HKW Berlin announces conceptual lines, practices, and programmes for 2023 and beyond, and presents its team headed by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung.
Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures) announces conceptual lines, practices, and programmes for 2023 and beyond, and to present its team members. Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) is guided by the quest for strategies of how to live and better inhabit this world together. It is a house in which cultures of conviviality and hospitality are sown, nurtured to blossoming, and disseminated. It is a physical and affective space in which everyone has the possibility of breathing. To breathe and let breathe. A house in which respect for living and non-living beings is fundamental and shapes our understanding of cultures.
HKW highlights the notion of ‘Welt’ in its name. It proposes concepts of the world that embrace pluralities of cultures, epistemologies, sociopolitics, spiritualities, and ways of being in the world. This plurality of ‘worlds’ manifests itself in the deliberations on and acknowledgement of the malleability and processuality of the worlds we have historically shaped and continue to shape. The world is not a noun, but a verb: to unworld, to world, and to reworld.
Berlin is host to citizens from 170 nations from around the world, and these people and their communities are fundamental in shaping HKW, not as subjects or visitors only, but as fellow travellers and co-makers of the programme. The programme is anchored around migrant-situated knowledges and the realities of the plethora of beings and histories that constitute our worlds today. The task at hand is to make HKW a house of multiplicities and international encounters. These cultures are lived and experienced rather than othered, or merely displayed.
In an era in which humanity is questioned, put to the test, and negated around the world through the perpetration of varying forms of injustice, HKW adopts the emancipatory maxim of the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) Tout Moun Se Moun to emphasize the spirit in which we work. It proclaims that every person is a human being, that we are all equal before the law, and that no human life is more important than another. Also embedded in Tout Moun Se Moun is the acknowledgement of the worlds of animal, plant, fungi, single and multicellular species, as well as non-living species that, too, are entitled to their spaces and co-existence in our world.
In, around, and associated with Haus der Kulturen der Welt there is no space for, nor tolerance towards, hate speech or hate actions of any kind. There is no space for ageism, anti-Semitism, gender discrimination, homophobia, Islamophobia, racism, sexism, transphobia, xenophobia, and the like. HKW shall be a space in which love, respect, and generosity are realized through daily practice.
HKW long-term projects (2023–27) include:
Sciences after Science
Among the many things the COVID-19 pandemic and the many environmental catastrophes around the world have laid bare is the limit and precocity of science as we know it, leaving us to grapple anew with the fundamental question: what is the future of science and technology as its materialized practice within everyday worlds? To be able to understand the future of science one must understand the history of science, which is closely tied to the invention of modernity and its cousin capitalism, both evolving hand-in-hand with coloniality, as well as the invention of race and gender. What other sciences are out there in the world and how can one give space to such knowledges? How can we deliver science from its liaison with neoliberal capitalist structures and geographical cul-de-sac, i.e. how can we imagine a plurality of sciences situated in varying geographies and cultures of the world?
On Sovereignty Beyond the Identitarian Paradigm
The question of national sovereignty is one closely tied to the history of the nation state itself, and thus begs for the re-evaluation of the rights, autonomy, and independence of nation states and their affiliations and dependencies on others. Dependency theorists have long pointed out the various ways in which colonial dependencies have found forms of existence even in the post-independence era. In the era of globalization, wherein nation states are bound to international treaties and agreements, and tethered to the dispositions of the IMF, WTO, World Bank, or currency structures that are not always in the interest of their citizens, the notion of sovereignty needs to be reinterrogated in order to inquire, with Gayatri Spivak, ‘who sings the nation-state?’ HKW is an apt place from which to speak of sovereignties reimagined beyond the identitarian paradigm.
Geographies of Resilience and the Entangled Continuum of Coloniality
We take it as self-evident that the histories of the West and the non-West are entangled. Colonialism and its repercussions play an important role as a common denominator globally. The way we perceive culture, politics, economies, and society at large is fundamentally shaped by the echoes of the colonial enterprise. While discourses on post-colonialism and decoloniality have been developing for decades, today there seems to be even more confusion not only as to what they imply but also about their premises and consequences, and it is not unusual for these concepts to be confused and misappropriated for other purposes. Here we endeavour to
(re-)negotiate the territories of anti-colonization, decolonization, post-colonialism, and decoloniality, and together chart a map for a geography of resiliences and resistances.
Seeing the World from the East
This undertaking is interested in entire debates, systems of reference, and increasingly distinct worldviews through the prism of the East at large, and in particular through specific histories of the German Democratic Republic. From that vantage, for example, a different cartography of relations can be mapped between the GDR and Mozambique, Vietnam, Cuba and many other so-called Bruderländer. Throughout contexts across Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, significant debates have taken place in the last decades informing and shaping political, intellectual, and artistic spheres, which aim to carve paths of moving past western-centrism while resisting rising reactionary horizons and neo-imperialist structures across the globe.
From 2–4 June, HKW celebrates its opening weekend with a series of concerts and performances as well as the launch of the exhibition project O Quilombismo: Of Resisting and Insisting. Of Flight as Fight. Of Other Democratic Egalitarian Political Philosophies.
