The Reflecting Group Dakar derives from a tangible urgency to conceive of the global conditions of artistic production today. It applies a format of self-education, sharing and (un)learning, in order to grasp a complex condition that is intrinsically linked to our own ‘normative’ working contexts.

From its very outset, the DAK’ART Biennale has put a special emphasis on territorial, pan-african and international networks and exchange. But also in Europe, debates on the African Diaspora and the postcolonial condition have reached a new critical peak, ever since the “Humboldt Forum” came into being in the heart of Berlin. It’s “The Red hour. The hour of reason”, claims the title of this year’s biennial. With our trip to Dakar, we want to respond to this call, eager to challenge our critical tools in this field and to grow our sensitivity towards a world in which the “global” and “international” are just about to gain their full meaning and complexity.

Our main goal is to gain hands-on experience with the cultural working context in Senegal and the African context at large. In line with the mission of the “Reflecting Group”, this will take shape through a series of meetings/workshops with artists and cultural experts, as well as through exploring various sites of productions (studios, institutions, off-spaces, etc.). It also involves a (collective) documentation process on site that leads to a swift sharing of the project with the network.

Our shared interest is the relationship between the arts/culture and the society that surrounds it. In the context of Dakar, this leads to a number of specific questions, e.g. the dynamics between official institutions, state and private fundings, self-organisation, activism and underground culture. It also propels questions about sustainability, long-term thinking and the urge to develop alternate structures of arts and education.

In this context Elena Azzedin will mediate the work “Exploring The Sonic Cosmologies of Halim El-Dabh” curated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (CM/DE), Kamila Metwaly (EG/PL), and Marie Hélène Pereira (SN), an exhibition project that aims to serve as a platform for deliberations and experimentations as – to what is and where is sound art in contemporary African art.