“to (for)get resistance” by Lydia Nsiah
7th – 15th of December 2018

In her solo show, entitled “to forget resistance” and made possible by the Kültür gemma Fellowship, Lydia Nsiah restages the „Queer/ Trans*/ Inter/ Black People/ People of Color Resistance“ – Archive of WE DEY x SPACE. Based upon her work series to forget (2017–ongoing) remembering and forgetting enter into a mutual dialogue.

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VERNISSAGE:
7th of December at 6pm
Dj Shayma
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opening time with Lydia Nsiah
13th of December: 6pm-9pm
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FINISSAGE:
15th of December: 4pm-9pm

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Lydia Nsiah lives and works in Vienna, and abroad. Holding MAs in Fine Arts, in Film and Media Studies, she studied in Vienna, Berlin, Montreal and Amsterdam. Currently she is a PhD candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. As artist and researcher she deals with the in-betweens and gaps in media and knowledge production by juxtaposing film, photography, text and installation. Her works incorporate and transform found and shot, analogue and digital (memory) images and sounds. She has published and exhibited internationally on Forgetting and Commemorative Cultures, Archival Practice, Failure/ Error, Film Art and Useful Films, and the Photofilmic. Her works were shown, among others, at REMASTERED, Kunsthalle Krems (AT) | Curtocircuíto, Santiago de Compostela (ES) | Curtas Vila do Conde IFF (PT) | Antimatter [Media Art], Deluge Contemporary Art Gallery, Victoria, BC (CA) | Cork Film Festival (IE) | New Horizons International Film Festival, Wroclaw (PL).
www.lydiansiah.net

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Accessibility Infos:

X SPACE is accessible via a ramp. The ramp is 76 cm wide and the slope is 9 %. For more information please contact us!
The closest wheelchair accessible toilet is @ Café Oben, Urban-Loritz-Platz. It’s a five minutes distance.

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about WE DEY x space

WE DEY x space is dedicated to amplify the art and culture production for and by Queer/Trans*/Inter/Black People/People of Color

WE DEY x space aims to center marginalised voices, perspectives, knowledges and experiences from different diasporas

WE DEY x space will host exhibitions, workshops, kitchen table talks and film screenings around the topics of decolonial art production, community, self-care, empowerment.

event picture © Lydia Nsiah

Solo exhibition: Selected Writings (2-4) by Nicole Suzuki
curated by Sushila Mesquita

coverEXHIBITION OPENING HOURS:
22.11. (Vernissage, 6-10pm), 24.11., 25.11., 27.11., 29.11. (3-6pm), 30.11. (Finissage 6-10pm)

Paper is light and a powerful tool of knowledge production and disappearance, power reproduction and consolidation. Drawing on Japanese paper and thread production techniques, “Selected Writings (2-4)” puts into view different forms of writing, reading, coding and concealing. The exhibition is an invitation to move away from the assumption of the empty page as a neutral space and brings forth the possibilities of a material and disobedient reading-writing.

Nicole Suzuki works in different media on questions of knowledge production with a focus on the possibilities, violent histories and limitations of the book as a medium. Her work is in dialogue with postcolonial and queer of color critiques. She runs the queer-feminist publishing house Zaglossus and is a political scientist and a teacher.

In conversation with Nicole Suzuki
Sunanda Mesquita for WE DEY

How would you introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know you or your art works yet?

I work as an interdisciplinary artist and independent publisher and my work in both these fields is strongly influenced by me identifying as a queer person of color (no pronouns or she/her).

Several years ago I founded a queer-feminist publishing house in order to make room and create a space for voices and positions that are outside the norm – to amplify and build links by publishing marginalized writing/thought.

However, I have also made the observation that these marginalized positions run the risk of being tokenized or merely integrated into existing power structures in the service of an anti-democratic diversity.

I came to realize that established conceptions of how writing and reading should work themselves are based on powerful norms, which, if unchallenged, serve to reproduce epistemic violence at the expense of positions that are outside the norm, especially with regard to race, gender and sexuality.

So next to my work as a publisher, challenging these dominant paradigms of knowledge production and hopefully finding ways to counter epistemic violence is the central motivation for my artistic practice.

arbeit2
How would you position yourself in the art world? Do you feel any connection to current or past people or movements (also outside the art world)?

