By Prisca Sam-Duru
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global cultural scene notwithstanding, a new phase of the residency exchange, initiated in 2015 for young artists and curators, is taking place this year in Berlin and Lagos.
The Nigerian half of the exchange program is jointly organised by Goethe-Institut Nigeria and Lagos-based creative incubator, 16/16, while Center for Art and Urbanistics (ZK/U), SAVVY Contemporary, the Office for Higher Education and Culture/ Department of Art and Culture in conjunction with the Gallery Wedding – Space for Contemporary Art, will handle the Berlin side of the exchange.
Focusing on the topic of “archives”, their limitations and power structures as well as their current manifestations, this year’s residency in Lagos will for the first time, take place digitally. The Berlin-based artist, Monaí de Paula Antunes, is billed to work closely with 16/16 from mid-October to the end of November 2020 to implement an online project about radio and audio archives.
“While restructuring the residency at 16/16, which is necessary due to the current circumstances, it became increasingly clear how important the public program and the community-related aspects of my project are, in order to fully execute it,” Antunes said.
“This is why the initial stages and the groundwork are designed to awaken people’s interest in working on radio programs and horticulture, by offering lectures, workshops, and discussions, in which knowledge is shared and exchanged.
In addition to the joint installation of a practice-oriented community garden, hosted by the project partner in Lagos, this project aims to assemble stories, sounds, records; knowledge about domestic food production, indigenous plants, urban gardening, seeds, fermentation processes; memories, dreams and much more from the vast universe of orality into a database, especially if they contain ecological knowledge. The final stage of my residency focuses on the archival experiment, using digital technology and experimental radio formats. It will create a solid framework for a sustainable and constantly growing collaborative radio as well as a sound archive that offers the possibility of replication by other radio and archive enthusiasts.”, she explained.
On her own part, the Nigerian artist, Afopefoluwa Ojo who’s presently working in the Netherlands, is taking up a three-month residency in Berlin from September to November. Her project reflects on the question of archives from a poetic point of view.
“Berlin is one of the most vibrant cities. I’m very excited to come to a place of innovation that lies between two of the most exciting cities at the moment – Berlin and Lagos; cities that are brimming with artistic expression.
During this process of creating and learning, I hope to collaborate with great institutions such as the Goethe-Institut, Savvy Contemporary, ZK/U, Galerie Wedding, and 16/16 to re- conceptualize ways of archiving. I am also looking forward to exploring how archives can be presented visually, artistically, acoustically, technically, etc.”, Ojo said.
For the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany, Goethe-Institut Nigeria, which provides financial support for the residencies, the exchange marks a renewed consolidation of artistic exchange between Germany and Nigeria, whilst offering the interested public in both cities a fresh opportunity for a change of perspective.