Third Space at SAVVY Contemporary

Three Days and Nights with Ahmed Al-Nawas and Christopher Wessels

October 27-29, 2016

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

End of October, SAVVY Contemporary will be taken over, amicably, by our colleagues from Third Space - a Helsinki based collective of artists and curators seeking to unsettle preconceived notions of the other. As cross-border transcultural operatives, the collective seeks to make visible the invisible lines that separate us. Armed with the intangible weapon of sound and the understanding of the power of visual culture, Third Space forms cracks in knowledges situated around us.

So how do you approach narratives that on the surface appear to have no connection? Al-Nawas and Wessels will be unpacking their current research over a few evenings at SAVVY Contemporary. They will be talking about their latest project, The Center for the Study of the Impossible, The Museum of Impossible Forms, Babylon, migration, pipelines, Verdi, oil, Maroons, the legacy of bohemia in Germany, Suriname and South Africa. Join us we will break bread and drink wine and infuse the madness with the funk.

Christopher Wessels (Internationalist, with roots in SA and branches in FIN) artistic and curatorial research and practice focuses on finding strategies and practices for looking at silenced narratives / memories and knowledge from the margins of the margin to the margins of the centre. But he thinks he is a is a husla pimping subjectivities seeking to contest and unsettle the construct of 'western civilization'. He is located within the discourse of the Funk.

Ahmed Al-Nawas(IRQ/FIN) is in-between an art curator and an artist. He is located in the interstices of society, constantly examining and contesting the notions of margins and center.

And they'll bring us:

27th October | 7pm


Ahmed Al-Nawas and Christopher Wessels will be talking about their current research on '(re)positioning the center'. Al-Nawas & Wessels artistic and curatorial research and practice focuses on finding strategies and practices for looking at silenced narratives / memories and knowledges from the margins of the margin to the margins of the center. Part of their work asks what it is that is represented in archives and cultural history museums?

"Our research will investigate the possibilities of curators and institutions in the mediation of work that include the silenced and disregarded memories of marginalized communities from the global South. Our use of the global South here is not limited to a geographical location, but includes diasporic and displaced communities in Europe, as well as communities constructed as ‘Other’ by the coloniality of power. Our research is located in the Moravian Church Unity archives in Herrnhut Germany and three Cultural History Museums on three continents: the Bohemian Museum in Neukölln Germany, the Genadendal Mission Museum in South Africa and the Surinaams Museum in Paramaribo Suriname."

28th October | 6pm


A discussion with Giulia Palladini, a researcher in Performance studies who recently co-edited the book Lexicon for an Affective Archive: To study an archive or archival materials is to encounter an affective and critical practice involved in the construction of memory. Lexicon for an Affective Archive, edited by Giulia Palladini and Marco Pustianaz, is an international collection of these encounters, offering glimpses into the intimate relations inherent in finding, remembering (or imagining), and creating an archive. Bringing together voices from a variety of fields across the humanities, performance studies, and contemporary art, and engaging in a multidisciplinary analysis, this beautifully designed and fully illustrated volume advances the idea of an “affective archive” as a useful conceptual tool—a tool which contributes to an understanding of an expanded notion of an archive and its central role in contemporary visual and performing arts."

Giulia Palladini is a researcher in Performance Studies based in Berlin. She was a Alexander von Humboldt fellow (2012-2014), and currently teaches at the Kunsthochschule Weißensee Berlin. She has taught seminars as Guest Professor in various international institutions, such as the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá and SNDO in Amsterdam. Her research focuses especially on performance labor and free time, the archive, and materialist theories of artistic production. Her texts appeared in several international journals, and she collaborated as theorist and as curator to a number of critical and artistic projects (e.g. Affective Archives, Vercelli 2009; Living Rooms, L’Aquila 2011; Taking Time, Helsinki 2013; Experimenta/Sur, Bogotá, 2014; Zu ICH um WIR zu Sein, Leipzig, 2014). Her book The Scene of Foreplay: Theatre, Labor and Leisure in 1960s New York will be published by Northwestern University Press in Spring 2017, and she edited with Marco Pustianaz the collected volume Lexicon for an Affective Archive (Intellect/LADA, forthcoming 2017).

29th October | 2pm


Ahmed Al-Nawas and Christopher Wessels are locating their practice based research '(re)positioning the center' as a joint PHD research at a Gender Studies department at Åbo Academy University as opposed to an Art institution. Their praxis of writing together does not guarantee their entrance, since entrance means the stretching of university rules.

“We will workshop about our attempt to do our PhD together. Here we will do a mind mapping of the process, obstacles and have the audience help us develop strategies to overcome these obstacles.“

At the end of the evening, Al-Nawas and Wessels will Talk to Kesivan Naidoo about his 'Zero Gravity Experiment', a jazz quartet playing only improvised music, with Bokani Dyer, Feya Faku and Shane Cooper, hopefully we will get to listen to the live recording of their first gig at the Orbit in Jozi.