A big inspiration for me are artists such as Theresa Hak Kyung Cha and M. NourbeSe Philip, who have explored concepts around language, history and memory from a postcolonial perspective and have worked with text and fragmented words.

There is also a connection to artists working with conceptual writing, i. e. transforming texts that already exist into different works. However, in doing so it is of key importance to take into account subjectivity, context and historicity. Therefore, I want to especially focus on models that have the potential to (re-)politicize our engagement with text/language.

Of course, I am also highly inspired by the work of other (queer) publishers of color such as “Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press”, who have been working to make visible the writing, culture, and history of women* of color and especially lesbians of color.

Concerning my focus on un/learning, i.e. on an approach directed at challenging the established and questioning the accepted, I take a lot of inspiration from postcolonial thinkers such as especially Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. What I have learnt from them is the importance of continuously and actively interrogating given power relations from the perspective of or at least in solidarity with knowledges that are excluded or oppressed, and that unlearning is not about simply disavowing histories of violence, but rather about naming these histories of violence, as well as the resistance against them, as a way to seek social transformation.

Tell us a bit more about your works!

I know from my experience as a publisher that we need to actively interrogate the given dominant power relations and forms of knowledge and understand how these are already inscribed in our habits and actions.

So my artistic work is aimed at the question of how un/learning in this regard can be aided by working with text and language visually and by using strategies from the field of conceptual art, particularly displacing and appropriating social materials as a method of social critique.

I have been experimenting with conceptual writing, i.e. a form of writing that usually does not focus on the craft of the writer in the conventional sense, but rather uses stringent concepts or constraints to employ already existing text. What makes conceptual writing interesting for me is that it offers possibilities for testing the necessity of an authorial point of view in the creation of meaning and for exploring ways to not simply confront readers of a text with a prearranged meaning but to have them participate in the creation of meaning.

In addition, it has become more and more clear to me that also more radical and imaginative techniques are necessary. This is why in my most recent works I explore asemic writing and conceptually work with paper and thread (as described below).

This is not only an attempt to subvert the very (material) basis of the logic that generated these epistemic regimes in the first place, but importantly also an attempt to make space for alternative (anti-)narratives.

arbeit3bWhat does your creative process look like?

I see my artistic practice as a way of doing research. It especially helps me to deal with questions when I seem to not get any further with more conventional research tools (I am actually a political scientist by training).

So far, my art work has centered around questions that have repeatedly come up in my work as a publisher: How can we conceive of knowledge not as a single body of sorted ideas, but rather as consisting in fragments and patchworks? How can we leave room for hybridization and for untranslatabilities?

What I like about arts-based approaches is that art can open up spaces in which disunity and disagreement can be cultivated and in which not everything has to be fixed and certain, but can remain precarious.

So in my view, art has the potential to help us comprehend and question our thinking and our actions, and art works can be useful tools for (self-)reflection.

Can you tell us more about the works you are going to exhibit at WE DEY x space?

The works focus on two main aspects: an exploration of asemic writing to challenge common notions of reading, writing, and the potential of written language, and conceptual work with paper and thread in order to break down the material basis of text and to activate it anew.

Asemic writing is a wordless open semantic form of writing, which often kind of looks like conventional writing because there are shapes which have resemblance to how letters look. But if at all, it would only be writing for its own sake, instead of writing that relies on actual letters, on an actual alphabet. So it can be seen as a postliterate style of writing and asemic writing is interesting to me because its open nature potentially allows for an asemic text to be “read” regardless of the respective languages people actually can speak and read.

My asemic writing is especially inspired by the Japanese writing system because I only have a very vague recollection of this writing system – so getting into asemic writing here was much easier for me than if I had set out from the Latin alphabet – and also because knowledge about “Asian” alphabets is often projected onto me.

Furthermore, when I did some reading about alphabets and writing systems, I discovered how ethnocentric much research on writing systems and literacy is. For example, Eric A. Havelock, a former professor of classics at Yale University and one of the most frequently cited theorists in the field, took the position that for the Japanese, their script imposed limitations on analytic thought and reflection. In a book that was published in 1982 he wrote that “the free production of novel statement in (their) own script will remain difficult”. Of course, if anything, this statement shows how misguided (to put it nicely) Havelock’s preconceptions were, and showing that there is plenty of evidence that undermines this view has been the background for some of my works.

