Latitude Festival
Cover of the Latitude Festival, promoted by the Goethe Institut from the 4th to the 6th of June. Photo: Disclosure.

Dand June XNUMXth to XNUMXth, the Goethe Institute holds the first Latitude Festival in a digital environment. under the motto Rethinking power relations – for a decolonized and anti-racist world, the festival delivers a completely free program centered on how colonial structures are effective until the present and how they can be overcome. The event brings together international references in art, science, culture and politics. Participants include political scientist Nanjira Sambuli (Kenya), philosopher Denise Ferreira da Silva (Canada), performer Trixie Munyama (Namibia), historian Ciraj Rassool (South Africa) and migration researcher Mark Terkessidis (Germany).

Latitude is divided into four thematic complexes that address the perpetuation of colonial structures, reflecting on: economic inequality; identity and memory; conduct towards cultural goods; and global digital inequality. Alongside discussions, debates and interviews, films, performances, concerts and live shows will be shown via streaming and recorded videos. 

As it is an international festival, the speeches will be in English or will have simultaneous translation into English. A arte!brasileiros highlights some activities that will be carried out:

Show Vila Sul (show): Vila Sul is the Goethe-Institut's artistic residency in Salvador, Bahia, aimed at artists, intellectuals and researchers whose main theme is the southern hemisphere. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the current “residents” of Vila Sul – Thó Simões (Malanje), Koffi Mensah Akagbor (Ouagadougou), Émilie B. Guérette (Montreal) and Renata Martins (Bonn) – were unable to travel to Salvador and are completing their residencies digitally, which is also a new experience for the institution. In this way, the initial results of their work will be presented virtually at the Latitude festival.

As part of the program, artist-in-residence Koffi Mensah Akagbor participates in the show Metal against the clouds; art critic Renata Martins is responsible for the concept for the exhibition Transactions – both can be accessed on the Goethe-Institut portal from the beginning of June 4th. On the 5th, Émilie B. Guérette participates in a conversation about women filmmakers from different backgrounds, but with a common interest: questioning the colonial and patriarchal order of the world through her work.

Latitude Festival
Space at the Goethe-Institut in Salvador, Bahia, where the Vila Sul residency in Brazil takes place. Photo: Disclosure.

Resisting extractivism (panel): Moderated by cultural theorist Lotte Arndt, the panel brings together artists who, in their respective contexts, develop visual strategies to resist extractivism. Artist and curator Rachel O'Reilly will comment on her documentary Infractions (2019), which addresses the future of gas extraction in Australia, in particular through the process of hydraulic fracturing – “fracking”. The documentary is based on years of research and interviews, and questions the unusual relationship of contemporary culture and the arts with extractivism. Congolese photographer Sammy Baloji will speak about his work focused on the consequences of colonial mining in the Lubumbashi region, Democratic Republic of Congo. 


Memories of a Camera, for Human Oblivion (Exhibition): Program developed in conjunction with Arsenal – Instituto de Cinema e Videoarte, based in Potsdamer. Its title was taken from the movie Forgetting Vietnam, by Trinh T Minh-ha, due to the Vietnamese filmmaker's exploration of reparation through the poetic retelling of the story. This characteristic unites the program's films, in addition to its interest in demonstrating unequal power structures and the work of disrupting them. The result is a collection of subversive works by artists Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, Ng'endo Mukii, Christa Joo Hyun D'Angelo, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Jessica Lauren Elizabeth Taylor and Thirza Cuthand. 

Learning from each other – restitution as an ethical and legal challenge (panel): Taking as its starting point the publication of the restitution report prepared by Bénédicte Savoy and Felwine Sarr in November 2018, the panel will discuss the restitution of cultural property, a controversial and increasingly discussed topic. The participants – specialists in legal, anthropological and civilization theory and practice – will delve into the issue to know its possibilities and limitations, asking, for example, whether restitution can function as a social negotiation.

How museums move towards the future (panel): In this panel, cultural professionals and researchers reflect on current practice in museums: what challenges do they face? What opportunities arise for the creation of new museum models? This debate, accentuated by the pandemic, has forced institutions to continue questioning where they imagine themselves in the future and whether in this scenario it is possible to expand the social relevance of museums.


While we wait – Tanzanian artistic production in times of corona (exhibition and debate): Performance artist Vicensia Shule will debut a theatrical production at the 2020 edition of the Latitude festival in Berlin. With the barriers imposed by Covid-19, Shule was unable to perform, instead she invited other affected artists from various fields of the arts – film, music, visual arts and theater – to express themselves in video interviews. In the recordings, Shule documents the work of these artists and how they deal with producing their work in the current situation. She notes, however, that some of the issues raised in the interviews have affected Tanzanian artists since before the pandemic.



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