The Dakar Reflection Group was initiated out of an urge to better understand the global conditions of artistic and cultural production in today’s world. In line with previous iterations of the Reflecting Group, the Dakar group organized different types of self-education, debate, and exchange. All of its activities were informed by a special interest in ‘(un)learning’, a practice geared towards breaching the limits of hegemonic structures of knowledge. The highlight of the group’s journey to Dakar was a visit to the 13th DAK’ART Biennial.
From its very outset, the DAK’ART Biennial has placed a special emphasis on regional, pan-African, and international networks and exchange. It is also one of the most renowned platforms for the discussion and exhibition of ideas about post-colonialism, prospects for a decolonized future, and the risks posed by new forms of occupation and exploitation. At the same time, debates on the African Diaspora and the post-colonial condition have, both in Africa and Europe, been critically impacted by the plans to open the ‘Humboldt Forum’ in the heart of Berlin. The topic of the 2018 Biennial was ‘The Red Hour: The Hour of Reason’. With our trip to Dakar, we wanted to expand our critical tools in order to be able to harken this call in a sensitive manner.
The meeting was open to all members of the Robert Bosch Cultural Managers Network interested in curating or managing visual and performative arts. It was also open to participants from the social sciences, politics, journalism, urbanism, architecture, heritage studies, cultural diplomacy, and education. This heterogenous group shared a common interest in learning more about cultural production in contemporary Africa, the significance of culture for post-colonial discourse and action, and the responsibilities and alternate modes of practice that it might reveal.
A project organized by Sonja Lau in collaboration with Amado Alfadni, Julia Danila, Virág Major, Christine Rahn and Cornelius Stiefenhofer