Can a past that the present has not yet caught up with be summoned to haunt the present as an alternative?
In April and May 2016, Chimurenga’s installation Chimurenga Library and pop-up radio station Pan African Space Station will infiltrate the Kallio Library in Helsinki. Chimurenga, a South African editorial collective and an innovative platform for free ideas and political reflection about Africa, will map primarily Kallio Library’s music and multimedia’s collection to create an alternative route to the library’s collection, a setting for a pop-up live studio and an archive for the future.
The intervention continues Chimurenga’s ongoing exploration into the utopian moment shortly after African independences, when a series of Pan African festivals staged in Dakar, Algiers, Lagos and Kinshasa functioned as laboratories for the development of new, continent-wide politics and cultures. FESTAC 77 (Lagos 1977) and its predecessors, The First World Festival of Negro Arts (Dakar 1966), the First Pan-African Festival (Algiers 1969) and Zaire 74 (Kinshasa 1974) presented a shared vision of an Africa yet to come.
This Africa was as much a geographic reality as it was a construct, a continent whose boundaries shift according to the prevailing configurations of global racial identities and power. Building on their previous research platforms staged in Cape Town, Lagos, San Francisco, Sharjah, Paris, London and New York among others Chimurenga will remap these Pan-Africanist imaginations and cultural visions in Helsinki. What is important here is not the reiteration of the actual past, but the persistence of what never actually happened, but might have.
The space of Kallio Library will be transformed into a pop-up live studio Pan African Space Station for entangling different realities and experiences – with participants and listeners prompted by ideas of utopia and oppression, history and the future, borders, time, art and technology. The Pan African Space Station’s live broadcasting program on 13.-17.4.2016 will include music, conversations, travelogues and performances with local musicians, journalists, writers, curators and filmmakers. The Chimurenga Library will function amidst a cartographic installation, mapping a series of “routes” running throughout the space. Books, records and other material from the library’s collection will be connected through a physical map that highlights networks of exchange and collaboration across place, time, disciplines and ideologies.
The project is part of the Remembering Silences season curated by Ahmed Al-Nawas.
Dates: PASS radio 13 April 2016- 17 April 2016
Chimurenga Library installation 11 April 2016 – 28 May 2016
For more info, follow Pan African Space Station
Image credit: Chimurenga, The Chimurenga Library, 2015. A Performa Institute Residency. Photo by Maria Baranova, courtesy of Performa.