Team shaping Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Together with Director and Chief Curator Prof Dr Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, the team shapes the various artistic, scientific, and sociocultural programmes, strategies, narratives, and manifestations of HKW. By bringing together practitioners from a wide range of disciplines, experiences, cultures, and geographies, the team embraces the poetics of multitude, foregrounds the politics of joy, centralizes communities of affinity, emphasizes the multiplicity of epistemologies, engages migrant-situated knowledges, and celebrates differences and dissonances while being in and practicing solidarities.
‘For HKW, diversity is not just a slogan, but the very backbone of our practice, as testified by the team, programme, and public. To these ends, we are grateful to have been able to put together an internationally experienced and multidisciplinary programme team that brings with it a plurality of sociopolitical and artistic knowledges from around the globe, but is also well-versed and strongly anchored in the local and national German contexts and discourses.’
—Prof Dr Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Director and Chief Curator HKW
Fernande Bodo, Curatorial Assistant (Architectural and Spatial Practices)
Fernande Bodo (born 1992 in Yaoundé) is a researcher and architectural practitioner with a focus on heritage, post-colonial architecture, and urban history. Previously she contributed to the project The Distributed Cooperative, Oslo Architecture Triennale, 2022; was a researcher and editor of the online newsletter Urban Notebook, World Heritage Cities Programme, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 2020–21; and assisted on the project Sarajevo Now, Venice Biennale of Architecture, 2016.
Dr Sara Morais dos Santos Bruss, Curator (Scientific, Digital, and Media Practices)
Sara Morais dos Santos Bruss (born 1987 in Campina Grande) is a cultural and media theorist, researcher, and curator. She works on intersections of feminist and anti-colonial art and political practices, digital technologies, and narrations of (human and non-human) subjectivity. Her recent publications include: Queere KI: Zum Coming-out smarter Maschinen, co-edited with Michael Klipphahn-Karge and Ann-Kathrin Koster (2022).
Dr Rosa Cordillera A. Castillo, Curator (Discursive Practices)
Rosa Cordillera A. Castillo (born 1982 in Manila) is a sociocultural anthropologist, activist, and senior lecturer at the Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Her interdisciplinary research and initiatives on social justice issues, resistance, solidarity, memory, and healing are guided by critical, decolonial, Indigenous, and feminist epistemologies and praxes. She has published extensively and is currently writing a book entitled Being and Becoming: Imagination, Memory, and Violence in Muslim Mindanao.
Cosmin Costinaș, Senior Curator (Exhibition Practices)
Cosmin Costinaș (born 1982 in Satu Mare) is a curator, writer, and art critic. He is co-artistic director (with Inti Guerrero) of the forthcoming 24th Biennale of Sydney, 2024. Previously Costinaș was co-curator of the Romanian Pavilion, 59th Venice Biennale, 2022; artistic director of the Kathmandu Triennale, 2022; and executive director/curator of Para Site, Hong Kong, 2011–22.
Dr Max Czollek, Visiting Curator
Max Czollek (born 1987 in Berlin) is an author and curator who has published numerous books, including volumes of poetry and essays. He is currently the artistic and scientific curator of the Coalition for Pluralistic Public Discourse (CPPD), exploring the possibilities of a pluralistic memory culture. He was co-curator of the exhibition Rache: Geschichte und Fantasie, Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt, 2022; and co-initiated the programme Desintegration. Ein Kongress zeitgenössischer jüdischer Positionen, Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin, 2016.
Henriette Gallus, Deputy Director
Henriette Gallus (born 1983 in Grevesmühlen) is a communication strategist, editor, and cultural manager. After working as an editor and literary agent from 2005 onwards, in 2011 she became press officer of dOCUMENTA (13), and from 2014 headed the communications of the 14th edition of documenta in both Kassel and Athens. From 2018–22 she was deputy director of steirischer herbst in Graz, and has advised numerous cultural institutions, among them: sonsbeek 20–>24, Arnhem; Rencontres de Bamako, Mali, 2018 and 2022; the German Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, 2019; and Castello di Rivoli, Turin since 2017.
Paz Guevara, Curator (Exhibition Practices)
Paz Guevara (born in Santiago) is a curator, researcher, author, and educator who is part of the curatorial ensemble of Archive Sites, Berlin and a lecturer in the MA Spatial Strategies programme at Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin. Previously Guevara was associate curator at HKW, 2015–22; curator of Transition Exhibition, Brücke-Museum, Berlin, 2021–22; curator of Afro-Sonic Mapping: Tracing Aural Histories via Sonic Transmigrations, HKW, 2019; and co-curator of Parapolitics: Cultural Freedom and the Cold War, HKW, 2017–18.
Dzekashu MacViban, Curator (Literature and Oralture Practices)
Dzekashu MacViban (born 1985 in Yaoundé) is a publisher and curator of African literature and translation. He is the founder of the publishing house Bakwa Books and the author of Scions of the Malcontent (2011). Among other programmes, he was the curator of You have a fullness you need to bring out, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, 2021.
