The project DIS-OTHERING - beyond Afropolitan & other labels consists of an exhibition, symposia, a festival, talks and performances, a residency program, mapping research, and a website, all manifesting in 2018 and 2019 in Berlin, Brussels, Vienna and Warsaw. These different formats share the bringing together of artists, communities, thinkers and people of all walks of life to deliberate on contemporary processes and technologies of ‘Dis-Othering’.
With ‘Dis-Othering’ we wish to propose a phenomenon in which social identity building is not made by projecting onto the so-called ‘Other’, but rather a projection towards the self. A self-reflection. A boomerang. That is to say instead of looking for or deflecting one’s faults, fantasies or angst onto some other, one could embody them and live them. It is about acknowledging and embodying the plethora of variables that make us be. The project takes its cue from the Nguemba saying Leh zo, A me ke Nde za, which literally translates as “Keep yours and I keep mine”. This, in itself, is a reaction to the invitation to exercise Afropolitanness. The issue at stake here is, how can we work with such conceptual labels that mean well, without looking at their social, political and economic connotations, hence at what they actually do and what processes of identity construction they encourage?
DIS-OTHERING - beyond Afropolitan & other labels is not about the ‘Other’ - which is just the ‘product’. The project is a deliberation on the amoebic and morphed methodologies employed by institutions and societies at large in constructing and cultivating ‘Otherness’ in our contemporaneity. It is about the commodification and the cooption of the ‘Other’, strategies of paternalization used in the cultural field.
- Artistic Director Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung