May 17, 2018

Colonial Repercussions symposium II: "Performances of No-thingness"

Akademie der Künste

Ain Bailey. © Alice Marcelino.

Akademie der Künste, Berlin announces the second symposium of the event series Colonial Repercussions. Under the curatorship of Nana Adusei-Poku (Scholar for Cultural Studies and Art History) the discursive platform “Performances of No-thingness” represents an inquiry into Black diasporic cultural productions as a critique on hegemonic concepts of identity. Black perspectives challenge Western concepts of gender, race, sexualities and dis-abilities through dance and sound performances, lectures, workshops, city tours and dialogues.

The curator Nana Adusei-Poku: “The colonial matrix of power consisting of patriarchy and racism is a fragile, yet prevailing apparatus of domination that demands an intersectional approach in order to be dismantled. Decolonialism has become a trendy term, an often empty and instrumentalised metaphor. The intimate work that has to take place on one’s idea of self, which is necessary to bring about real changes is frequently disavowed. The real change is connected to the breaking apart of the world as we know it, an end to the way we think, interact, live through, understand and the practice to push beyond the binary.”

Black Cultural productions devise new contemporary emerging aesthetic strategies of resistance. The symposium “Performances of No-thingness” thus investigates cultural productions that ask us to fundamentally rethink Western concepts of identity. With artistic positions on embodiment, performativity and decolonization by Nana Adusei-Poku, Joshua Kwesi Aikins, Travis Alabanza, Ain Bailey, Melissa Blanco Borelli, Jonathan González, NIC Kay, Autumn Knight, Okwui Okpokwasili, Julia Phillips, Peggy Piesche, Anta Helena Recke, Christina Sharpe, Sorryyoufeeluncomfortable and Julia Wissert.

With the Colonial Repercussions event series, the Akademie der Künste examines the structures of colonial power relations, which continue to impact on science, art and society today. Since January 2018, three symposia, each lasting two days, address the blind spots of the colonial legacies during lectures, panels, performances, artistic interventions and workshops.

Reprocessing colonialism means bearing a visionary moment for the future of Europe. The primary focus of this event series is the question as to the legacy of European colonialism still being tangible today: how does it have an impact on Europe and the rest of the world? How can traditional power structures be broken down and the associated fear of relinquishing powers be overcome? And what would a society look like that evolves creatively based on diversity and not based on white, hegemonic traditions of knowledge?

At the third symposium "Planetary Utopias - Hope, Desire, Imaginaries in a Post-Colonial World" scheduled to take place on June 23 and 24, Nikita Dhawan (Professor of Political Theory and Gender Studies) will compose, together with renowned international theorists of postcolonialism, the utopian potential of a future society. With: Sara Ahmed, Nadje Al-Ali, Kader Attia, Gina Belafonte, Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro, Maria do Mar Castro Varela, Angela Davis, Nadia Yala Kisukidi, David Scott, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Antonio Y. Vazquez-Arroyo, Rolando Vázquez, Françoise Vergès and others.

In addition, the C& Center of unfinished business reading room of the international online platform for African perspectives on art, Contemporary And (C&), will offer throughout the entire event series in the foyer of the Akademie building on Pariser Platz literature on colonial legacies.

Colonial Repercussions is a joint event series by the Akademie der Künste and the Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb.

In English and German. Free admission
Workshop Participation: Limited number of participants. By registration only at day of event
Detailed programme available at:

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