Haus der Kulturen der Welt
AFTER YEAR ZERO | GEOGRAPHIES OF COLLABORATION: A Programme of Exhibitions, Discussions, Film Screenings, Conferences
Global cooperation is imperative in a world of increasing mutual interdependence. Cooperation, but under what conditions and with what kind of common outlook? This project, comprising exhibitions, discussions, film screenings and conferences, uses the ambiguity of the term “collaboration” to address the relationship between dependence and independence and the negotiability of systemic-historical conditions and relations of power.
There is hardly a term that has undergone such a transformation as that of collaboration. Once, “collaboration” was understood as almost exclusively negative, denoting a morally reprehensible cooperation with an enemy (such as an occupying force or colonial power) while today, the meaning of the term is going through a paradigm shift. Closely related to but not identical with cooperation, participation and teamwork, the term collaboration has assumed a central role in the network society and characterizes new forms of social and political organization and production. Thus, collaboration is no less than a political keyword of the 20th century, whose changing meaning serves as a mirror on the shifting global political landscape as defined by the post-war era, decolonization, networked globalization and its various interconnections.
In the process, the question of collaboration interweaves topics such as belonging and betrayal with the transcending of borders and the conditions for communication. Today, the act of questioning forms of collaboration places the focus on the relationship between the potential to act and contextually specific underlying conditions. This relationship finds itself in constant flux between negation and affirmation, which are permanently subject to calculation processes that gauge the respective horizon of the possible.
Following the victory over the fascist axis powers in 1945, to which soldiers from non-western, colonized countries made an essential contribution, newly formulated universalist programmatic concepts emerged all over the world. The Haus der Kulturen der Welt, as a symbol of freedom based on the western-liberal model, is an example of the universalism of post-war modernity as propagated by the US. As the Congress Hall was being built in West Berlin, a conference was held in the Indonesian city of Bandung, bringing together representatives of almost all states and post-colonies of the global South, united in the struggle for independence and resistance to subsumption by the competition between imperialist blocs. The dream of independence only becomes reality through new geographies of collaboration and independence was followed by historically distinct requirements and realities of collaboration, which in turn lead to new relationships of dependence. What ideological and cultural resources were available in 1945 for the formulation of global horizons and universalist demands? Where do these resources and the struggle over them stand today?
The project is based on a series of workshops in Algiers, Paris, Dakar, Brussels and Johannesburg entitled “Matters of Collaboration”, which has been made possible by a program of excellence of the Goethe-Institut under the auspices of the regional branch in Brussels.
Curators: Anselm Franke, Annett Busch in cooperation with John Akomfrah, Jihan El-Tahri, Olivier Marboeuf and others.
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