November 22, 2011 - RAW MATERIAL COMPANY - Raw Material Company – Symposium: Condition Report
November 22, 2011

Raw Material Company – Symposium: Condition Report

Symposium: Condition Report

Raw Material Company, center for art, knowledge and society
4074 bis Sicap Amitié 2
BP 22710 Dakar, Senegal
+221 33 864 0248

Tuesday–Saturday from 10am–8pm

Raw Material Company is pleased to announce Condition Report a 3-day international symposium on building art institutions in Africa organized in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut and the German Federal Cultural Foundation. The symposium takes place in Dakar, Senegal, from 18–20 January 2012.

CONDITION REPORT aims to address the changing role of art institutions and initiatives in relation to the broader artistic urgencies and to society in its whole. The symposium is organized to evaluate a founding principle of many independent organizations that have emerged in recent years—namely that independent contemporary art institutions are an important voice in the construction of a strong cultural private sector as well as in forging a critical opinion from an open civil society. The importance of issues of action, space, power, control and quality will be covered. The sessions will provide a platform for discussing case studies and experiences accompanied by an informed interpretative analysis.

What kind of intellectual and artistic society can be imagined given the recurrent political and economical setbacks that cause continual disruptions in the development of visions in Africa? How can government institutions adjust to these paradigm shifts to achieve fruitful public-private partnerships? What are the dynamics that former colonial powers create through their strong cultural and artistic presence in post-colonial territories? More importantly—and in profound belief that institutions are not only products of their environments, but also active agents capable of shaping their societies in return—what potentials exist for the art institution? What can artists and related professionals expect from an art institution in a context determined by one off blockbuster events, financial incapacities and educational degradation?

The symposium is divided into three chapters broke down into multiple sessions.

Wednesday January 18 2012
The first chapter, Actors, Agents and Mainstream takes a look at existing institutions—public and private—and how they work to build a shared understanding of artistic agency. The African cultural and artistic context is characterized by the predominance of government led art programs and infrastructure. Be them biennials, festivals, conferences, cultural centers or art schools. Artistic initiatives are developed and carried out by civil servants of the ministry of culture often through the induction of the Head of the State, who, in more cases than not, uses the arts and culture to serve a personal agenda for political gain and checking off the art box. This is even stronger the case in countries with a French colonial past, who have adopted the French system of cultural and artistic organization.

Thursday January 19 2012
The second chapter Area Studies investigates models and profiles of art institutions developed in other regions of the world with similar historical and contemporary settings. It is interesting that the emergence of independent art spaces coincides with an increased academic and research interest in post-coloniality. Are there specific characteristics of artistic action that post-soviet, post-socialist and post-dictatorial territories share with Africa with regards to freedom of speech, mobility, financial power, entrepreneurship and programmatic integrity? What kind of international collaborations can be developed to give voice to the experience of occupation and domination? Which strategies are at play to move forward and create climates of alert creative societies?

Friday January 20 2012
The third chapter Remains of the Days discusses how former colonial powers define and implement their strategies of cultural representation and exchange in post-colonial areas, and how these strategies influence local dynamics of cultural action. It is an old knowledge to professionals in the field that cultural and artistic life in most African cities is spearheaded by cultural institutions of western countries such as France, Germany, Great-Britain, Spain, Portugal and to some extent the U.S. Embedded in the dialectics of cultural diplomacy and mutual understanding and arising mainly from the colonial carthasis, these institutions, yet, shape and greatly influence the perceptions of local and international audiences with regards to intellectual activity and artistic production in the territories that they are active in. This chapter analyses the dynamics that this reality engenders. Beyond being part of their countries strategies in promoting themselves, can their strong presence and activity in Africa be read as the result of endogenic failures to establish and sustain an art scene with local means? Or is it part of a strategy to maintain a supremacy that is evident in economical and political spheres?

In an effort to contextualize the Senegalese art scene and facilitate access and exchange for international participants, site visits to art initiatives in and around Dakar are an integral part of the program.

Speakers among others include keynote speaker Abdellah Karroum (Appartement 22, Rabat) on the comparative history of independent art spaces

impulse speakers Françoise Vergès (Social Scientist, Paris) on asymmetry of power in knowledge production and new cartographies and Oumar Ndao (Director for Culture & Tourism, City of Dakar) on the municipal grand plan for public-private partnerships in the arts

additional presenters are Georges Adéagbo (artist, Cotonou); Messekerem Assegued (Zoma Contemporary, Addis Abeba); Kader Attia (artist, Berlin); Yona Backer (Third Streaming, New York); Patrick Mudekereza (Picha, Lubumbashi); Yto Barrada (Cinémathèque de Tanger, Tanger); Ruth Belinga (Art Bakery, Douala); Marcio Botner (A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro); Raphael Chikukwa (National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare); Viyé Diba (Synergie Contemporaine, Dakar); Marilyn Doula-Bell (Doual’Art, Douala); Mohamed Fadlabi (independent curator, Oslo) Oyinda Fakeye (Center of Contemporary Art Lagos, Lagos); N’Goné Fall (independent curator, Paris & Dakar); Juan Gaitan (curator, Witt de With, Rotterdam); Hama Goro (Centre Soleil Afrique, Bamako); Hans-Michael Herzog (Daros Latinamerica, Zurich); Fatou Kande Senghor (Waru Studio, Dakar); Amadou Kan-Sy (Portes et Passages, Mbodiene); Anne Szefer Karlsen (Hordaland Art Centre, Bergen); Sunjung Kim (ArtSonje Center, Seoul); Stian Eide Kluge (1857, Oslo); Abdoulaye Konate (artist, Bamako); Yacouba Konate (La Rotonde des Arts, Abidjan); Marta Kuzma (Director OCA, Office of Contemporary Art, Oslo); Marion Louisgrand (Kër Thiossane, Dakar) Zen Marie (Sub-Station, Johannesburg); Massamba Mbaye (critic, Dakar); Aida Muluneh, (Gebre Kristos Desta Modern Art Museum, Addis-Abeba); Moataz Nasr (DARB 1718, Cairo); Gabi Ngcobo (Center for Historical Re-enactments, Johannesburg); Jimmy Ogonga (Nairobi Arts Trust, Nairobi); Livia Paldi (Baltic Art Centre, Visby); Jet Pascua (Small Projects, Tromsø); Kerstin Pinther (Free University, Berlin); Sarah Rifky (Townhouse Gallery, Cairo); Didier Schaub (Doual’Art, Douala) Kofi Setordji (Nubuke Foundation, Accra); Samuel Sidibé (Musée National du Mali, Bamako); Dirk Snauwaert (Wiels, Brussels); Pooja Sood (KHOJ Workshop, New-Dehli) Jean-Charles Tall (architect & urban planner, Dakar); Eugenio Valdes (Casa Daros, Rio de Janeiro); Anton Vidokle (artist, New York); Ousseynou Wade (Dakar Biennale, Dakar); Marie-Cécile Zinsou (Fondation Zinsou, Cotonou) and more to be confirmed.

A detailed schedule will be released in January 2012. Admission is free. International participants are advised to notify the travel coordinator of their attendance. A publication including papers and discussions from the symposium is planned to be launched in the fall of 2012.

Odette Laurent:
Camille Osterman:

Travel Coordination
Marie-Hélène Pereira:

Raw Material Company is a not for profit center for art, knowledge and society. It is an art initiative unfolding within the realms of exhibition making, commissioning, knowledge sharing, and archiving of theory and criticism. It works to foster appreciation and growth of artistic and intellectual creativity in Africa.

Raw Material Company - Symposium: Condition Report
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