TURN Fund - Research projects

Project description

In the first round of applications, the Foundation awarded one-time funding to project-preparatory research projects.

Afro-Tech and the Future of (Re-)invention

Research on alternative computer technologies in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa

Rwanda is currently experiencing an Internet boom and hopes to become Africa’s Silicon Valley. The rapidly expanding Internet market in Africa promises impressive returns. “Africa’s hackers are today’s world-class tech innovators,” wrote Ethan Zuckerman recently in the American magazine Wired. The trend has also resulted in African IT firms reproducing Western technology which often hinders development of alternative methods and visionary re-invention of contemporary technology. Therefore, Afro-Tech is interested in artists and cultural producers in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa who strive to develop and apply alternative, non-Western standards. Based on this research, the organizers will develop an exhibition in Dortmund in 2014/2015.
The HMKV's blog has documented the research project.

A research project by HartwareMedien KunstVerein in Dortmund


Research in preparation for a German-African music project

The project “Balafon” will take the musicians and curators Schneider TM, Arved Schultze and Julian Kamphausen to eastern Guinea, southern Mali, Burkina Faso and northern Ghana to find balafonists and music specialists who are interested in collaborating with German musicians in the futuristic, experimental and electronic scenes. Based on this preliminary research, the organizers will prepare an international music project which will culminate in a CD, workshops and concerts in African countries and Germany. The bala (or balafon) is a percussion ideophone and predecessor of such instruments as the xylophone, vibraphone and marimbaphone.

A research project by Artcore UG

Berlin – Benin

Research for a radio and sound-art project

The radio and sound artist Antje Vowinckel will travel to Benin and Togo to investigate the possibilities of a radio project, carried out by sound artists of the Hans-Flesch-Gesellschaft together with the artists’ collective Elowa in Cotonou. The research work will involve collecting acoustic and thematic material for a German-Beninese radio play, sound-art project or artistic feature to be broadcast both in Germany and Benin.

A research project by the Hans-Flesch-Gesellschaft Berlin

Berlin – Maputo

Artistic research and preparation for a dance production

This research project will lay the foundation for closer artistic collaboration between the Theater HAU Hebbel am Ufer and the CulturArte dance centre, directed by the Mozambican choreographer Panaibra Canda. In view of the historic ties between the former GDR and Mozambique, or more specifically East Berlin and Maputo, the choreographer trio MAMAZA and the artist collective AlexandLiane will research and work with dancers and choreographers from the CulturArte dance centre to explore the themes of “body and history” and “architecture of the city”.

A research project by HAU Hebbel am Ufer

Bremen and Kampala

Research on the literary scene in Uganda

In addition to reading and reviewing literary texts, publisher and curator Nikolas Hoppe aims to shed light on current issues of importance to young contemporary Ugandan writers. The project will arrange to have young writers from Bremen (Nora Bossong and Jens Laloire) and Uganda meet and discuss similarities and differences in poetological matters. Based on this research, the organizers will compile and publish an anthology of young Ugandan literature. The website "Bremen and Kampala - spaces of transcultural writing" documented the project.

A research project by the Bremen Literaturkontor


Preparation for a research and exhibition project

This project investigates the cultural manifestations of the new economic and political ties between the People’s Republic of China and countries on the African continent. In view of Chinese building and infrastructure measures and the resulting “Chinatowns” which have arisen in many larger African cities, the curator and writer Jochen Becker wishes to examine the cultural impact that China’s recent economic and political involvement in Africa has produced. The findings will be used to prepare for a research and exhibition project on this subject.

A research project by metroZones e.V (external link, opens in a new window). – Centre for Urban Affairs

Etaneno: Artistic Communication between Freiburg – Kalkfeld / Namibia

Research on the art scene in Namibia

This research project investigated the art scenes in Windhoek and Namibia and modern forms of artistic exchange between the township of Kalkfeld in Namibia and Freiburg. The project focused on the question of how to shape artistic and curatorial practice in order to adequately account for the historically problematic relationship between Africa and Europe and critically examined exoticized, stereotypical images. The research was embedded in the new concept recently developed by the Museum für Neue Kunst in Freiburg.

The Museum für Neue Kunst, Freiburg is connected to an artist-in-residence program at the cattle farm "Etaneno" in Namibia due to a number of collaborations since 1989. For a better understanding of the project and to find current forms of exchange between cultural agents from Namibia and MNK, the director of the museum, Christine Litz and the curatorial assistant Sophia Trollmann went on a research trip to Namibia. The two artists Thomas Stricker and Holger Bunk, both connected to the project for many years, also took part in the trip. Holger Bunk is the Initiator of projects within the nearby Township Kalkfeld where Thomas Stricker has been working on a shoolgarden since 2007. In a concluding event on September 12th 2014 at Museum für Neue Kunst, Thomas Stricker, Christine Litz and Sophia Trollmann have given a presentation on their research and the projects.