Every evening will end with listening and dancing to some music, as it should be!


The "As If" of Poetry and other Discourses on Technology

by Stadtsprachen Literaturfestival, SAND Journal & The Reader Berlin

The workshop is booked out!

October 30, 2016 | 11-17 pm

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

"So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive" –– Audre Lorde, The Black Unicorn, 1978.

"Cultivate a flavour that/grows from within/for the sake of our own/starvation" -– Marie Pascale Hardy, personal records, 2016.

“That the impossible should be asked of me, good, what else could be asked of me” –– Samuel Beckett, Unnamable, 1953.

Is the poem an artifact? Is technology a poetic medium?

This day-long workshop will serve as the platform for poets and all kinds of sound enthusiasts to come together and reason around the issues concerning the discursive and material intersections of poetry and technology.

As part of the Stadtsprachen Literaturfestival, participants of all backgrounds and levels of experience are invited to join a group of selected artists in creating and conceptualizing texts and sonic devices. During the first part of the workshop, Donna Stonecipher will help participants to familiarize themselves with alternative translation techniques that use sound, memory, and one's own relation to space as the tools to “translate” a poem and the potential for the translation of texts within a single language. Finally, all participants will have the chance to write their own homophonic poems and translations.

The second part of the workshop –led by the sound poets and performers of Rudolf Kollektiv– will focus on taking these poems and translating them again into pure sound. To do this, participants will learn to build a range of simple sonic devices; contact microphones, optical theremins (a light sensor noise device) and amplifiers. These devices will be used to intervene (an interfere) the texts created.

In the process of doing so, the workshop will ask: is sound the medium of that what resides outside the world of 'meaning'? The material that results from this day-long workshop will be presented in the exhibition "sound and cerement//technologies of decay" which will take place on the 4th of November at SAVVY Contemporary.

Invited artists: Marie-Pascale Hardy//Alan Mills//Sarnath Banerjee//Goksu Kunak//Jane Flett//Kenny Fries//John Peck//Klaas von Karlos

PLEASE REGISTER WITH EVENTBRITE -- The Workshop is already booked out.


Session N°6: Zur Situation der Frau

Stefanie Schulte Strathaus presents The Woman's Film

November 2, 2016 | 7pm

< how does the world breathe now? > is a 52 week film series at SAVVY Contemporary inviting artists, thinkers, activists, poets, scientists, curators and other practitioners to select movies of our nows --READ MORE HERE

THE WOMAN’S FILM (Judy Smith / San Francisco Newsreel), USA 1971, 16mm, b&w, 41 min

In November 1973, the first international women's film conference took place at the old Ar-senal in Welserstraße and the primary school opposite. It was organized by Filmmakers Claudia von Alemann and Helke Sander, who presented 45 films from seven countries - this was tantamount to a pioneering achievement. They invited 250 participants who were active in women's groups. On top of that, women who worked in the media came and thanks to the conference/festival they were able to build up a network for the first time. The same was true for the filmmakers. Most screenings were premieres and thus the event can also be considered to be the first women's film festival in the Europe, with films made by and about women. There had never been a women's film festival of this size before. How-ever, in the forefront was the establishment of a public discourse. The issues examined were "Women in the labor struggle, women in the depiction of the media, women and Paragraph 218, sexuality, role behavior, the women's movement in Europe and the US." Films of all lengths and genres that picked up on these themes critically were invited.The brochure that was published at the time "Zur Situation der Frau" contained valuable film and literature tips and presented a work and learning program.

One of the films in the program was THE WOMAN’S FILM (Newsreel #55, USA 1970). It was made entirely by women from „San Francisco Newsreel“. It was a collective effort be-tween the women behind the camera and those in front of it. The script itself was written from preliminary interviews with women in the film. Their participation, their criticism, and approval were sought at various stages of production.

We are showing the 16mm print of the Arsenal archive. The German subtitles of this print are out of sync, a failure that leads to questions about cultural translation.

Stefanie Schulte Strathaus is co-Director of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art (with Milena Gregor and Birgit Kohler) and Member of the selection committee of the Berlinale Forum. In 2006 she co-founded the Berlinale program Forum Expanded (with Anselm Franke). Since 1994 she curates film retrospectives and exhibitions, among them LIVE FILM! JACK SMITH! Five Flaming Days in A Rented World (2009, with Susanne Sachsse and Marc Siegel) and „A Paradise Built in Hell“ at Kunstverein Hamburg (2014, with Betti-na Steinbrügge). Since 2010 she regularly travels to Cairo where she works on several cinema and research projects. From 2011-2013 she curated the project "Living Archive – Archive Work as a Contemporary Artistic and Curatorial Practice“ which turned into the on-going project „Living Archive“ since the Arsenal Film Archive moved to „silent green Kul-turquartier“ in 2015, where she also co-curates the long-term research and exhibition pro-ject „Film Feld Forschung“ (with Bettina Ellerkamp and Jörg Heitmann).