The Shape of a Pocket Film screening and artists talk: To dream a more liveable place… a performance in anticipation of… with KITSO LYNN LELLIOTT

Date: Thursday, June 27th

Time: 19:00 – 21:00

With its first international screening, visiting artist from Johannesburg, Kitso Lynn Lelliot will engage the audience in ethical questions brought about by the film’s continuing evolution, in which she asks who has the power to police history, the stories that make us? The filmic fragment is an exploration of how one might be in space and be in time after a rupture. It considers being and taking up space while being variously marked in the negative against the image of the subject, thus being becomes an act of contestation against negation. It is a meditation on the oscillations of this refusal against refusal, considered within and beyond human centric temporal horizons. The piece works to tackle the historic and ongoing ruptures that dislocate black bodies from being: belonging in space, in time, in History. Evocations of the turn of the twentieth century partially locate the work at a time when the production of these unbelongings were playing out with acute and long lasting resonance in the southern regions of the African continent. Here, a woman known by the name of Sara finds that she has lost her grounding, the earth beneath her feet having been ripped away. She boards a ship that takes her across oceans to lands that, though distant, are still a place on earth.

BIO

KITSO LYNN LELLIOTT’S practice moves between video installation, film and writing. She is preoccupied with enunciations from spaces beyond epistemic power and the crisis such disobedient articulations cause to hegemony. Her work is an enactment of enunciating from elision and between historically subjugated subjectivities, privileging South-South relations that are in relation to yet imaginatively and epistemologically unmediated by the Global North. Lelliott was an artist in residence with the Centre for Humanities Research at UWC from 2019 until 2022 when she took up a senior lectureship with the University of the Witwatersrand. 

@kitsolynnlelliott

No RSVP required
Event held onsite: Donaustr. 84, 12043 Berlin

The Shape of a Pocket 

The Shape of a Pocket is a platform dedicated to articulations of voids and absences in social, epistemic and geographic landscapes. 

The pocket is an intimate hollow, a ‘pocket of resistance’ or a vessel that carries multiple materials and stories. The ‘shape’ alludes to the imaginary lines that are drawn between the unknown and the known, and to what is revealed or obscured, connected or separated by these demarcations. The void is both the deepest trench and the horizon. 

The project confronts absence not as an epistemological deficit, but as rich and generative in its indeterminacy. This does not mean that the unknown is a resource to be mined, located or exploited, but rather it is a necessary resistance to Western thought’s demand for clarity and unambiguous identification. This call to turn towards the unknown relates to ‘absences’ that include enforced silences, extractive practices, linguistic gaps, and erasures in archives and culture. In all its shapeshifting mutations, the void resists totalising systems and makes way for a multiplicity and an excess that cannot be contained by the constraints of absolutes or certainty. 

Colonialism uses the notion of ‘empty’ space as a pretext to justify the occupation of land, genocide and subjugation. The continuous coloniality of societal structures requires an undoing of this claim over emptiness. Capitalism exploits and extracts human labour and geological matter, causing cultural erasure and ecological catastrophe, with dire consequences for human and more-than-human life. This project aims to unlearn and undo the claim that coloniality makes on ostensibly empty spaces, and to challenge the persistent omissions in hegemonic historical narratives and divisive identitarian determinations. While the concept of the ‘void’ speaks of absence, it cannot be reduced to a mere abstraction, rather, it is material and situated in the world: it has flesh, geography and history. 

There are also voids and obfuscations whose contours are less easy or impossible to grasp but must be preemptively imagined to not perpetuate patterns of erasure. Following Saidiya Hartman’s approach, this project embraces the challenge of telling impossible stories while amplifying the impossibility of their telling. In this sense, The Shape of a Pocket works with the double bind of the necessity to be present to absences while resisting imposed silencing. Depending on positionality and context, silence or absence can be constructed as spaces for emancipatory political imagination and relationality or, conversely, as sites of oppression and erasure. 

Together we ask: Can we trace the contours of these so-called voids without reenacting the violences of cartography? Who holds the capacity for articulation, about what, and from where? If, as Glissant says, the abyss serves as an alluvium for metamorphoses, how can we contribute to the emergence of languages that are born from places of irreparable trauma and loss and give rise to forms of solidarity, resistance and transformation? 

