Digressions #1: Kapwani Kiwanga

In a singular career leading from anthropology to the visual arts, she has brought to light unexplored interspaces between fiction and documentary, science and magic, politics and the poetic, and taken advantage of her training in the social sciences to develop experimental projects with herself in the role of researcher. Her method consists in devising systems and protocols that act as filters for observation of different cultures and their capacity to mutate.

Here she addresses the two interconnected projects making up her exhibition at the Ferme du Buisson: the magic powers of plants in a context of political and social resistance, and in particular their use by Kinjeketile, a healer who urged the peoples of East Africa to rise up against the German colonial regime; and the concept of Ujamaa, the basis of Julius Nyerere’s pan-African socialism. Kapwani Kiwanga also returns to reactivation of the past as a means of studying the present, and the importance of speech as a tool for transmitting knowledge and stimulating action.

Initiated in 2017 by Julie Pellegrin and the Centre for Contemporary Art team in collaboration with Captures éditions, Digressions is a series of interviews (bilingual French / English) that accompanies the programme. Through conversations with guest artists, the notebooks give behind the scenes access and bear witness to reflections, research, methodologies and sometimes the doubts and the trial and error that feed the working process. By giving a voice to artists, the entire collection brings out very singular voices that resonate with each other and explore shared questions around the performance and creation of exhibitions, the physical and political engagement and the decompartmentalization of disciplines.