz, is an international collection of these encounters, offering glimpses into the intimate relations inherent in finding, remembering (or imagining), and creating an archive. Bringing together voices from a variety of fields across the humanities, performance studies, and contemporary art, and engaging in a multidisciplinary analysis, this beautifully designed and fully illustrated volume advances the idea of an “affective archive” as a useful conceptual tool—a tool which contributes to an understanding of an expanded notion of an archive and its central role in contemporary visual and performing arts."

Giulia Palladini is a researcher in Performance Studies based in Berlin. She was a Alexander von Humboldt fellow (2012-2014), and currently teaches at the Kunsthochschule Weißensee Berlin. She has taught seminars as Guest Professor in various international institutions, such as the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá and SNDO in Amsterdam. Her research focuses especially on performance labor and free time, the archive, and materialist theories of artistic production. Her texts appeared in several international journals, and she collaborated as theorist and as curator to a number of critical and artistic projects (e.g. Affective Archives, Vercelli 2009; Living Rooms, L’Aquila 2011; Taking Time, Helsinki 2013; Experimenta/Sur, Bogotá, 2014; Zu ICH um WIR zu Sein, Leipzig, 2014). Her book The Scene of Foreplay: Theatre, Labor and Leisure in 1960s New York will be published by Northwestern University Press in Spring 2017, and she edited with Marco Pustianaz the collected volume Lexicon for an Affective Archive (Intellect/LADA, forthcoming 2017).

29th October | 2pm


Ahmed Al-Nawas and Christopher Wessels are locating their practice based research '(re)positioning the center' as a joint PHD research at a Gender Studies department at Åbo Academy University as opposed to an Art institution. Their praxis of writing together does not guarantee their entrance, since entrance means the stretching of university rules.

“We will workshop about our attempt to do our PhD together. Here we will do a mind mapping of the process, obstacles and have the audience help us develop strategies to overcome these obstacles.“

At the end of the evening, Al-Nawas and Wessels will Talk to Kesivan Naidoo about his 'Zero Gravity Experiment', a jazz quartet playing only improvised music, with Bokani Dyer, Feya Faku and Shane Cooper, hopefully we will get to listen to the live recording of their first gig at the Orbit in Jozi.

Every evening will end with listening and dancing to some music, as it should be!



Boniface Mwangi in Conversation with Mwangi Hutter

October 26, 2016 | 7 pm

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

Boniface Mwangi's presentation will be followed by a conversation with Mwangi Hutter.

Boniface Mwangi is renowned for his powerful photographs and courageous protests calling for social justice in Kenya and beyond. His latest publication UnBounded is a collection of engaging personal stories that take us through some of the people, places and events that have shaped Boniface, one of Kenya's best known photographers and activists. It is a portrait of the child, the man and some of the human, harrowing and even humorous episodes that he has witnessed and photographed.

This book tells of the two remarkable women – his mother and grandmother – who influenced his character and inspired his drive to raise awareness about poverty, inequality and corruption. His work as a photo-activist is grounded in social engagement, collective action and the need for justice. This is the story of a man full of determination and warmth, a man who lives his life to make a difference.

“It is the youthful rebels, reformers and revolutionaries that must overthrow the global status quo. Boniface Mwangi's story is within this trajectory and is relevant to Kenya, East Africa, and indeed, the world. I believe his patriotic story has just begun.?A luta Continua! Vitoria é certa!” -- Dr. Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice and President, Supreme Court of Kenya

Boniface Mwangi is an award-winning Kenyan photojournalist and human rights activist. He was a staff photographer with The Standard, a leading Kenyan newspaper, for four years. He became the eye of Kenyans during the 2007/8 post-election violence and showed courage and compassion to capture thousands of images; some so gory they could not be published.

His work has appeared in leading publications in the world — from The New York Times to The Guardian and Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph and The Boston Globe among others.

He studied human rights and documentary photography at New York University, USA. He has twice won the CNN Multichoice Africa Photojournalist of the Year Award and is the youngest Prince Claus Laureate. New African Magazine named him one of the 100 Most Influential Africans of 2014 and he is also a senior TED Fellow. Time magazine recognized him as a Next Generation Leader in 2015.

Boniface runs PAWA254, a hub for creatives in Kenya where journalists, artists and activists find innovative ways of achieving social change

Ingrid Mwangi was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. Robert Hutter was born in Ludwigshafen/Rhein, Germany. They both received New Artistic Media degrees from the University of Fine Arts Saar, Saarbrücken, and have received scholarships from the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes, and residency scholarships of the Rhineland- Palatinate studio at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. Their work has been shown across Africa, Asia, Europe, United States and South America, at the Bienal de Sao Paulo, Venice Biennale, the Brooklyn Museum, DAK’ART, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Smithsonian Institution - National Museum of African Art, Mori Museum among others. In 2005, after working together for several years and marrying, Mwangi and Hutter merged their names and biographies and became a single artist, Mwangi Hutter. Working with video, photography, installation, sculpture, painting and performance, they use themselves as the sounding board to reflect on changing societal realities, creating an aesthetics of self-knowledge and interrelationship.


On Neutrality. Between Non-Aligned Movement(s) and Neoliberal Curatorial Economies

Rachel O’Reilly, Jelena Vesic and Vladimir Jeric Vlidi

As part of 'From Bandung to Berlin: If all of the moons aligned'

October 22, 2016 | 8 pm

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

The lecture-performance On Neutrality deals with the juxtapolitical concept of 'neutrality' or 'neutralisation' in terms of its use in political and aesthetical position-taking within different 'international relations,' especially as a response to discrepancies of power. In contrast to the moral minimalist concept of neutrality as it is mobilized in liberal governmentalities, historically and today, across art and politics, the project considers the rich variegated recent history of situated, politicised forms of political neutrality concepts, which stemmed from the active positioning of non-aligned and 'third world countries' gaining independence during the Cold War era and re-claiming neutrality as a politics of de-colonisation, independence, peace and non-alignment with the powerful world empires of the time… This politicised history of neutrality concepts will be juxtaposed with the waves of depoliticising neutrality, including curatorial neutralisations of politics, which, aided and abetted by the humanitarian rhetorics of contemporary art, persist in attenuating institutional anxiety and agonistic possibilities of production in contexts of re-colonisation by multinational corporations.

The project On Neutrality is presented by Jelena Vesic and Rachel O ’Reilly at Museum of History of Yugoslavia, Belgrade in 2014 as part of the research and exhibition Travelling Communiqué. The lecture coincides with the launch of the book by Jeric, O'Reilly and Vesic titled: On Neutrality, The letter from Melos, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, 2016 (Edition: Non Aligned Modernity; English and Serbian language)

Rachel O’Reilly is an independent writer/artist, curator and researcher. She works on comparative aesthetic politics of governmentality, installation and language practices, and is a Seminar Leader at the Dutch Art Institute’s ‘How to Do Things with Theory’ program, presenting the course ‘At the Limits of the Writerly’. In 2013–14 she was in residence at the Jan van Eyck, developing The Gas Imaginary, an artistic research project on unconventional extraction. From 2004–08 she was a curator of the moving image at GoMA and the Asia Pacific Triennial. She has an MA in Media and Culture from the University of Amsterdam and writes with Danny Butt on artistic autonomy in settler colonial space.

Jelena Vesic is an independent curator, writer, editor, and lecturer. She was co-editor of Prelom—Journal of Images and Politics (2001–2010) and co-founder of the independent organization Prelom Kolektiv. Active in the field of publishing, research and exhibition practice that intertwines political theory and contemporary art, she is also co-editor of Red Thread journal and a member of editorial board of Art Margins. Vesic explores relations between art and ideology in the field of geopolitical art history writing, focusing on experimental art and exhibition practices of the 1960s and 1970s in former Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe. Jelena holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary studies from the University of Arts, Belgrade.