The Shape of a Pocket is an invitation to reimagine our margins, shared unknowns, cavities, and rifts as meaningful grounds for rupture and connectivity. 

The platform runs from May to November 2024 and offers a series of encounters with Kandis Friesen, Jessica Zïada Korp, Kitso Lynn Lelliot, Listening at Pungwe with Memory Biwa and Robert Machiri, Hn. Lyonga, Constanza Mendoza, Eleni Mouzourou, Miguel Rodríguez-Casellas, Promona Sengupta and Miya Yoshida. The project culminates in an exhibition, opening on 31 October 2024. The Shape of a Pocket is initiated by Shoufay Derz and Talya Lubinsky at The Institute for Endotic Research.

You are welcome to contact us with any questions you may have. All events are free and open to the public.

*The Shape of a Pocket is the title of a book by John Berger published in 2002.

With support from the Berlin Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhalt.

 




  Encounter: Summoning – a spatial conversation on and with the ghostly with Lisa Hoffmann and Liese Schmidt

Date: Sunday, June 16th

Time: 12:00 to 24:00

Over the course of twelve hours “summoning” is a collective research and exhibition-in-process event under the motif of the séance, consisting of talks, performances and radio- and media-artistic interventions. The event is the visualisation and spatialisation of collaborative research that takes place within a Telegram group and other channels. Guests and the audience are asked before and during the event, to respond to the invitation to the séance with questions, ideas, research, text, images, videos and more about the ghostly and that or those which and who haunt. Starting at noon with an empty room, all collected material will appear in the space in the form of ongoing actions and appearances until midnight.

“Summoning” happens in three parts:

Establishing contact

12:00 to 18:00

performative installing and uninstalling of research and artistic contributions as a collective process

participants TBA

Appearances

18:00 to 22:00

sound performances, lectures and screenings, programme TBA

Reflection

22:00 to 24:00

collective mirroring of impressions and apparitions

BIO

Lisa Hoffmann and Liese Schmidt work as artists in different media and formats but with a common focus on time-based media and media theory. Their work ranges from film and video to collaborative projects and radio making. Together and apart they have been approaching this topic from both theoretical research and sound, video and sculptural experiments. As a collective, they aim to establish an ongoing exchange and research at a distance with multiple voices and participants, to examine what collaboration might be between humans and non-humans alike – including the technical devices, their materials, different voices and tonalities.

 

Lisa Hoffman: https://lshhhh.net, @omgirlwtf

Liese Schmidt: www.lieseschmidt.online, @liese_broccoli 




  Encounter: ‘Rest Your Identity’ with Ju Bavyka

Date: Thursday, June 13th

Time: 19:00 – 21:00

 

Ju Bavyka will offer ‘Rest Your Identity’, a performative facilitation practice that leans on meditation. A continuation of their long-term project ‘On Rest’, this practice examines our relationships to aspects of our identity, including habits or social roles, that get overworked in everyday life. This overwork can be a response to social injustice, patriarchy, gendered roles, being disabled, or to the self-exploitation of one’s ethnic and cultural background in order to exist and survive in contexts where identity and diversity politics are foregrounded. After a short introduction, participants are invited to follow a guided meditation and to identify parts of themself that require a little rest, revision, and kind reintegration on better terms. 

Ju considers this a decolonial practice that fosters empowerment through the offer of developing attention and slowing down. A space for encounter and possible connection is created during the discussion afterwards.

Bio


Ju Bavyka is a visual artist, writer and community organiser. They create from a queer, forager perspective and are interested in practices of hospitality and generosity. Ju lives, works and rests on unceded Gadigal Wangal lands in so-called Sydney, Australia, and sometimes in Berlin. They have ties to Kazakhstan and Germany through their birth, education, community connections and family history. 

@ju_bavyka

No RSVP required

Event held onsite: Donaustr. 84, 12043 Berlin




  June Tea Oval Session: Critical Art and Political Resistance in Venezuela

Date: Wednesday, June 12th

Time: 19:00 – 21:00

In this second session, we are privileged to delve into the political perspective of the exceptional Venezuelan artist and researcher Augusto Gerardi. His works, spanning various artistic mediums and methods, offer a unique and immersive portrayal of daily political life in Venezuela. Augusto will present a selection of critical projects that have challenged authoritarianism from 1959 to the present, providing a rare insight into the struggles and triumphs experienced during political protests in Venezuela through an artistic lens. TIER invites Audiences with Venezuelan connections to actively participate in the conversation with Augusto, offering a stimulating and engaging experience. 

