In Cooperation: BE.BOP 2016. Black Europe Body Politics. Call & Response. curated by Alanna Lockward, 1-3 June 2016, Volksbühne

Produced by Art Labour Archives for Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz and curated by Alanna Lockward, BE.BOP 2016. BLACK EUROPE BODY POLITICS. CALL & RESPONSE. will take place from 1 to 3 June in Berlin at Volksbühne am Rosa Luxemburg Platz, sponsored by the Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung – bpb) and organised in cooperation with AfricAvenir International e.V. Also taking place in Copenhagen from June 5-7 sponsored by the Danish Arts Foundation, this festival is organized by Art Labour Archives, a decolonial transdisciplinary and indisciplinary curatorial initiative based in Berlin. Since 2012, BE.BOP has had an international impact through presentations in major cities across three continents.nIn English with simultaneous translation into German and Spanish.nFestival Ticket 25 € / 15 €  Reduced
Day Ticket: 10 € / 6 € Reduced
Single Event: 6 € / 4 € Reduced

“The fact remains, and we can never emphasize it enough, that the maroon is the only true popular hero of the Caribbean… an indisputable example of systematic opposition, of total refusal”. Édouard Glissant

BE.BOP. BLACK EUROPE BODY POLITICS is a decolonial transdisciplinary and indisciplinary curatorial initiative based in Berlin with an international impact through presentations in major cities across three continents (Amersfoort, Amsterdam, Cádiz, Copenhagen, Dakar, Durban, Durham, Graz, Kassel, Johannesburg, La Havana, London, Madrid, Malmö, Middelburg, New York, Santo Domingo, Stockholm, Visby, Windhoek). BE.BOP is committed to building public discussions in which neglected storytelling and histories achieve a greater visibility.

The designation CALL & RESPONSE describes the antiphony effect, characteristic to African musical legacies in which the audience responds to a leading voice at systematic intervals. BE.BOP operates as a safe space, a quintessential maroon category, and as such has become an utterly rewarding collective experience. Marronage, the lifestyle, ethics and socio-political organization of runaway communities outside the plantation, has been an intrinsic component of the radical imagination of countless liberation struggles in Abya Yala, the designation used by Panamanian Kuna people to refer to the continent before the arrival of European colonialism. In Ecuador the teachings of the ancestors that have been labeled as “primitive” and even “diabolical” by state and private educational systems are now part of a decolonized curriculum entirely conceived and implemented by maroon descendants . In Brazil the stories of kilombos is intrinsically ingrained in the memory of the country, although not counted in national histories.

In German (and more generally in European) schools, topics such as global entanglements, colonialism, transnational enslavement trade and slave labor in plantations are rarely taught. While the French Revolution is a major focus in the German classroom, students learn nothing about the Haitian Revolution, started and won by Maroon leaders, despite its close connections to the developments in France. Similarly, Africa and the African diaspora take no part in most curricula. Even when they do, the perspective and stories of resistance of the enslaved are largely omitted; an amnesia that is not helping to deal with current issues in Europe, as immigration, refugees and ‚terrorists‘ attacks and the consequent induced and manipulated fear of the population are at the forefront of hegemonic narratives.

Yet these personal testimonies, stories and similar forms of aesthetic expressions offer an excellent introduction to the subject, and contribute to educate students and the general public. BE.BOP is committed to building public discussions in which neglected storytelling and histories achieve a greater visibility. The project is committed to collectively undo the asymmetries of knowledge brought about by colonialism. It aims at empowering the disempowered in mainstream silencing of histories and bringing forward coloniality, the darker side of modernity, and the consequences that are still present in this day and age are no exception. Coloniality, it has been said, is not over. It is all over. It is imperative to build public spaces in which European students, readers, and audiences be exposed to the silences of hegemonic history.

BE.BOP has been conceived by Alanna Lockward as a contribution to the growth and extension of Pan-African radical legacies by introducing the theoretical framework offered by the collective modernity/coloniality/decoloniality and the concept of decolonial option. The decolonial is an option that invites to delink from the promises of modernity and the discontents of coloniality, the darker and constitutive side of modernity. Our specific goals focus on Black and African Diasporas performance and moving image artistic practices in Europe and beyond and through them to illuminate what modernity/coloniality means and what the decolonial option offers. Both the history of the African continent as well as the history of enslaved Africans in Abya Yala, constitute a fundamental and tragically neglected history in of Western Civilization, comparable with the Holocaust in the intra-mural history of Europe.