Vladimir Jeric Vlidi is a media researcher, editor and author. Associated with various different local initiatives he is or was a part of (Prelom Kolektiv, TEDx Belgrade, Reconstruction Women’s Fund, Darkwood Dub, Creative Commons Serbia and more). A member of the editorial board of Red Thread journal for social theory and author of a number of independent projects, Vlidi holds MA in Culture of Global Media from Faculty of Media and Communication, Belgrade. Currently engaged with research and production of critical texts and translations from the fields of media theory, social theory and artistic practice.


SAVVY Contemporary, silent green, Conscious Pariah present:

Alsarah & the Nubatones

October 18, 2016 | 8 pm

Support by DJ Indigo Rayne

silent green Kulturquartier | Gerichtstraße 35 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

©Nousha Salimi

Alsarah & the Nubatones were born out of many dinner conversations between Alsarah and Rami El Aasser about Nubian ‘songs of return’, modern migration patterns and the cultural exchanges between Sudan and Egypt. A common love for the richness of pentatonic sounds, and shared migration experiences, expanded the conversation to include Armenian-American Oud player Haig Manouki-An and French born Togo raised bass player Mawuena Kodjovi. Under the leadership of Alsarah, the Brooklyn based group’s sound grew into what they have dubbed as ‘East – African Retro-Pop’.

In March of 2014 the group released their debut album 'Silt' via Wonderwheel Recordings to international acclaim and great reviews. October of the same year saw the release of 'Silt Remixed' featuring remixes by Bodhisattva, Nickodemus, Captain Planet, and many others. It also went on to be selected by the prestigious Fact Magazine as one of the best remix albums of 2014.

Since their first show in October of 2011, the group has performed nationally and internationally at many prestigious festivals and venues. Currently they are on their Album Release Tour for 'Manara' which will be out on September 30, 2016.

Ticket at the door: 25 EUR

Pre-Sale Ticket: 22,50 EUR via KOKA 36


TEJU COLE | On Known And Strange Things

October 6, 2016 | 8 pm

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

A hurry through which known and strange things pass
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open
Seamus Heaney

‘Known and Strange Things’ couldn’t be more timely - Teju Cole’s brandnew collection of essays are a generous invitation to follow him on his serpentine paths of curiosity, inspiration, wonder and wounds that ultimately offer the remedy of a clarifying “complication where the general desire is for a simplification” (Heaney again).

His essays, written between the eye and the heart, span the human project of narration – sung and unsung poetry, history, photography, politics and their resistance – while following Baldwin’s clef that the artist “must always know that visible reality hides a deeper one, and that all our action and achievement rest on things unseen.”

Petina Gappah praises Known and Strange Things not only for the “sure-footed negotiation Cole makes as he defies the conventions placed on writers of colour associated with the more temperate climes, swerving deftly away from the deadening expectations of “representation” and “authenticity” […] His world of the strange and the known is open to everyone: the only passport required is curiosity.”

Teju Cole will be in conversation with Anna Jäger.
There will be books. There will be food.

Teju Cole’s curiosity makes the unseen visible in a plethora of genres, platforms and poetries that can be read in 'Open City'; 'Every Day Is For The Thief' and in his considerations on photography in the New York Times as well as in his exhibitions of own photography in galleries around the world and on Instagram; in cherished playlists ranging from Rihanna and Radiohead over Mahler, Miles and Mos to Fela and Fitzgerald; in carefully refracted vignettes on Twitter and many other places for us to discover.

Recommended Donation for SAVVY: 5 EUR
The event will be held in English.


Fanonian Ideas for Transformation: On Postcolonies, Art, and Political Imagination

Keynote Lecture by Lewis R. Gordon

October 1, 2016 | 8 pm

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

Continuing the reflections from his 2015 lectures ("Decolonizing the City") at Studio X Johannesburg in Soweto, South Africa, Afro-Jewish philosopher and musician Lewis Gordon, building on themes from the thought of the revolutionary philosopher-psychiatrist Frantz Fanon, will offer a critique of moralism and conceptions of political action premised on determining outcomes before performance. Such views are antipathetic to the aesthetic dimensions of political life, wherein is the imaginative potential for building livable worlds. A sad feature of many postcolonies is the malediction of imitating colonial institutions and their infrastructure, and efforts at social transformation are often steeped in moralistic purges instead of affirmations of life and building institutions of human flourishing, which include their aesthetic dimensions. This talk will thus explore these themes through reflections on what could be called the art of power and empowerment as a creative feature of genuinely political commitments to the transformation of social life.

Lewis R. Gordon is an Afro-Jewish philosopher, musician, and political thinker. He is Professor of Philosophy at UCONN-Storrs and Honorary Professor at the Unit of the Humanities at Rhodes University (UHURU), South Africa. He is also the drummer for the rock band ThreeGenerations. His most recent books are What Fanon Said: A Philosophical Introduction to His Life and Thought and, with Jane Anna Gordon, Aaron Kamugisha, and Neil Roberts, Journeys in Caribbean Thought: The Paget Henry Reader (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2016). His website is: and he is on twitter at:

Reviews for What Fanon Said:
"In the hands of Lewis Gordon, What Fanon Said, becomes what Frantz Fanon says to us today. The book brings alive the revolutionary thought and practice of Fanon into the continuing struggles for structural economic, political, social, and psychic transformations of our world. The struggle against anti-black racism is an integral part of it, and Gordon's Fanon is the many-sided thinker who saw it all and give it words of fire in his works, particularly Black Skin, White Masks and The Damned of the Earth."—Ng?g? wa Thiong’o

"Gordon is interested in understanding and correcting the systematic delegitimization of black intellectuals, both in philosophy and within the broader scope of theory…This is how Gordon pertinently introduces considerations of race and racism within the epistemological field, engaging his readers to be more perceptive with regard to what could be called a ‘colour line in theory’."—Lucy Kim-Chi Mercier, Radical Philosophy



A Project by Leo Asemota

September 20, 2016 | 8pm

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

© 2007 Leo Asemota Courtesy Leo Asemota & EoTLA

In 2007, artist Leo Asemota wrote for radio, a performance interpretation of “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1936), the landmark essay by the German critical theorist Walter Benjamin (1892–1940). Titled “After Walter: A transmission in 2 acts” the production was broadcast on January 19, 2007 on Resonance 104.4FM, London’s premiere art radio station. Asemota’s staging of the work looked to Benjamin’s broadcasts on German radio between 1927 and 1933 and provided a platform for him to appraise the essay as central to his ongoing multipartite artwork “The Ens Project” (2005 – present) which the broadcast was a part of.

The performance was a combined instrumentation, actions and readings in German and in English from select movements in the essay. Asemota’s intent with the “After Walter” performance was to engage radio transmission as central to key ideas in Benjamin’s essay, of the auditory aura, site-specificity, technology and language, at the same time integrating other Benjamin’s thinking on translation and the task of the translator.

The project “Leo Asemota | After Walter: Act 1” is motivated by the 80th anniversary of Benjamin’s essay. Asemota’s production is possibly the only performance interpretation of this seminal text in a medium the cultural theorist regarded.

The screening of this work will be followed by an open conversation with attendees and Leo Asemota.

Leo Asemota “After Walter: Act 1” (2007)

Media: 31.31 minutes colour digital video in 4:3 aspect ratio, Screen dimension variable.

London-based artist Leo Asemota’s birthplace is in Benin City, Nigeria. His work has been engaged with widely in exhibitions, performances and symposia, some of which were held at Hangar Center for Artistic Research, Lisbon, Portugal, Tafeta + Partners, London, CCA Lagos, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, the British Museum, London, the Contemporary Rooms at EoTLA, Tate Modern, Justina Barnicke Gallery, Toronto, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, Centrum Beeldeende Kunst Zuidoost, Amsterdam, Metal, Liverpool, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, Autocenter Berlin, Book Art Bookshop, London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, Bodhi Art, New York and National Portrait Gallery, London.


