Restitution, The role of museums, Colonial legacy, Culture of memory, Postcolonial art production
Brussels (Belgium); Lisbon (Portugal); Barcelona (Spain); Bordeaux (France)
The goal of the project “Everything passes, except the past” is to build a network for dealing with colonial objects in European countries. Experts from Belgium, Spain, France and Portugal link their previously isolated discourses on the handling of colonial objects and deal with the subject from an artistic point of view.
Everything Passes Except The Past is the large-scale project of the Goethe-Institut Brussels, in cooperation with the Goethe-Institutes in Belgium, 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, four different workshops took place 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. The results of the research will be presented in a publication and a festival taking place in Turin in October 2020.
Participants: Africa Museum Tervuren (Brussels/Belgium), Art Centre L'ISELP (Belgium), Culturgest (Lisbon/Portugal), Cinemateca Portuguesa (Lisbon/Portugal), Museu Etnològic i de Cultures del Món (Barcelona/Spain), Musée d'Aquitaine (Bordeaux/France), Artist collective Mémoire Coloniale et Lutte contre les Discriminations, Goethe-Institutes in Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain
Contact person at the Goethe-Institut:
Dr. Jana Haeckel – Project Coordinator, Goethe-Institut Brussels (Belgium)