Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
23 Nov 2013 - 24 Nov 2013

The panel discussions take as their point of departure the Western, ideologically dressed-up concept of freedom, of which the Congress Hall – today the Haus der Kulturen der Welt – itself is a symbol. The building, conceived as an architectural signal in the Cold War, exemplifies the humanistic universalism of the “free West” that reordered itself after the Second World War.

GEOGRAPHIES OF COLLABORATION in turn begins with the question of the claim to universalism. It seeks a new formulation, from various locations and perspectives, for the pursuit and assertion of universality today.

What art form is understood as universal, and at what point in time? What form of expression remains particular and local, and why? How is the globally circulating icon in contemporary art constructed, and what is it determined by?


Saturday, Nov 23

15 h Film: Pays Barbare
D: Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi, F 2013, 65 min, OmE, followed by talks with the directors

17 h: Presentations and talks with Bassam El Baroni (curator/writer, Alexandria) Ntone Edjabe (founder and chief editor “Chimurenga Magazine“, Cape Town), Lucy Steeds (writer/editor/teacher, London), Anselm Franke (curator “After Year Zero”, Berlin)


Sunday, Nov 24

17 h Presentations and talks with Kader Attia (artist, Paris/Berlin), David Barton (artist/writer, Chungli, Taiwan), Koyo Kouoh (artistic director RAW Material Company, Dakar), Susanne Leeb (art historian, Basel)

Which institutional demarcations, museum categorizations and market mechanisms reflect the global power structures and the colonial legacy of the modern era? From the notorious “primitivism” of modern art to the globally operating system of contemporary art today, the conference contributions situate cultural production and aesthetics in the geopolitical geographies of modernity.


The conference will be held in English.



David Barton is a professor of Comparative Literature, film, the ‘West’ since 1994 at the National Central University, Chungli, Taiwan. He has published several books, among others “Pornography of the Emotions” (on Taiwan contemporary art), “Teachng Inghelish in Taiwan” (on William Burroughs versus TOEFL in Taiwan). His further interests include Asian subaltern subjectivity (the father complex and awkward passivity), Canadian multiculturalism as Corporate Strategy and ‘mental illness’ among Canadian aboriginal woodcarvers.

Ntone Edjabe is founder and Editor-in-Chief of Chimurenga, a publication of culture and politics. He is also co-editor of African Cities Reader, a biennial publication in collaboration with the University of Cape Town. He is the founder and co-curator of the Pan African Space Station (PASS), an internet based music project. He has collaborated with numerous radio stations and publications, including Bush Radio 89.5, Politique Africaine, L’Autre Afrique, BBC Focus on Africa. As DJ, he is a founder of the Fong Kong Bantu Sound System, a collective based in Cape Town. As speaker on contemporary African art and culture, he has participated in events around the world, including Documenta 12, Africa Remix, Dak’art biennial and many more.

Bassam El Baroni is a curator and art critic based in Alexandria, Egypt. In 2005 he co-founded the non-profit art space Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (ACAF), and was its Director until December 2012. In 2010, he was co-curator of Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain, and is currently a PhD researcher in the Curatorial/Knowledge program at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Koyo Kouoh started RAW Material Company, center for art, knowledge and society, to stop complaining about the art scene in Dakar, but has not stopped complaining. She is neither a curator nor a writer, but makes exhibitions, publishes books and helps others in the same labor. Her discoursive programs, exhibitions and publications have included contemporary artists, thinkers, writers, activists, non-artists, designers, politicians, architects, maniacs and chefs.

Susanne Leeb works as a lecturer in art history at Universität Basel. Her doctoral dissertation was on „The Art of the Others: World Art and the Anthropological Configuration of Modernism“. Together with Kerstin Stakemeier and Johannes Paul Raether, she was responsible for the latest issue of the journal Texte zur Kunst on the topic of globalism.

Lucy Steeds is an editor of the Exhibition Histories research and publishing project of Afterall at Central Saint Martins (CSM), University of the Arts London. She is Pathway Leader for the Exhibition Studies MRes Courses at CSM. She is currently working on a book, “Exhibitions”, for the “Documents of Contemporary Art” series (Whitechapel Gallery and The MIT Press, 2014).



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