Readings and Conversations with Joanna Kavenna, Michael Salu, Garnette Cadogan and John Freeman

In collaboration with The Reader Berlin

July 30, 2016 | 8pm

SAVVY Contemporary | Kuppelhalle at Silent Green

Gerichtstraße 35 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

“The world has certainly arrived in the pages of Freeman’s.” – New York Observer

SAVVY Contemporary and The Reader Berliner cordially invite you to the launch of Freeman's #2 on Family, the second issue in the journal reviewers are calling “bold” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune) and “refreshing” (Chicago Literati). In this second 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 on the ties that bind.

On the night, John Freeman will be joined by Orange New Writing Prize award-winner Joanna Kavenna, Berlin-based writer, artist and creative director Michael Salu and Garnette Cadogan, writer, visiting fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia and editor-at-large of Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas. Featuring readings and the authors in conversation, the event will see the panel consider the meaning of family and the extent to which we can choose to what and whom we belong.

“Freeman draws from a global cache of talent…This collection takes on the family from within and without, in ways one might expect and others totally unanticipated, for an expansive reading experience.” –Kirkus Reviews

Following a debut issue on the theme of “Arrival,” Freeman‘s circles a new topic whose definition is constantly challenged by the best of our writers: family. In an essay called "Crossroads," Aminatta Forna muses on the legacy of slavery as she settles her family in Washington, DC, where she is constantly accused of cutting in line whenever she stands next to her white husband. Families are hardly stable entities, so many writers discover. Award-winning novelist Claire Vaye Watkins delivers a stunning portrait of a woman in the throes of postpartum depression. Booker Prize winner Marlon James takes the focus off absent fathers to write about his mother, who calls to sing him happy birthday every year. Even in the darkest moments, humor abounds. In Claire Messud’s home there are two four-legged tyrants; Sandra Cisneros writes about her extended family of past lovers; and Aleksandar Hemon tells the story of his uncle's desperate attempt to remain a communist despite decades in the Soviet gulag. With outstanding, never-before-published pieces of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from literary heavyweights and up-and-coming writers alike, Freeman's: Family collects the most amusing, heartbreaking, and probing stories about family life emerging today.

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.


regular: 8 EUR | reduced: 5 EUR

combi (entrance plus magazine): 15 EUR

The event will be held in English.

“Freeman's #2", John Freeman’s „Tales of Two Cities“ and Joanna Ravenna’s “A Field Guide to Reality" will be available for purchase during the event.


Approaches to What? Reading Bodies Reading Archives

In collaboration with The Institute for Endotic Research

July 20, 2016 | 7pm

SAVVY Contemporary

Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

With Michael Jevon Demps, Laura Genevieve Jones, Del Hardin Hoyle and Anya Yermakova

How do archives contain the intangible?

Do archives reference the body towards the spiritual?

How is the “third world difference” produced to create colonial discourses?
Could it be interesting to share this archive with the countries and cultures it is based upon?

How is information disseminated?

Where are the black women writers?

How does the intangible content of the archive relate to its tangible counterpart?

How can we share and communicate the journey of going from tangible to intangible (or the other way around) to the other?

Given the colonial history of Berlin (and Germany in general), how does the archive (the amassing of books and other informative objects) contribute to the reconciliation of systemic destruction of knowledges bases (i.e. book burning during the Third Reich)?

How does the archive reify / challenge the idea of how a book functions?

The archive is a site of knowledge and power, what are the best ways to implement these without perpetuating coloniality?

What gestures of care does the archive produce?

How can the archive make the human body in it feel – like a historical site – a sense of oneness with other materials?

What is a book that could live in an archive? What is a book that could not?

How can we subtract the weight of the ink in a book?

What is the negative space of the archive (that builds a story)?

This research presentation is part of 'The Institute for Endotic Research: Reading Bodies'. Module #3 of AFFECT Program of Collaborative Artistic Practices in Berlin.

A series of interventions in 3 different archives rehearsing with the possibilities of the library as a ‘place for encounters’: encounter of new reading materials; as a content display through its spatial design and the library as a social space, where the readers place the body to read and to share what they gather.


LA SELVA INFLADA (The Inflated Jungle)

Screening and talk with the director Alejandro Naranjo

July 6, 2016 | 8pm

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

Film Screening & Talk curated by Aouefa Amoussouvi and Juan Blanco

La Selva Inflada (The Inflated Jungle)

2015 | Columbia, Spain | 70 mins

Directed by: Alejandro Naranjo

Produced by: Rodrigo Dimate (Dirty Mac Docs)

Languages: Spanish / Barasano / Cabiyari / Tatuyo (with English subtitles)

An isolated population in the Colombian Amazon region has suffered a series of suicides amongst its younger inhabitants, both male and female, between the ages of 14 and 25, all born in indigenous families and all having education. In these deaths we can see the contradiction that the current generation of the Vaupes jungle face. After finishing their western style education they must journey back to their aboriginal communities, where the limits that they inhabit in are clear. With “The Inflated Jungle” Alejandro Naranjo shows the thin and frictional border between the vanishing pre-hispanic populations and the modern world.

Alejandro Naranjo is a Colombian filmmaker born in Bogota in 1985. Naranjo graduated in journalism from Javeriana University (Bogota, 2008) and as Director of Photography from CFP SICA - Sindicato de la Industria Cinematográfica Argentina (Buenos Aires, 2012). His first documentary short film, “Cebolla en Fiesta” (2010), was selected for the Cine Pobre Film Festival in 2010 and for the San Fermi?n Film Festival in 2011.
In 2008 he created the collective DirtyMacDocs with other young local filmmakers, for the production of ethnographic documentaries. Together they have made several films, for example “Four Men alone”, which has obtained awards as “Best National Documentary” in the Villa de Leyva International Film Festival in 2009, and “Best documentary of the state” by the Tolima Film Council in 2010.
His latest documentary “La Selva Inflada” has been shown internationally at festivals It was also selected in events sponsored by Ibermedia: Mirada de dos mundos (Cali, 2011) and IBERDOC (Merida, 2013).



with Le Brothers (Le Ngoc Thanh & Le Duc Hai)

June 21, 2016 | 7pm

OUT OF SAVVY: Galerie Wedding | Müllerstraße 146/147

13353 Berlin-Wedding

Curated by Nathalie Mba Bikoro

Le Brothers are twin brothers who are forging a truly remarkable art career. Their unique approach to history, identity and the interpretation of the past in the present produces works that accelerate our understanding of unforgettable events which are presented as refined and dignified accounts that invite the viewer’s reflection, realization and a deeper respect for culture and custom.

Their practice explores an aesthetic where their art can for example, examine, dissect and question the post-war consciousness of North and South Vietnam.

Le Brothers (b. 1975, Bình Tr? Thiên, Vietnam) are twin brothers whose work dissect and question the post-war consciousness of North and South Vietnam. The »Other Side Project« solo videos in HDLU museum, Zacrep – Croatia (2015). »Secret Archipelago« in Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2015). Do Disturb Contemporary arts festival in Palais De Tokyo, Paris (2015). »Budi Daya« video art »Into The Sea« in Malay Heritage – Singapore. »Red project« 2014 and »The glimmer that we see / Vietnam« in Taipei, Taiwan 2014. Selected for Singapore Biennale 2013, selected projects include »The Bridge II«, performance at DMZ Gang Hwa, Korea (2012), »Before ‘86«, Cheongju Complex Cultural Center, Korea (2012) and »Communicate with me«, Saigon Open City, Vietnam (2006), »Window to Asian« Vietnam (2001).



Exercises in Demodernity and Decoloniality of Ideas and Knowledge

April 14th, 2016 | All night: 6pm-6am

Free Entrance

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

Ana Alenso. The Bermuda Triangle. Inkjet on cotton paper. 100 x 70 cm. 2014.


