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​An atemporal restaurant

The group reflects about time and suggests the invention of a restaurant that visits many locations around the world.

None of the labs that were proposed to work the ideas the came up in the unconferences serve the group that discusses “atemporality, fetish, supremacy, and fluxes.” This does not mean that none of these people have interest in creative writing, artistic experimentation, educational intervention, and social action. But they decide to put in practice a sort of symbolic non-submission to the models of the event, leaving the terrain free for other expressions to arise. 

The result is a mobile restaurant, that attends communities in places through which is passes and values the local production. A space in which people cook together, circle around, and have good moments. “We thought that food can be seen as a futurist component and that the restaurant will always have the concepts of temporality and atemporality,” suggests Koyo Kouoh, founder of the RAW Material Company, and center of art, knowledge, and society, in Dakar, Senegal.

The intention of the group, explains the historian Sabrina Moura, is to produce something organic that has the potential of surviving the Goethe-Institut Salvador Conference, echoing for a longer period of time and in other spheres. The independent curator Maria Catarina Duncan situated the group as “agents of experimentation” and the restaurant (still without a name), as a mode of engagement, that can travel oceans and exercise other forms of economy and politics.

Travelers in time

In order to visualize the restaurant more clearly- and even imagine a few menus - it is necessary to make a brief trip to the past, when I this group met for the first time, determined to unpack the notion of temporality and to fracture it, as indicated the performer and professor Ayesha Hameed. “I am a time traveler,” plays the musician and composer Neo Muyanga, in accommodating himself next to Hameed at the discussion table. 

One of the first thoughts of the group in speaking of atemporality is of running away from the trap of looking at Africa only through the prism of colonization. “Because this gaze does not supply us with a multiple, artistic, social, and political comprehension,” observes Koyo Kouoh. It is also necessary to challenge victimization, she says, in order to construct temporal concepts.

These concepts are connected to the notion of work, “of making bodies move economic forces,” illustrates the philosopher Amilcar Packer. There is a non-linear aspect in dealing with atemporality, points out the writer Patrick Mudekereza. According to him, history is not a succession of dates, but a period after another in which one can, in the case of Africa, connect slavery with colonization: “Time is a process that never ends.”

It is also necessary to think that the colonial era represents only a frame in the history of Africa, compared to the entire period before that, in which the continent produced culture, wealth, and technology, ponders the director of Ipeafro, Elisa Nascimento. There is a circular spirit that connects earth and life, that is why the idea of an ethnographic museum, presented in the talk by Nanette Snoep, carries a violence. “These objects, preserved there without context or history, would need to die, because in actuality they are subjects and death is part of the cycle of life,” she provokes.

Colonization X colonialism

Beyond slavery, one must observe this exploration in its economic aspect, reminds Koyo Kouoh. “People were commercializes.” In the group, there was much discussion on the difference between colonization and colonialism because of this impact in economic production. “Why are we at the ICBA and not in Nigeria speaking about all of this?”, questions Amilcar Packer.

The editor Anna Jäger recuperates other themes in this conference reflecting the idea of progress as a fetishization of time. “The past is not so passed, especially if we consider that many parts of history were silenced,” she ponders and adds: “We live in a dangerous moment of not being able to imagine how our future would be.”

There is a past in the future, defends Koyo Kouh. “The future cannot be Wakanda,” she provokes, referring to the African nation invented in the Marvel comic book and recently adapted to the big screen, in the film Black Panther. The performer Jota Mombaça suggests breaking the line of time, recuperating a common idea in Central America, that the future is what is behind us. “We need to move in other systems.”

Discussion participants: Anna Jäger, Ayesha Hameed, Amilcar Packer, Diane Lima, Elisa Nascimento, Jota Mombaça, Julia Grosse, Maria Catarina Duncan, Ute Fendler, Sabrina Moura, Yolanda Chois, Patrick Mudekereza e Neo Muyanga.

by Carla Bittencourt