The option for the decolonial that impregnates BE.BOP therefore does not claim recognition for alternative, other or multiple modernities. Rather, BE.BOP seeks to find ways to overcome coloniality enabled by the violence of modernity in the name of ‚progress‘, ‚freedom‘ and ‚peace‘. Decolonial and Maroon thinking and doing, through visual and moving images, through written and spoken words, through sounds and rhythms are already walking the roads of delinking from the canons of modern, postmodern and altermodern philosophical aesthetics drinking in the fountains of European Renaissance and their Enlightenment ’secular‘ hegemonic artistic histories.

BE.BOP 2016. CALL & RESPONSE brings into focus once again, a historical perspective on the racialized inequalities during the periods of imperial expansion and colonization. Decolonial conversations, investigations and creative outcomes on the historical entanglements would allow for an informed and contextualized understanding of the current (not exclusively) Middle East refugee ‚crisis‘. Access to social and physical mobility was firmly organized according to racializing social structures during German colonialism in the African continent, and in similar fashion during Apartheid in South Africa. Mobility – who is mobile and how, who is permitted to go where, and who is considered a migrant, ‚expat‘ or ‚tourist‘ etc. – is still founded on a structural coloniality that is evident in citizenship statuses of various migration regimes. The event fosters a discussion of the possibilities to overcome currently enduring colonial inequalities and "uneven mobilities" (Mimi Sheller), as well as new forms of conviviality in the societies of our globalized world. In view of the current crisis of European societies, this is an evident and pressing issue.

The first edition of BLACK EUROPE BODY POLITICS, in 2012, was realized in partnership with Allianz Kulturstiftung and Ballhaus Naunynstrasse. In 2013, the cooperation partner was AfricAvenir and Ballhaus Naunynstrasse and in 2014 the event took place in both Copenhagen, with Jeannette Ehlers as guest curator at the Danish Arts Workshop and Berlin at Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, with the friendly support of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung and the Danish Arts Council, among a handful of partner institutions. In 2014, some of the BE.BOP artists participated in “Black Diaspora + Berlin. Decolonial Narratives” as part of “bbp METRO“(in cooperation with the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung) at Grüner Salon. The event was also dedicated to the spirit of resistance against exclusion and marginalization of Black Germans (and Europeans), as well as the spirit of overcoming hierarchies and drawing borders, giving the silenced memories a voice and a space for dialogue.

BE.BOP 2016 will bring together for the first time two parallel trajectories: the trajectory initiated with BE.BOP 2012 and the trajectory initiated in November of 2010, in Bogotá, Colombia under the heading of Estéticas Decoloniales (Decolonial Aesthetics) curated by Pedro Pablo Gómez, Elvira Ardiles and Walter Mignolo. These two strands found already a place of encounter in the written page: the collective volume published by Social Text-Periscope and co-edited by Walter Mignolo and Rolando Vázquez ( In this new encounter Africa, the Caribbean and Abya Yala and African legacies in the Caribbean and Abya Yala will converge in Berlin and Copenhagen for the very first time in the same physical space, supported by simultaneous translation into German, Spanish and English.nThis year for the first time our host in Berlin will be the prestigious avant-garde theatre Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz and we have successfully obtained funding from the Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung BPB) and the Danish Arts Council. Our cooperation partner is once again AfricAvenir.

