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'Intangibility within the tangible spaces of coloniality: Create solidarity from different positions'
Online Panel Discussion: 5th April 7-8.30pm (CET) The link for the Zoom event will be sent via emails.
Please register by emailing to: firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain the link.
Please note, the discussion might be extended until 21.00.
Topics in the discussion:
Distance, Intimacy, Intangibility within the tangible spaces of post/neo-colonial era.
Building relations to own localities through decolonialized sensibilities.
Squatting in decolonial perspectives
How to create solidarity from different positions for more awareness and actual
change towards equality?
Moderator: Fazle Shairmahomed(NL)
Cheik FITA (CD/BE)
Rukumbuzi Delphin Ntanyoma(CD/NL)
Where it started from:
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been one of the most exploited countries. Modern industrial societies have continued to benefit from this ongoing “colonial matrix of power”* in and out of the Congo.
In The Hague, Netherlands, a city that presents itself as a city of international peace and justice, there is a building that formerly housed the Congolese embassy. Due to the country’s instability, lack of administration and economy, the Congo embassy was closed in 2009. There was also a legal flight taking place between a debt collector and the state of the Congo over the ownership of the embassy property. Then in 2010, the embassy was squatted. It was a few days before the Dutch government enforced the new law criminalising squatting.
Since then, diplomatic immunity of the Congo is still in effect in the space, though the embassy has became a living space mostly for artists, musicians and activists as well as a communal event space for locals and touring musicians. Such occupation still continues now under an amicable agreement between the authority of the Congo and the building’s occupants.
Toshie Takeuchi, one of the artists living and working in the building between 2011-2016, created a performative research film 'A House Placed In Between - Poetry in the comfortable grey zone - (2020)'. The film contemplates the circumstances around this occupation in the political grey zone. Through interviews, discussions, movements and setting up a frame for re-enactment, Takeuchi tried to draw a parallel between the occupation of the embassy and the political events in the Congo.
The motivation of making the film was to search ways to embody distanced connection between the site’s history and the occupying artists as well as between “we” - modern people and the sufferings created by the on-going colonial systems. While living in the embassy and researching about the Congo, Takeuchi started to compare the 2 spaces/ 2 “fortress”. The Congo (Zaire that time) was the fortress for the western capitalism against communism in African continent. In the case of the embassy in The Hague, this (open) fortress contained leftists who’s aim was to oppose the rapid rising of neoliberalism in Dutch society. Then Takeuchi questioned, if such representation of the occupation could overlook the historical complications and could become an act of writing of Eurocentric narratives. Because in both “fortresses”, the absence was apparent, which was the voice of the people of the Congo. (Link to the film homepage: houseplacedinbetween.space/)
This online panel discussion will take its starting point with the film, which will open up a great many considerations to be discussed by the panellists. In addition to learning from them of the recent developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we will reflect on the distance, sense of intimacy, and an intangibility within the tangible spaces of the post-colonial/neo-colonial era. We will discuss how and what we can work to the still exploited nations and their people from each of our own positions. We will also discuss how we might relate to each of our own localities through decolonialized sensibilities. And finally we will discuss the squatting activities in decolonial perspectives. How to create solidarity from different positions for more awareness and actual change towards equality?
* In reference to Aníbal Quijano and Walter Mignolo.
Fazle Shairmahomed creates decolonizing rituals, performance art, and dance. Their work is rooted in ancestral work and intersectional activism. Through the urgency of community building their work creates spaces in which different communities are invited to nurture conversations around colonialism and the ways in which it has impacted our histories and the ways in which it exists today. The multi-sensorial approach in their work also challenges the ways in which we perceive the world around us through themes such as death, rebirth, ancestry, belonging, colonial histories, and healing. (fazleshairmahomed.com/about/)
The panel speakers are:
Cheik FITA is a Congolese playwright, theatre director, and a freelance journalist.
Cheik was born in Shinkolobwe in southern Katanga in 1954. He graduated in philosophy from the University of Lubumbashi in 1977. From 1992 to 1997, he was a parliamentarian (High Council of the Republic, transitional parliament). Cheik has written about thirty plays which he puts on with his troupe the "Théâtre ORCAN" first from Kolwezi, then in Kinshasa from 1987. In 1987, Cheik won the Grand Prix National de Théâtre.
Cheik has lived and worked in Brussels since 2002. Since the regime changed from Joseph Kabila to Félix Tshisekedi, Cheik has become once again active in Kinshasa. (https://www.cheikfitanews.net/)
Rukumbuzi Delphin Ntanyoma is a Congolese researcher and a PhD candidate in Development Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam/ Institute of Social Studies. His project in Eastern Congo is a micro-level project aiming to understand combatants’ motivations to engage in violence. Since October 2013, he runs a Blog: The Eastern Congo Tribune (www.easterncongotribune.com); advocating mainly on redistribution of resources.
Toshie Takeuchi is an artist and filmmaker originated in Japan. She is currently based in Denmark. She investigates people’s personal memories and stories in and around specific places, specially focusing on over-looked or disregarded ones. Toshie is interested in how narratives are curated and structured, how microscopic stories of individuals or small local cities can challenge on greater structure creating public narratives, and how they can participate in suggesting different/new perspectives at geo-political level. Her research is often result in films, performances or photographic installations. (toshietakeuchi.com, facultyofsenses.dk)