Feb 16, 2013: Wura-Natasha Ogunji: Radio Kaduna

Video Performance
Wura-Natasha Ogunji: Radio Kaduna
Saturday, February 16, 2013, 7:00 p.m.

Presented in conjunction with the Aurora Picture Show, Radio Kaduna is a live performance with video that explores the meanings of true love within a Muslim-Christian household in pre-independence Nigeria. This story emerges against the backdrop of contemporary (armed) conflicts between Muslims and Christians which often obscure histories of connection and interdependence across cultural, religious and ethnic boundaries. Incorporating footage from Nigeria’s capital of Abuja to the megacity that is Lagos, this work foregrounds ways in which moments of conflict give rise to powerful and long-lasting intimacies. Radio Kaduna also explores the poetics and politics of uncovering family histories and how those personal truths and lies connect with narratives of nationhood.

Eaten By The Heart (Part 2)

EATEN BY THE HEART Part II: DAMIEN from ZSW Studio on Vimeo.

Eaten By The Heart is a video installation and documentary project conceived, produced and directed by film-maker and video artist, Zina Saro-Wiwa.

Commissioned by The Menil Collection, Houston and supported by the Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC.org) for the Menil’s exhibition The Progress of Love, the piece explores intimacy, heartbreak and love performances among Africans and African Diasporans.

Eaten By The Heart forms part of Zina’s video performance practice which currently focuses on the mapping of emotional landscapes, its resulting performative behaviors and cross-cultural implications. She states: “So many of us cite with confidence that Love Is Universal. But the performance of love is, it seems, cultural. I wonder how the impact of how we choreograph and culturally organize the performance of love impacts what we feel inside and who we become.”

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The Pulitzer Invites You to Celebrate an Un-Valentine’s Day

By David B. Olsen, Lead Gallery Assistant at The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. Actually, it’s more like I am an old man and Valentine’s Day is a bunch of kids on my front lawn; the whole scene makes me unnecessarily grumpy and uncharacteristically bitter. I have no problem with romance, or with love, or with people, or with the myriad and creative ways in which those things get combined. I am probably also a nice guy. But I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day.

I so do not celebrate Valentine’s Day that I have, in the past, literally warned significant others a few weeks ahead of time to not expect anything, which I then clarified by adding that this wasn’t me saying “Don’t expect anything” because I planned to secretly surprise them when they least expected it. Which would have been adorable, right? But seriously, don’t expect anything.

To me, the obvious critique of Valentine’s Day is that it is overly commercialized, coercive, and overcompensating, as though the presentation of a dozen roses or stuffed bear on a predetermined calendar date will somehow mean more than (or make up for not having done) the random acts of love, lust, or like that we should be doing all the time anyway. Like waking up early to make someone waffles on a Tuesday in November. Or inventing new ways to hug. Or offering to go get someone’s tire rotated so they can stay at home and watch Game of Thrones.

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The Menil and the Pulitzer open up dialogue around The Progress of Love

Nadine Robinson. Like Three, 2012. Vintage speakers, vinyl lettering, sound recording, and acrylic on canvas. Music: The Persuaders, “Thin Line Between Love and Hate,” 1974. Courtesy of the artist.

The Menil Collection and The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts are asking six professionals three questions that correspond to the exhibition, The Progress of Love. Contributors are Ryan Dennis, Massa Lemu, Solkem N’Gangbet, Temitayo Ogunbiyi, Amy Powell, and Charlotte Walker-Said.

For the first installment of this dialogue, we want to know: How are romantic relationships being redefined and visualized in the 21st century?

Ryan Dennis, Public Art Director at Project Row Houses: In “Untitled (Perfect Lovers)” Felix Gonzalez-Torres visualizes time as a mechanical relationship, placing two clocks side by side, which can serve as a metaphor for the current state of romantic relationships. Time, it seems, is no longer consistent. Just as the days change, so does the nature of relationships. With a new awareness happening in addressing the way we can love, it seems like individuals have taken an open stance in creating a narrative that speaks specifically to their needs, wants, and desires. While we may have an understanding of the current language of romantic relationships, similar to Gonzalez-Torres’ clocks, where the two hands may start off at the same time, they inevitably and slowly slip away from each other, as does our ability to keep up with the current lingo. Maybe it is not for us to understand! Following developments in the practice and theory of technology, globalization, gender, history, art, anthropology, maybe we have reached a moment to acknowledge that each individual is shaped by their personal experiences that then define their relationship with another person. It seems as though we are no longer at a place in time where connecting with “traditional terms” speaks to a universal language. As such, relationships are being redefined and visualized according to a script of reciprocity and love.

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This is essay is reprinted from the MFAH Core catalogue, Core 2012 Yearbook, © 2012. This essay is also featured on www.artandeducation.net.

In his work Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh records the sounds of Lagos, particularly focusing on the noise of danfo and molue buses, and installs his soundscapes in the milieu of other cities. This essay examines the political implications of this gesture. I argue that Ogboh’s practice doesn’t just celebrate the vibrant urban sounds of Lagos but foregrounds the medium of sound to reflect on the African city as a space historically shaped by and entangled in economic, social, and cultural interrelationships with the rest of the world.1

Ogboh’s sound installations focus on Lagos—the city in which he lives–exploring what the artist describes as its “history and aural infrastructure.”2 In galleries, he usually installs the work in booths where audiences listen to the recordings through earphones. Sometimes he places speakers and megaphones blaring with Lagos sounds in the streets of cities such as Cologne or Helsinki in order to initiate dialogue on globalization, migration, and multi-culturalism. One could read Ogboh’s practice within the context of Camerounian philosopher and critic Achille Mbembe’s Afropolitanism: a cosmopolitan understanding of Africa as a dynamic cultural hybrid, a “world in movement.” Afropolitanism describes Africa as a product of continuous “itinerancy, mobility and movement” of diverse peoples from all corners of the globe into and out of the continent and within its geographical boundaries.3 Present day Africa is a mixture of Asian, European, and indigenous peoples and cultures which have been in political and economic interrelationships for millennia. Mbembe uses the term “afropolis” to refer to major African cities such as Lagos, Cairo, and Johannesburg, cosmopolitan spaces implicated in and shaped by complex, skewed and asymmetrical global flows of ideas, goods, capital, and people.4 Following this framework, the essay examines how Ogboh inserts the sounds of Lagos into the soundscapes of Western cities to highlight the socio-political imbalances and contradictions of globalization, focusing on two sound clips titled Lagos by Bus and the installation Lagos Soundscapes in Cologne: Reception of Strangeness and Consumption of Difference.