6pm – Midnight | Lectures and Performances

Midnight – 6am | DJ Sets

Curators: Elena Agudio & Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung



6.00-6.05pm|Introduction by the curators

6.05-6.10pm |Elsa Westreicher introduces SAVVY’s new visual concept

6.10-6.30pm |Mriganka Madhukallya (Desire Machine Collective)

6.30-6.50pm|Margarita Tsomou

6.50-7.10pm|Natasha Ginwala

7.20-8.00pm|Balz Isler (performance)


8.15-8.35pm|Angela Melitopoulos

8.35-8.55pm|Bili Bidjocka

8.55-9.30pm|Gabriel Rossell Santillán (performance)

9.30-9.50pm|Marina Naprushkina

9.50-10.10pm|Hiwa K (performance)

10.10-10.30pm| Jan Nikolai Nelles and Nora Al-Badri

10.30-10.45pm| Natasha Kelly

10.45-11.05pm| Ida Momennejad (skype)

11.05-11.25pm| Zorka Wollny

11.25-11.45pm| Nathalie Mba Bikoro (performance)

11.45-12.00pm| Camalo Gaskin


6.00pm-12.00am | Ana Alenso

10.00pm-12.00am | Nikhil Chopra

8.00pm-10.00pm | Lerato Shadi

6.00pm-12.00pm | Marinella Senatore (Film)

6.00pm-6.00am |Zorka Wollny (Klanginstallation)

AFTER-PROGRAMME from 12-6am with:
Cambel Nomi, Ipek Ipekcioglu, Mo Lateef, Grace Kelly, Brothers in Love & the Blessed Love Crew

Find the handout with all participants HERE


"On his deathbed, Copernicus published the book that founded modern astronomy. Three centuries before, Arab scientists Mu’ayyad al-Din al-’Urdi and Nasir al-Din Tusi had come up with the theorems crucial to that development. Copernicus used their theorems but did not cite the source.

Europe looked in the mirror and saw the world.

Beyond that lay nothing.

The three inventions that made the Renaissance possible, the compass, gunpowder, and the printing press, came from China. The Babylonians scooped Pythagoras by fifteen hundred years. Long before anyone else, the Indians knew the world was round and had calculated its age. And better than anyone else, the Mayans knew the stars, eyes of the night, and the mysteries of time.

Such details were not worthy of Europe’s attention."

Eduardo Galeano, MIRRORS – Stories of Almost Everyone (2009)

For the ‘Long Night of Ideas’ of the Auswärtiges Amt and its partners, SAVVY Contemporary invites you to the challenge of ‘unlearning the given’ and of deconstructing the ideologies and connotations which are eminent to what frames our societies today. The proposal is unlearning as an inherent part of learning or a process of carving out space for more ideas.

With a series of performative interventions, lectures, artistic contributions from 6pm till Midnight and six DJ-sets from Midnight till 6am, we aim at articulating exercises of disobedience and indiscipline as an attempt and a means of decolonising the singularity of “knowledge”, challenging not only the level of the individual but also the systemic problems, and giving space to the possibility of a plurality of epistemologies. We also aim at putting a spotlight on corpoliteracy as a form of learning, i.e. bodily knowledge, experientiality and performativity as means of unlearning, but also acquiring, enacting and disseminating knowledge. Along the very well known and resonating words and researches of Gayatri Spivak, we will focus on the fundamental process of “Unlearning one’s privileges as one’s loss”. Our privileges, whatever they may be in terms of race, class, nationality, or gender may prevent us from gaining a certain kind of Other knowledge: not simply information that we have not yet received, but the knowledge that we are not equipped to understand by reason of our social positions. To “unlearn” one's privilege is a vital step that marks the beginning of an ethical relation to the Other. On this journey, SAVVY Contemporary engages in what Paget Henry would call the poetic power of artistic practice to un-name and re-name, de-institute and re-institute selves, lower the volume of imposed voices and un-silence suppressed voices in an effort to resolve crisis of entrapment.

Unlearning is not forgetting, it is neither deletion, cancellation nor burning off. It is writing bolder and writing anew. It is commenting and questioning. It is giving new footnotes to old and other narratives. It is the wiping off of the dust, clearing of the grass, and cracking off the plaster that lays above the erased. Unlearning is flipping the coin and awakening the ghosts. Unlearning is looking in the mirror and seeing the world, rather than a concept of universalism that indeed purports a hegemony of knowledge.

Can’t wait to start the unlearning? Read the FULL CONCEPT here!

UNLEARNING THE GIVEN is an event in the context of the forum „Menschen bewegen“ (13.-15.4.2016) in cooperation with Auswärtiges Amt. For further information visit:


DAS GEGEBENE VERLERNEN. Übungen in Demodernität und Dekolonialität von Ideen und Wissen

Ein performatives, diskursives und körperliches Programm von SAVVY Contemporary im Rahmen der Langen Nacht der Ideen

Kuratiert von Elena Agudio und Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung

14. April 2016 | Von 18h abends bis 6h morgens

Ana Alenso. The Bermuda Triangle. Inkjet on cotton paper. 100 x 70 cm. 2014.



6.00-6.05pm|Einführung durch die Kuratoren

6.05-6.10pm |Elsa Westreicher stellt das neue visuelle Konzept für SAVVY vor

6.10-6.30pm |Mriganka Madhukallya (Desire Machine Collective)

6.30-6.50pm|Margarita Tsomou

6.50-7.10pm|Natasha Ginwala

7.20-8.00pm|Balz Isler (Performance)


8.15-8.35pm|Angela Melitopoulos

8.35-8.55pm|Bili Bidjocka

8.55-9.30pm|Gabriel Rossell Santillán (Performance)

9.30-9.50pm|Marina Naprushkina

9.50-10.10pm|Hiwa K (performance)

10.10-10.30pm| Jan Nikolai Nelles and Nora Al-Badri

10.30-10.45pm| Natasha Kelly

10.45-11.05pm| Ida Momennejad (cia Skype)

11.05-11.25pm| Zorka Wollny

11.25-11.45pm| Nathalie Mba Bikoro (Performance)

11.45-12.00pm| Camalo Gaskin


6.00pm-12.00am | Ana Alenso

10.00pm-12.00am | Nikhil Chopra

8.00pm-10.00pm | Lerato Shadi

6.00pm-12.00pm | Marinella Senatore (Film)

6.00pm-6.00am |Zorka Wollny (Klanginstallation)

AFTER-PROGRAMME von 12-6h mit:
Cambel Nomi, Ipek Ipekcioglu, Mo Lateef, Grace Kelly, Brothers in Love & the Blessed Love Crew


Im Rahmen der Langen Nacht der Ideen des Auswärtigen Amts lädt SAVVY Contemporary zur Herausforderung ein, das ‘Gegebene zu verlernen’ und dazu, die Ideologien und Konnotationen zu dekonstruieren, die grundlegend sind für die Verfassung unserer heutigen Gesellschaften. Dabei schlagen wir vor, Verlernen als inhärenten Bestandteil von Lernen oder als Prozess der Schaffung von mehr Raum für Ideen zu begreifen.

Mit einer Abfolge von performativen Interventionen, Vorträgen und künstlerischen Beiträgen von sechs Uhr abends bis Mitternacht und sechs DJ-Sets von Mitternacht bis sechs Uhr morgens schlagen wir Übungen zum Ungehorsam und zur Disziplinlosigkeit vor als Versuch und Mittel zur Dekolonisierung der Singularität von “Wissen”, wobei wir nicht nur die individuelle Ebene hinterfragen, sondern ebenso systemische Probleme. Dabei geben wir der Möglichkeit von Epistemologien in Pluralität Raum. Ein deutlicher Fokus liegt hierbei auf leiblicher Bildung als Form des Lernens, das heißt körperliches Wissen, Erfahrbahrkeit und Performativität als Modus des Verlernens ebenso wie Aneignung, Ausführung und Verbreitung von Wissen. Den bekannten und widerhallenden Worten und Untersuchungen von Gayatari Spivak folgend, nehmen wir den fundamentalen Prozess von “Verlernen der eigenen Privilegien als eigenen Verlust” in den Fokus. Unsere Privilegien, ob race, Klasse, Nationalität oder Gender, verstellen unseren Zugang zu gewissen Formen des Wissens von “Anderen”: damit meinen wir nicht nur, bestimmte Informationen, die wir noch nicht haben, sondern das Wissen, dass wir nicht ausgestattet sind, zu verstehen aufgrund unserer sozialen Stellungen. Das eigene Privileg zu “verlernen”, ist ein elementarer Schritt, das den Anfang einer ethischen Beziehung zum Anderen markiert. In dieser Unternehmung übt SAVVY Contemporary aus, was Paget Henry die poetische Kraft in der künstlerischen Praxis des Un-Benennens und Um-Benennens nennt sowie des Ent-Begründens und Wieder-Begründens des Selbst, des Dimmens von auferzwungenen Stimmen und des Ent-Stummens unterdrückter Stimmen im Versuch, die Krise der Verstrickungen zu lösen.

