With works by

Imad Alfil, Bar Esh, Paulin Fichtner & Conrad Kunze, Quang Vinh Giang, Mohamad Halbouni & Aline Suter, Melis Kiran, Hami Mehr, Jasmin Sermonet, Inyeong Song, Raras Umaratih, Jelisa Weber


How to reflect artistically on the evidence of colonial violence? How to intervene in an ethnological museum while the restitution of looted material culture takes place? How to draw speculative futures?

Engaging with these questions, new artworks in a variety of media and formats including performance, installation, print, sculpture, painting, video and VR find their way into the ethnological museum. MINGLED LIVING FORCES, the title of the intervention, is a quote from Suzanne Césaire’s DISCONTENT OF A CIVILIZATION[1] where she makes an urgent call to engender a new future. It is as an homage to her teachings that this intervention follows her text, which is both an analytical study of a present/past and a poetic assertion for the possibility of something new. MINGLED LIVING FORCES also refers to our coming together during these last months: a coming together of different peoples, coming together with texts, coming together with the inhabitants of the museum. It is the mingling of these forces that we are invoking.

Beyond this summoning, this intervention has several conceptual entry points: it investigates the museum’s raison d’être by engaging artistically with what it means to collect and to exhibit within a framework of domination; it approaches the museum’s perpetuation of colonial violences through material and sound interventions; and through spatial drawing, it engages with artistic speculations as a means to inhabit a future museum once beings and material culture are returned.

The intervention presents these artistic works in an already inhabited space, entering into dialogue with the materials and documents exhibited in Leerstellen.Ausstellen – a temporary exhibition within the ethnological museum, whose concerns and approach to colonial history we believe should be made permanent. The superimposition of MINGLED LIVING FORCES and Leerstellen.Ausstellen, with their meeting and collision points, is ultimately an experiment in spatial dialogue among objects, bodies, and exhibition practices.

MINGLED LIVING FORCES was developed in the context of the tandem seminars Colonial Presents: Artistic and Curatorial Interrogating and Zeichnen Farbe Fläche – Spatial Drawing at the weißensee school of art and design berlin during the Winter Semester 22 /23.

Curatorial development & Teaching
Juana Awad, Elaine Bonavia

Curatorial support
Bar Esh, Raras Umaratih


[1] See Césaire, Suzanne. “Discontent of a Civilization”, trans. Penelope Rosemont, in Surrealist Women: An International Anthology, ed. Penelope Rosemont, Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998, pp 129-133. In this anthology Suzanne Césaire is described by Rosemont as “[o]ne of surrealism’s most brilliant and daringly original theorists” (p. 126) who along Cunard “developed surrealism’s critique of racism” (p. l) and deserves a large share of the credit [among other writers] for precipitating some of the major developments in surrealism in the forties” p. 123


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