The Tea Oval session is not a passive event but a dynamic monthly forum. As an audience member, your role is crucial. You are not just a spectator but an active participant in studying and exploring new and emerging perspectives on artistic resistance against political dictatorships worldwide. Zoncy Heavenly, an artist from Myanmar currently in residence at TIER, is leading the Tea Oval sessions until November 2024, ensuring your active participation and contribution, making your presence and insights invaluable. 

Bio

Augusto Gerardi Rousset, born in 1989, is a passionate art activist whose expressive performances resonate more strongly than a simple status report. His primary work is a thoughtful and satirical response to the political turmoil in present-day Venezuela. Born in Caracas in 1989, he graduated in media art and sound engineering, a background that informs their unique approach to art. Augusto is studying Fine arts at UdK Berlin, further honing his artistic skills and knowledge. As a researcher and archivist, he worked with Venezuela’s most extensive video archive and developed video art projects that facilitate parallel narratives. His ethno-musicological, researched-based electro music project referenced and used traditional folk music that he recorded while traveling for one year around Venezuela. His other research included net art in Venezuela, its political dimension, and the history of the relationship between art and computer machines in Venezuela, searching for and documenting erased and forgotten artistic practices. He contributes his time to coordinating international cultural projects that promote social cohesion while exhibiting his works from New York, Paris, and Berlin to his home, Caracas.

No RSVP required

Event held onsite: Donaustr. 84, 12043 Berlin

Video, Inercia (2009) By Ivan Candeo:  https://vimeo.com/7661752




  Mining the self: I wish no one an identity a talk-performance by Constanza Mendoza

The Shape of a Pocket

Encounter: Mining the self: I wish no one an identity a talk-performance by Constanza Mendoza

Date: Sunday, May 26th

Time: 18:00 – 20:00

I was born in the driest desert on Earth. Like all deserts, the Atacama desert is a Sacrifice Zone*. It has been conquered, occupied, plundered and polluted. The desert is by definition a colonial engineering of exploitation. The desert is necropolitics. To be born in the desert becomes a contradiction, a biographical paradox, a vital errancy. Like all identities, mine is an inheritance of multiple violence: my family history is related to the colonial genocide of the Selk’nam people in Tierra del Fuego, colonial extractivism in Chuquicamata, the coup d’état and the Pinochet dictatorship, family exile to the European empire up until the apogee of the neoliberal laboratory in which we now find ourselves today. I will perform this necropolitical identity through a series of historical, political and social short circuits through excess and detachment.

*A sacrifice zone or sacrifice area is a geographic area permanently impaired by environmental damage or economic disinvestment.

BIO

Constanza Mendoza’s practice defies all categories and logic of the art business. She works with different collectives, and it is not about creating closed works, but rather about conversation and exchange. Whether in the form of a game with different roles or a method of institutional criticism, it remains open.

conniemendoza.de

No RSVP required

Event held onsite: Donaustr. 84, 12043 Berlin

************

The Shape of a Pocket 

The Shape of a Pocket is a platform dedicated to articulations of voids and absences in social, epistemic and geographic landscapes.

The pocket is an intimate hollow, a ‘pocket of resistance’ or a vessel that carries multiple materials and stories. The ‘shape’ alludes to the imaginary lines that are drawn between the unknown and the known, and to what is revealed or obscured, connected or separated by these demarcations. The void is both the deepest trench and the horizon.

The project confronts absence not as an epistemological deficit, but as rich and generative in its indeterminacy. This does not mean that the unknown is a resource to be mined, located or exploited, but rather it is a necessary resistance to Western thought’s demand for clarity and unambiguous identification. This call to turn towards the unknown relates to ‘absences’ that include enforced silences, extractive practices, linguistic gaps, and erasures in archives and culture. In all its shapeshifting mutations, the void resists totalising systems and makes way for a multiplicity and an excess that cannot be contained by the constraints of absolutes or certainty.