Verlernen bedeutet nicht vergessen, ebensowenig löschen, annulieren oder niederbrennen. Es bedeutet mutiger zu schreiben, von Neuem zu schreiben. Es bedeutet, neue Fußnoten an alte oder andere Narrative zu heften. Es bedeutet, den Staub wegzuwischen, das Gras zu belüften und den Putz vom Verdeckten abzuklopfen. Verlernen bedeutet, die Medaille umzudrehen und die Geister wiederzuerwecken. Verlernen heißt, in den Spiegel zu schauen und die Welt zu sehen, anstatt eines Konzepts von Universalität das eigentlich eine Hegemonie von Wissen behauptet.

Neugierig aufs Verlernen geworden? HIER ist das vollständige Konzept (auf Englisch).

UNLEARNING THE GIVEN ist eine Veranstaltung im Rahmen des Forums „Menschen bewegen“ des Auswärtigen Amt (13.-15.4.2016). Weitere Informationen finden sich unter:



Presentation, Open Studio and Discussion

With Alejandra Mizrahi and Agustín González Goytía

March 7th, 2016 | 7pm

Cuated by Aouefa Amoussouvi

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

©Alejandra Mizrahi

After a full month of writing, art-making, networking and thinking together, SAVVY Contemporary's artists-in-residence Alejandra Mizrahi and Agustín González Goytía will present their art project "Resilience things”.

The backbone of SAVVY Contemporary's residency programme is the question of how arts and culture can be thought of beyond geographical and national constraints, and how conventional discourses, perception frames and reception modes of the Western art canon can be reconsidered and redefined. Our residents are encouraged to interact with and relate to local artistic and cultural productions, as well as Berlin’s socio-political, economic and cultural realities, and relay these to their own practices.


People from Tucumán say “somebody has died” but never “somebody died”. Death and any random actions, is always a process and never a state. In this North-Western province of Argentina, people abuse in their daily lives of the present perfect tense and rarely employ simple past. Here time is not seen as a linear sequence of actions but as a constantly growing multi-layered complex of entangled temporal loops.

In the same way they speak, Alejandra and Agustín work with tangible images and objects as well with surroundings and abstract atmospheres, mixing times, making the past appearing in the present. Their works propose an anachronical meeting of elements, emulating the process of remembrance. Ernest Cassirer (1) said that imagination is a very important part of this effort to reconstruct the past. Bread basket, El Bajo, memory, rolling pin, Berlin victory column, remember, drawing, memorials, sanguche de milanga, wallpapers, monuments, Randa: resilience things that appear in their works as flashbacks.

Alejandra: “I feel a great curiosity for things that don‘t find a place in the contemporary life. I think about them as if they have lost their worlds: old carpets, forgotten weave techniques, tablecloths, curtains, wallpapers. All these elements have become ruins. Some materials account for what they were, why they existed, where they came from, how they were placed, and if they cannot tell us this kind of things, we can speculate about their beginnings, uses or destinies.”

Agustin: “I am interested in the way painting gets thinner upon raw fabric, how it has been absorbed by the support, dyed more than painted. Forms getting thinner, like a memory vanishes, disappears and emerges from the haze, this is the way in which the painting appears. I work with local images as a reference and some pictures that belong to other cities. I translate all this material to the painting, composing an architectural pastiche style, emulating the way in which they were put together into my country.”

Alejandra and Agustin will present their resulting work from this one-month residency as well their more general personal aesthetics and artistic practices that propose a “virtual coexistence” of “old and new presents” (2). Alejandra Mizrahi and Agustín González Goytía are born, live and work in Tucumán, Argentina. They are highly active within the art and cultural landscape of Argentina. Together with other artists they run Rusia Galería, an independent contemporary art gallery in San Miguel de Tucumán. The event will include a open studio visit, a talk and a discussion.

(1) Ernest Cassirer, Essay on man, 1944.

(2) Deleuze, What is Philosophy?, 1991

Alejandra was born in Tucumán, Argentina, in 1981. She lives and works in Tucumán. She was awarded her PhD from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in the Department of Philosophy with the dissertation "Wearable art: indumentaria y experiencia estética en el arte contemporáneo”. She had previously obtained masters degrees in Aesthetics and Theory of Contemporary Art and Contemporary Philosophy by the same University. She has participated in international and national academic congresses. In 2014 she participated in Curadora, Recidency Program in Santa Fe. Since 2011 she works in Rusia Galería, an art independent and contemporary gallery in San Miguel de Tucumán. She is the Academic Responsible of the Technical Degree in Garment Design in Architecture Faculty of the National University of Tucumán. She was the producer of the recently book called “Randa: tradición y diseño tucumanos en diálogo”. She has had Solo Exhibitions: SUPERNOVA, Fondo Nacional de las Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2014), MOTIVO, Rusia galería, Tucumán, Argentina (2012) and LOS TRABAJOS Y LOS DÍAS, Galería Isidro Miranda, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2007). She has also participated in numerous group exhibitions. She has made several Performances. Her work can be found in the collection of MACRO. Museum of Contemporary Art. Rosario, Argentina.

Agustin was born in Tucumán, Argentina, in 1981. He lives and works between Tucumán and Buenos Aires. He graduated in 2011 as a Bachelor of Arts in the Art Faculty at the National University of Tucumán. In 2015 he had a grant in the Programa de Artistas of the Art Department in the Di Tella University. In 2014 he was selected for the Residency Program URRA in Buenos Aires. Also in 2014 he was recipient of the grant Fondo Nacional de las Artes-Conti at the Centro Cultural de la Memoria H. Conti in Buenos Aires to participate in a training program for artists. He has had Solo Exhibitions: Alianza, MUMU (Espacio Cultural Museo de las Mujeres), Córdoba (2015), Nocturno, Pasto Galería, Buenos Aires (2014), Dicha, Rusia Galería, Tucumán (2013), Más grande que una casa, más pequeño que un ratón, Rusia Galería, Tucumán (2011), Instalación, Espacio Paréntesis, 3o distrito de Vialidad Nacional, Tucumán (2009). He has also participated in numerous group exhibitions. He has won different National Awards.

KfW-Stiftung, DAAD Artists-in-Berlin programm and SAVVY Contemporary cordially invite you to:


Paul Goodwin in conversation with Dana Whabira

February 27th, 2016 | 6pm

Followed by a Get-and-Dance-Together with DJ Mo Lateef

Free Admission

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

In her talk, Dana Whabira will focus on the mediation of public space through curatorial practice and artistic intervention in Harare. Having established Njelele Art Station there, Whabira will reflect on Njelele’s approach as an urban laboratory for critical dialogue and creative practices that are intended to shift perspectives and transcend boundaries embedded in architecture, postcolonial cartographies or socio-economic disparities in the remaking of the urban space and its psyche.
Following the talk will be a conversation with curator, researcher and urban theorist Paul Goodwin. Discussed will be his practice which explores the creative potential of cities and exhibitions in tandem, as sites for aesthetic, socio-cultural and political intervention. The talk will explore multidisciplinary projects, alternative visions and new urban epistemologies.

