All that is Musical in Us is Memory: Of Exile, Kinship and (Un)Belonging

Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany
23 Jun 2023 - 24 Jun 2023

Video Still: Takbir, 2022
© Courtesy Aziz Hazara / Experimenter Kolkata

Video Still: Takbir, 2022 © Courtesy Aziz Hazara / Experimenter Kolkata

How does knowledge about artistic works shape memories? How can artistic belonging be perceived in a city like Berlin? The two-day performance and discourse programme reflects on descriptions of exile through lectures, readings and music performances. With interdisciplinary guests from literature, theatre, film and music, Taqi Akhlaqi, James Gregory Atkinson, Kholoud Charaf, Lamin Fofana, Habibi Funk, Karina Griffith, Aziz Hazara, Viviana Medina Medina, Oksana Stomina and others. Curated by Natasha Ginwala and Magnus Elias Rosengarten.

All That is Musical in Us is Memory, a cipher drawn from the USSR born Ukrainian-American poet Ilya Kaminsky, grapples with contours of exile, (un)belonging, and extended kinships. The two-day convening as part of the Performing Exiles festival imagines how literary, cinematic, and sonic knowledge shape insistent memory and its resurgence in the context of Berlin and Germany at large, as a place of momentary and prolonged refuge. Contributions by Ukrainian writer and poet Oksana Stomina, Syrian poet and activist Kholoud Charaf and others will offer literary reflections on subjectivities of flight and power structures, as well as poetics as a realm of fugitivity, dissent, humour and recognition. In their conversation and screening, the artists and filmmakers Aziz Hazara and James Gregory Atkinson negotiate themes of displacement, surveillance practices and alienation to challenge hegemonic visual languages. In her lecture performance, theatre director and performer Viviana Medina Medina will investigate erased histories of Cuban migration in the context of the former GDR and their reverberations into the present. Throughout its two days’ duration, All That is Musical in Us is Memory is enveloped in sonic performances and listening sessions by electronic music producer, artist and DJ Lamin Fofana and the Berlin-based reissue record label and DJ Habibi Funk Records. Through these collective moments, we will reflect on how creative belonging may be perceived at the crossroads of a city like Berlin that is polyphonous – at times brutal – and recursively has been an uncanny meeting place.


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