In addition, many of my works in this exhibition are inspired by “shifu”, the Japanese art of making paper thread in order to produce textiles.

The legend goes that a messenger, who was supposed to deliver a secret message through enemy territory, spun the paper on which the message had been written into thread and made a coat from it. Wearing this coat he could cross the enemy territory and finally unroll the message again.

While I was trying to learn this traditional Japanese technique, I was also reminded of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s metaphor of unlearning as an endless process of weaving invisible threads into an existing texture. Spivak writes: “The text is text-ile. To suture here is to weave, as in invisible mending.”

So, my works in this regard explore how we can conceive of knowledge in a way that does not assume one single red thread but that sees knowledge rather as consisting in fragments and patchworks and where loose ends and unauthorized connections are made a matter of principle.

The motivation is to find ways to negotiate diverse knowledge approaches and bring them together even when they are seemingly in conflict. I also wanted to show that a specific knowledge approach is always already engrained in the very material, i.e. in paper and books, that we write on and print texts in.

arbeit3bWhat interests you in showing your works in the specific context of WE DEY x SPACE in Vienna?

I cannot express how excited and grateful I am that I get to have my first solo exhibition at WE DEY x space!

As a self-organized art space where BPoC artists are able to show their works in a self-determined way, to my knowledge, WE DEY x space is the only one of its kind in Vienna and also well beyond this city.

When WE DEY x space was founded I felt that for the first time I could actually imagine what a space of un/learning could look like. The importance of spaces like WE DEY x space cannot be underestimated given the power relations of cultural supremacy and dominance inherent in institutional infrastructures and also in the practices of art discourses.

Also, I am convinced that being explicit about centering the work of Black and People of Color artists and about particularly directing WE DEY x space’s program towards Queer/Trans*/Inter/Black People/People of Color is an approach that does not limit the audience, but in fact expands it.

Over the last few years, there has been a somewhat growing audience for the work of Black and People of Color artists within the general contemporary art scene. I don’t think that being explicit about the focus of WE DEY x space’s program decreases this general audience, but it hopefully is a way to ensure attention from Black People and People of Color. I am really grateful for all the work WE DEY x space is doing in this regard.

Can you tell us more about other projects you are currently working on?

I enjoy doing conceptual work based on already published texts, particularly from the field of postcolonial, queer-feminist critique, as a way of searching for new possibilities to work with texts.

There are so many beautiful and important books out there but it’s difficult to achieve a wider and lasting reception for them. My suspicion is that maybe this has also to do with our conventional conception of reading, so I work with these texts from a visual perspective and especially using strategies from the field of conceptual art in order to do homage to these texts and to find ways to open these texts for a different way of reading.

For example, one of my recent projects (titled “IS ID ALL”) consisted in a reworking of “This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color” an anthology edited by Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherríe Moraga, which was originally released in 1981 and centers the experiences of women* of color.

Another project is on the question of how to deal with the fact that also publishing practices and the medium of the book itself are entangled in epistemic violence. How can I break down the medium of the book and activate it in a way that accounts for that violence and try to redress it?

The aim is to eventually make books that bring together aspects and results of my artistic research described above. How to create books that don’t purport to offer a fully self-contained discourse operating between their covers but offer room for disagreement, misunderstanding, comments and annotations as part of the process of inquiry?

Thank you so much for your interview ❤

 

WE DEY: Annual Program 2018/19

In the beginning of 2018 WE DEY X SPACE announced its first Open Call for projects. We invited Black artists and artists of Color to apply with proposals for exhibitions, events, workshops, kitchen table talks and film screenings around the topics of decolonial art and knowledge production, community, self-care and empowerment.

We were overwhelmed by the amount and quality of proposals we received from all over the world, projects that center Queer/Trans*/Inter/Black People/People of Color and focus on utopian notions of community, belonging, healing and body politics. We thank all the artists & collectives who put so much time and thought into their proposals! Thank you all for affirming our vision on how important it is to self-organise and to continue creating a space for art and knowledge production by Queer/Trans*/Inter/Black People/People of Color.

