About the conference

Echoes of the south atlantic | On the future of the southern transatlantic relations

The Conference that takes place from 23rd to 25th April in Salvador da Bahia (Brazil), Echoes of the South Atlantic poses the question of the future of the Southern Transatlantic relations, particularly concerning the past, present and future role of Europe, and sets out to explore possible answers through a multi-disciplinary, multi-spatial and multi-temporal approach.

Until the 15th century, the Atlantic was a perceptible border between Africa and Europe on one side and America on the other. The overcoming of this border was followed by the well-known history of “discovery”, colonization, enslavement, exploitation, migration and wealth in Europe. The exchange between the three continents thus became more dynamic and resulted in a cultural linkage that changed the three continents fundamentally. Meanwhile, the political, cultural and economic constellations have changed and Europe is losing its relative importance. At the same time, the mutual interest and exchange between Africa and South America is increasing.

How do matters stand with the Atlantic Triangle in the 21st century? What kind of position will Europe assume vice versa Africa and South America after having played the role of a colonial hegemon – in different nuances – for the last 500 years? How to deal with knowledge and findings from the past in regards to future trajectories? How to ascertain social, economic, political and cultural developments in the respective world regions? Which histories lead the way to the future and which cultural strategies and innovations can improve life on earth substantially and sustainably?

The conference “Echoes of the South Atlantic – On the Future of the Southern Transatlantic Relations” will deal with the above thematic complex, gathering artists, academics and intellectuals from the three continents – Africa, South America and Europe – in Salvador, city of salient historical relevance in this context.

The following aspects will be approached in the conference:

  • New historiographies
  • Migration and displacement
  • Civil societies of the future
  • Democracy
  • Art and science as hybrid forms of knowledge production


part 1
Open Events

Goethe-Institut Salvador
Av. Sete de Setembro, 1809 | Vitória, Salvador - BA
Simultaneous translation
Registration: tinyurl.com/ecosgoethe

9:00 | Greetings

10:00 | "An Afro-Atlantic visual history", BY Lilia Schwarcz

Brazil was the last country to abolish the slave system; it was abolished only in 1888, after USA and Cuba. Brazil had enslaves working people all over the country and has received almost 45 percent of the Africans that were forced to leave the continent and to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Different nations have arrived in the country and have created a very violent but also a very mixed society. 

Miscegenation is not just a question of mixing, or putting people together, but also a form of separation. This is why a very hierarchized and violent society was developed in Brazil. Nevertheless, at the same time, this new diaspora has created original forms of circulation of ideas, foods, tissues, smells, rituals, religions, words, and symbols. Brazil was immediately connected to this new circuit that separated and put together Africa, Europe, and Amerindian groups. During some time, mainly under the First Republic in Brazil, and the post-abolitionist period, the “past remained in silence”. And this kind of social invisibility persists until nowadays. It is easy to note discrimination in the national census, which shows inequality in the access to work, public spaces, health and education. Inequality is a deep problem in the world, but a persistent and continuous challenge in Brazil. Nevertheless, since colonial times, Africans have showed the impossibility of defining the slave system without putting together another side or aspiration: freedom. 

This presentation aims to “put together” some data and a lot of iconography, showing how this Afro-Atlantic history has created languages in common and visual forms that have also traveled in the slave ships.

11:00 | "It Is Dark and Damp On the Front - Treading the Sonic Path of Halim El-Dabh", BY Bonaventure Ndikung

This lecture takes its cue from the 2007 eponymous album “The Dog Done Gone Deaf” by composer, musicologist, educator, sound artist and panafricanist Halim El-Dabh. El-Dabh’s electronic music, music for chamber, percussion ensembles, orchestra, concerto, wind ensemble, choral music, dramatic music and film music stand out as some of the most daring and innovative of the 20th century. This lecture will offer a possibility of a counter narration and a re-configuration of a genealogy of sound art history, albeit from within. “It Is Dark and Damp On the Front” will be an effort to lay bare El-Dabh’s musical dexterity, the sophistication and complexity of his artistic oeuvre – which integrates allegories, myths and pluriversal cosmogonies – that spanned a period of seventy years.

It is true that since an excerpt of his 1944 composition “The Expression of Zār” was released under the title Wire Recorder Piece on CD in 2000, El-Dabh has been celebrated in art music circles as one of the first composers to use the techniques that Pierre Schaeffer was later to use in 1948, thereby giving birth to musique concrète. But it is also true that El-Dabh’s practice can and should not be reduced to references of the Western canon (although he played with/for Alan Hovhaness, Henry Cowell, John Cage or Martha Graham amongst others), as his musical philosophies lie deeply rooted in African, Afrodiasporic and Arabic musical traditions, and his compositions and experimentations surpass the framework of musique concrète.

The lecture will be an effort to put a spotlight on a forgotten forerunner of Sound art, an imperative figure in what one might call an Afrosonic art practice, and reflect on and disseminate El-Dabh’s aural epistemologies.

