Past events
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In the series ‘One Object – Many Questions’, each event will focus on a particular exhibit, exploring its history and stories in conversation with experts.

At first glance, the rock samples from Tsumeb – on display in the opening exhibition of the Humboldt Lab – are astonishingly beautiful. But behind their look a different story emerges – namely, the history of Germany’s violent colonial past. Extracted between 1884 and 1915 at the Tsumeb mine in Namibia, the minerals are closely connected to Germany’s colonial policy, the exploitation of humans and nature for Germany’s industrialisation, and the genocide of the Herero and Nama.

Media scientist Noam Gramlich (University of Potsdam) and Philemon Sheya Kaluwapa (born in Tsumeb and Honorary President of the Lukopane-Namibia Culture Society, Berlin) will be using the the minerals as a starting point to talk about the continuities of colonial violence. Not only, they argue, do the rock samples bear testimony of the colonial past; as part of scientific collections, they uphold colonial power structures to this day. In their conversation, the rocks will therefore figure as “speculative witnesses” through which the complexities of the ex- and appropriation of African knowledge, racist exploitation, the ongoing devastation of the environment, and (environmental) racism can be traced.

Organizational notes

  • Piktogramm Meeting point & time
    Meeting point & time

    The meeting point for guided tours and the location for workshops can be found on your booking confirmation. In order for the tour to begin punctually, please arrive 15 minutes before the programme is due to start. We ask that you allow for this additional quarter hour when planning your visit.