Carlos Maria Romero aka Atabey, Curator (Performative Practices)
Atabey (born in 1979 in Cartagena) is an artist and curator with a focus on performance, movement, community, pedagogical projects, and cultural heritage practices relevant to historically marginalized peoples and social cohesion. Among other things, they were co-curator of the exhibition Josephine Baker & Le Corbusier in Rio–A Transatlantic Affair, Museu de Arte do Rio, Rio de Janeiro, 2014; and curator of the 13th, 14th, and 15th iterations of the Contemporary Dance University Festival, Jorge Tadeo Lozano University of Bogota, 2009–11.
Edna Martinez, Curator (Music and Sonic Practices)
Edna Martinez (born 1989 in Valledupar) is an artist, DJ, and curator. Her musical selection is inspired by Picó Sound System culture. Martinez’s sound incorporates African and Caribbean rhythms, jazz basses, tribal polyrhythms, and Arabic melodies. She also produces radio shows and has created different projects in Berlin such as El Volcán, Picó Soundsystem Culture from the Colombian Caribbean, 2018.
Prof Dr Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Director and Chief Curator
Prof Dr Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (born 1977 in Yaoundé, raised in Bamenda) is a curator, author, and biotechnologist. He is the founder and was artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary Berlin, 2009–22; artistic director of sonsbeek 20–>24, Arnhem, 2020–22; artistic director of 14th Rencontres de Bamako, Mali, 2022; curator of the Finnish Pavilion, 58th Venice Biennale, 2019; guest curator of the Dakar Biennale of Contemporary African Art, 2018; and curator-at-large of documenta 14, Athens & Kassel, 2017.
Daniel Neugebauer, Curator (Cultural Education and Strategic Partnerships)
Daniel Neugebauer (born 1977 in Helmstedt) is an educator and curator and Connected World Senior Fellow at the VU Amsterdam, 2022–23. He was editor of four volumes in HKW’s series Das Neue Alphabet (2020–23) on body politics and poetics. Previous positions include: education coordinator of the Romanian Pavilion, 59th Venice Biennale, 2022; head of communication and cultural education at HKW, 2018–22; and head of marketing, mediation, and fundraising at Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2018–22.
Eric Otieno Sumba, Editor (Publication Practices)
Eric Otieno Sumba (born 1989 in Nairobi) is a social theorist, political economist, writer, and editor. He co-curated the British-German Democracy Forum at the Goethe Institute, London, 2021 and has collaborated with institutions including Mattatoio di Roma (2022), Kampnagel Hamburg (2021), and HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin (2020), among others.
Marie Hélène Pereira, Senior Curator (Performative Practices)
Marie Hélène Pereira (born 1986 in Dakar) is a curator and cultural practitioner profoundly interested in histories of migrations and the politics of identity. Previously she was part of the artistic team of the 12th Berlin Biennale, 2022; director of programmes at RAW Material Company, Dakar, 2019–22; and co-curated a guest section of the 13th edition of the Dakar Biennale of Contemporary African Art, 2018.
Eva Stein, Curator (Cultural Education)
Eva Stein (born 1959 in Mannheim) is an educator and curator who studied German Literature and Journalism at the Freie Universität Berlin, and has been working at HKW since 1990. She was the initiator of the HKW programmes Future Storytelling, 2014 and The Whole Earth Catalogue, Berlin Edition, 2013; managing editor of Kultur öffnet Welten or Kompetenzverbund kulturelle Integration und Wissenstransfer (KIWit); director of three editions of the Schools of Tomorrow, 2017–21; and co-curator of Reading Bodies!, 2019.
Can Sungu, Curator (Filmic Practices)
Can Sungu (born 1983 in Istanbul) is a curator, researcher, and writer. He is co-founder and artistic director of bi’bak and SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA in Berlin, where he curated film programmes on migration, society, and memory, including the international symposium Cinema of Commoning, 2022. He has worked as a film programmer and jury member for several film festivals, including the Berlinale Forum and International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. Sungu has also published several books, among them PLEASE REWIND—German-Turkish Film and Video Culture in Berlin (2020).
Dr Alexandra Ortiz Wallner, Curator (Literature and Oralture Practices)
Alexandra Ortiz Wallner (born 1974 in San Salvador) is a scholar, researcher, and literary critic focusing on Latin American literature and cultural practices in Central America and the Caribbean. In 2021, she was senior fellow at the Maria Sibylla Merian Center for Advanced Latin American Studies (CALAS), Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico.
Jill Winder, Editor (Publication Practices)
Jill Winder (born 1975 in Salt Lake City) is an editor and writer whose practice is concerned with publishing contemporary art and its discourses in both the print and online realms. Previous projects include: Folded Life: Talking Textile Politics, curated by Grant Watson, 2020–21; and Stronger than Bone (co-edited with Natasha Ginwala and Defne Ayas), a reader on global feminisms as part of the 13th Gwangju Biennale (2020–21). From 2015–17 she was online editor for documenta 14.