Africa inside Europe represents a multifaceted project, including an intensive collaboration between international theoreticians, art critics, and brussels-based artists over a two year period, operating on various levels of production and output. It centers on four recent art films by Herman Asselberghs, Sven Augustijnen, Renzo Martens and Els Opsomer, two of which will be newly produced within the framework of this project. Specifically, the project addresses the diverse ways in which these artists have investigated sub-Saharan Africa both as asite of political conflict, poverty, and migration, as well as an imaginary screen for the construction of European identity, humanitarian concern, and political engagement. In the works of these diverse practioners, Africa emerges variously as a zone of crisis, situated between the fraught legacies of colonialism and the recent failed neoliberal state; as well, Africa figures as a terrain of artistic invention and a focal point for the critical interrogation of political practice within Europe. The project intends to parse the political and aesthetic implications of these four films, generating discussion via interdisciplinary and international conversation. Its multiple outcomes include: (1) four symposia gathering international and interdisciplinary participants to discuss the project's films; (2) a book project (Leuven University Press, Lieven Gevaert Series); (3) an exhibition.
Research: Hilde Van Gelder & T. J. Demos