Participants and Collaboration

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, None but ourselves can free our minds.          

Bob Marley, Edwin Hawkins, Redemption Songs, 1980

The project will be hosted by and will collaborate with a mix of organizations / institutions and associations in Switzerland. Primarily these will be located in Geneva, Lausanne and Basel, but could potentially extend beyond this. The core location for the project will be at the Embassy of Foreign Artists (EOFA).

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The importance of the archives and organizational structures that are located in Switzerland are crucial to the research component of this application, and there is work that we can only accomplish by a research residency in Switzerland. For example, the Ernst and Ruth Dammann archive that is housed at Basler Afrika Bibliographien (BAB), Basel, Switzerland, contains audio material that we would not be able to access anywhere else in the world. It is crucial that we are able to explore and catalyze this intellectual and cultural history. This material will provide the basis for remixing in performance as well as will be important in the further generation of information and ideas back in southern Africa.

The forms of global organizations that are present in Switzerland will also be important to explore, this especially refers to forms like the Red Cross, the United Nations and in addition, art Basel. While we do not have official invitations to these spaces, they will form important points of engagement for the project. We have initiated one such moment with the “dismemberance of the Geneva Conventions” as documented in the attachments.

The public events and research that we will carry out will be developed into a series of internet and print publications that we will work on after the Swiss edition of this project. This is an important dimension as it will directly add to the mapping element of the work, setting into motion and conversation various sites across the world. We will develop the specifics of form, concept and funding structure of this aspect while on the the research residency.

While the objectives of Sugar-Free and PUNGWE are to catalyze and critically address urgencies in the ‘global south’ we believe that the period of work that we propose in Switzerland to be of value due to critical engagements with Swiss infrastructures that have global bearings. This position is shared by the numerous artists and intellectuals that we have begun to work with and will in many ways add to our stay as they collaborate in the project.

As mentioned, this application is in order to support the live events that we will stage as part of the tour in Switzerland.

Robert Machiri (Zimbabwe)

Robert Machiri (b. 1978), also known as Chi – short for Chimurenga – is a Zimbabwean multidisciplinary artist based in Johannesburg. Machiri’s work exists at the juncture of two streams of practice; his curatorial concepts and a multi-disciplinary production of artworks. His works draw on discourses of de-colonization by connecting sound, music and image making through social-politics. His most notable project PUNGWE is an inter-disciplinary project circling African soundings with related contemporary arts discourses and spaces. This collaborative practice takes the shape of PUNGWE NIGHTS a participatory public platform hosting alternative music and sound performances. Machiri’s current artworks interrogate the dialectic between object and subject for access to inter-medial experiences of sound and vision.

Memory Biwa (Namibia)

Memory Biwa is a historian, raised by a midwife and educator who are now livestock farmers in southern Namibia. From 2003 Biwa conducted research on identity and colonialism of peoples in Northern Cape, South Africa and southern Namibia at Universities in Cape Town. Her work is concerned with how subjectivities are produced through alternative historical commemoration in the aftermath of colonial violence.

In 2014 Biwa commenced post-doctoral studies on a sound collection from central Namibia. A sound performance project, “Listening to a listening at Pungwe”, with Robert Machiri, a Zimbabwean multi-media artist has transformed the research of archival objects from Zimbabwe and Namibia into live samples of voices and instruments for publics in Accra, Windhoek and Cape Town.

Biwa is lecturer in the Department of Education at the University of Namibia since July 2016.

Zen Marie (South Africa)

Zen Marie is an artist who works in a variety of media. Core to his practice is a concern with how meaning is formed through different media, spaces and processes. While working from a position that begins with photography and filmmaking he increasingly works in performance, sculpture, graphic processes and writing. While Marie has engaged with many thematic areas of focus, including international sport, identity, nationalism, and public infrastructure, the binding link between these diverse areas has always been the relationship between power and the subversion of power. Marie lives, works and lectures in Johannesburg South Africa.

Dimitri Madimin (Suriname)

Dimitri Madimin aka Dim Browski trained at the renowned Rietveld Academy and hailed by Time Out Magazine one of the 50 movers and shakers of the Dutch art & music scene, his work spans from film to music, classical to visual art, photography to live performance, and it translates seamlessly on to a wide variety of media.

Across platforms and disciplines Madimin’s work focuses on post-colonial identities, ethnocentricity, exoticism, exclusion versus inclusion and automatisms.

The artistic production of this Dutch Surinamese artist has been featured in various prestigious venues and galleries such as W139 (NL), Fringe (NL), Red Bull Studios (NL), De Fabriek (NL), Africa in the Picture (NL), Vlaams Cultuurhuis Brakke Grond (NL), SSBA (NL), De Vooruit (BE), Direktoren Hause (DE), Broadway Arts (UK), Io Isabella (IT), Carifesta (SR), Point PERF (CH).

As a curator and artistic director, Madimin’s collaborations include the Nederlands Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Nuit Blanche, North Sea Jazz, Pink Pop, Sugar Factory, De Balie, De Kring, AFK, NYFA, City of Amsterdam, HVA and HKU, but also with commercial brands and non profit organizations such as Diesel, Bacardi, Hennessy, Kangaroos and the Red Cross.

He’s also the founder of Ruyzdael a music group and Kiss Escort, a multidisciplinary creative collective and events organization factory that includes some of the most talented and well- regarded creatives in the local and international art & music scene; active for almost 20 years Kiss Escort is one of the longest-running organisations of its kind in The Netherlands and an institution in the local creative scene.

Currently Madimin is furthering his investigation into the post-colonial subject: together with South African artist Zen Marie he founded the Sugar Free Movement, an art project aiming at tracing the roots of current socio-political crisis and racial issues back to the ancient commercial trade routes. Part of this investigation includes an art installation titled “The Contract”, “Dismemberance”, “The Amsterdam Sugar Route”, “Massaging Democracy” and a film titled “The Land of Milk and Honey”.