Following marronage narratives, knowledge performed in BE.BOP interrogates hierarchical academic structures and disciplinary boundaries while engaging in deep discussions on Black citizenship in Europe, colonial amnesia, the legacies of the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, revolutionary spirituality and healing, among other Afrocentric subjects. New performance works have been commissioned or have been developed in BE.BOP such as the critically acclaimed Whip it Good! by Jeannette Ehlers and the gender defying Ni ‚mamita‘ ni ‚mulatita‘ by Teresa María Díaz Nerio. New concepts such as Afropean Decoloniality, by myself and Genocidal White Laughter, by Teresa María Díaz Nerio have been articulated and established. Collective knowledge creation has been central to BE.BOP since its inception. These contributions are included in a volume entitled “BE.BOP 2012-2014: El Cuerpo en el Continente de la Conciencia Negra” (The Body in the Continent of Black Consciousness).  The authors are distinguished thinkers and doers such as artists, curators, art critics as well as scholars in the social sciences and the humanities, agents of growing global networks which are building communities based on love instead of on competitiveness, liberating aesthesis from the prison house of modern aesthetics while healing colonial wounds inflicted by racism and sexism, nationally and globally.  This book presents the first Spanish translations of two iconic Pan-African thinkers, Erna Brodber (Jamaica), and Fatima El Tayeb, (Germany). It is published by Ediciones del Signo, in Buenos Aires, in a collection entitled El Desprendimiento (Delinking) initiated and directed by Walter Mignolo which promotes decolonial delinking in all spheres of life (economic, political, artistic/aesthetic, spirituality/religion, racism/sexism, knowing/understanding). Launched in 2000, the monographic series entered in its second cycle in 2014, under the editorial vision and energy of Malena Pestellini.
BE.BOP 2016. CALL & RESPONSE aims at further expanding this particular mode of embodying the decoloniality of knowledge, sensing and being by inserting a notion of authorship as a collective performance and facilitating a generative dramaturgy in the context of an established theatrical institution such as Volksbühne with a renowned experimental trajectory. A decisive emphasis is given to the embodiment of decolonized collective knowledge creation via newly commissioned performances and video installations where the interaction with the audience is crucial, as it has been established in previous editions.

Located at the center of Berlin, the Volksbühne is historically associated with the alliance of colonial powers, but also with the resistance and opposition against oppressive regimes. The Volksbühne was also subject of discussion in terms of racist practices in German theatre, most notoriously blackfacing, a practice originated in buffo theatre and minstrel shows in the United States. It wasn’t until recently that the famous theatre followed the lead of more alternative” spaces like the Savvy Contemporary and Ballhaus Naunynstrasse by hosting one of the few events commemorating the two month Berlin Conference of 1884, in which the European colonial powers divided and distributed the African continent among themselves. At this point no serious discussion of Germany’s colonial past or the persistence of colonial power structures and knowledge hierarchies had taken place. The treatment of refugees on the protest camps at Oranienplatz is a sad indication of how (hegemonic) Germany still constructs its identity as white, of how past and present Black presence, achievements and participation is erased, and how Black Germans are denied citizenship rights.

Black refugee activists have been resisting such oppressions ever since. In April 2014, activists in 14 German cities organized protests, marches and creative actions. In an act of contemporary marronage, refugee and activist Napuli Langa took action by climbing a sycamore tree on Oranienplatz. She remained there for five days without food, defying the wind and the tide in order to protest against the racist German asylum practices such as the violent clearing of the protest camp on Berlin’s Oranienplatz, the prohibition to work, and the refusal of the right of free movement for refugees. Napuli’s protest which calls to mind the maroons’  refuge to the mountains, stimulated a critical revision of numerous of the violent practices of German asylum policies, many of which are being re-thought and adapted. Since Napuli resisted to give in to the governments’ unannounced clearing of their camp and physically protested to be treated and governed in this way, she thereby also denounced the structural racist-colonial underpinnings of restrictive German asylum policies. Napuli’s defying, marooned, presence on the sycamore tree was distributed through media Berlin-wide and German-wide. Her political performance has turned into a symbol of resistance, her image even formed part of the exhibition in the German pavilion of the Venice Biennial in 2015. Her phenomenal endurance in the middle of a cold winter season is an act of cimarronaje which, in the same spirit of “#Black Lives Matter” campaign, uses social media to further expand the legacy of the Black Power movement and its masterful use of the media as well as of the public space as a catalyst for political performance. In her homage, Art Labour Archives has commissioned a new video-art piece by Berlin-based, Cuban artist, Yoel Díaz Vázquez entitled “Napuli’s Tree”. Professing a deep admiration for Napuli Langa’s spirit and vision, for her courage and style, the artist mirrors in the actual sycamore tree occupied by this Black warrior for five days, the struggles of today´s coloniality, equal to countless maroon rebellions.