Paul Goodwin is a curator, researcher, and urban theorist based in London. His curatorial and research interests span the fields of contemporary art, migration, urbanism and critical curation with a particular focus on black and diaspora artists and visual cultures. As a curator at Tate Britain from 2008 to 2012 he directed the Cross Cultural Programme that explored questions of migration and globalisation in contemporary British art. As a lecturer he has held various teaching and research positions in the fields of visual arts, transnationalism and urban theory. Since 2014 he has been a visiting critic and lecturer for the Art in the Public Sphere Masters programme at the Ecole cantonale d’art du Valais (ECAV) in Sierre, Switzerland. Goodwin is Professor of Transnational Curating, UAL Chair of Black Art and Design Studies and Director of the Research Centre for Transnational Art Identity and Nation (TrAIN) at the University of the Arts London.

Dana Whabira is a curator and cultural facilitator based in Harare/Zimbabwe. She is a trained architect and studied art and design at Central Saint Martin’s College in London. In 2013, she founded Njelele Art Station, an urban laboratory located in downtown Harare that focuses on contemporary, experimental and public art practice. Njelele is a meeting place for critical dialogue where ideas are generated and resonate out into the city through projects that provoke discussion and engage with the general public. Njelele Art Station recently participated in the Symposium D’Art Mali by Médina Mediatheque, part of the Rencontres de Bamako 2015 OFF programme.

Dana Whabira is the current grant-holder of KfW Stiftung’s program 'Curators in Residence: Curating Connections’ in collaboration with the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program. The program provides emerging curators from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia with the opportunity to spend several months in Berlin. Besides encouraging research and critical reflection, it facilitates encounters between those working in arts and culture. The residency program seeks to stimulate intercultural dialogue in curatorial practice.



Tuesday 16, 2016 | 4-6pm

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

On the occasion of presenting XÉNOGÉNÈSE by the Japanese artist Akihiko Morishita in the Betonhalle of silent green, Forum Expanded along with silent green and the new neighbors, Harun Farocki Institut and SAVVY Contemporary, each of them also presenting exhibitions in their new spaces, invite you to a joint reception.

Forum Expanded: XÉNOGÉNÈSE by Akihiko Morishita, Japan 1981
XÉNOGÉNÈSE shows a man steadily disappearing behind scratches that run through the entire film. It was shown as part of the 13th Forum in 1984. The 16mm print stayed with the Arsenal film archive which is now located at the silent green. The artist Morishita Akihiko made new print in 2015 which was digitized for the installation in 2016.

Harun Farocki Institut: A Day at the Archive
The holdings of Harun Farocki’s estate include film and video material (especially “odds and ends”) and various other materials on Farocki’s individual projects. A Day at the Archive is a short photo documentation to provide us with a sense of the material.

SAVVY Contemporary: Welcome to Applied Fiction
With the exhibition WELCOME TO APPLIED FICTION, the filmmaker, writer and critic Jean-Pierre Bekolo radically questions and deconstructs the notions, processes and perceptions of filmmaking.



transmissions from the fold

IG Metall Berlin - Assembly Hall | Alte Jakobstraße 149 | 10969 Berlin

and: Am Flutgraben 3 | 12435 Berlin


Live broadcast via (with the help of and on UKW 88.4 MHz in Berlin (Sat/Sun 4pm-12am) & 90,7 MHz in Potsdam (Sat/Sun 7-12pm).

SAVVY Contemporary is happy to be collaborate with Radio Schizoanalytique - a discursive radio event by Angela Anderson and Angela Melitopoulos which takes the anti-mining movement in Halkidiki, Northern Greece, against the “low-cost” Canadian gold mining company Eldorado Gold as a starting point to unfold a multi-layered critical perspective on extractivism and to propose alternative, sustainable futures.

Radio Schizoanalytique is a mobile radio station conceived as a tool to foster the means of expression and internal communication within this political struggle, distributing their voices beyond their local community and to creating a living history of the movement. Activists from the Committee of Struggle against Gold Mining from the village of Megali Panagia, Halkidiki, Greece, have been producing transmissions for Radio Schizoanalytique since March, 2015.

This free radio folds diverse matters of knowledge into group discussions, taking in the existential understandings of territory, the dynamic flux and flows of resources, the machines at work, and the cultural universes and cosmologies expressed by the movement and its environment. These four aspects of radio schizoanalytique are inspired by Félix Guattari’s notion of schizo-analysis.

The struggle against the Skouries gold mine began already in 2006, with European Goldfields’ scandalous take over of the Cassandra mining concessions. In 2011, with the price of gold at a record high, the Greek government illegally approved the environmental impact statement for the Skouries open pit mine. European Goldfields was taken over by Eldorado Gold in 2012, facilitated by the European Union’s ‘fast track’ investment program forced on Greece as a result of the debt crisis. Eldorado Gold is one of the most contested capital investors in Greece because of the brutal de facto political, economic and environmental situation they force onto the population in Halkidiki.

If allowed to proceed, Eldorado Gold will extract 380 million tons of earth from the Skouries open pit mine, releasing 4.3 tons of fine dust containing high concentrations of heavy metals into the air every hour over the next 25 years, asphyxiating the remaining plants and leading to the desertification of the forest. Hundreds of thousands of trees have already been cut and the water resources of the region have been disrupted, some of which are already showing signs of arsenic contamination due to the current mining activity.

The economic and ecological costs of an environmental catastrophe, like the possible rupture of the tailings dam because of an earthquake or heavy rains, lie wholly on the side of Greek taxpayers and the local communities, whose main income depends on agriculture and tourism, and therefore on an uncontaminated environment.

The costs for protecting the Canadian firm with police and private security are paid by the Greek government in order to prove its credibility to the Troika (the EU, the European Central Bank, and the IMF).

Local residents have been criminalized for opposing the mine, and entire communities have become polarized over the issue.

Between the 18th and 20th of December, Radio Schizoanalytique invites you to join us in Berlin for a three day long radio event with activists from Northern Greece and Berlin-based & international media artists & activists.

The transmissions produced during the event will be broadcast with the help of via our live stream and on UKW 88.4 MHz in Berlin (Sat/Sun 4pm-12am) & 90,7 MHz in Potsdam (Sat/Sun 7-12pm).

Please find the PROGRAMME here.

SOUTH AS A STATE OF MIND #6 [documenta 14 #1]

Magazine Launch

6th December 2015 | 7pm

SAVVY Contemporary c/o Silent Green

Gerichtstraße 35 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

Talks, Readings, Conversation, and Music to launch the documenta 14 publication program with

South as a State of Mind #6 [documenta 14 #1]

In Collaboration with SAVVY Contemporary

Featuring Akinbode Akinbiyi, Peter Friedl, Bouchra Khalili, and Françoise Vergès

With Marina Fokidis, Head of Artistic Office Athens, documenta 14; Quinn Latimer, Editor-in-Chief of Publications, documenta 14; Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Curator at Large, documenta 14; and Adam Szymczyk, Artistic Director, documenta 14

Music by Ahmet Ögüt / Ali Demirel, Ange da Costa, Browden/ Sholar/ Sammons Group (Marlon Browden, Kelvin Sholar, Charles Sammons), and DJ Judex


Possession and dispossession, displacement and debt—it seems that the stories that condition our present are inextricably born out of the stories that conditioned our past. The first of four special issues of South as a State of Mind, temporarily reconfigured as the documenta 14 journal, examines forms and figures of displacement and dispossession, and the modes of resistance—aesthetic, political, literary, biological—found within them. In essays, both literary and visual, as well as poems, speeches, diaries, conversations, and specially commissioned artist projects, the first issue of the d14 South considers dispossession as a historical and contemporary condition, and its connections to archaeology and the city, coloniality and performativity, debt and imperialism, provenance and repatriation, and feminism and protest.

