Exploring a Void

Emeka Okereke
Exploring a Void

Block seminar, English, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
Tuesdays, 14-17 h, 9 dates: 25.10., 8.11., 26.11. (attention: Saturday, 14-17:30 h), 6.12., 13.12.2022, 10.1., 24.1., 7.2. (online), 14.2.2023, Hardenbergstr. 33, room 151

Registration starts 17.10.2022 via Moodle: https://moodle.udk-berlin.de/moodle/course/view.php?id=1683
Moodle Einschreibeschlüssel / Moodle Enrollment Key: void

For this course, I adopt as a premise the title of one of my projects, “Exploring a Void”. The project, rooted in the postcolonial concept of hybridity, to a large extent, looks at how we might reconsider relationships in a world encumbered with rapidly growing sentiments toward nationalism and reinforcement of borders. However, at the same time, it continuously fights back the indispensability of a world in Relation. Thus, the course is an opportunity to conjure a space for the performance of togetherness and relation.

Through collaborative activities, readings, conversations, guest-artist interventions and works created, we shall investigate, beyond its transitory notion, the habitable quality of what Homi Bhabha refers to as “the in-between space” and expound on particular positions, tensions and new sensibilities inherent in its effervescent nature.
As much as possible, I will attempt to open the horizon beyond the esoteric enclosure of European and Western thinking and draw attention to some of the postcolonial perspectives, primarily heralded by thinkers and artists whose disposition embodies the poetics and critique of Relation.

Students will be encouraged to use artistic mediums conversant to them as a tool of inquiry in exploring selfhood at the cross-point between the subjective and the collective. It is expected that the program would initiate a frame that allows for the intersection of different cultural realities where all the stable identities constructed around opposing binaries will be agitated in favour of a more precarious notion of Self.
Thus, the course will start with reading selected texts related to the perspectives mentioned earlier. To name a few course materials, students in the class will have a chance to reflect on Toni Morrison’s “The Origin of Others”; ruminate on hindsight offered by bell hook’s “Teaching Critical Thinking”, and delve into philosophical positions proposed by Thomas Nail’s “Being and Motion”.

These readings will instigate thought-frames in which all learning and work will take place. Students should envisage, as the main component of the process, collaborative activities between each other that allow for substantial interaction and intersection of subjectivities.

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credits: Regular and active participation in readings, reflections and collaborative activities.

Emeka Okereke is a Nigerian visual artist, writer, filmmaker and DJ who lives and works between Lagos and Berlin, moving from one to the other on a frequent basis. A past member of the renowned Nigerian photography collective Depth of Field (DOF), he holds a bachelor’s/master’s degree from the Ecole Nationale supérieure des Beaux Arts de Paris and has exhibited in biennales and art festivals in cities across the world, notably Lagos, Bamako, Cape Town, London, Berlin, Bayreuth, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Brussels, Johannesburg, New York, Washington, Barcelona, Seville, Madrid and Paris.   In 2015, his work was exhibited at the 56th Venice Biennale, in the context of an installation titled A Trans-African Worldspace. Okereke is the founder and artistic director of Invisible Borders Trans-African Project. He is also the founder and host of the Nkata Podcast Station. Okereke has served as guest/visiting lecturer in several art platforms and learning institutions – notably Hartford University’s MFA program in photography and Summer Academy of Fine Arts, Salzburg Austria and Sandberg Institut Amsterdam. In 2018, Emeka Okereke was conferred France’s prestigious insignia of Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et Lettres (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters) by the Ministry of Culture of France as recognition of his contribution to the discourse on art in Africa, France, and the world at large.