BE.BOP 2016. CALL & RESPONSE will continue furthering the agenda of many groups and individuals that demand that these historical vacuums as well as the Herero-Nama Genocide in today´s Namibia finally gain a material acknowledgement in the hegemonic narratives of state, citizenship and nation in Germany. nThis is one of the fundamental arguments of the documentary “Allen Report. Retracing Transnational African Methodism”, written and directed by  Alanna Lockward. This film will have its world premiere during BE.BOP 2016 thanks to the support of Dirección General de Cine de la República Dominicana.

As in its previous edition, BE.BOP 2016 will once again take place in Copenhagen (June 5-7) in cooperation with  the Trampoline House, a grass-root organization that supports asylum seekers, and the University of Copenhagen. Gurminder K. Bhambra an Walter Mignolo will give keynotes addressing the legacies of the Haitian Revolution in global resistance to oppression, among other subjects.  The last session will be dedicated to Jeannette Ehlers‘ upcoming publication with contributions by Mathias Danbolt, Alanna Lockward and Rolando Vázquez.

Finally, this edition is openly recognizing its essential Caribbean character materialized in the presence of a significant amount of participants from the region and its diasporas. Three new performance works have been commissioned to Caribbean diaspora artists Teresa María Díaz Nerio, Quinsy Gario and Patricia Kaersenhout. Jeannette Ehlers will install a site-specific sculpture in front of Volksbühne, adding to the Caribbean stamina of this platform dedicated to the expansion of afrocentric decolonial thinking, sensing and doing.

Sandra Abd’Allah-Alvarez Ramírez (Germany + Cuba) + Laura Alegre (Argentina)  + Dalida María Benfield (USA + Panama) + Gurminder K. Bhambra (UK) + Manuela Boatca (Germany + Rumania) + Erna Brodber (Jamaica) + Lesley–Ann Brown (Denmark + Trinidad) + Artwell Cain (Netherlands + St. Vincent)  + Kjell Caminha (Sweden + Brazil) + Augustus Casely-Hayford (UK) + Mathias Danbolt (Denmark) + Teresa María Díaz Nerio (Netherlands + Dominican Republic) + Yoel Díaz Vázquez (Germany + Cuba) + Frank Dragtenstein (Netherlands + Suriname) + Rebecca Drammeh (Sweden) + Simmi Dullay (South Africa + Denmark) + Jeannette Ehlers (Denmark + Trinidad) + Fatima El Tayeb (USA + Germany) + Quinsy Gario (Netherlands + Curacao) + Cristel Gbaguidi (Germany + Benin) + Pedro Pablo Gómez (Colombia) + Gillion Grantsaan (Denmark + Netherlands + Suriname) + Adler Guerrier (USA + Haiti) + Ylva Habel (Sweden) + Sasha Huber (Finland + Switzerland + Haiti) + Malcolm Momodou Jallow  (Sweden + Senegal) + Jane Jin Kaisen (Denmark) + Patricia Kaersenhout (Netherlands + Suriname) + Nazila Kivi (Denmark + Iran)  + Krudas Cubensi (USA + Cuba) + Napuli Langa (Germany + Sudan) + Mette Moestrup (Denmark) + Mwangi Hutter (Germany + Kenya) + Patrice Naimbana (UK + Sierra Leone) + Anna Neye (Denmark) + Tone O. Nielsen (Denmark) + Tanja Ostojic (Germany) + Anne Ring Petersen (Denmark) + Tuleka Prah (Germany + Ghana) + Julia Roth (Germany)  + Rod Sachs (USA) + Moritz Schramm (Denmark) +  Robbie Shilliam (UK) + Helle Stenum (Denmark)  + Javier Tapia (Denmark + Chile) + Ovidiu Tichindeleanu (Rumania)  + Rolando Vázquez (Netherlands + Mexico).