We are looking forward to what is coming up until May 2019 (when the lease for WE DEY x space will expire): exhibitions by Nicole Suzuki, WE DEY kültür gemma! fellow Lydia Nsiah, NueNua AKA Ama Josephine Budge, Rudy Loewe, HAIR (Esther Ojo & Terisha Harris), Pêdra Costa& Jota Mombaça and @decolonial_killjoy, workshops and empowerment sessions by Noah Sow, Maisha Auma, Paola Bacchetta and Fatima El-Tayeb, filmscreenings curated by Nine Yamamoto, healing circle by Liaam Iman and of course our ongoing projects. Keep yourself posted on our website: WE-DEY.IN and on Facebook & Instagram.

We would like to thank the WE DEY collective for all their unrelentless effort, time, energy, love and care! Thanks to Jaqueline Ejiji, Esther Abiona Ojo, Janine Jembere, Nicole Suzuki, Amoako Boafo, and all of you who supported us within the past year and who continue to do so in the years to come! Despite the fact that we did receive hardly any public funding we managed to continue the fight for self-determined spaces for BPoC’s in Vienna because of all of you!

xoxo,

Sunanda Mesquita & Sushila Mesquita for WE DEY

Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 21.13.17

 

What you can do to support WE DEY:
* Financial support to pay our rent and bills, production costs for exhibitions, transport costs for artists & artist residencies, our publications,…

* Help us find a new space! As our lease will expire in May 2019, we are looking for new affordable spaces to continue our project

* Donate material to our Archive! Our longterm vision is to create an WE DEY Archive containing herstories of BPoC resistance in Vienna through community engagement and decolonial queer feminist approaches to archiving.

 

 

  1. Guided Meditation for BPoC: Tuesday, 13 November 2018 from 18:30-20:00
  2. Guided Meditation for Women* & Nonbinary who are Black / Asian / Rrom_nja / IndígenX*: 14 November 2018 from 08:30-10:30

We Dey x Space, Kandlgasse 24, 1070 Wien

There is no registration needed. Please join on time! Joining in late is not possible.

What you need: loose, wide and comfortable clothing, a mat or thick blanket to sit on, a thin blanket to cover during the relaxation, and if possible a pillow to put under your buttocks.

A private (closed) session with Noah Sow

• Costs: Give what you can/like/want. Apart from that we welcome fruit / nuts / sunshine / smiling – as you wish and feel like.
• Language: The class will take place in English spoken language.
• For whom: One closed session is for BPoC of all genders and one Women*/Trans/Inter/Nonbinary who are Black / Asian / Rrom_nja / IndígenX* .

We need to compensate a lot in daily life. This class presents relaxing rituals which can be helpful to overcome day-to-day life challenges, hardships and struggles.
Conventional Yoga classes unfortunately often don’t contribute to our well-being. Unlike it is understood in the west through a colonised approach, Yoga is a highly effective system that primarily uses meditation and breathing techniques to bring the body mind and soul in alignment when practiced regularly. Through that it can be a useful tool for our mental and physical balance (and -optionally- also spirituality). During this session we will learn and practice how to balance the nervous system by techniques which can then be integrated in our daily life to provide relief and prevent activist burnout.

♥ ‘Sportiness’ / ‘Fitness’ is not necessary for this class! ♥ The exercises will be performed while sitting or laying down!

Teacher:
Noah Sow is an author, lecturer, artist and activist. She has been at the forefront of Germany’s anti-racism and empowerment movements for 25 years. Noah is also an India-trained meditation and yoga teacher and therapist. She constantly continues her own training and study in Vedantic teachings, Yoga and Hatha Yoga.

FAQ:

– Do I need to know or like “Yoga” if I want to join this session?
No.

– Will I have to twist myself? Will I be out of breath? Is this exhausting?
No, all exercises will be performed while sitting down and are doable for people who experience pain or have impairments. It is also possible to do the exercises while sitting on a chair. We will mostly do breathing and guided meditation.

– Do I need a yoga mat?
If you need a mat – please let us know in advance!

– I already know that I won’t be arriving on time…?
We are sorry but maybe you can join next time. Please be on time and participate only if you can stay for the entire session. Tranquility is important for the vibe and we’ll lock the doors on time. Thanks!

