MONUMENTAL SHADOWS

Documentary film by Frederic Leitzke about the project “Monumental Shadows – Rethinking Colonial Heritage”.

“Monumental Shadows – Rethinking Colonial Heritage”

“Monumental Shadows” is an artistic exploration of Germany’s colonial heritage and current culture of remembrance. The project runs from August to the end of October 2021 in Berlin and is divided into four parts, so-called “Shadows”. In different formats, the participating artists* and speakers* will question the effects of colonialism to the present day.

The starting point is the experience that German colonialism is often played down in public discourse. It thus lies in the shadows for many people and at the same time casts a long shadow over the lives of many.

The project is initiated by artist duo Various & Gould and developed in cooperation with Colonial Neighbours a project by SAVVY Contemporary.

Contact: vasb@zbahzragny-funqbjf.arg

Bismarck and the German colonies
Shadow #1
Intervention

The event kicked off with an urban intervention by Various & Gould at the Bismarck statue in Berlin’s Tiergarten, Großer Stern, 10557 Berlin. Using a technique related to papier-mâché, the two artists and the Colonial Neighbours team have temporarily molded the monument and removed this paper shell from its pedestal.

Paper molding of the Bismarck statue, Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Paper molding of the Bismarck statue, Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

02.–21.08.2021
Performative process: paper molding of the Bismarck statue

The artists duo Various & Gould temporarily concealed and molded the Bismarck Monument (1901 by Reinhold Begas) with multiple layers of paper.

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

Bismarck knocked off his pedestal
21.08.2021

Various & Gould’s working process has been accompanied by an artistic intervention by Daniela Medina Poch and Juan Pablo García Sossa. (See following photos!)

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

On the last day of work at the statue, the paper form has been opened …

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

… and taken down from the pedestal under the eyes of dozens of visitors.

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

At the same time, Daniela Medina Poch & Juan Pablo García Sossa scratched a large lettering in the path to the monument:

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

View from the scaffolding at the monument: Fragmentary pieces of the Bismarck paper shell (Various & Gould) and lettering intervention (Daniela Medina Poch & Juan Pablo García Sossa).

Shadow #2
Performance

„Gospel of Wealth“, urban performance by Thomias Radin with Natisa Exocée Kasongo, Jumoke Adeyanju & Delawhere.
The fragments of the paper-Bismarck from Shadow#1 were part of this performance on the Open Monument Day, 12th of September 2021.
The location of the event is another public square that bears a history of violence in its name: Nettelbeckplatz, which commemorates the colonial propagandist and slave trader Joachim Nettelbeck.

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

Gospel of Wealth

Viewing life as a gold rush will result in worshiping the golden calf and the golden rule becomes that those who have the gold, rule!
Spirituality drops out! Morality drops out!

Collateral damage. The myth of the one over the existence of many.

Many of you, many of us, many of them, many of me are echoing inside the empty shell of the one.

Bigidi !
Move forward!
Bigidi bigidi, head up fast forward!

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

‚GOSPEL OF WEALTH‘ questions the impact of the glorification of a western colonial figure and its heritage within the individual and collective consciousness, from an Afro-diasporic perspective. From Nigeria through Congo to the Caribbean.

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

In the performance, we encounter several mythologies, embodied by sonic and danced intervention. We aim to open a new conversation acknowledging and valuing collectivity over the myth of a political figure and material wealth.

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

Concept : Thomias Radin (Guadeloupe/FR)
Performers: Natisa Exocée Kasongo (Congo/FR), Jumoke Adeyanju (Nigeria/DE), Thomias Radin
Sound artist: Delawhere (FR)

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Shadow #3
Workshop

September-October 2021
Youth workshops with João Eduardo Albertini at SAVVY Contemporary.

In artistic and creative workshops, we will work with pupils on remembering, history, colonialism and racism.

João Eduardo Albertini and Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock. Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
João Eduardo Albertini and Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock. Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

Impressions from the youth workshops with João Eduardo Albertini.

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

Impressions from the youth workshops with João Eduardo Albertini.

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

Impressions from the youth workshops with João Eduardo Albertini.

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

Impressions from the youth workshops with João Eduardo Albertini.

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Shadow #4
Panel

Friday, 29th of October 2021, 19:00
„A Place in the Sun“ & its long shadows | Closing Event: Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock talked with Fernande Bode, Jumọke Adejanyu and Josephine Apraku. Film premiere by Frederic Leitzke. DJ-Set: Hanaby.

SAVVY Contemporary, Reinickendorfer Str. 17, 13347 Berlin

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

To close the Berlin chapter, we invited to an exchange with performances, lectures and conversations about interdisciplinary experiences and strategies in dealing with colonial heritage.
As a premiere there was a screening of the documentary film “Monumental Shadows – Rethinking Colonial Heritage” by Frederic Leitzke. [Film music by Levitation (Stefan Rusconi & Tobias Preisig) and Delawhere.]