To launch the inaugural issue of the d14 South, documenta 14 is organizing a series of public events—in Athens, Kassel, Berlin, Dhaka, and Kolkata—that bring the disparate voices of the journal, as well as those outside of it, into conversation in cities across the world. For the Berlin launch at SAVVY Contemporary, South contributors Peter Friedl and Françoise Vergès are joined by artists Bouchra Khalili and Akinbode Akinbiyi, as well as by documenta 14’s Adam Szymczyk, Quinn Latimer, Marina Fokidis, and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, for an evening of talks, conversation, readings, and music.

In the first issue of the d14 South, Peter Friedl takes the reader for a stroll through the arcades and temporalities of “Chirico City,” the imaginary architectures of Giorgio de Chirico, born in an Italian colony in Volos, Greece, in 1888, and ever returning. Françoise Vergès, in her lucid essay for South titled “Like a Riot: The Politics of Forgetfulness, Relearning the South, and the Island of Dr. Moreau,” returns to her youth in Réunion and Algeria, gleaning the legacy of her South for today’s global economic world order. Berlin-based Nigerian photographer Akinbode Akinbiyi’s recent work has included photographic projects that focus on documenting major metropoles across Africa and the urban life they produce. Bouchra Khalili, a Moroccan-French artist, works in video and installation, using the tropes of documentary cinema to trace the history of anticolonial struggles, the stateless, and the displaced. In addition to presentations by these artists and thinkers, the evening at SAVVY Contemporary will be accompanied by musical interventions by Ahmet Ögüt / Ali Demirel, Ange Da Costa, VSS Trio (Eric Vaughn, Charles Sammons, Kelvin Sholar), and an afterparty with DJ Judex.

South as a State of Mind is a magazine that was founded by Marina Fokidis in Athens in 2012. Beginning in 2015, the magazine temporarily becomes the documenta 14 journal, publishing four special issues biannually until the opening of the exhibition in Athens and Kassel in 2017. These special issues are edited by Quinn Latimer, documenta 14’s editor-in-chief of publications, and documenta 14 artistic director Adam Szymczyk. The documenta 14 South is conceived as a place of research, critique, art, and literature that parallels the years of work on the d14 exhibition overall, one that helps define and frame its concerns and aims. As such, the journal is a manifestation of documenta 14 rather than a discursive lens through which to merely presage the topics to be addressed in the eventual exhibition. Writing and publishing, in all their forms, are an integral part of documenta 14, and the journal heralds that process.

In this collaboration with documenta 14, SAVVY Contemporary intensifies its efforts to explore critical discourses at the conceptual threshold between the West and the non-West, and spotlight theories from the Global South. The Berlin launch of the documenta 14 publication South as a State of Mind #6 [documenta 14 #1] also marks a new chapter in SAVVY Contemporary's history, as it moves into its new space, Silent Green in Berlin-Wedding.


Akinbode Akinbiyi was born in Oxford, England, in 1946. Based in Berlin, he has been the recipient of a 1987 STERN Reportage Stipend and is the founder of the UMZANSI Cultural Center in Durban, South Africa. In 2003, he curated the German contribution to the Bamako Rencontres de la Photographie, in Mali, and was on the panel of judges of the World Press Photo Award.

Marina Fokidis is the founding and artistic director of Kunsthalle Athena, and the founding director of South as a State of Mind. She was a curator of the 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale for Contemporary Art (2011) and the curator of the Greek Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale (2003). She is head of the Artistic Office, Athens, for documenta 14.

Peter Friedl is an artist. Since the 1980s he has published numerous essays and books projects such as Four of Five Roses (2004), Working at Copan/Trabalhando no Copan (2007), Playgrounds (2008), and Secret Modernity: Selected Writings and Interviews 1981–2009 (2009). He participated in documenta X (1997) and documenta 12 (2007), and in 2006 the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) organized a comprehensive retrospective of his work.

Bouchra Khalili Bouchra Khalili was born in Casablanca and lives and works in Berlin. Her work in video, installation, and prints explores transience, language, and transnationality. Among her recent shows are "Foreign Office" solo show at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2015); the 8th Göteborg Biennale(2015); "Here and Elsewhere”, New Museum, New York (2014); "Living Labour", solo show at PAMM, Miami; "The Encyclopedic Palace", 55th Venice Biennale(2013); La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); among others.

Quinn Latimer was born in California and lives in Basel and Athens. A poet and critic, she is the author of Rumored Animals (Dream Horse Press, 2012), which won the American Poetry Journal Book Prize, and Sarah Lucas: Describe This Distance (Mousse Publishing, 2013), and Film as a Form of Writing: Quinn Latimer Talks to Akram Zaatari (Weils, 2014). She is editor-in-chief of publications for documenta 14.

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, PhD, was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and lives and works in Berlin. He is a biotechnologist, curator, and founder of SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, as well as editor-in-chief of the journal SAVVY | art. contemporary.african. He is curator at large of documenta 14.

Adam Szymczyk is the artistic director of documenta 14. He was the director and chief curator of Kunsthalle Basel from 2003 to 2014, and cocurator of the 5th Berlin Biennale in 2008. He was a founder of Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw, and in 2011 he was the recipient of the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement from the Menil Foundation, Houston.

Françoise Vergès was born in Paris and grew up in Reunion and Algeria. She is the Chair of Global South(s) at the College d’Etudes Mondiales, Paris. She received a PhD in political theory at University of California, Berkeley, and was president of the French Committee for the Memory and History of Slavery from 2009 to 2012. For the 2013 Paris Triennial, she curated the program “The Slave in Le Louvre.”


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:


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.
Pictures of the event on our Facebook page HERE.


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.


Contemporary African Art: where did we come from, where are we going?

Panel discussion with Chris Dercon, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and Simon Njami

Thursday, 23rd October 2014, 6.30 pm

Deutsche Bank KunstHalle | Unter den Linden 13/15 | 10117 Berlin

© Meschac Gaba

In relation to the exhibition of Meschac Gaba's Museum of Contemporary African Art (1997-2005), the conversation will explore the antecendents, present conditions and views on the future of contemporary art from Africa. Chris Dercon, director of Tate Modern will introduce to the topic and moderate the panel with Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary and Savvy Journal, as well as curator of the research and exhibition project "Giving Contours To Shadows" (2014), and Simon Njami, writer and curator of numerous exhibitions of African contemporary art such as “African Remix” (2004–2007), he was also co-curator of the first African pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale and he recently curated the exhibition “The Divine Comedy” that will be on view soon at SCAD/Savannah after the first presentation at MMK Frankfurt.

Further information under:


The Metabolism of the Social Brain

Symposium curated by Elena Agudio, Dorothee Albrecht, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Matteo Pasquinelli and Eylem Sengezer

25th & 26th October 2014

Akademie der Künste | Hanseatenweg 10 | 10557 Berlin

PART 1: Saturday 25th October 2014, 7-10 pm

One of the most seminal propositions in the field of psychiatry in the last half-century was Arthur Kleinman's Depression, Somatization and the New Cross-cultural Psychiatry published in 1977 [1]. Unlike most psychiatric practices at the time, Kleinman made a strong case for the recognition of cultural differences, plurality and a case against the exportation or super-imposition of psychiatric theories onto other cultures - a practice that was very common within the colonial context. Crass examples like the case of the French psychiatrist Antoine Porot, head of the Algiers School of psychiatry and notorious for his racist justification of the French colonial structure and the implementation of these prejudices in psychiatric practice, as discussed and criticized by Frantz Fanon in The Wretched of the Earth could stand as an epitome of such practices at the time. Kleinman's engagement towards and questioning of the universality of psychodynamic models and psychiatric constructs and on the influence of ethnographic and anthropological research on psychiatric epidemiology in his ‘new cross-cultural psychiatry’ and his models of culture-oriented somatization have become a tool for many practitioners today.

