landings: confrontation and confession
11 Jan - 12 Jan 2014

Teijin Auditorium, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Entrance price to the Stedelijk Museum

necessary. Make a reservation

The Stedelijk Museum is proud to present a two-day Public Program as part of the ongoing research project Landings. The program spans two days of lectures, artist talks, film screenings, a temporary display, and a performance with several contributors including Angela Melitopoulos and Angela Anderson, Otobong Nkanga, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, and Willem de Rooij. Landings: Confrontation and Confession will explore the role of land as a concrete and narrative element — engaging its terrain, resources, (de)colonization, and cultural circulation, while also outlining the geographic imperative of capital. 

“Our task today is reintegration, not the generalized power of the scream but the painstaking survey of the land.” – Édouard Glissant 

The ongoing research project Landings is dedicated to crossover readings of land histories, geological agency, and constructions of rurality. While colonial histories of Western Europe and Third Worldist projects of the 20th century are evoked in critical global discourse as paradigmatic formations of modernity, the terms of land history, agrarian struggle, and resource industries are rarely discussed as key narrative protagonists.  Similarly, even as the circulations of contemporary art have extended into diverse geographical regions, the debates that have sought to grasp this transformation tend to emphasize global hypermobility and abstractions of the ‘contemporary’. Land is the perpetual host for these categorizations and yet is seldom the foundation upon which critical consciousness is premised.

In this episode of Landings, a wide range of artists, anthropologists, theorists, and film researchers will address the unstable correlations of the notions of “confrontation” and “confession” as key terms within a framework of historical anti-imperial resistance and the ongoing land struggles of the present. These two terms will be traced through case examples including  17th and 18th century figurations of colonial “contact” and “conflict” through the image of the bird feather, the condition of opacity in terrain and in militant struggle in the Algerian independence movement, present-day mineral circulations addressed as subjective encounter, and pulverization as method in advanced mining and financialized capital. In this constellation of terms, Landings explores the often paradoxical relationships between modern subjecthood, territorial conditions and the body politic. 

The program will span Saturday and Sunday, January 11 and 12, 2014, commencing with a day-long seminar and followed by a second day of film screenings and a performance event. An accompanying display with artworks by Waswo X. Waswo (in collaboration with Rajesh Soni) and archival 19th and 20th century plantation photography will be presented in partnership with the Tropenmuseum Amsterdam (as part of the ongoing research collaboration Approaching Absenteeism


SATURDAY JANUARY 11, 10:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. 

10.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.: The burden of self-reckoning

  •  Daniel C. Barber - Opacity and Intermattering
  •  Willem de Rooij - In conversation regarding the long-term project: Intolerance
  •  Yasmina Dekkar - The dignity of land: The question of terrain within militant Algerian cinema. 

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.:  Lunch break 

2:00 – 3:45 p.m.: The paradox of abandonment

  •  Denise Ferreira da Silva: The thing, no-bodies, and colonial expropriation: Flesh and soil confront the categories of historical materialism
  •  Adrian Martin: Figuring the Land: Its memory, trace and reinvention in Australian Indigenous cinema 

3:45 – 4:00 p.m.: Coffee/tea break 

4:00 - 5:45 p.m.: The ends of the earth and the resurvey of the land

  •  Elizabeth A. Povinelli - Geontology, or Being after Death
  •  Angela Melitopoulos and Angela Anderson - Unearthing Disaster: Mining for Gold in the Greek Debt Crisis

SUNDAY JANUARY 12, 12:00 – 16:00

12.00 – 2.45 p.m.

  •  Screening Program:
    - Mitch Torres, Whispering In Our Hearts: The Mowla Bluff Massacre (2001)’ 52min
    - Camille Henrot, Cynopolis (2009), 10min
    - René Vautier, L’Algerie en Flammes (1958), 22min
    - John Akomfrah, Mnemosyne (2010), 45min

2.45 – 3.45 p.m.: Lunch break

3:45 – 4:30 p.m.  

  •  Performance Otobong Nkanga - Glimmer: Fragments

Conceived by curators Natasha Ginwala and Vivian Ziherl. Landings is initiated upon invitation of Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (Rotterdam) and presented with partner organizations including Studium Generale Rietveld Academie (Amsterdam); the Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam); the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam); BARBERSHOP (Lisbon); Campo Adentro (Madrid); David Roberts Art Foundation (London); Iniva (London) in collaboration with NGBK (Berlin).


