Decolonizing 68: Soul!

01/06/2018 — 03/06/2018

OTV | Open Television. Platform for intersectional pilots and series.

Teaser trailer for „Hair Story, a pilot for Serial Dreamer" (Ausschnitt)​; Foto: Courtesy OTV + District Berlin

Repair (Videostill), Karina Griffith, 2017

Crude Processions (Videostill, 7:10 min), Karina Griffith, 2013

Open Television & Queer Black TV

Aymar Jean Christian & Karina Griffith

As 2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of 1968, we take this opportunity to engage with the student movement of the 1960s from decolonial, post-migrant and feminist perspectives. Under the title Decolonizing 68 we realize a series of talks, screenings and encounters together with the artist, curator und filmmaker Karina Griffith who works on this topic during her Studio Grant at District. The aim is to question the production of history and to (re)tell the movements of that time from the perspectives of its anti-colonial, diasporic-feminist and Black organizations. For the co-production of artistic research and public debate throughout the year 2018 an intersectional alliance – including the art spaces District Berlin, alpha nova & galerie futura and Arsenal Gallery Poznan as well as Peggy Piesche, Gunda-Werner-Institut, and the project Art of the Revolt // The Revolt of Art, Offenes Haus der Kulturen Frankfurt/Main – was founded under the working title Decolonizing 68. Together we want to counter the ongoing marginalization of these histories – the resistances and political demands they carry – within the constantly reproduced narrations of ’68’. And we ask the question: how can we decolonize 1968 if 2018 has not been decolonized yet?

alpha nova & galerie futura
Am Flutgraben 3, 12435 Berlin
Friday, 1 June, 7pm
Lessons from ’68: Soul!, Open Television & Queer Black TV
Screening and talk with Aymar Jean Christian (co-founder of Open TV) and Karina Griffith

Soul music and Black Power Solidarity: Afro-American culture played an important role in different fields of counter and pop culture of West Germany in the 1960s. Fifty years after 1968 Black Americans find themselves fighting for their right to live under a proto-fascist state. Just as Dr. King started to question the American empire before his tragic assassination, so must we now question the state and major institutions about how they are developing the lives and work of all people. Join OTV | Open Television, a Chicago-based platform for intersectional television, as they premiere queer black TV and question why corporate media in the United States continually fails to represent the beauty and diversity within Black communities. OTV was inspired by Soul! (1968-1973) one of the first, groundbreaking Black-produced series that showcased Black art and political discourse from the national TV debuts of Earth Wind and Fire to intense discussions with the likes of Stokely Carmichael, Nikki Giovanni, and James Baldwin. Just as during the first civil rights movement, the media remains a powerful tool for affecting political and social change.

alpha nova & galerie future
Am Flutgraben 3, 12435 Berlin
Sat, 2 June, 12am – 4pm
Web Series Clinic: Queer Black TV
Workshop with Aymar Jean Christian (co-founder of Open TV)

In 1962, a group of young German filmmakers came together at the Oberhausen film festival to articulate their demands for more support and distribution for their films. Inspired by the demands of the Oberhausen Manifesto, in this intimate exchange we want to ask what would a manifesto for Black, independent filmmaking look like today? Funding, resources and distribution channels for independent films – in this web content clinic with Open TV co-founder Aymer Christian, participants will get tailored advice on how to bring audiences to their internet-based media. Open TV is the Chicago-based web channel that hosts and supports POC-authored web series, including the much-watched “Brown Girls”.

The Clinic is aimed at female identified, non-binary and trans* artists with an interest in and/or experience with film and video practice. Black women* and women* of color will be prioritized in the registration process due to limited available space. We request your binding registration by Wednesday, 30 May 2018 via the following e-mail address: mail@alpha-nova-kulturwerkstatt.de

District Berlin
Saturday and Sunday, 2 June + 3 June, 2 – 6pm
Karina Griffith: Repair + Crude Processions
Screening in the frame of Malzwiese summer festival
Entrance fee for Malzwiese: 18 Euro (per day), 30 Euro (combi ticket 48 hours)
More info: www.malzwiese.de

1968 was a global event as were the developments, which have brought the different revolutionary movements of that time into being. Karina Griffith’s film Repair (2017) gives an insight into what has happened during these years in Guyana. Guyana, the Northern mainland of South America where Griffith’s family comes from, is often considered part of the Caribbean region because of its strong cultural, historical, and political ties. When Guyana gained independence from British colonial rule in 1966, the United States government feared the country would become another communist stronghold. Covert CIA interventions drove so many people out that it is now estimated more Guyanese live outside the country’s borders than within them. Repair shows how human and organic structures long to reunite.

Colonialism, neo-colonialism and racism were significant topics in the 1960s and are still inscribed in German society today. In Crude Processions (2013) two “movements of people”: the carnival practices in Buenos Aires and Cologne and the forced migration of Africans across the Atlantic are confronted. Since 1929, the “Original Negerkoepp E.V.” have participated in Cologne carnival in blackface, with the sole explanation of parody and “good fun.” The film takes us across the Atlantic, from the festivities in Cologne to the ports of Salvador de Bahia, Montevideo and Buenos Aires. Crude Processions is a non-verbal exploration of the filmmaker’s reaction to witnessing blackfacing in Germany: one of confusion, fear, anger and compassion.

Funded by Landeszentrale für politische Bildung.