Video-Performance & Conversation Decolonize Architecture Now / by Pascale Obolo

Decolonize Architecture Now © Pascale Obolo
The film is in French, the transcription is available here:  In her performative film project Decolonize Architecture Now, filmmaker Pascale Obolo follows the traces of German colonial rule in Cameroon and questions their role in today’s culture of memory. As part of the festival, she presents Decolonized Bismarck's Fountain/Living Archive Part I, which is the latest film in the project and was made between 2016 and 2019 in collaboration with André Takou Saa. The work’s starting point is Puttkamer’s castle, which testifies to German colonial rule in Buea, and a monument in the castle park honoring Otto von Bismarck. Pascale Obolo's work is an intervention in the prevailing discourses of memory and explores new possibilities for decolonizing” public space.

“The film stages a performance in the city of Buea in Cameroon. The film’s subject is not taken as a fixed historical truth, but as a sociopolitical and cultural practice in which architectural remains, objects, memories, and sound documents are turned around and interpreted in a new way. It is structured by a non-linear fictional narrative and questions the presence of the colonial body in a public space haunted by the ghost of Bismarck. The medium of the body decolonizes/re-colonizes the public space in a performance that creates a fleeting monument to honor the Cameroonian resistance fighters. Much like bodies, buildings and monuments have their own history and memory. This statement acquires its full meaning in the context of colonial architecture. What role does the body play in the construction of the individual? What is at stake when bodies are deconstructed through works of art, like the colonial body in Frantz Fanon? In Fanon’s work the black man dreams of being white, but what does the colonizer dream of? The work thus understands and uses history as an unfinished fiction in which visual aesthetics are freely unfolded and counter-fictions are invented in order to visualize stories that have been erased from our memory.
(by Pascale Obolo)

The film is part of the project Decolonize Architecture Now.

After the film, in a conversation moderated by Katharina Hey Pascale, Obolo will talk with Assumpta Mugiraneza about their work and how they deal with the colonial legacy in Cameroon, Rwanda, and Germany.

The conversation is in French, simultaneously translated into English.