March 2014, living archive

Visionary Archive: It all depends #2


Re-encounters with African cinema in joint film viewing sessions are a central component of the translocal research project Visionary Archive. On 30.3 four South African artists will be our guests. They are currently resident artists of the Constanza Macras/Dorky Park's performance project "On Fire" in Berlin. The films MUEDA, MEMORIA E MASSACRE (Mozambique 1979) COME BACK, AFRICA (South Afrika/USA 1958) and MATSOGO (South Afrika 2013) will open up associative approaches to discuss body politics, working on history and the role of performance art in "stating the plurality of singularity" (A. Mbembe) in southern Africa, with Lucky Kele, Mmakgosi Kgabi, Zanele Muholi, Mamela Nyamza and Lerato Shadi. (th)

COME BACK, AFRICA (Lionel Rogosin, USA 1958)

Lionel Rogosin, an US-American director, filmed COME BACK, AFRICA in the late 1950s in Johannesburg. The result was a film that is exemplary in its depiction of the black urban experience under Apartheid. The film tells the story of Zachariah Mgabi who leaves his rural home to find work in Johannesburg. As the film progresses Zachariah moves from job to job, working in the mines, as a domestic worker and at a car garage. In violation of apartheid’s racial pass laws, he is arrested by the police. Once out of prison, he finds out that his wife has been murdered.

MUEDA, MEMORIA E MASSACRE (Ruy Guerra, Mozambique 1979)
The film was shown at the Forum in 1981, is the only Mozambican film in the Arsenal archive, it is a clear milestone. It shows a piece of anti-colonial reminiscence work, a public reenactment staged by non-professionals of the massacre of Mueda (1960) carried out by the Portuguese. The event was regarded as triggering armed resistance in Mozambique in subsequent historiography and was remembered at regular intervals even before independence by means of popular reenactments. Ruy Guerra shot MUEDA with a clear documentary interest in this theatrical form of commemorative practice. Its subsequent marketing as the "first Mozambican feature film" provided an initial taste of the interpretational conflict that was to follow, which resulted in a complicated history of censorship. 

MATSOGO (Lerato Shadi, South Africa 2013)
A recent video work by Lerato Shadi, in which she crumbles a slice of chocolate cake with her fingers and then slowly rolls the crumbs together to form a triangular shape that resembles the original slice, eloquently asks the key questions of how we construct and perceive form and meaning. The final shape recalls a slice of cake, and is constituted of exactly the same elements, but it is also not a slice of cake.