On 17 October 2020, a multifaceted online festival will take place as part of the international postcolonialism project "Everything passes except the past": Besides a lecture by Bénédicte Savoy, activists, artists, experts, curators and scholars from Africa, Latin America and Europe will discuss the sensitive field of (neo-)colonial entanglements from a discursive and artistic perspective. The contributions illuminate the challenge of decolonizing ethnological museum collections, public space and film archives and bring positions from the global North and the global South into an intensive dialogue.
No registration is required. Simultaneous translation in English and Italian will be provided.
“Everything Passes Except The Past” is the large-scale project of the Goethe-Institut in Brussels, in cooperation with the Goethe-Institutes in France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and various other partners, such as the Africa Museum Tervuren, L’ISELP (Brussels), Museu Etnològic i de Cultures del Món (Barcelona) Museo Musée d’Aquitaine (Bordeaux) and Culturgest (Lisbon). It focuses on dealing with the colonial heritage in these countries. At the center is the artistic-discursive engagement with a past that remains present in the museums, in the public space and in the picture archives of the region.
The project’s title is taken from the book with the same name by Luc Huyse. The Belgian sociologist describes how people, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, come to terms with pain caused by occupation and colonization that refuses to pass. The collective reprossessing of the past is the crux of this project that proves what appears to have passed, does not fade away. To honestly look at the colonial history and its effects on the present means that we have to leave safe ground in order to redefine and rethink power structures we are imposing and reproducing ourselves.
For the purposes of the two-year-long-project ”Everything Passes Except The Past“ we propose an artistic and discoursive approach to the residues of colonialism, whether that involves monuments or other traces of colonialism in urban space or popular culture, film archives or artefacts acquired by European museums and collectors during the colonial era, for the most part under dubious circumstances. In 2019 we organize four different workshops in Brussels, Lisbon, Bordeaux and Barcelona, accompanied by several public events, to gather together knowledge that is widely scattered. The aim is to get an overview of practices and possibilities, and develop a space in which conflicts can be thrashed out without the usual automatic formation of rigid fronts.
Exhibition in Turin 17.09.-18.10.2020
Please download here the general text, the artworks labels and the map of the exhibition space: Artworks labels
What role does photography take in a culture of memory? What are the ethical implications for the use of colonial images and how do we overcome their unsettling narratives? The exhibition EVERYTHING PASSES EXCEPT THE PAST presents photographic and lens-based artworks by Bianca Baldi, Alessandra Ferrini, Grace Ndiritu, and the collective Troubled Archives that confront, challenge, and repurpose the colonial gaze. They expose the colonial image archive as being a power instrument of social regimentation and point to the potential for critical redesign.
November 7/8 2019 in Bordeaux (in cooperation with Musée d'Aquitaine)
What should be done with artefacts still held in ethnographic collections of various European countries? The recent initiative of French President Macron to explore the modalities for restituting African objects from French collections has opened a new chapter in the debate on restitution and repatriation, but also raised new questions and ambiguities. Within the long-term project on colonial heritage “Everything passes, except the past”, the Goethe-Institut invites international researchers, artists, activists and cultural workers to a debate about museum collections and their history for looted art, colonial entanglements, and systematic exclusions.
The workshop takes place at Musée d’Aquitaine Bordeaux and aims to discuss the challenges to decolonize museum exhibition practices, the artistic and activistic approaches to this process and the inherent ethical and political questions. It seeks to develop future perspectives: How could the process of decolononization be expanded and put to good use by institutions, and what can institutions learn from the work of researchers, artists and activists? What plans and wishes are there, what resources are already available or need to be generated? What structures are necessary to do this, which ones would have to be changed or expanded?
Besides the closed workshop on November 7 and 8 that is dedicated to international specialists, the project integrates a public talk and film screening at Frac Nouvelle-Aquitaine Méca on November 6 at 19h with the artist Sammy Baloji and researcher Lotte Arndt. The event intends to bring the central questions of the debate to the public, discussing the fact that colonialism is not limited to a historical time or a distant space, but constitutes the very foundation of our thoughts and actions here and now.
The debate will be in French, with simultaneous translation into English. It is open to the public; admission is free.
24/25 October 2019 in Barcelona (in cooperation with Museu Etnològic i de Cultures del Món)
Street names honor, statues immortalize – but whom? Within the long-term project on colonial heritage “Everything passes, except the past”, the Goethe-Institut invites international researchers, artists, activists, cultural workers, and political decision makers to a debate about monuments, memorials and other visible (post-)colonial residues in public space.
The workshop takes place at the Museu Etnològic i de Cultures del Món and aims to discuss the relations between the public space, colonial traces, memory and power, the challenges and perspectives of tearing down or replacing monuments and street names, the artistic and activistic approaches to this process and the inherent ethical and political questions. It seeks to develop future perspectives: How could the process of decolononization be expanded and put to good use by institutions, and what can institutions learn from the work of researchers, artists and activists? What plans and wishes are there, what resources are already available or need to be generated? What structures are necessary to do this, which ones would have to be changed or expanded?
Besides the closed workshop on October 24 and 25 that is dedicated to international specialists, the project integrates a public round-table at El Born on October 23 with the actress and dramatic adviser Silvia Albert Sopale and artist Daniela Ortiz, moderated by Tania Adam. The round table intends to bring the central questions of the debate to the public, discussing the fact that colonialism is not limited to a historical time or a distant space, but constitutes the very foundation of our thoughts and actions here and now.
The round table will be in Spanish, with simultaneous translation into English. It is open to the public; admission is free.
25/26/27 September 2019 in Lisbon
(With Cooperation partners Culturgest and the Cinemateca Portuguesa)
During the three-day workshop in Lisbon, the fundamental questions of the project will be concretized with regard to film archives. Starting points are theories of the archive, its power structures, its production of knowledge and visibility on the one hand and the historical delineation of filmmaking and the archiving of film material in the formerly colonized and colonizing countries on the other hand. Against this theoretical and historical background, current and alternative strategies of film archives will be discussed, as well as their role in the age of digitization, its possibilities and limits. Further topics of the workshop are the handling of the gaps in the archive, the non-archivable, the opacity of images and the central question of the reproduction of power relations. The artistic approaches of filmmakers from Europe and various African countries to colonial archive material or archive material from the liberation struggles will play an important role and is intended to provide a broad insight into current artistic strategies of dealing with this material.
We would like to discuss these topics with a closed group of experts and in a protected space that allows for an open debate. Through the keynote and public film sessions, the discussion will be opened up to a larger audience, whereby we attach particular importance to ensure a discursive framing of the screenings.
Published in “Exhibiting in an Educational Field” edited by Yann Chateigné with further texts by Roxane Bovet, Yann Chateigné, Julie Enckell Julliard, Géraldine Gourbe, Tom Holert, Jean-Pierre Greff, Lucie Kolb, Charlotte Laubard, Doreen Mende. Published by HEAD - Genève / Les Presses du Réel, April 2019.
The Goethe-Institut invites experts and creatives worldwide to exchange ideas on colonial power relations, their consequences and, above all, how to dismantle them: in discourses, interviews, opinion articles and art projects. For a decolonized and non-racial world.