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In and Out of Brussels, Aesthetics/ Histories/ Politics between Europe and Africa

film conversations

In and Out of Brussels, Aesthetics/ Histories/ Politics between Europe and Africa

book presentation
TU 20.11.2012 19:00

This publication Figuring Postcolonial Africa and Europe in the Films of Herman Asselberghs, Sven Augustijnen, Renzo Martens and Els Opsomer represents a multifaceted project, including an intensive collaboration between international theoreticians, art critics, and Brussels-based artists over a two year period, operating on various levels of production and output. The project intends to parse the political and aesthetic implications of these four films, generating discussion via interdisciplinary and international conversation.

It centers on four recent art films by Herman Asselberghs, Sven Augustijnen, Renzo Martens, and Els Opsomer. Specifically, the project addresses the diverse ways in which these artists have investigated sub-Saharan Africa both as a site of political conflict, poverty, and migration, as well as an imaginary screen for the construction of European identity, humanitarian concern, and political engagement.

In the works of these diverse practitioners, Africa emerges variously as a zone of crisis, situated between the fraught legacies of colonialism and the recent failed neoliberal state; as well, Africa figures as a terrain of artistic invention and a focal point for the critical interrogation of political practice within Europe.

In English

Els Opsomer’s film Building Stories: That Distant Piece of Mine proposes a subtle perceptual inquiry into Senegal’s urban fabric and social networks that seeks to rupture cultural stereotypes;
Asselberghs’s film turns his attention towards Avatar, the most expensive and highest-grossing film ever. By way of an elaborated interior monologue taking on the form of a film studies class, Speech Act covers a complex of themes well beyond cinema concerns;
Renzo Martens’ provocative film Episode III – Enjoy Poverty investigates poverty in the DR Congo, challenging the common perceptions of humanitarianism, photojournalism and politically engaged contemporary art;
Augustijnen's Spectres, powerfully analyses Belgian colonial history, in particular the haunting of cultural memory by the assassination of Patrice Lumumba.

In collaboration with:
KULeuven (Lieven Gevaert Research Centre for Photography) and Auguste Orts with the support of Fondation Fernand Willame and deBuren