Experience as Institution – Part 1: Artist collectives and cultural platforms in Africa
Tate Modern, Starr Auditorium, London, United Kingdom 29 Nov 2013
Could an art experience be considered an institution? What is the legacy of an experience which deliberately defies artistic convention in order to engage in a more critical social dialogue?
Founded in 1974 in Dakar, Senegal, the artist collective Laboratoire Agit-Art’s goal was to blur disciplinary boundaries and to propose the experience of a ‘total art’, powerfully influenced by vernacular cultures and languages.
This symposium uses Laboratoire Agit-Art’s modus operandi, and particularly its uses of performance, as case study to reflect on the current presence of cultural platforms and artist collectives in Africa, which uses disciplines such as performance, visual art, music and art in the public space seeking to engage with socio-political concerns affecting their immediate environment.
Speakers Elizabeth Harney and Souleymane Bachir Diagne explore Senegalese modernism and Negritude as a philosophical term and as a national cultural policy; Clèmentine Deliss is in conversation with the artist El Hadji Sy about his role in Laboratoire Agit-Art, TENQ and Huit-Facettes, all collectives formations he co-founded in Senegal in the past decades.
In the afternoon session introduced by Tate Modern Curator Elvira Dyangani Ose, Jan Goossens discusses the trans-disciplinary collaborations of Connexion Kin, a Kinshasa-based performing arts festival organised by the KVS. Lastly, Neo Muyanga introduces the platform, the Pan-African Space Station in a music-lecture.