– Is this religious? / Is this compatible with my belief or religion?
Yoga is not a religion per se. It is a cultural tradition that embraces all religions and can be practiced with or without (specific or unspecific) belief and spirituality. Yogi_nis come in all sorts of religious backgrounds: Hindu, Muslim, Sufi, Agnostic, Taoist, Christian, and more. As a matter of fact, Abrahamic religions (Islam, Judaism, Christianity) contain some elements of Yoga, as Yoga is much older than them.

BPoC-Empowerment-Workshop mit Noah Sow (for Black students & lecturers and students & lectures of Color) :
13. November 2018 / 15:00 – 18:00
We Dey x Space, Kandlgasse 24, 1070 Wien
Anmeldung: sushila.mesquita@univie.ac.at

Keep the fire burning: How to build structures of continuity in our intersectional art, activism and queer-intersectional knowledge production
Every new wave of activists find themselves in the same dilemma: How to act passionately while avoiding burnout? How to create new movements while acknowledging and learning from those who have paved the way before us?

In the marginalized and often criminalized field of work that is activism for social equality, the resources are dramatically scarce. Oftentimes, not much thought,
effort and energy seems to be left to take care of the movement & historiography and continuity. In this workshop we will discuss creative and traditional ways to build structures of continuity in our own intersectional art, activism and knowledge production.

Noah Sow is a recording, performing and conceptual artist, theorist, lecturer and best selling author. Her work focuses on survival, autonomy, critical analysis of societal norms and empowerment.

 

Wie ihr uns unterstuetzen koennt:

* FINANZIELLE SPENDEN:

Werdet WE DEY supporters und unterstuetzt uns mit unseren laufenden Kosten- wir brauchen Eure Unterstützung die Miete zu bezahlen, damit wir weiterhin einen Raum schaffen von und für Queer/Trans/Inter/Non-Binary/women/femmes BPoC’s und Allies.

  1. Unterstützt uns mit unseren laufenden Kosten- Miete, Strom, Gas, Wasser.
  2. Unterstuetzt unsere laufenden Projekte einmalig: Produktionskosten fuer Ausstellungen, Reisekosten der Kuenstler_innen & Artist Residencies, Publikationen

dafür halten wir Euch mit Veranstaltungen auf den Laufenden und ihr bekommt unseren Jahresrückblick zu gesendet.

Schreibt uns Bitte ein Email an: we.dey.in (at) gmail.com fuer unsere Bankinfos!

* MATERIELLE SPENDEN:

1. Bringt uns Eure gut erhaltenen Yogamatten für unsere BPoC Yoga Classes
2. Helft uns mit Einreichungen für Projektförderanträge ❤
2. WE DEY ARCHIVE: Spendet Material für unser Archiv!

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Im Oktober 2017 entstand die Ausstellung “WE DEY archive: past, present. future.” Die Ausstellung verbildlichte anhand von Timelines, welches Wissen wir über BPoC Resistance in Wien im Kontext vom Verein WE DEY bislang sammeln konnten. Es wurde ersichtlich, wie groß die persönlichen Wissensarchive der einzelnen Vereinsmitglieder sind. Aber es wurde auch deutlich, wie wenig wir über die Aktivist_innen vor unserer eigenen Involviertheit wissen. Wir baten Besucher_innen, ihr Wissen mit uns zu teilen. Wir baten sie, die Timelines mit Schlagwörtern, Namen von Aktionen und Aktivist_innen zu ergänzen. Und wir baten um Material aus ihren privaten Archiven.

Flugblätter, Poster, Broschüren, Fotos, Bücher wurden uns im Laufe der Monate von vielen Menschen gespendet. Sie bieten nun den Grundstock für ein aufzubauendes Archiv zur Widerstandsgeschichte von BPoC Aktivist_innen in Wien. Aber auch Interviews mit BPoC Künstler_innen und Aktivist_innen sind dokumentiert worden. Die Arbeit an der Dokumentation unserer Veranstaltungen läuft parallel weiter. Es sind Bild-, Ton-, Filmdokumente, Poster und Leaflets entstanden.
In diesem Jahr soll grundlegende Arbeit geleistet werden, um das langfristige
Ziel eines Archivaufbaus zu ermöglichen. Ein Archiv zu Widerstandsgeschichte von BPoC Aktivistinnen in Wien ist ein wichtiger Beitrag, um marginalisierte Ge-
schichte(n) zugänglicher zu machen und künftigem Widersprechen einen institu-
tionellen Rahmen zu bieten.

