Foto aus Performance von Philip Metz

Performance in former German fort Groß Friedrichsburg in Ghana from the project Adler Afrika by Philip Kojo Metz, 2012–2014 (c) Philip Metz

The Pluralisation of Remembrance

German Colonial History in Africa in Contemporary Art
PhD Project by Fabian Lehmann

At least for the last two decades visual arts deal with the topic of memory and offer another approach in addition to the discourses in historical studies. Today prominent representatives of the research on memory like Aleida Assmann state that art as a subjective approach can add alternative readings and therefore enrich our memory of historical events. This strategy is especially interesting when it comes to the memory of the German colonies in Africa (1884 to 1919) – today a nearly forgotten period in German history.

In my research I will interpret five contemporary artworks by artists from Africa and Europe that address the remembrance of the Kaiserreich’s colonies in Africa. In what way do these performance, video, or conceptual artworks deal with the memory of this specific time in German history? Do they allow for plural perspectives and diverse ways of interpretation, without denying the complexity of the historic events? For one artwork I want to extend the analysis also to the artwork’s production. In Lüderitz, Namibia I want to interview local inhabitants who have been part of the film shooting for “The African Twin Towers“, a production by German director and action artist Christoph Schlingensief.

Foto aus The African Twin Towers

The African Twin Towers by Christoph Schlingensief, 2005 (c) Aino Laberenz / Filmgalerie451