John Akomfrah

Born in Accra, Ghana, John Akomfrah lives and works in London.  An artist, lecturer, writer and filmmaker, his twenty-year body of work is among the most distinctive in the contemporary British art world.  Akomfrah is well known for his work with the London-based media workshop Black Audio Film Collective, which he co-founded in 1982 with the objectives of addressing issues of Black British identity and developing media forms appropriate to this subject matter. Since 1998, Akomfrah has work primarily within the independent film and television production companies, Smoking Dogs Films, (London) and Creation Rebel Films (Accra). In 2008, he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). In March 2012, he was awarded the European Cultural Foundation's Princess Margriet Award.

Angela Anderson

Angela Anderson has worked in the borderlands of art and film for several years, often in collaboration with other artists (including Angela Melitopoulos, Annika Larsson, Katya Sander, and Antonia Baehr). Since 2009 she has worked as the exhibition designer for the experimental program Forum Expanded at the Berlin International Film Festival. She is especially interested in the fields of economics, ecology, migration, and feminist/queer theories of power and violence, as well as the potential of audio-visual media to open up new lines of flight. She holds an MA in Media Studies from the New School and a BA in Economics and Latin Amercian Studies from the University of Minnesota, and is currently working on her first feature film script.

Angela Melitopoulos 

Angela Melitopoulos realizes video-essays, installations, documentaries and sound pieces and since 1985. She studied fine Arts with Nam June Paik. Her work focus of time, geography and collective memory in relation to electronic/digital media and documentation. Within her research projects she curates exhibitions and symposiums and publishes articles about mnemopolitics. Her experimental approach highlight the invention of new formats of multi-screen works and performance-based, expanded cinema formats. Her videos and installations were awarded and shown in many international festivals, exhibitions and museums (Generali Foundation Vienna, Berlinale, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Antonin Tapies Foundation Barcelona, KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin, Manifesta 7, Centre Georges Pompidou Paris, Whitney Museum New York, among others). She is teaching as a Professor in the Media School of the Royal Art Academy in Copenhagen.  

Daniel Colucciello Barber

Daniel Colucciello Barber is a Fellow at the ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry, where he is writing a book on conversion. He is the author of Deleuze and the Naming of God: Post-Secularism and the Future of Immanence (Edinburgh UP, 2014) and On Diaspora: Christianity, Religion, and Secularity (Cascade, 2011), as well as a co-author of Dark Nights of the Universe ([NAME], 2013). His writing also appears in various journals, including Angelaki, SubStance, Speculations, Symposium, and Glossator. He received his PhD from Duke University, where he worked in Religious Studies and the Program in Literature, and he has taught at New York University, Marymount Manhattan College, and The City University of New York. 

Yasmina Dekkar

Yasmina Dekkar is a researcher and cultural theorist based in Berlin and London. She was educated in film theory, islamic studies and art history in Berlin, Cairo and Paris and holds an MA in Postcolonial Studies from Goldsmiths College, London. She is a PhD candidate in the department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College. She has co-organized a number of events including a three day conference with Homi Bhabha as part of the festival Re-Imagining Asia (2008) at House of World Cultures, Berlin, a film program and a workshop in Algiers as part of the two year research project Matters of Collaboration (2012), House of World Cultures, Berlin. She has lectured on Algerian Cinema, amongst others at mumok, museum of modern art, Vienna as part of the project Sweet Sixties? (2013) and at Arsenal Cinema, Berlin, in the frame of the project Living Archive – Archive Work as a Contemporary Artistic and Curatorial Practice (2013).

Natasha Ginwala

Natasha Ginwala is an independent curator, researcher, and writer. She is member of the artistic team of the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2014). Ginwala has participated in the de Appel Curatorial Programme (Amsterdam), after pursuing her post-graduate studies at The School of Arts & Aesthetics (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi) and Asian College of Journalism (Chennai). Recent projects include: Landings, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, and partner organizations (2013-14, with Vivian Ziherl), The Museum of Rhythm, Taipei Biennale 2012, Inexactly This, Kunstvlaai: Festival of Independents, (2012, Amsterdam). She has taught on the Masters Programme (Artistic Research) at the University of Amsterdam and the Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam, as well as on the Studium Generale Programme at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam. 
Ginwala has contributed to several publications including, Afterall Online, Art Agenda, e-flux Journal, Manifesta Journal, Mint (The Wallstreet Journal), TAKE on Art Magazine, among others. 

Camille Henrot

Camille Henrot lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include the New Orleans Museum of Art (2013); Slought Foundation, Philadelphia (2013); Kamel Mennour, Paris (2012), Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Paris (2010). Group exhibitions include Museum Off Museum, Bielefelder Kunstverein, Bielefeld (2013); Companionable Silences, Nouvelle Vague, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); Inventing the World: The Artist as Citizen, Bénin Biennial 2012, (2012); A Disagreeable Object, SculptureCenter, New York (2012); Elles, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010). Henrot was nominated for the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2010 and received the Silver Lion at the 55th Venice Biennale, 2013.

