Despite the precarious living conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the ongoing armed conflicts in the eastern half of the country, the capital of Kinshasa has established itself as one of the leading fashion metropolises on the African continent. International investors and global shipping routes converge in what is now becoming a booming informal economy and urban fashion hub. Here, modern design and entrepreneurial spirit combine with improvisational talent and techniques of appropriation, imitation and forgery. The “Grand Marché” in Kinshasa is now the largest market for pirated fashion in the Congo.
The project “KINSHASA Collection” by pong Film makes Kinshasa the geographic centre of an artistic investigation into what is called “grassroots globalisation” – a network stretching from China to the Congo and all the way to Europe. Under the artistic direction of Dorothee Wenner und in co-production with the Goethe-Institut Kinshasa, the project will develop a so-called “I-Doc” (interactive documentary) and live-event project in which German and Congolese film artists and fashion designers will collaborate.
Based on an online film in five episodes, “KINSHASA Collection” will spotlight the new influencers in Kinshasa’s fashion world and offer a satirical view of the Congolese fashion metropolis and its business in trademark piracy. The release of each episode will be supplemented by additional online portals, films, tutorials and blogs, thereby creating an interactive, semi-documentary model project of future transcultural communication.
The project will conclude with a fashion show at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. In this way, the project will move from the virtual environment to real-world venues, forming a link between the cinematic format with interactive elements and live events. The project will also establish a “temporary, autonomous zone” (Hakim Bey) which will establish the interplay between reality and fiction, original and counterfeit, as a basic principle – in both fashion and filmmaking. The aim is to create a platform which explores the possibilities of co-production, communication, dissemination and investigation. Not only will this help promote cooperation among film- and fashion-makers and political activists from the Congo, China and other countries, but the virtual formats will enable it to reach a much larger viewing audience than that of conventional documentary films.
Artistic director: Dorothee Wenner (DE)
Production team: pong Film GmbH / Merle Kröger (DE), Alexandra Gerbaulet (DE)
Co-production team: Goethe-Institut Kinshasa / Gitte Zschoch
Participating artists: Pascal Capitolin (DE), Micz Flor (DE), Laura Oldenbourg (DE), Jana Keuchel (DE), Philip Scheffner (DE), Thsoper Kabambi (CD), Ines Meier (DE), Allason Leitz (DE), Goitse Montsho (DE), Cherelle Zheng (CHN)