The Dead Are Restless, They Speak! is a shared knowledge gathering co-organised by artist researchers Anawana Haloba (University of Bergen) and Romeo Gongora (Goldsmiths, University of London). It is the third episode of the Mini Lab they hold at Goldsmiths University that critically engages with the decolonial writings of philosophers Frantz Fanon and Paulo Freire.
This event at The Showroom features Haloba and Gongora in conversation with director Elvira Dyangani Ose to address ideas of collective learning and indigenous methodologies in response to Em’kal Eyongakpa's current installation Tahjèsè #3i / barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk #4. This immersive sculptural environment forms part of sǒ bàtú (2016-19), an ongoing body of work including live sonic sketches, processions, kinetic sound sculptures and workshops with displaced communities focused on building analogue rhythmic systems, through which Eyongakpa explores ideas around portals, crossings and water in relation to resistance movements from the oil and natural gas-rich region of the Gulf of Guinea and beyond.
This public provocation takes inspiration from the Tuning In: Other Ways of Seeing workshop led by Haloba and Gongora that focused on the concept of collective learning and empowered indigenous methodologies offered by elders from the community. This first iteration was realised as a two-part venture: an exhibition and a series of projects in the form of an alternative school centred on workshops, discursive platforms, lectures, screening and pop-up shows. Tuning In: Other Ways of Seeing proposed a decolonial thinking methodology of unlearning and relearning by creating discursive platforms and exhibition projects addressing local geopolitics, collective histories and contemporary social issues.
The Dead Are Restless, They Speak! is part of a greater multi-day public programme taking place at Goldsmiths University, bringing together leading scholars to critically engage with the decolonial writings of philosophers Frantz Fanon and Paulo Freire. The events will consist of public discussions, workshops, reading sessions, film screenings and research presentations by invited participants and the public. This public programme responds to persistent polarising and populist movements relying on the modernist dichotomy “us vs. them”. Frantz Fanon held that "literature increasingly involves itself in its only real task, which is to get society to reflect and mediate", and Paulo Freire envisioned cultural action as “a clear invitation to all who wish to participate in the reconstruction of society”. In response to these critical perspectives, The Dead Are Restless, They Speak! questions how Fanon's and Freire's ideas around decolonisation and the meaning of freedom are reflected in the communities we live in today.
Images: Sambizanga, 1972, dir. Sarah Maldoror, excerpt from the film
Anawana Haloba is PhD fellow with University of Bergen (KMD). She was educated at Evelyn Hone College of Applied Arts in Lusaka, Zambia. Haloba completed her BA at the National Academy of Arts in Oslo 2006, graduate of the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and an alumnus of the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship in Washington DC. Haloba’s work has featured in both solo and group exhibitions, including, National Museum of African Arts Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, USA; the Rauma Biennale, Finland; ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe,Germany; Museum Berardo Collection, Lisbon, Portugal; Dakar Biennale 2006, Transcape 2007, la Biennale di Venezia, 2009; Sydney Biennale 2009, Australia; Manifesta 7, Bolzano, Italy, the Sharjah Biennial 08, 11 and edition 14, curated by Zoe Butt, UAE as well as the biennales in Sao Paulo (2016), Shanghai (2016) and Lyon (2017).
Romeo Gongora is a visual artist, Professor of Critical Approaches to Cultural Diversities at the École des arts visuels et médiatiques of Université du Québec à Montreal and PhD candidate in Art at Goldsmiths, University of London (UK). Since 2008, he has conducted major collaborative arts projects that interact with the social sphere, integrating politics and pedagogy in the practice of performance. Gongora has shown his work at, amongst others, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (Canada), HISK (Belgium), Centre of Art Torun (Poland), Centre Makan (Jordan) and Leonard&Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Canada). www.romeogongora.com