Crossing Conversation – Iwalewahaus Collection

Iwalewahaus, Bayreuth, Germany
21 Oct 2022 - 11 Nov 2022

Crossing, Tshwane, South Africa, 2003 ©Abrie Fourie

Crossing, Tshwane, South Africa, 2003 ©Abrie Fourie

The artistic intervention Crossing Conversation shows in 24 photographs consequences of an accident in Pretoria, South Africa, on large billboards in 7 cities in Germany. The photographs are the interface to the art collection of the Iwalewahaus of the University of Bayreuth via QR code.

Crossing Conversation is a photographic intervention on large billboards in public spaces in Bayreuth and other German cities, such as Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Kassel, Cologne and Düsseldorf. The project focuses on the dialogue and connection between the analogue photographs of the South African artist Abrie Fourie and the African Modern Art Collection at the Iwalewahaus of the University of Bayreuth, which is unique in Germany and, to a large extent, digitised. Access to the virtual archive of the collection will be made possible via a QR code, which will be displayed on the large poster panels.

Selected billboards will each feature a photograph from the Crossing series of works showing the remains of Monobloc plastic chairs, a direct result of a transportation accident. The remains of the chairs lay scattered at an intersection and were photographed from different angles. They are reminiscent of skeletal remains that bear witness to human or animal existence and give the appearance of an archaeological dig site where layer upon layer of new aspects and stories of a place can be uncovered. Similar, scanning the QR code also provides layer-by-layer digital access to a collection of modern and contemporary art and popular culture from Africa, Asia and the Pacific that is unique in Germany. Over 7000 multimedia exhibits, such as paintings, sound recordings, sculptures, graphics, interviews, posters, textiles, and many more, have already been transferred by the Iwalewahaus into innovative virtual forms of presentation.

The digital collection will be expanded with Crossing Conversation, an interactive work that, on the one hand, becomes part of the collection and, on the other hand, through interactions, animates, prompts and invites one to discover and immerse oneself in the newly created database of the collection. The QR codes that can be seen on the large billboards are public and have a democratic interface to a multi-layered imaginative space and virtual memory store.

The selection of linked artefacts from the collection will be chosen associatively and intuitively by the artist and the curators of the Iwalewahaus team, guided by questions such as: What is an archive? Who owns/owns the artefacts? Who has a voice, and who does not? How do you democratise a collection? What stories are being shared?




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