Chinafrika. Under construction. Foto/Still: Daniel Kötter

Chinafrika. under construction

A research and art project on urban cultures in a globalised world – funded by the TURN Fund

Both China and the African continent are regions of the world in which many see the future of globalisation. While observers have been closely watching the complex economic and political ties being forged between China and African countries, their bilateral cultural relations and resulting implications have gone largely unnoticed. How does a global process manifest itself in places where foreign cultures come in contact? How do people’s perspectives on life change as a result of new, international relations and orientations? How do objects and images from “foreign cultures” become assimilated into everyday life? And how do these relations impact urban spaces?

The research and art project “Chinafrika. under construction” by metroZones e.V. will explore the cultural relations between China and Africa. Together with numerous partners in Lagos, Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Leipzig, Weimar and Graz, the participating African, Chinese and European artists, curators and theorists are collaborating to develop artistic positions in a two-year process of exchange. These will be presented as a “moving construction site” in the form of workshops, conferences, exhibitions, performances, film screenings and publications in Europe, Africa and Asia. The focus on three continents is an attempt to expand on the conventional view of the colonial routes (North-South) with alternatives (South-South) and new, contrasting, multiple perspectives (South-North-South). The project focuses on the “copper belt” in northern Zambia and the south-eastern corner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo – both centres in mining and transportation of natural resources – as well as the metropolitan cities of Lagos, Johannesburg, Maputo, Algier and Addis Ababa. In China, the project centres on the Pearl River delta with its African trading centres in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and the free-trade area in Shenzhen.

The presentation "Chinafrika, under construction" is the central exhibition of the Chinafrika project. She unfolds a spatial terrain spanning three continents, addressing distinct yet interconnected spheres of the economic and cultural dynamics of the “Chinafrika” phenomenon, organised around the themes of Explosion/Exposition, Resourcing, Shipping, Factory, Shopping, Urban, Transit, Exchange, and Future/Outlook. The exhibition is curated by Jochen Becker (metroZones, Berlin) together with Julia Schäfer (Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig) and Daniel Kötter (Berlin). 

The project is a co-production between the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig (gfzk), the Kunstfest Weimar, the “steirischer herbst” festival in Graz and the Goethe-Institut Nigeria.

Artistic director: Jochen Becker (DE); Artistic support/video/research: Daniel Kötter (DE); Production management: ehrliche arbeit – freies Kulturbüro Berlin; Working group leaders: Patrick Mudekereza (CD), Folakunle Oshun (NG), Michael MacGarry (ZA), Xiaopeng Huang (CN)

Artists: Georges Senga (CD), Michael MacGarry (ZA), Zhou Tao (CN), Bodil Furu (NO) et al.

18.08.2017 - 03.09.2017 Kunstfest Weimar, Weimar Performance "Chinafrika. mobile" & Exhibition
02.06.2017 - 24.09.2017 Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig Exhibition

Planned dates and venues

5 Oct. - 10 Oct. 2016 “steirischer herbst”, Graz – exhibition & workshops

Oct. 2016 - May 2017: Regular meetings of working groups in Lagos, Lubumbashi, Johannesburg and Guangzhou