Schreibt uns doch ein Email: we.dey.in (at) gmail.com

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How you can support us:

* FIANANCIAL DONATIONS:

Become WE DEY supporters and help us out with our reaccuring costs such as rent, so we can continue to create a space by and for Queer/Trans/Inter/Non-Binary/women/femmes BPoC’s und Allies.

  1. Support us longterm with donations for rent and bills.
  2. Support our ongoing projects: production costs for exhibitions, transport costs for artists & artist residencies, our publications

we will keep you informed on how we spent your donations and you will receive an annual report.

Please write us an Email to we.dey.in (at) gmail.com for our bank infos!

* MATERIELLE SPENDEN:
1. Donate yoga mats for our BPoC Yoga Classes

2. Help us with funding applications  ❤

3. WE DEY ARCHIVE: donate material to our Archive!
Our exhibition “WE DEY archive: past, present. future.” opened in October 2017. The exhibition depicted in form of timelines, knowledge of BPoC resistance in Vienna that had been collected by the WE DEY collective. We asked visitors to share their knowledge with us and each other. We opened the timeslines up for them to add actions, historical events, names of activist groups and interventions. We asked them to bring material of their own personal archives- that’s how we collected posters, leaflets, pictures and books that were donated by the public.

Our longterm vision is to create an WE DEY Archive containing herstories of BPoC resistance in Vienna through community engagement and decolonial queer feminist approaches to archiving.

send us an email: we.dey.in (at) gmail.com

 

Teju Adisa-Farrar is a writer/poet/performance artist and urban geographer. Her interdisciplinary work is produced from the research she does on geographies of Blackness, queering Blackness, transnational activism, city culture initiated and experienced by people of African descent and other post-colonial communities. Teju integrates socio-historical writing, poetry, movement, community collaboration and subjectivity to explore the realities of Blackness and post-capitalist futures in Euro-North American urban contexts.

She will offer two workshops in the X Space. And do a performance plus Q+A at the Closing Reception on thursday night.

“DEARWHITEEUROPE”
https://vimeo.com/203327552

Workshop 1 [July 10th, 4pm]: [Black] Womyn on Happiness and Hedonism
Open to persons who identify as womyn of African descent and/or as Black womyn

While there are often discussions of Black/African womyn being strong and resilient and/or sexual beings for consumption, we do not often talk about what brings us joy, what makes us happy, and how we find pleasure in the places that we inhabit. How do we understand and express our many layered selves through reflecting on happiness and hedonism in all the geographies we are apart of?

Workshop 2 [July 11th, 4pm] : Transnational Diaspora Affirmations
Open to persons of who identify as being part of a postcolonial diaspora and/or persons of color.

“Transnational Diaspora Affirmations” is a project that asks artists and activists from the diaspora for affirmations they have for their comrades in other parts of the world. It is a way to say we see you, while at the same time decentralize American-centrism and Eurocentrism to create a transnational diasporic perspective of mutual resistance and transnational solidarity in the diaspora

Closing Reception [12 July, 6pm] TBD
Open to everyone
Reading and Presentation from Teju Adisa-Farrar about her work and her future projects. Afterward her performance we can have a discussion and do Q&A.
Finally we can have some drinks and listen to music and relax!

In conversation with Khaleb Brooks- Sunanda Mesquita for WE DEY

“Rememory: Ritual Blackness and Beyond” by Khaleb Brooks
14th of June – 30th of June 2018

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We are excited to welcome Khaleb Brooks for a two weeks art residency & solo exhibition at WE DEY x SPACE.

Khaleb Brooks is a multi- media artist whose work is founded on research of ancestral knowledge and oral histories. Through painting, sculpture and photography Khaleb explores the role of memory in disrupting ideologies that maintain time as linear and fixed. By reviving ancestral cosmologies, creating assemblages of fragmented identities and engaging with generational trauma he seeks to re- imagine the notions of progress embedded in colonial and capitalist histories. The solo exhibition “Rememory: Ritual Blackness and Beyond” deals with thoughts and concepts of blackness as ritual and spaces of non- being as well as attempts to transcend these spaces.

FINISSAGE:
30th of June 6pm -10pm
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Headshot (1)

How would you introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know you or your art works yet?