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

Moderator Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock talked with Fernande Bode, Jumọke Adejanyu and Josephine Apraku.

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

Then Jumọke Adejanyu recited poetry in English, German, Swahili and Yoruba.

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

Jumọke Adejanyu recited poetry in English, German, Swahili and Yoruba.

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

Finally there was a DJ set by Hanaby.

Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés
Photo: Raisa M. Galofre Cortés

Monumental Shadows – Rethinking Heritage

A project by Various & Gould in cooperation with Colonial Neighbours (SAVVY Contemporary)
Berlin | August – Oct 2021

A participatory project in public space knocking colonial figures off their pedestal and shifting the shadows of past and present.

Even though more and more European countries are beginning to come to terms with their colonial history, deep shadows dominate their commemorative culture. Formerly colonizing and colonized countries are linked by a complex, violent past that reverberates to the present day. The art project „Monumental Shadows“ explores commemorative culture and deals with artworks and monuments that continue to inscribe colonial history in public space.

In a combination of artistic collaboration, thematic debate, and public discussion, the project makes visible connection between colonialism and contemporary racism. Within the framework of „Monumental Shadows“, the artists are planning a series of seven artistic paper casts of monuments in Europe. Against the historical background of the Berlin „Congo Conference“ (1884/85), these monuments have a connection to European colonialism in Africa. Today they are located in countries that were significantly involved in the conference and continue to benefit from it to the present day. The selected monuments and the historical figures associated with them are still positively portrayed or even glorified in the historiography of their respective countries (and beyond). By honoring them through public monuments, the colonial exploitation and imperialist atrocities for which they are responsible are concealed, downplayed, or glossed over. On the one hand, their part in colonialism lies in the shadows for large sections of society, while on the other hand, their actions still cast a shadow over the lives of many people.

The aim of the project is to demonumentalize these monuments by symbolically knocking them off their pedestals and charging them with new meanings. In the visual design of the cover, we address the respective monument and its colonial history. Through the lightness and malleability of the paper, their transience becomes visible.

Subsequently, the resulting molds are performatively deformed in „Ver-Formances“ through which they become tangible. This shows: History is not static, and we are all part of it. Our concern is to break the power of white narrative on colonialism by proposing a change of perspective. In doing so, it is important to stop reproducing the Eurocentric views and narratives. It is long overdue to bring more light and attention to the historiographies and narratives of People of Color, which have often been silenced and ignored until now. A society critical of colonialism and racism can only emerge with their voices as integral parts of a collective commemorative culture.

First iteration: Berlin

In Berlin, the project will run from August to the end of October 2021 and is divided into four parts, so-called „Shadows“. In various formats, the participating artists and speakers will address the traces and effects of colonialism up to the present day.

Various & Gould

The Berlin based artist duo Various & Gould works in close collaboration since 2005. After studying at the Berlin-Weissensee School of Art (KHB), the artists graduated under the tutelage of Prof Alex Jordan (Grapus collective) in 2010. Various & Gould are known for constantly reinventing themselves. Whilst methods of screen-printing and collage are their speciality, their art can also emerge in a public performance or an installation as they like crossing borders and do not stick to a certain medium. Various & Gould often deal with socially prominent themes such as work, migration, gender, death, religion or the financial crisis in a playful, intuitive manner.

Colonial Neighbours

Colonial Neighbors is a long-term project by SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin. It is a participatory archive and research project which invites international artists, historians, cultural scholars, curators and other activists to engage with German colonial history and its aftermath in the present.

Team

Artistic Direction: Various & Gould

Curation: Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock

Projekt Management: Britt Janina Heinker

Curatorial Assistance: Lili Somogyi, Antonio Pedro Mendes

Additional artistic intervention: Daniela Medina Poch & Juan Pablo García Sossa

Performance: Thomias Radin, Natisa Exocée Kasongo, Jumoke Adeyanju & Delawhere

Production Assistance: Billy Fowo, Sagal Farah, Jörg-Peter Schulze, Alina Kologriwaja, Ahmed Isam Aldin, Mohamedali Ltaief, Sh. M. Mudassir

School Workshops: João Eduardo Albertini

Panel Discussion: Josephine Apraku, Fernande Bode, Jumọke Adejanyu

Panel Moderation: Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock

DJ-Set: Hanaby

Management: Lema Sikod

Communication: Anna Jäger

Accessibility: Annika Hirsekorn

German Simple Language: Christina Stark

German Sign Language: Ina Peters

German Sign Language Videos: Rolando Octavio González

Design: Juan Pablo García Sossa

Photo Documentation: Raisa Galofre

Video Documentation: Frederic Leitzke (editude pictures), Florian Lampersberger

Contact: vasb@zbahzragny-funqbjf.arg

The project is funded by Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa des Landes Berlin and Berliner Projektfonds Urbane Praxis, with kind suppport by Zapf Umzüge.