South as a State of Mind issue 6 launches as documenta 14 publication at new SAVVY Contemporary space

SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin
06 Dec 2015

South as a State of Mind issue 6 launches as documenta 14 publication at new SAVVY Contemporary space

‘South as a State of Mind’ issue #6  launches as part of the documenta 14 publication program at SAVVY Contemporary’s new space in Berlin at Silent Green in Berlin-Wedding, which marks a new chapter in SAVVY Contemporary’s history.

With the artists Akinbode Akinbiyi, Peter Friedl and Bouchra Khalili, and theorist Françoise Vergès, and from the documenta 14 team Marina Fokidis, Head of Artistic Office Athens; Quinn Latimer, Editor-in-Chief of Publications; Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Curator at Large; and Adam Szymczyk, Artistic Director

Music by Ahmet Ögüt / Ali Demirel, Ange Da Costa, VSS Trio (Eric Vaughn, Charles Sammons, Kelvin Sholar), 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.


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 was born in Casablanca and lives and works in Berlin. Her moving-image work explores transience, language, identity, and transnationality. Her work has been included in “Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation in Arab Cinema from the 1960s to Now, Part II,” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; “Roaming Images,” the 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale, Greece; and and “J’ai deux amours’ (I Have Two Loves),” at the Cité Nationale de l’histoire de l’Immigration, Paris.

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.”


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