Two Screenings and a Zoom-Conversation with South African Documentary Film-Maker Rehad Desai (Tues, Nov 15 - 18.15h: screening; Wed, Nov 16 - 19h: screening and conversation) in collaboration with Zebra-Kino Konstanz
In collaboration with independent Konstanz cinema ‘Zebra Kino’ Traveling Forms presents two screenings of works by acclaimed South African documentary film-maker and International Emmy-Award winner Rehad Desai, followed by a zoom-conversation with the director om Nov. 16. On Tuesday November 15 at 18.15h there will be a screening of “Time of Pandemics” (2022, 93 mins), a joint work by Desai and Tricia Hlongwe, in which the film-makers explore the intertwined impact of two pandemics: the recent global Coronavirus-outbreak and the still ongoing effects of the global spread of HIV, as they both affect South Africa. The documentary sheds light on the entanglements of both pandemics with socioeconomic inequality and the unevenly distributed accessibility of antiretroviral drugs and COVID-19 vaccines. On Wednesday, November 16 at 19.00h, we will show “How to Steal a Country” (93 mins). Made by Desai in collaboration with Mark Kaplan, the film investigates the criminally corrupt behavior of two of South Africa’s most powerful families, the Guptas and Zumas.
Rehad Desai is a documentary film-maker from South Africa. His 2015 feature “Miners Shot Down” about the 2012 so-called Marikana massacre, in which workers of the local platinum mine went on strike for just wages and were subsequently attacked by the police, resulting in the death of 34 of them, won the International Emmy Award for best documentary in New York in 2015. The zoom discussion with Desai on November 16 will be moderated by Traveling Forms-project member Jeannine-Madeleine Fischer, who also organized the event, whose research investigates the migration of forms of protest in South Africa.
Please note: the venue for these events is the Zebra-Kino (Joseph-Belli-Weg 5, 78467 Konstanz)
'Adaptation as Renewal. The Transformative Impact of Hamlet’s Travels' - Lecture by Prof. Sandra Young (University of Cape Town) (January 25, 2023)
This lecture considers the impact of the global travels of Shakespeare’s works on the figure of Hamlet, and on the eponymous play’s capacity to effect social critique when reimagined in non-traditional centers of Shakespearean theater-practice. Prof. Young will focus on productions in Brazil, India-administered Kashmir, post-independence Nigeria and the United Kingdom. Elaborating on his notion of ‘traveling theory’, Edward Said rejected concepts such as ‘borrowing’ and ‘adaptation’ as inadequate for understanding processes by which such theories travel between cultural contexts. This lecture will make a similar claim, trying to understand the travels of ‘Hamlet’ as transformative, rather than as ‘adaptations’.
'Formats - Forms of Time in Contemporary Dance/Performance' - Lecture by Prof. Gabriele Brandstetter (Freie Universität Berlin/New York University) (Wed, July 20 - 17h) (in German)
'Forms and Spaces of Contemporary African Protest' - Online-lecture series, co-organized by Dr. Jeannine-Madeleine Fischer (Thurs, 16.15-17.45h, CET; April 21-July 07, 2022)
This online lecture series, co-organized by 'Traveling Forms'-member Dr. Jeannine-Madeleine Fischer with Dr. Billy Kalima (Research Fellow, Cluster of Excellence 'Politics of Inequality', Konstanz University) presented conceptual approaches to protest, forms, and spaces thereof, focusing on their generational dynamics and participation. How can we best understand contemporary forms of protest in Africa?
'Translation - A Social Form of Thirdness?' - Lecture by Dr. Doris Bachmann-Medick (Giessen University) (Wed, May 18 - 17h ) (in German)
The complexities of contemporary societies and their crises demand processes of translation. But how can translation become a reliable social and cultural technique by way of which controversies and conflicts within and between societies can be mediated and negotiated? This lecture proposed a new emphasis within our understanding of translation: rather than a mere transmission of content and meaning, translation is also a "social form" in its own right. Refering to Georg Simmel's sociology, the lecture develops a concept of translation that is sensitive to questions of form, while also introducing the notion of "forms of thirdness" to it, which shape social configurations: from 'pre-translations', social forms of address, 'third spaces', 'trading zones', and 'third idioms' to the three-polarity of translating by referential relations.
'Antigone: Requiem, Ruin, Revenant' - Online-Lecture by Prof. Christina Wald at the ReTAGS-Project, University of Cape Town (April 28, 2022)
Invited by the research project 'Reimagining Tragedy from Africa and the Global South' at the University of Cape Town, this lecture by Prof. Wald compared two contemporary reworkings of Sophocles' 'Antigone': the 'ruinous' reassemblage produced by Cape Town's 'Magnet Theatre', and Austrian playwright Thomas Köck's recomposition of the Greek play in the form of a requiem, staged at Vienna's 'Burgtheater'.
'Comic Vehicles. Traveling Tragedy in 17th Century Germany' - Lecture by Prof. Juliane Vogel at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris (March 15, 2022)
This lecture by Prof. Juliane Vogel took place in the context of the seminar series 'Engagements et désengagements: les professions intellectuelles et artistiques entre responsabilité et désintéressement', convened by Prof. Gisèle Sapiro.
