The third edition of the Rencontres Picha. Biennale de Lubumbashi 2012 I 2013 builds on the idea of Enthusiasm to explore how contemporary art practices have brought about the dissolution of Lyotard’s paradigms of audience and participation.
In the past two decades, many African artistic and cultural projects have chosen urban space, consistently, as a site of Intervention. Sometimes as a mere scenario, a setting for projects interrogating larger sociopolitical, cultural and/or historical issues; others as a specific paradigm in which new social relations, economic exchanges, cultural undertakings, and representational politics unfold. In many initiatives in which the latter is at the very core of their scope, a sense of togetherness in reclaiming the public sphere has ensued. A new social imaginary of the urban space, that implies a narration of the city from the bottom up, and that explores aspects, in general, left out of the blueprint. A new sense of community is put on stage. New media, social networks, other collective platforms, but also the old-fashion exchange of experiences and dialogues, invite us to rethink history, urban space, and the public sphere, as well as communities’ and individuals’ ability to intervene them.
Since its initial get-together in 2008, Picha’s initiatives has led « artistic activism, creative actions, accompaniment of artists, production and diffusion » in a vibrant arena such as Lubumbashi that, up until then, served mainly as a source for researchers and artists from elsewhere, but in which the local practitioners found extreme difficulties to elaborate and diffuse their projects locally. The use of the public space as the scenario of their displays, in which photographs on billboards and video projections in public buildings are featured, reveals the participatory character of the project and the will of its Organizers to buildup a local audience, a Community, that would eventually claim ownership of the Biennale and ask for it to happen every second year.
Rencontres Picha. Biennale de Lubumbashi 2012 I 2013’s incursions into the daily life of Lubumbashi, into its physical and social spaces, will attempt to blur the boundaries between an art and a non-art audience, between art and everyday experience. The Biennale aims to feature projects whose purpose is to challenge, redefine, and reshape our understanding of the urban space and the public sphere, by means of the social relations by which this space is produced.
As every other October major squares and streets of Lubumbashi will become a space of display to host the Biennale’s international exhibition and other parallel activities- Photography, video and performancees will occupy neighborhoods like Katuba or Kenya, and emblematic places such as Theatre La Kamalondo, Place des Martyrs and Musée National de Lubumbashi during the professional week from 1 to 6 October 2013.
With: Lard Buurmann, Francois-Xavier Gbré, Mikhael Subotzky, Michael Tsegaye, Walter Iraheta, Mario Macilaou, Maha Maanoum, Ghisian El Magambo Gulda, Sabelo Mlangeni, Malala Andrialavidrazana, Narda Alvarado, Salem Mekuria, Hala, Elkoussy, Theo Eshetu, Bodil Furu, Katia Kameli, Nastio Misquito, Moridja Kitenga Banza, Ismail Farouk, Cellectif Sadi, Basim Magdy, Emeka Ogboh, James Webb, Simon Mukundayi, Picha Architecture, Hugues Mayaya, Sven Augustijnen, Guy Tillim, Akinbode Akinbiyi
Text written by curator Elvira Dyangani Ose