Obieg No. 13: Dis-Othering
Edited by Krzysztof Gutfrański
The current issue of Obieg is the fruit of collaboration between BOZAR and the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Belgium, SAVVY Contemporary in Germany, Kulturen in Bewegung VIDC in Austria and Afropean London in the UK on the project Dis-Othering: Beyond Afropolitan and Other Labels. The idea behind the project is taking up discourse with our attitudes to the “other” and deconstruction of “othering” practices in social and institutional life as well in the art world. Our own identity feeds on the so-called “other” that lives among us. It is onto the other that we project what we are not comfortable with in ourselves. If so, is there at all any chance of “dis-othering”?
Bearing in mind the African diaspora and the concept of dis-othering, proposed by Antonia Alampi and Bonaventura Ndikung, one cannot fail to notice that Warsaw and other Polish hubs differ from the other partner cities in the project such as Brussles, Vienna and Berlin, by their post-war monoculturalism, which has resulted in a lack of appreciation for other societies, the image of which is therefore easily susceptible to media manipulation.
In issue No. 13 of Obieg, we have zeroed in on the links between Poland and African countries and the immigration from the continent to the country on the Vistula. We have attempted not only to show how Africa is referred to in Poland today but also how migrants from African countries perceive Poles. By following individual stories and probing the media presentation of Africa through stereotypical images, we have set out to look for pathways to get away from treating the African continent as a cultural and historic monolith. We also question the validity of the very concept of an African diaspora in Poland.
In Obieg No. 13 we present texts by, and interviews with, representatives of the Africans community in Poland, which reflect on their (in)visibility, and we describe the historic relations between Poland and countries in Africa.
Obieg is a bilingual online magazine devoted to art and culture. It appears in four thematic issues a year, available online free of charge, in Polish and English. It combines critique, in-depth theoretical texts, non-academic investigations, essays, and images.
Photograph from the collections of the Jewish Historical Institute.