A research project by the Museum für Neue Kunst, Städtische Museen Freiburg


Artistic research and preparation for a theatre production

For the research project “Farewell”, Sahar Rahimi, a member of the independent theatre group Monster Truck, traveled to Lagos/Nigeria in search of the mythological figure of Mami Wata. This water spirit and nymph is both venerated and feared along the West African coast of Guinea. Depicted as a foreign, white woman, Mami Watarepresents the foreign, invasive European influence from an African perspective. The research project produced a video and live performance based on this figure: What happens when we are beheld? The entities of the Self and the Other begin to sway, when discovery and understanding as the occidental paradigms of enlightenment are
opposed by the perspective of being discovered and understood. The second part is set in the present time: the old gods and masters have retired, the new rulers equal them in atrocities though. In between children's games and drill a scenery opens up, shivering between affirmation and over-affirmation, between imitation and mockery in the tradition of African-European encounter.
Produced in collaboration with the children theatre company 'The Footprints' (Lagos/Nigeria) the video installation "Farewell" unfolds an acting and re-enacting of colonial history and enables various perspectives of re-questioning inherited imaginaries in a comic-esque and childlike way. Concept and direction: Sahar Rahimi, photography and artistic collaboration: Florian Krauss, editing and sound design: Aletta von Viettinghoff, funded by the TURN Fund, Goethe-Institut Nigeria and Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (IFA)
Presented at SAVVY Contemporary Berlin on 13th September 2014.
Watch the video:
www.vimeo.com/farewell (external link, opens in a new window)
www.monstertrucker.de (external link, opens in a new window)

A research project by the independent theatre group Monster Truck

Stolen Moments

Research project on current forms of musical presentation in German museums and music academies, and preparation for a concert tour and exhibition of Namibian pop music from 1950 to 1980 in Germany

With support from the National Archive of Namibia, the curator Aino Moongo, the musician and radio artist Baby Doeseb and the German filmmaker Thomas Schütte have spent the last three years conducting intensive research to reconstruct Namibian pop music from 1950 to 1980. The result of their work, presented as Stolen Moments - Namibian Music History Untold, included hundreds of photos and film clips, a myriad of music recordings long believed to have been lost, meetings with contemporary witnesses and former musicians and one hundred hours of interviews in six languages. A music-historical treasure that fills an important gap in Namibia’s cultural history and offers musicians the chance to present their work to a wider segment of the public since their country gained independence in 1990 and Apartheid ended. Coordinated and supervised by the Archive of African Music at the University of Mainz, the research project will allow Aino Moongo (NA) and Baby Doeseb (NA) to visit museums, concert organisations and music academies in Germany to become familiar with current forms of musical presentation and prepare a concert tour and exhibition in Germany in 2014.

A research project by the Archive of African Music – Institute of Ethnology and African Studies at the University of Mainz in cooperation with the National Archive of Namibia Windhoek

The Nightingale Expedition

Research on theatre scenes in West and East Africa

This research project investigates the theatre and performance scenes in West Africa (Togo, Benin and Niger) and East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar). On the occasion of the 130th anniversary of the German protectorate treaties with Togo and Cameroon, the Volksbühne is planning a project that highlights Germany’s colonial involvement in Africa. The researchers will work to contact and enlist the support of cooperative partners, artists and performers for this project.

A research project by the Volksbühne on Rosa-Luxemburg Platz


Preparatory research for an exhibition

This project reconstructs the expedition of the German scholar Josef Peter Audebert who was commissioned by a museum of natural history to conduct research in Madagascar around 1870. In cooperation with contemporary Madagascan artists, the organizers prepared an exhibition at the Kunstverein Heidelberg which examines Audebert’s accounts of his travels from the perspective of contemporary artists. Rudolf Herz and Julia Wahren wanted to know how today's Madagascans artistically comment on Audebert's reports. In conversation with the film-makers there commenced an exciting intercultural discourse. Visit the website www.hdkv.de (external link, opens in a new window) for more informations about the studio exhibition "Vazaha".

A research project by the Heidelberg Kunstverein

TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries

In 2012, the Federal Cultural Foundation established the TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries in order to encourage a wide range of German institutions to shift their focus on the artistic production and cultural debates in African countries.

More about the TURN Fund (opens in a new window)


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