Performancevideo & 3 Channel-Videoinstallation , 2012, 5 Min., Color, Stereo, 16:9, HD
In their project, Karin Then and Dennis Feser focus on European ideas, projections and substantial exports on and to „Africa“. An ironic and absolutely hand-made investigation of Exotisicm and the idea of alienation.
For their multi-channel videowork, Feser/Then staged a series of performances that was captured on video. On various locations in Lagos, Feser morphes into something like an organic cyborg. While wide-angle camera shots show the stress and struggle of this becoming, intense close-ups reveal the strangeness of the processed material: Electronic waste, greenish and with a apparent resemblance to leaves and natural structures is mounted on protective clothing and accessories. During the continous development, artificial limbs, clothes and masquerades are designed, tested, discarded and refined. The altered body contrasts with and sometimes melts into the city of Lagos´ organic metabolism. Feser/Thens creature transits through places and buildings that embody continuous efforts of a confluence of African and European traditions. The character entangles himself in unstable desires and poetic misunderstandings.
This videos shows the 3-channel-videoinstallation „Live Part Diversion“ by Dennis Feser and Karin Then. The documentation of the piece was done during it´s premiere at Kongi´s Harvest Gallery, Freedom Park in Lagos, Nigeria. The Installation was part of the exhibition BODIES AS OBJECTS AS BODIES AS… in the framework of the lagos_live art festival 2012 that crowned the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Goethe Institute Nigeria. The institute commissioned this most recent piece of Feser/Then for lagos_live.
Some Backgrounds and Acknowledgements:
We´re deeply grateful for generous support especially of two Lagosians:
Remi Vaughan-Richards not only shared her great films with us but also let us perform in the house in which she lived together with her parents, Ayo and Alan Vaughan-Richards. The interior spaces you see in „Live Part Diversion“ are designed by Mr. Vaughan-Richards and a great syncretistic example of architectural African Modernism. There´s not much information about his work – just as little as about so many other great cultural heritages in Lagos. But if you want to go a bit further, one might start here: http://sites.ace.ed.ac.uk/avrarchive/
Chike Nwagbogu shared many of his inspiring insights in the Lagosian situation with us. Just as Ayo and Alan Vaughan-Richards updated and melted African and European architectural traditions, Chike worked on an postcolonial update of the idea of the museum: A pan-african art center for performances, screenings and exhibitions that were meant to shape, articulate and promote Africas great cultural powers and influences. The ruins of the theater space you see in „Live Part Diversion“ were the remains this project, the African Art Center, Lagos (that was completely demolished only a few days after our performance there).
The African Art Center was an embodiment of an idea that still influences many great cultural initiatives and projects in Lagos. All these communities had a deep impact on our understanding of Lagos. We´re very thankful for their commitment to Lagos – especially to Bisi Silva, Jude Anogwih and Oyindamola Fakeye.
Above all, we are grateful for the inspiring talks with our great colleague Mudi Yahaja and we´re still breathless having all the tender and archaic images of Jelili Atku´s performances in our head.
Last but not least, we are very happy to have witnessed the work of Marc-Andé Schmachtel and the Goethe-Institute Nigeria. Innumerable artists of all generations that we asked about their opinion on the institute and on the practice of cultural exchange put it in very clear words: „What I do would not be possible here without the GI.“ Especially the social and political conscious artists of all disciplines depend on their international networks. The GI is carefully developing their cultural program with Lagosian partners and helps to shape, fund and to promote first of all Lagosian projects. And sometimes it adds Cameroonian, Angolan, Pan-African, European and other cultural spices to that hottest pepper-sauce on earth. Thanks to Marc-Andé, Fumi, Emeka, Mr. Sunday, Mustafa, the staff of the GI and especially to lagos_live curator Martin Baasch
for having us!