Walter Mignolo + Advisor
Julia Roth + Commissioned Works Coordinator
Elena Quintarelli + Curatorial Assistant
Partners: Humboldt University Berlin, Center for Global Studies and the Humanities + IDEA. Arts + Society + Transnational Decolonial Institute Nikolaj Kunsthal + Statens Værksteder (The Danish Arts Workshop) + Network for Migration and Culture + Ediciones del Signo
Sponsored in Denmark by the Danish Arts Council
Media Partners: AfricAvenir + AFROTAK TV cyberNomads  + Reboot FM + Uprising Art + Afrikadaa

BE.BOP 2012-2014

A project of Art Labour Archives for Volksbühne
Curated by Alanna Lockward

June 1-3 Berlin
Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

nWednesday June 1
Roter Salon

Presentation of Ediciones del Signo’s volume: BE.BOP 2012-2014: El Cuerpo en el Continente de la Conciencia Negra (The Body in the Continent of Black Consciousness). Edited by Alanna Lockward for the collection “El Desprendimiento” (De-linking), directed by Walter Mignolo. Translated by Laura Alegre and revised by Teresa María Díaz Nerio. With contributions by: Manuela Boatca, Erna Brodber, Lesley-Ann Brown, Artwell Cain, Teresa María Díaz Nerio, Yoel Díaz Vázquez, Simmi Dullay, Jeannette Ehlers, Fatima El Tayeb, Patricia Kaersenhout, Walter Mignolo, Quinsy Gario, Julia Roth, Robbie Shilliam and Rolando Vázquez.

Laura Alegre + Alanna Lockward + Walter Mignolo + Artwell Cain + Teresa María Díaz Nerio + Julia Roth nModerated by Rolando Vázquez

Roter Salon
Screening of Orí by Raquel Gerber. Berlin Premiere
Moderated by Artwell Cain

13:30-14:30 BREAK

Parade by Jeannette Ehlers

15:30 -17:15
Roter Salon
Walter Mignolo + Robbie Shilliam + Augustus Casely-Hayford + Jeannette Ehlers
Moderated by Quinsy Gario

17:15-17:45 BREAK

17:45-19:00 Roter Salon
Roter SalonnPedro Pablo Gómez + Rolando Vázquez + Simmi Dullay + Rod Sachs
Moderated by Ovidiu Tichindeleanu

19:00 – 19:30
Screening My African Food Map by Tuleka Prah

3 Floor
Teresa María Díaz Nerio. Areíto Indestructible, Performance, Weltpremiere
Q & A Moderated by Alanna Lockward

Thursday June 2
Screening Napuli’s Tree. By Yoel Díaz Vázquez, World Premiere
Yoel Díaz Vázquez + Cristel Gbaguidi + Napuli Langa + Tanja Ostojić + Julia Roth
Moderated by Robbie Shilliam

Quinsy Gario, Black, Basically a Genealogical Materialist Analysis, Performance, World Premiere.

14:00-15:00 BREAK

Roter Salon
Manuela Boatcă + Artwell Cain + Ovidiu Tichindeleanu + Patrice Naiambana
Moderated by Walter Mignolo

17:00-17:15 BREAK

Roter Salon
Dalida María Benfield + Jeannette Ehlers + Teresa María Díaz Nerio
Moderated by Alanna Lockward

19:00-20:00 BREAK

20:00-22:00, 3 Floor
Patrice Naiambana, Perception Gap, solo-digital performance. German premiere.

Friday June 3
Roter Salon
Screening of Allen Report. Retracing Transnational African Methodism (2016) by Alanna Lockward
World premiere
Moderated by Julia Roth

13:00-13:30 BREAK

Roter Salon
Frank Dragtenstein + Sandra Abd’Allah-Alvarez Ramírez + Krudas Cubensi + Patricia Kaersenhout
Moderated by Teresa María Díaz Nerio

Roter Salon
Adler Guerrier +  Alanna Lockward  + Quinsy Gario
Moderated by Walter Mignolo

16:30-16:45 BREAK

Roter Salon
Lesley-Anne Brown + Mette Moestrup + Nazila Kivi + Sasha Huber
Moderated by Simmi Dullay

20:00 – 22:00
Patricia Kaersenhout. A History of Grief, performance. World Premiere
Q & A with Patricia Kaersenhout
Moderated by Dalida María Benfieldnn


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