We resume our exploration of African queer cinema, thus extending the Queer Focus on Africa cycle featured in the Queer Lisboa festival last year. This time, we’re leaving Africa proper behind for the American and British world, thus reiterating one of our premises... the extension of "African" and "African-ness" that is part of AFRICA.CONT, a cultural force abroad in the world, much as a current in the ocean: integral to the whole but with movements and temperatures all its own - in the beautiful imagery of Achille Mbembe. We are certainly eager to explore the realities that this current embodies in its Central and South American, European and Asian diasporas.
The work of Gilberto Freyre demonstrates his singular conception of time, merging past, present and future. Such conception shows us the ambiguities and contradictions when he speaks of the luso-tropical community. At times, he presents it as a past reality, dated from the 15th and 16th centuries, other times as a living, present reality, and other times even as future, destiny, idealization. It is mainly as a project that the idea of a luso-tropical community survived its author after the Portuguese empire ended. And it continues to this day in the Community of Portuguese Language Countries and in the more consensual political and ideological discourse about Portugal’s position in the world.
The current situation tells us in what way we should create empathy with the images of the world. Or how the images of the world are themselves empathy, understanding. An abstract economical system that obsessively copies the natural chaos.
Distribution, or relationship. The act of transaction and of eternal and permanent conflict.
Revolutionary female figures, such as Josina Machel, for example, are represented as saints, without bodily form. For me, Yvone Kane should in a way, be represented like Josina Machel. There is a very chaste side to revolutionaries, as if the women were perfect. Not even in the history books do we find out who they really were.
Face to face
Human hair was already being sold long before capitalism; the sale of human milk was common in ancient Rome and this was even a source of income for many women during the Industrial Revolution. But the first example was not an exchange of commodities in the modern sense, nor in the latter was there any recognition of women as true self-owners. The sale of blood, permitted during most of the twentieth century, was perhaps one of the first generalized ways in which self-ownership left the abstract “straitjacket” of labour power and extended to a physical element of the body, albeit renewable, thus allowing for an additional or last resort income for the most vulnerable self-owners.
It is simply not acceptable in our day and age to show oneself incapable of truly appreciating the sincere feelings and worldview of others, while at the same time stroking one’s own ego and praising openmindedness and respect for differences at every turn! This inability to look at oneself objectively results from sheer autism.
Face to face
The solo exhibition ‘Monuments in Reverse’ gathers for the first time a set of works by Ângela Ferreira, made between 2008 and 2012, which emerged from the same research-based processes, giving rise, however, to disparate installations whose intimate relationships tend to remain unexplored from a curatorial perspective. With the aim of opening a space of visibility for the conceptual and formal interstices sustaining her practice in general and these works in particular, the exhibition is purposefully documentary and process-based. It intends to shed light on thinking processes more than points of arrival, through the possibility of new connections, or the visibility of previously occluded ones, the strong presence of drawing and video, and the dialogue with works by others which have constituted point of departure or inspiration.
We know that racism is the social, cultural and political result of eurocentrism, which created the need to mark, distinguish and separate racialized ethnic groups of the human community, on the basis of skin color and/or culture. The main leverage associated with this dehumanizing enterprise of racialized ethnic groups was set on the power to construct myths that have always justified racism. In that regard, far from constituting a mere repository of unconscious and harmless prejudices, as it is often made believe, the analysis of the political situation, with the strengthening of fascism and the rise of the far right in Europe, demonstrates that racism remains at the junction of contemporary institutional political practices and the slavocratic, imperial and colonial ideologies.
A City Called Mirage is a complex exhibition, by the Angolan artist KILUANJI KIA HENDA (Luanda, 1979), which explores original approaches to a recurring theme in recent times: that of cities between the states of virtuality and desertification. Kiluanji uses (science and mythological) fiction and irony as ways of transcending the pessimism of hyper-criticism and the aesthetics of the ruin. Through humour we are made aware of just how ephemeral the largest human constructions are: all cities will be reduced to raw materials again, just like the metals removed from the ground will once again merge back into it.
Breyten Breytenbach is a distinguished poet, painter, novelist, playwright, essayist and human rights activist. He is considered one of the greatest living poets in Afrikaans. His literary work has been translated into many languages and he has been honoured with numerous literary and art awards. Having exhibited worldwide he is also a recognized painter, portraying surreal imagery. He was born on 16 September 1939 in Bonnievale and studied art at the Michaelis Art School in Cape Town.
How MPLA’s ideology, in particular its Marxist-Leninist values, shaped Sambizanga? In which ways the film was shaped, by both Maldoror and the MPLA, as a piece of propaganda, in order to gain international recognition for the injustice of the Portuguese rule in Angola and credibility for the MPLA in the international community. Maldoror has said that she tried to accomplish three things with Sambizanga: capture a particular movement in the history of the Angolan liberation struggle; create a film that would educate Westerners to the situation in Angola; and tell the story of a revolution from the perspective of a woman. This dissertation will argue that these three aims can be linked to the propagandistic elements of the film and the ideology of the MPLA.
The Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia started on February 7 with the Opening Ceremony, where 88 athletes bearing the flags of their respective nations led their national delegations into the Olympic Stadium. When a lonely man representing Zimbabwe entered on position 26, one could have asked two questions: Why is a Zimbabwean the 26th, if there is an alphabetical order? And, probably more interesting, what is a man from the southern Africa doing at Olympic Winter Games?
“Submundo Luso vs 12transfusons” is a new mix tape that features rappers from Angola, Mozambique, Brazil and Portugal. Released on New Year’s Eve after five months of preparation, the project brought together hip-hop promoters from the blogs Submundo Luso [pt] in Mozambique and 12transfusons [pt] in Angola. The two met online and the former invited the latter to collaborate.
In this interview for the blog Underground Lusófono [pt], Astérix o Néfilim (Astérix the Giant, in English), a rapper, producer and manager at 12transfusons, talks about the effort, which counted the participation of artists from all over the globe and is now available as a free download. He also shares his views on the artistic scene in Cabinda – a tiny province in the north of Angola – and the challenges caused by such isolation.
"I don't consider Brazil that different from Angola, culturally speaking. By the way, Angola currently consumes a lot of global culture. Mostly younger people. Not even the differences in language are an obstacle to the understanding of my comics."
Face to face
In contemporary Portuguese cinema, the question is to know how to represent the revolution. How can the revolution’s temporality be reconfigured in the present? How can it be made present and not past? How can the archives of the revolution’s political strength be restored? If the crossing of history is always a critical operation and if the historical approach implies a process of identification with past events, for contemporary Portuguese filmmakers — especially the children of the revolution — these vast archives and this impressive cinematic corpus place the question outside of the reach of any historicism.