Colonialism uses the notion of ‘empty’ space as a pretext to justify the occupation of land, genocide and subjugation. The continuous coloniality of societal structures requires an undoing of this claim over emptiness. Capitalism exploits and extracts human labour and geological matter, causing cultural erasure and ecological catastrophe, with dire consequences for human and more-than-human life. This project aims to unlearn and undo the claim that coloniality makes on ostensibly empty spaces, and to challenge the persistent omissions in hegemonic historical narratives and divisive identitarian determinations. While the concept of the ‘void’ speaks of absence, it cannot be reduced to a mere abstraction, rather, it is material and situated in the world: it has flesh, geography and history.

There are also voids and obfuscations whose contours are less easy or impossible to grasp but must be preemptively imagined to not perpetuate patterns of erasure. Following Saidiya Hartman’s approach, this project embraces the challenge of telling impossible stories while amplifying the impossibility of their telling. In this sense, The Shape of a Pocket works with the double bind of the necessity to be present to absences while resisting imposed silencing. Depending on positionality and context, silence or absence can be constructed as spaces for emancipatory political imagination and relationality or, conversely, as sites of oppression and erasure.

Together we ask: Can we trace the contours of these so-called voids without reenacting the violences of cartography? Who holds the capacity for articulation, about what, and from where? If, as Glissant says, the abyss serves as an alluvium for metamorphoses, how can we contribute to the emergence of languages that are born from places of irreparable trauma and loss and give rise to forms of solidarity, resistance and transformation?

The Shape of a Pocket is an invitation to reimagine our margins, shared unknowns, cavities, and rifts as meaningful grounds for rupture and connectivity. The Shape of a Pocket is initiated by Shoufay Derz and Talya Lubinsky at The Institute for Endotic Research.

 *The Shape of a Pocket is the title of a book by John Berger published in 2002.




  Encounter: Pin. Suck. Smash a video installation by Alina Amper

Date: Wednesday, May 22nd

Time: 19:00 – 21:00

Pin. Suck. Smash is a video installation that weaves a layered fictional landscape into a photo collage from a Syrian city archive. The installation captures enduring rituals, with characters crossing dimensions through folio imprints. Symbolic photographs mark distinct rituals, while an experimental video blends film excerpts for cultural exploration. A guiding artifact, the pipe, navigates viewers through occult practices.

The process began with the systematic scanning of objects with biographical references to lessen their impact and create a personal archive. The scans were then used to craft collages that illustrate the emergence of a hybrid construct in a landscape whose objects follow a specific pattern or equation and essentially form a language. The hybrid construct led to the creation of satellites, positioned within the docu-fictional landscape. The docu-fictional narrative originates from the vast archive of photographer Salman Abu Ras. Characters from various dimensions enter into a dialogue through a three-dimensional facade created by layers of photos on foils floating in space. Each selected photo signifies an unalterable ritual: women in a church ceremony, women filtering lintels, and men sharing traditional food. Everyday objects such as bread coexist amidst the architectural elements of the landscape, integrated into a carefully constructed choreography of interactions.

An experimental video that merges the mesmerising movements of the iconic Arab belly dancer Fifi Abdo with footage of women from the Druze community in Syria. Abdo’s enigmatic pipe inhalations challenge societal norms, igniting the exploration of cultural boundaries. This video creates a ritualistic encounter where objects and characters bear symbolic significance. Guided by the pipe, viewers navigate fragmented depictions of occult practices, seamlessly blending Druze pagan rituals with an immersive journey through the underworld. This fusion reveals themes of oppression, tradition, and the transformative power of ritual.

BIO

 With an auto-fictional approach, Alina creates hybrids between the political and imaginary, dealing with topics of belonging and complex identities. As a trained architect, she tends to deconstruct and process artefacts and images and their representation and the effect of everyday actions and religious rituals on the body. In doing so, she creates fictional landscapes by experimenting with different mediums in search of other possible narratives. She mainly works with mixed media, especially collage, video, installation and performance. Her works were shown internationally at Attasi Foundation Dubai, Kommunale Gallery Berlin, Station Beirut, Taksheel Gallery Dubai and others.

No RSVP required

Event held onsite: Donaustr. 84, 12043 Berlin




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