Beyond Afropolitan and Other Labels
Dis–Othering is an international project with the participation of BOZAR, (Brussels), SAVVY Contemporary (Berlin), Kulturen in Bewegung VIDC (Vienna), Afropean (London) and U–jazdowski (Warsaw).
Right from the inception of the project in 2018 we have urged a critical look at how the image of the Other is created, both in institutional and collective practice. We are particularly interested in the African diaspora in the European Union, and its impact on contemporary culture. Through diverse activities such as exhibitions, seminars, performances, meetings, research and residencies we encourage reflection on how Otherness can be cultivated, without succumbing to the temptation to take advantage of it for subjective purposes or reducing it to the status of a commodity. We want our approach to the Other to be as distant as possible from paternalism.
The Warsaw component of the project comprises two parts – residencies and the publication of a themed issue of the Obieg magazine. In September 2019, Joanna Grabski will arrive at U–jazdowski – an art historian, director of the School of Art at the State University of Arizona, and the author of Art World City: The Creative Economy of Artists and Urban Life in Dakar, and Johny Pitts—writer, photographer and journalist, who is running the Afropean project. During their stay, they will both take a close look at the African diaspora in Warsaw, listening to the microstories of both anonymous and better-known members of the community. They will be meeting with local pundits on this topic.
Together, we will work on Issue 13 of Obieg, to be published in December. It will be themed on the concept of dis-Otherness and the practice of creating the Other in Central and Eastern Europe, in particular in Poland. We will probe not only the past – the 1960/70s, when vigorous cultural exchanges were taking place between African countries and the Communist Bloc, but also – and perhaps especially so – the present.