Adrian Martin

Adrian Martin is an Australian film and arts critic from Melbourne. Martin is Associate Professor, Film Culture and Theory at Monash University. In 2013/5, he is Distinguished Visiting Professor at Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany. His work has appeared in many magazines, journals and newspapers around the world, and has been translated into over twenty languages and has regular columns in the Dutch De Filmkrant and in Caiman: Cuadernos de cine. Martin is the author of several books including Last Day Every Day: Figural Thinking from Auerbach and Kracauer to Agamben and Brenez, published in published in English, Spanish and Portuguese editions (2012-4) by Punctum books. 

Otobong Nkanga

Otobong Nkanga’s drawings, installations, photographs and sculptures variously examine ideas around land and the value connected to natural resources. In the work of Otobong Nkanga, activities and performance permeate all kinds of media and motivate photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and video, though all the different works are thematically connected through architecture and landscape. As a human trace that testifies of ways of living and environmental issues, architecture and landscape act as a sounding board for narration and ‘the performative’. Nkanga’s recent shows include: Sharjah Biennial 11, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, (2013); Across the Board: Politics of Representation, Tate Modern, The Tanks, London, United Kingdom (2012); Inventing World: The Artist as Citizen, Biennale Benin, Cotonou, Benin (2012); Tropicomania: The Social life of Plantes, Betonsalon, Center of art and research, among others. The artist lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. 

Elizabeth A. Povinelli

Elizabeth A. Povinelli is Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and faculty in the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Columbia University. Povinelli’s work has focused on developing a critical theory of late liberalism that would support an anthropology of the otherwise. She has explored this question in four books (Labor's Lot, 1994; The Cunning of Recognition, 2002; The Empire of Love, 2006; and Economies of Abandonment, 2011), and in the short film, Karrabing, Low Tide Turning, co-directed with Liza Johnson and written with the Karrabing Indigenous Corporation. Karrabing was selected for the 2012 Berlinale International Film Festival, Shorts Competition.

Willem de Rooij

Willem de Rooij lives and works in Berlin. In his work he engages processes of selection and combination of images in a variety of different media, ranging from sculpture to photography, film and texts. De Rooij analyses conventions of presentation and representation and constructs tensions between socio-political and autonomous productions of meaning. Whilst already his earlier film installations had a sculptural character, his recent exhibitions, that often employ found materials and works of other artists, assert through the gesture of appropriation itself their specific artistic character. De Rooij studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Akademie in Amsterdam and at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam. Recent solo exhibitions include Farafra at Kunsthall Bergen (2013), Untilted at Kunstverein München, Munich (2012), Crazy Repelled Firelight at Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York (2011) and Intolerance at Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2010). De Rooij is tutor at De Ateliers, Amsterdam and Professor of Fine Art, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main.

Denise Ferreira da Silva 

Denise Ferreira da Silva is a Professor in Ethics at Queen Mary-University London and currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at La Trobe University. She approaches Ethics and Political Theory with tools from critical legal theory, historical-materialism, feminist theory, racial and postcolonial/global studies. Her recent publications include: Toward a Global Idea of Race (2007), Notes Towards the End of Time (2013), No-Bodies: Law, Raciality, Violence (Griffith Law Review, 2009), Accumulation, Dispossession and Debt: The Racial Logic of Global Capitalism, W/ Paula Chackravartty (American Quarterly 2012), and To be Announced: Radical Praxis (at) the Limits of Justice (Social Text, 2013).

Vivian Ziherl 

Vivian Ziherl is a curator, researcher and critic. Since 2011 she has been a Curator at If I Can't Dance, I Don't Want to Be Part Of Your Revolution, Amsterdam. Recent independent projects include Landings (Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam & partner organizations) and the performance parcours series StageIt! (Part 1 & 2) (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam). Ziherl has edited books including The Lip Anthology, Macmillan Art Publishing and Kunstverein Publishing in collaboration with Grazer Kunstverein and Paper Exhibition: Selected Writings by Raimundas Malašauskas, Kunstverein Publishing and Sternberg Press. Vivian was the founding contributing editor of Discipline Magazine, and her writing has appeared in periodicals including Frieze, e-flux Journal, Pages Magazine, LEAP Magazine, Metropolis M, Eyeline and the Journal of Art (Art Association of Australia and New Zealand), among others.