August 3, 2015 - Academy of the Arts of the World, Cologne - PLURIVERSALE III
August 3, 2015


Mykola Ridnyi, Regular places (still), 2014. Film.

September 3–December 18, 2015

Several locations in Cologne, Germany

info [​at​]

Curated by Ekaterina Degot with David Riff and Peter Scheiffele

The Academy of the Arts of the World opens PLURIVERSALE III, the third edition of its biyearly season of events. Addressing central conflicts and contradictions of our time, PLURIVERSALE III avoids the easy cultural gastronomy of multiculturalism to locate Cologne in a complex and agonistic political universe, where cultural differences are used to hide economic inequality and the very notion of Europeanness bears potentials of violence.

Such is the case in neo-self-colonizing Ukraine, embroiled in a complex military conflict not only with Putin’s anti-Western Russia, but also with its own citizens, not pro-Western enough. Phone Calls from the Cemetery and Other Stories, a group exhibition by Ukrainian and Russian artists in defiance of the war raging in Eastern Ukraine, offers an asymmetrical response to the onslaught of media images through untypical stories and pictures. Fighting the twin rise of Russian imperialism and European triumphalism, artists suggest imaginative alternatives to the flat fictions of propaganda. The exhibition’s opening weekend (September 3-5) features performances by Hito Steyerl, Kassem Mosse, eredovoe udogestvo and the band Arkadiy Kots, as well as a day-long marathon of political debates in which artists and intellectuals from Ukraine, Russia and Germany will illuminate the realities of the present conflict, probing paths beyond nationalism to its resolution. 

The effects of the Soviet Union’s dissolution on its sizable ethnic Korean population is an ongoing theme in the work of Academy-member/documentary filmmaker Kim Soyoung. Her films on the unusual suspects of migration in East Asia and the history of feminism in Korea are featured in a special screening program. Later in the season, theorist and co-founder of decolonizing discourse Madina Tlostanova takes up the thread of (post-)socialist colonialism with her talk on Russia’s highly ambivalent imperial aspirations.

Unrecognised colonialism is at the core of the work of the documentary film director Avi Mograbi, one of the strongest critical voices against the occupation of Palestine. The Academy is proud to present an extensive retrospective of his films, guest curated by Rasha Salti

In the ongoing battle against colonialism, particularism and compartimentalisation are not the answer. We have a stake in resisting the fetishization of identity and claiming that certain universals hold true, argues Vivek Chibber in a groundbreaking theoretical statement crucial to this PLURIVERSALE.

The question of aesthetic universals and their colonial application is also one of the issues to be raised in a discussion between Kasper König and Okwui Enwezor on how changing Westkunst identity fits into a tumultuous global art. In their exhibition, the young artists’ duo of Desearch Repartment imagine Western art as an overaffirmative, neoliberal, research-based nightmare. With their series of performances and workshops, including special artistic gymnastics and outdoor tours of fake monuments, they create an Orwellian universe of omnipresent art as instrument of social conformity imposed by the Big Brother of the West.

Then again, the so-called rest is already part of the vaunted West, so we might be dealing with constructed oppositions and false choices in desperate need of reexamination. Such, at least, is the suggestion of Joseph Massad, who will give a talk on the vexed historical relation between European liberalism and Islam. The interplay of (neo-)liberal religiosity and global economic aspiration hovers in the background of artist Köken Erguns new film The Young Turks, a meditation on the preparation for the Turkish Culture and Language Olympiads run by a growing global network of Turkish schools, which he will discuss with the sociologist Ayşe Çavdar.

PLURIVERSALE III closes with a final discussion gathering some of the entire season’s crucial threads. It questions the problematical presentation of “world culture” in the West today. What can writers, artists, curators, and critics do to end the (self-)exoticizing “carnival of cultures?”

Academy of the Arts of the World
Im Mediapark 7
50670 Cologne
Herwarthstraße 3
50672 Cologne

Academy of the Arts of the World, Cologne presents PLURIVERSALE III
Academy of the Arts of the World, Cologne
  • Share