'Public Space Democracy. Performative, Visual and Normative Dimensions of Politics in a Global Age': Members of 'Traveling Forms' Respond to Papers by Members of the NOMIS-Project 'Public DemoS' - (March 25, 2022 / Columbia Global Centers, Paris)
The volume 'Public Space Democracy' is the result of the NOMIS-project 'Public DemoS', directed by Prof. Nilüfer Göle (EHESS Paris), in the context of which researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds investigated the emergence of protest movements in multiple sites over the last decades. For the book's launch event, held at Reid Hall/Columbia Global Centers in Paris, members of the 'Traveling Forms' group responded to a number of the volume's contributions.
'Activist Aesthetics of Dissent and Persuasion' - Workshop (January 13-15, 2022)
When communicating and enacting their political aspirations, activists reach out to a variety of different audiences. This commonly involves a politics of distinction from those actors and agencies whom activists hold responsible for the grievances they address and which they seek to transform to the better. At the same time, activists engage in a language of persuasiveness when trying to gain the support of members of the wider public, which requires them to attend to aesthetic, symbolic and performative repertoires deemed acceptable, even appealing, in the wider socio-cultural sphere. Contributors to this workshop, held in January 2021, investigated the aesthetic, performative and communicative dimensions of activism in its embodied forms and/or in relation to the social and mass media representations produced by activists in different parts of the world.
'What is a Classic? 3.0: Poetry, Myth and Classical Forms in Some Contemporary South African Theatre' - Lecture by Prof. Mark Fleishman (University of Cape Town/Magnet Theatre, Cape Town) (January 12, 2022)
Conceived as another in a series of lectures on the theme: “What is a classic?” by artist/theoreticians who were born outside of Europe but to some extent lay claim to a tradition of European classics in relation to their identity and their work, this presentation examined the ways in which what might be called ‘classics’ are used or continue to be used by contemporary theatre-makers in the South African context, in the aftermath of formal colonialism and apartheid.
'Shakespeare in Bits and Pieces' - Lecture by Dr. Philipp Lammers and Prof. Marcus Twellmann at the conference 'Periodicals as/in Media Constellations', Thyssen-Foundation Cologne (November 26, 2021)
Rather than as immutable units, forms frequently travel in bits and pieces, opening up the possibilities and necessities of perpetual re-assemblage. This lecture, given in the context of the international conference 'Periodicals as/in Media Constellations', organized by the Research Unit 'Journalliterature. Conditions of Formating, Visual Design, Cultures of Reception' (Bochum, Cologne, Marburg), looked at the reception of Shakespeare's plays by way of 17th and 18th century continental journals, where they circulated in fragmented form.
'The Mobility of the Scene' - Mosse-Lecture by Prof. Juliane Vogel at Humboldt-University Berlin (November 4, 2021) (in German)
The scene is a volatile and mobile form. In line with its original meaning ("tent" in ancient Greek), the scene designates a provisional structure, which can be set up and taken down again, no matter where. In her Mosse-lecture, Prof. Vogel investigated this provisional character of the scene in a historical perspective, within the context of drama and beyond.
'Traveling Tragedy' - Workshop (October 7-8, 2021)
Traveling through time and space from Antiquity to the early modern era up to the present day, tragedies have been adapted to different aesthetic and political settings all over the world. Held in October 2021, this workshop investigated modes in which tragedy as a genre has circulated in the past, especially in early modern times, and continues to circulate today, specifically in postcolonial contexts. More generally, the workshop considered the relation between change of place and change of form, including the limits of traveling: how does tragedy travel and what hinders or even blocks its circulation?
'Re-editing History in Public Space: Contested Monuments and Memories' - Lecture by Prof. Nilüfer Göle (EHESS, Paris) (May 19, 2021)
History is written over and over in stone, producing layers of conflicting and converging heritage, and public space becomes a site for displaying the memories of the past and visions for future society. Disputes over the legacies, usages and rhetoric of monuments indicate how memory and identity, long term historical heritage and present-day politics are interrelated. The two monuments of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and the Mezquita Cathedral in Cordoba are such examples. They represent the sedimentation of different historic epochs and embody the juxtaposition of cultures, Byzantine and Muslim, Arab and Hispanic. In the present, the cultural heritages of Eastern Christianity and European Islam are compromised as these hybrid religious edifices become markers of a symbolic battle between Islam and the West. Held in May 2021, this lecture investigated attempts of reediting history in which these monuments are subjected to reappropriations, and transformations in view of creating new publics, unsettling established hierarchies between the religious and the secular, between minorities and majority.
'On the Social Conditions of the Transcultural Circulation of Literary Forms and Models' - Lecture by Prof. Gisèle Sapiro (EHESS, Paris) (January 27, 2021)
What cultural forms are circulating? Through which channels, and which circuits? How are these forms appropriated? In her lecture, held in January 2021, Prof. Sapiro (EHESS, Paris) proposed a framework for analyzing the social conditions of the transcultural circulation of literary forms and models.