I am a collector of found objects and forgotten information. Rusted metal and dry rotted wood, homemade zines, colonial maps, footage of laughter in the Andes, hand drums, rusted lunch boxes, Tibetan prayer flags, other people’s trash and outdated encyclopedias. They are not always straightforward or clear representations, but are stories. They are memories mapping histories, geographies and identities. They complicate time. This is what drives me. I have learned to listen a bit harder. To piece together not just what is said but to include cracked skin on tired hands and the glow of candles at midnight. I am determined to (re)document moments that have layers slowly peeling away, encompassing a variety of worlds yet to be seen. I am determined to not just capture them, but to let them speak for themselves.

I’m a black, transgender, AFAB, punk kid from the southside of Chicago. I’m an artist that doesn’t see my work as seperate from my politics. In Baldwin’s words, “The poets (by which I mean all artists) are finally the only people who know the truth about us. Soldiers don’t. Statesmen don’t. Priests don’t. Union leaders don’t. Only poets.” My work is an attempt at an honest understanding of myself with hopes of contributing to a greater understanding of who we all are.

How would you position yourself in the art world? Do you feel any connection to current or past people or movements (also outside the art world)?

I’m an outsider when it comes to the art world. Which on one hand is a perk as I don’t have to aspire to be included in a canon that wasn’t meant for me in the first place. On the other hand the institutional support, or lack thereof, directly affects my ability to make work. I’m at a stalemate really, having to grapple with a market I’m not interested in just for my work to be undervalued. When it comes to movements, I’m most inspired by liberatory struggles, the Black Panthers, Zapatistas and Afrofuturism. And when it comes to people, writers such as Toni Morrison, Baldwin, Achille Mbembe, Fred Moten, Sadiyah Hartman and Yrsa Daley- Ward continue to affect my feelings about the world and my place in it. Artists such as Kerry James Marshall, Kara Walker, Sun Mu, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Ren Hang, Njideka Akunyili Crosby are my current inspirations and have laid the groundwork for any future success I may have.

 

Haunted by Self-care

Can you tell us more about the series you are going to exhibit at WE DEY x space and what interests you in showing your works in this specific context of WE DEY x SPACE in Vienna?

The works I’m exhibiting all have an underlying thread of ritual processes. They are ultimately concerned with blackness as ritual, spaces of non- being and attempting to transcend that space. Works from the Summoning Spirits series will be featured as well as a painting of writer and presenter Emma Dabiri and writer/ model Yrsa Daley- Ward. The painting of Emma Dabiri speaks to the complexities of black hair, as I attempt to exemplify both it’s beauty and political implications through a collage of materials. Hair, our attitudes toward it and the processes in which we attempt to tame it, let it free, style it, run from it and embrace it greatly influenced the piece. The work of Yrsa Daley- Ward, emerging storyteller and actress, is a recognition of how personal narratives in themselves can be a platform. How can the rituals that keep us alive, thriving and whole affect the lives of others? How do memories, collective memory, secrets and the seemingly mundane transform us? These are the questions writers like Yrsa are answering in their work, this is what I want to capture. The term ‘rememory’ in the title of the show is a direct reference Toni Morrison’s use of the word in her novel Beloved.

WE DEY x space is truly the first of its kind, in my lifetime at least. A collective and gallery space that specifically shows and supports Queer poc artists!? Who would have thought! And it is no coincidence that my second solo show, and first in a gallery, would be in this type of space. WEY DEY x is a space created by Queer/ Trans POC artists for Queer/ Trans POC artists. It is a safe space where I can show my work, get feedback and develop projects with like minded individuals. As someone who falls into the emerging artist category having a show in a space like this is ideal. I can engage with my practice without having to worry about institutional racism and transphobic perceptions.

The Brilliant

What sparked your interest in reviving what has been forgotten- how do you link your art to ancestral memory and what outcomes do you imagine?