The struggle within the field of psychology in the 70s, and still today, to come to terms with the fact that Western epistemological models cannot be translated one-to-one to non-Western contexts could be characterized as a post-colonial mashing up, as it was the case with other disciplines like literature and history. Other disciplines, especially in medical and natural sciences, biotechnology, bioethics and neuroscientific technologies have been more reluctant to engage in such post-colonial reflections especially with the former colonies as a point of departure.

In the framework of the nGbK exhibition project The Ultimate Capital is the Sun – Metabolism in Contemporary Art, politics, philosophy and science, with this symposium the curators take up the challenge to instigate a reflection on scientific research beyond Eurocentric rationalization, exploring contemporary concepts and forms of cross-cultural psychiatry and issues of appropriation within a transdisciplinary constellation of artists, post-colonial theorists, and ethnopsychologists.
The panel will be an effort to deliberate on the different trajectories through which psychopathologies, related to postcolonial societies or expressed by non-Western peoples in Western societies, could be understood. From the vantage point of Merleau-Ponty's concept of the bodily experience and embodiment in general, phenomenology as a performative tool, and taking from Wilhelm Stekel’s concept of somatization, i.e. the conversion of mental symptoms like depression or anxieties into physical bodily symptoms, the varying possibilities of somatic expressivity will be put under a spotlight of transcultural psychology and will address neuro-phenomenological practises in the understanding of mental illness. As psychiatrist Thomas Fuchs underlined: “a phenomenology of embodiment may be combined with enactive approaches to cognitive neuroscience in order to overcome ?Western? dualist concepts of the mind as an inner realm of representations that mirror the outside world. Phenomenological and ecological concepts of embodiment should also be conjoined to enable a new, advanced understanding of mental illness”. [2]

As the exhibition project The Ultimate Capital is the Sun, the symposium will focus on the idea and the artistic “strategy” of Anthropophagy [3] as a metabolic and digestive process.

For this to be realised the symposium will aim at exploring the philosophical notions of scientia, ‘bios’ and personhood within some non-Western societies - e.g. in Akan or Yoruba philosophies - and at cogitating on how societies with a colonial legacy and peoples with a post-colonial heritage metabolise and transform such concepts like neurosciences, genetic enhancement, bioethics, into their cultural understandings, philosophical frames and technological practices.

[1] Kleinman AM (January 1977). "Depression, somatization and the "new cross-cultural psychiatry"". Soc Sci Med 11 (1): 3–10
[2] Thomas Fuchs and Jann E. Schlimme, Embodiment and psychopathology: a phenomenological perspective in “Current Opinion in Psychiatry”, 2009, 22:570–575
[3] see Brazilian “Antropofagia Cultural” modernist movement

Further information under:



Presentation of work and talk with the artists

9th October 2014, 7pm

Participating artists: Tom Saater and Emeka Okereke

Tom Saater: Gas Station Bamako (2014)

Invisible Borders stop over at SAVVY Contemporary on their way from Lagos to Sarajevo to tell us about their transcontinental road trip, works created thus far and impressions they gathered in Berlin:
The Invisible Borders Trans-African Photographers Organization is a platform that assembles African artists (photographers, writers, video artists, art critics, art historians and performance artists) with zeal and passion for social change, that defiant energy that refuses to be bridled by obstacles of existing norms. The mission of the Organization is to be part of Africa’s story, by Africans, through photography and inspiring artistic interventions; to establish a platform that encourages Trans-African relationships within the continent, and to contribute towards the socio-political discourse shaping Africa of the 21st Century.
During the last four editions of the Road Trip the group has explored African countries from the West to the East and Central Africa. The vast impressions led to reflections surrounding the complexness of borders. The road trip project is an attempt to draw a tangible line of connection across chosen geographic locations in order to transcend the limitations proposed by the existing demarcating lines.
In its 5th edition the Invisible Borders Trans-African Photographers Organization embarked on their first Trans-Continental Road Trip from Lagos (Nigeria) to Sarajevo (Bosnia) which leads them through 21 countries in Africa and Europe. The journey will last 151 days (22 weeks) from the 2nd of June until 31st of October 2014. During their stopovers the artists develop photographic, video and text works that deal with the notions of border and separation, while at the same time reflecting on their interactions with local artists, cultural operators and residents. The road trips are supplemented by exhibitions, workshops and events in which the works of the journey are presented and discussed.
To explore the politics of Berlin spaces they chose to work in the neighborhood of Marzahn to look at the stereotypes and realities that manifest themselves as a different kind of powerful borderlines. Furthermore they are planning to learn more about the vigorous struggle by refugee activists all over the city.

Further information:

Supported by Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V..

"Hegel in the Black Atlantic. A case for Postcolonial Cannibalism"

Talk by Jamila Mascat

2nd October 2014, 7pm

In his ‘Vorlesungen über die Philosophie der Geschichte’, Hegel notoriously elaborated a teleological conception of Universal History, wherein civilization advances from the East to the West significantly leaving Africa out of its trajectory. From the standpoint of postcolonial critique, Hegel's Eurocentric teleology and his support of colonialism and Anti-Black racism raise a serious issue about how to deal with his controversial legacy.
The talk aims at examining the meaningful presence of Hegelian traces to be found in the Franco-Caribbean tradition of the 20thcentury, and more specifically in the works of Aimé Césaire, Franz Fanon and Édouard Glissant, in order to illustrate their multiple strategies of re-appropriation of Hegel's words.
The topic would be the starting point for a broader discussion on how to relate to the cumbersome heritage of Western Modern thought from a postcolonial perspective.
African American poet Audre Lorde famously warned that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master's house”. Yet the “master's tool” cannot be simply dismissed and rejected altogether, and there may be good reasons to investigate the complex legacy of Enlightenment and Modernity together with their contradictory consequences for our postcolonial present.
“Postcolonial cannibalism” becomes then a watchword to explore such a strategy, with the aim of sabotaging modernity and decolonizing Enlightenment.

Jamila M.H. Mascat is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department “Normes, Société, Philosophie” (NoSoPhi) of the University Paris 1 – Sorbonne. Her research interests focus on Hegel's philosophy and the French reception of Hegel in the 20th century, as well as Postcolonial Studies and Feminist Theories.



Presentation of work and talk with the artists

1st October 2014, 7pm

GALERIE M: Marzahner Promenade 46, 12679 Berlin-Marzahn

Images and stories are central to the way individuals and communities imagine and understand themselves. In contrast to the complexity and diverse realities of the neighborhood, images and representations of Marzahn-Hellersdorf have been dominated by clichés of high-rise concrete slab buildings, right wing extremists and a rude, white-trashy and unemployed “Cindy from Marzahn”.

The project “Invisible Borders in Marzahn” aims to investigate and vanquish the invisible borders of this representation and the socio-cultural power context that enables the production and distribution of this singular and cliché image.

Invisible Borders is a project of outstanding young African artists (photographers, writers, filmmakers and art historians) who head out each year on a bus trip across the African continent with the aim to question the discourses and ideas around borders and to create connections between different places.
From June to October 2014 their first intercontinental voyage from Lagos to Sarajevo leads them beyond the borders of the African continent with stopovers in Abidjan, Dakar, Marrakech, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Budapest, and other cities. In Berlin they will halt from 28 September – 2 October.

Their focus will be in Marzahn-Hellersdorf where they explore the neighborhood by means of photography, writing and creating works of art and get inspiration from the meetings and discussions with people from there. Invisible Borders deals critically with the (visual) representations of the neighborhood to create a more complex picture of the district by means of photographs, texts and works of art. The artists hereby revert to their reflections on the invisibility of constructed spatial and social boundaries and differences.

A cooperation of Invisible Borders, SAVVY Contemporary and Galerie M. Supported by mp43 projektraum für das periphere.

Supported by Förderprogramm Aktives Zentrum Marzahner Promenade and Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V..

Further information:

Invisible Borders in Marzahn

Hegel in the Black Atlantic. A case for Postcolonial Cannibalism