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September 2020

Bonaventure Ndikung: Who cares about care, if care is the alibi? (A lamentation in three fragments, and seven songs.)

Care, Caring, and Repair in Cognitive Capitalism

In the context of global protests against systemic police racism and violence and framed by a consideration of the nature of breath (involuntary/voluntary, restricted/unrestricted), Ndikung offers “Who cares about care, if care is the alibi? A lamentation in three fragments, and seven songs.” Contrasting a present-day personal account of depletion and fatigue in the face of interminable protest with the image of persistence found in Letta Mbulu’s song “Carry On” (1969), Ndikung finds insight in the demands of radical love and the necessity for rehabilitation and rejuvenation. While acknowledging the imperative “to stand our ground and fight back in the context of prolonged adversity,” Ndikung emphasizes the need for rest and respite and the reimagining of social and civic space and discourse as a necessary precondition for a recognition of our fundamental interdependence. Along with Mbulu, the Haitian musician Ti Manno provides a springboard for Ndikung to further reflect upon the violence in Cameroon, international freedom of movement, and how the burden of exceptionalism must be cast aside in a struggle that is fundamentally intersectional.

Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (born in 1977 in Yaoundé, Cameroon) is an independent curator, author, and biotechnologist. He is founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin and the artistic director of sonsbeek20–24, a quadrennial contemporary art exhibition in Arnhem, the Netherlands. Ndikung was curator-at-large for documenta 14 in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany in 2017; a guest curator of the Dak’Art biennale in Dakar, Senegal, in 2018; and the artistic director of the 12th Bamako Encounters photography biennial in Mali in 2019. He is currently a professor for the Spatial Strategies MA program at the Weißensee Academy of Art Berlin and is also a recipient of the first OCAD University International Curators Residency fellowship in Toronto, Canada.

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