 

An interest in forgotten information was sparked by my own family. Secrets, fears, dreams and genealogies were a staple in my childhood. I’ll never forget when I learned the name Amos Taggert during a conversation with my grandmother about how she monitored my mum for schizophrenia. He was the Irishman that raped my great grandmother Rita Mae Bell when she was 13, and had my grandfather as a result. She is still alive, and has been in a mental institution since the 40s. And with that background and my grandmother’s mother who spent her life in a mental institution, she didn’t think my mother had a chance. Another example is the photograph I was show of my family on plantation steps. Or even the photograph of my third, maybe fourth great aunt, an ex slave wearing a fur coat. How’d she get that fur coat, I’d ask. Or how come this aunt is light and that ones not. And my grandmother would say, oh here’s another photo of the plantation owner (slave master), also your ancestor. The stories go on and on and got more scandalous and ridden with pain as I got older, some I can’t repeat, not yet.

Many people in the African diaspora don’t know their histories and even those that do, it’s more of an idea. These fragments, real and invented are my true medium and I’m still learning the best ways to convey their meanings. At the moment portraiture is the predominant way I attempt to make linkages between ancestral memory and art. None of us, and I speak particularly to black transgender folks, are new stand alone representations of ourselves. And through our faces and the faces of black folk in general I’m acknowledging a lost trajectory, forgotten ancestral knowledge and place our experiences within a context that isn’t just a manifestation  of colonialism or even post- colonial discourse. African cosmologies have always included us and I’d just like to tell that story.

 

As part of your residency at  WE DEY x space, we invited you to host an evening. Can you tell us more about what you have planned, who it is for and what are you imagining as a possible outcome?

I’ll be hosting two evenings in the space. One evening I’ll be screening a short documentary by long time friend and Intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis, called The Son I Never Had. Afterwards Pidgeon will Skype in and we’ll have a discussion about their experiences, activism, and how art/ media affects their life and struggle for change. This is for everyone. When we discuss LGBTQ lives, we still forget the I for Intersex. I hope this creates greater understanding of that experience for everyone and help us understand what we as artists can do for our community.

I’ll also be hosting a comic book workshop where we discuss character development, storyboarding and the history of Queer and POC comics.

 

WE DEY x SPACE proudly presents

“Rememory: Ritual Blackness and Beyond” by Khaleb Brooks
14th of June – 30th of June 2018

We are excited to welcome Khaleb Brooks for a two weeks art residency & solo exhibition at WE DEY x SPACE.

Khaleb Brooks is a multi- media artist whose work is founded on research of ancestral knowledge and oral histories. Through painting, sculpture and photography Khaleb explores the role of memory in disrupting ideologies that maintain time as linear and fixed. By reviving ancestral cosmologies, creating assemblages of fragmented identities and engaging with generational trauma he seeks to re- imagine the notions of progress embedded in colonial and capitalist histories. The solo exhibition “Rememory: Ritual Blackness and Beyond” deals with thoughts and concepts of blackness as ritual and spaces of non- being as well as attemps to transcend these spaces.

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VERNISSAGE: “”Rememory: Ritual Blackness and Beyond”
14th of June at 6pm
LINE UP tba
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EXHIBITION OPENING HOURS/OPEN STUDIO:
(the artist will be present)
Mon-Thurs 11am-4pm
Sat 4-7pm
Sun 1-4pm
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QTIBPoC COMIC WORKSHOP
DATE tba

Khaleb Brooks will host a comic book workshop where we will discuss character development, storyboarding and the history of Queer and POC comics. ♥ please register with an email to we.dey.in@gmail.com
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FILMSCREENING OPEN FOR ALL
DATE tba

Screening of short documentary by Intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis, called The Son I Never Had. Afterwards Pidgeon will Skype in and we’ll have a discussion about their experiences, activism, and how art/ media affects their life and struggle for change. This is for everyone. When we discuss LGBTQ lives, we still forget the I for Intersex. I hope this creates greater understanding of that experience for everyone and help us understand what we as artists can do for our community.
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FINISSAGE:
30th of June 4pm -10pm
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Accessibility Infos:

X SPACE is accessible via a ramp. The ramp is 76 cm wide and the slope is 9 %. For more information please contact us!
The closest wheelchair accessible toilet is @ Café Oben, Urban-Loritz-Platz. It’s a five minutes distance.

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about WE DEY x space

WE DEY x space is dedicated to amplify the art and culture production for and by Queer/Trans*/Inter/Black People/People of Color

WE DEY x space aims to center marginalised voices, perspectives, knowledges and experiences from different diasporas

WE DEY x space will host exhibitions, workshops, kitchen table talks and film screenings around the topics of decolonial art production, community, self-care, empowerment.