Future Perfect. Encounterings in three acts | with Denise Ferreira da Silva & guests
A day of encounterings and collective reflections with artist and philosopher Denise Ferreira da Silva & guests invites to speculative exercises on the im/possibility of global/racial un/justice.
Does it help if time-space continuum collapses into a future tense?
What if we will have ended racial subjugation and violence?
What if we will have navigated the complexity of existence?
We will have experimented in living with complexity. We will have unsettled realities.
We will have reimagined how things and being can be otherwise.
A day of encounterings and collective reflections with artist and philosopher Denise Ferreira da Silva & guests invites to speculative exercises on the im/possibility of global/racial un/justice. Three acts – an ENHANCED CONVERSATION with Berlin based activist groups, a black feminist POETHICAL READING, a FILM SCREENING & TALK – unfold and explore political-aesthetical strategies in times of severe, of disruptive crisis.
A cooperation of SAVVY Contemporary – the Laboratory of Form-Ideas, the Cluster of Excellence SCRIPTS – as part of the SCRIPTS series “The Liberal Script in Critical Perspective” – and the research and teaching area Theory of Politics at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
Act I: Struggles for Intersectional Justice
ENHANCED CONVERSATIONwith activist groups (on invitation only)
Facilitated by Céline Barry (TU Berlin) & Lucy Ng’ang‘a (International Women* Space)
Act II: Unpayable Debt
POETHICAL READING by Denise Ferreira da Silva, response by Edna Bonhomme
Act III: Soot Breath / Corpus Infinitum
SCREENING & CONVERSATION with Denise Ferreira da Silva, Olivier Marboeuf & Arjuna Neuman
About the Film
Soot Breath / Corpus Infinitum(40 mins, 2020) is a film by artist Arjuna Neuman and philosopher Denise Ferreira da Silva dedicated to tenderness and repair. It is about reimagining knowledge and existence without the limits of European and Colonial constructions of the human. To speculate how to live otherwise as humans in the world, they cross disciplines, calling on quantum mechanics to polyrhythms, from Tarkovsky to Hype Williams, from heat to Anaximander. The film explores how social subjects, identities and categories are formed and recreated in society – in particular, how these processes have been designed as sovereign and independent of the body.
Soot Breath gathers a variety of examples where subjectivity is unbound from the mind alone, but rebound to the world. Following the element of earth through its many facets, groundings, afterlifes and forms, the film scales between the historical/cultural, the organic, the quantum and the cosmic. This filmic artistic research aims to question how structures of power (colonial, capital, cis-hetero patriarchal) perpetuate categorisation and difference to break material ties to other humans, more-than-humans and deeper implicated bonds with our planet and beyond. In particular, it will focus on how such an interior subjectivity has been exploited towards unending racial violence.
About the Book
Unpayable Debt (MIT/ Sternberg Press 2022) offers a black feminist “poethical” reading of the political architecture of the global present. Inspired by Octavia E. Butler’s novel Kindred, in which an African American writer is transported from 1970s Los Angeles to the antebellum South to save the life of the child of a slave-owner who is also her ancestor, the concept of the unpayable debt – a debt someone owes but that is not hers to pay – relates post-Enlightenment versions of ethical and economic value to colonial and racial subjugation. Focusing on the philosophical basis of these renderings of value, Denise Ferreira da Silva exposes how coloniality and raciality operate in the juridical, ethical, and symbolic systems that facilitate the expropriation of labor and extraction of land essential for the accumulation of Capital.
Denise Ferreira da Silva is a philosopher and Director of the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Her academic writing and artistic practice address the ethico-political challenges of the global present. Among her publications are Toward a Global Idea of Race (2007) and A Dívida Impagavel (Unpayable Debt, 2019), texts for the Liverpool and São Paulo Biennials (2016), Biennale di Venezia (2017) and documenta 14. She has exhibited and lectured at major art venues, such as Centre Pompidou, WhiteChapel Gallery (London), Moma and Guggenheim (New York. Her artistic works include the films Serpent Rain (2016) and 4 Waters-Deep Impliancy (2018) and Sooth Breath / Corpus infinitum (2020), all in collaboration with Arjuna Neuman. With Valentina Desideri, she developed the relational practice of “Poethical Readings” for augmenting sensemaking tools and unsettling realities.
Céline Barry researches racism, feminism, and intersectionality in post-colonial contexts at the Center for Interdisciplinary Women’s and Gender Studies at Technische Universität Berlin. Her doctoral work was on the relationship between women’s movements, education and racism in post-colonial Dakar. Céline is active in Black, feminist, and anti-police brutality initiatives.
Edna Bonhomme is a historian of science, freelance writer and interdisciplinary artist based in Berlin. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science. Her essays critically engage with how humans approach science, culture, race and gender. In addition to her book projects “Captive Octagions” (2023) and ”Tending to our Wounds” (2024) she collaborates with Berlin based artists and writers, working with postcolonial methods and diachronic practices to upend uneven power dynamics in archives pedagogy, and science. Her features and book reviews have been published in Al Jazeera, The Atlantic Magazine, frieze, The Guardian, the New Republic and others.
Olivier Marboeuf is a writer, storyteller, and curator. Marboeuf founded the independent art centre Espace Khiasma, which ran from 2004 to 2018 in Les Lilas, in the Parisian suburbs. The program he developed there addressed minority representations and post-colonial situations through exhibitions, screenings, debates, performances, and collaborative projects. Marboeuf is interested in the different modalities of knowledge transmission, and imagines permanent or ephemeral structures based on conversations and speculative narratives; his works intersect with poetic fiction and speculative theories. His recent texts are published on his blog: Toujours Debout. Currently, Marboeuf produces films as part of Spectre Productions and contributes to the cinematic distribution and research unit Phantom.
Arjuna Neuman is an artist, writer, and filmmaker, currently based in Berlin. He works with the essay form as a multi-perspectival and experimental approach, in which he explores the economic, social and ideological systems that shape our lived experiences. ‘Essay’ for him is a future-oriented mode for research and production, shifting between the bodily and affective through to the geopolitical, planetary and cosmological. Selected projects include collaborations with Denise Ferreira da Silva on films and installations Serpent Rain (2016) and 4 Waters-Deep Implicancy (2019) and Soot Breath/ Corpus Infinitum (2021). His works have been shown at major biennials and exhibitions such as Berlin Biennial 10, Serpentine Gallery and Whitechapel Gallery London, Sharjah Biennial, TPW Gallery, Toronto, Bergen Assembly, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin.
Lucy Ng'ang'a is an activist within the International Women* Space (IWS), where she is also member and Project Coordinator of the – refugee women only -Break Isolation Group (BIG). She has been a speaker in several public events organised by IWS collaborating political partners. The IWS is an anti-racist feminist group consisting – though not exclusively – of refugee, migrant women. It fosters solidarity and cooperation, publishes books and organises campaigns, protests and conferences on the topics of seeking asylum and migrant women’s struggles. The IWS brings together women to inform encourage and empower one another by sharing experiences and developing skills and building solid bridges to cope with daily challenges as asylum seekers – not as victims but as women with potential and strong capacities.
Time & Location
Jun 25, 2022 | 06:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Reinickendorfer Strasse 17