12:00 | “From the Cabinet of Curiosities to a Cabinet of Curious Histories", by Nanette Snoep

The descendant of the Cabinet of Curiosities, the so-called Ethnographic museum, this 19th century European colonial invention, represents a political minefield today. This cultural institution is inconsistent in terms of today’s postcolonial condition and does not reflect at all the historical and current geopolitical circulation of people, objects and ideas. This stubborn identity crisis of the western ethnographic museum doesn’t seem to see the end and the difficulties it is facing in Europe in order to offer a new museum model trying to take into account all different kind of expectations from very different audiences, reflects this. So what could mean an ethnographic museum with holdings mostly collected during the colonial era, classified in colonial categories by a Western elite in this 21st century? How to echo the stories of the Atlantic inside the museum space that connect our three continents but which are still neglected? 

To do so the museum will have to blur the geographic boundaries, mixing objects and stories of any category, blurring disciplines and classifications. This approach is presently sketched in the exhibition “Prolog #1-10 Stories of People, Things and Places” I curate and which I will refer to in my talk.
I suggest the Museum not just as a place of “Con-Ser-Vation” of objects and cultures but rather a place of  “Con-Ver-Sation”. This means a museum that has to be considered as a place where one promotes practices of cross-conVersation, cross-conServation, cross-contextualization and cross-experimentation, that opens up the European or western worldview by highlighting a plurality of history and histories This new museum will have to reshuffle the collection and its stories in order to create a narrative cacophony or in other words a “Cabinet of Curious Histories”.

part 2
Open Events

The “Echoes of the South Atlantic” supports the idea of multi-perspectiveness. Therefore, instead of pre-defining curatorial and thematic lines, the panels will propose an interesting and diverse group of people (from Africa, South America and Europe) with no direct link between their respective fields of work. The panels will then start with each panelist elaborating on their respective connection to the South Atlantic and their work or approach (10 min). These introductions should kick off a valuable discussion between the panelists, the moderator and the audience. As a final task, the panelists should find a title for each of their panels. 

14:00 - 15:30 

Pannel 1 

Participants: Robert F. Reid-Pharr, Selene Wendt, Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Manuel Monestel and Felix Kaputu
Moderator: Moisés Lino e Silva
Venue: Library of the Goethe-Institut Salvador

Pannel 2

Participants: Felipe Arocena, Koyo Kouh, Diedrich Diederichsen and Ute Fendler
Moderator: Amilcar Packer
Venue: Theatre of the Goethe-Institut Salvador

16:00 - 17:30 

Pannel 3

Participants: Juan Angola Maconde, Fernando Oliva, Ciraj Rassool, Asligul Berktay and Patrick Mudekereza
Moderator: Emi Koide
Venue: Library of the Goethe-Institut Salvador

Pannel 4

Participants: Elisa Nascimento, Ayesha Hameed, Wolgang Schneider and Abdulai Silai 
Moderator: Carol Barreto
Venue: Theathre of the Goethe-Institut Salvador

open event

18:00 | Performances 

18:00 - 18:30
Sarojini Lewis
Venue: Theathre of the Goethe-Institut Salvador

18:30 - 19:30
Jota Mombaça 
Venue: Galerie of the Goethe-Institut Salvador

Goethe-Institut Salvador
Av. Sete de Setembro, 1809 | Vitória, Salvador - BA
Simultaneous translation

Part 1
Closed event

9:00 - 13:00 | Deconference


Part 2
closed events

15:00 - 18:00 | Project Lab - Intervention labs


Part 3
open events

18:00 | Performance 

18:00 - 18:30
Carol Barreto
Venue: Theatre of the Goethe-Institut Salvador

18:30 - 19:00 
Anita Ekman 
Venue: Theatre of the Goethe-Institut Salvador

Part 1

Universidade Federal da Bahia
Salão nobre da Reitoria da UFBA
Rua Augusto Viana s/n - Canela | Salvador - BA
Simultaneous translation

09:00 - 12:00 | Painel

Moderator: Diane Lima
Participants: Filomena Carvalho, Mona Suhrbier, Omar Thomaz, Claudio Furtado and Crisanto Barros

closed events

Goethe-Institut Salvador
Av. Sete de Setembro, 1809 | Vitória, Salvador - BA

14:00 - 18:00 | Results and Final Discussion


Part 3 

Goethe-Institut Salvador
Av. Sete de Setembro, 1809 | Vitória, Salvador - BA

19:00 | Launching party: Exhibition „Echoes of the Soüth Atlantic“ + Launch of the magazine "C& AMérICA latina" 

Artists: Yolanda Chois, Antonio Társis, Cássio Bonfim, Emeka Ogboh, Akinbode Akinbiyi, Ayrson Heráclito, Ana Hupe, Camila Sposati, Tatewaki Nio, Isaac Julien, Jonathan Dotse, Anita Ekman, Jota Mombaca, Sarojini Lewis e Carol Barreto 

20:00 | Jam session with Neo Muyanga and DJ Ntone Edjabe + Final party

Cousine from Bahia with Vilson Caetano and Solange Nsaba

20:00 - 22:00

Cássio Bomfim
Venue: Foyer at the Theatre of the Goethe-Institut Salvador