Lobi Kuna (avant-hier / après-demain)
Directed by Matthias De Groof.
Written by Mekhar Azari Kiyoso & Matthias De Groof.
Produced by Cobra Films and Mutotu.
Cinematography by Hadewych Cocquyt (BSC), Sam Vanmaekelbergh, Carlo Lechea, Kiripi Katembo & Matthias De Groof.
Edited by Sebastien Demeffe and Kwinten Gernay.
With: Mohamed Boujarra, Francis Mampuya, Bart Maris, Jean Katambayi Mukendi, Mekhar Azari Kiyoso.
Supported by VAF (Filmlab).
Palimpsest of the Africa Museum
Directed by Matthias De Groof in collaboration with Mona Mpembele.
Text and Voice: Jean Bofane.
Music: Ernst Reijseger.
Written by Matthias De Groof.
Produced by Cobra Films.
Cinematography by Matthias De Groof.
Edited by Sebastien Demeffe.
The short film Rendez-les moi (Give me back my black dolls) which I made in 2013 during an IFAA-residency at Nijmegen, points to an interpretation of Limbé as an expression of a longing for a supressed African cultural heritage but which nevertheless can be found extensively in divers museums.
Rendez-les moi is a film which might be called a “visual poem”, using the technique of « caméra-stylo » or « camera pen » described by Astruc as a form in which and through which an artist is able to express his thoughts, tearing loose from the image for the image, of the immediate anecdote. In “Rendez-les-moi”, however, the camera is strongly guided by another poem: Léon Gontran Damas’ Limbé (Borders) as if Damas too was holding the pen.
His black dolls are being “prostituted” by the museum. Indeed, the artefacts function as “wenches” in the public space of the museum: undressed from their ritual costumes and put behind vitrines, they satisfy a western self-image as historically and racially superior. Detached from their context, they make their absent creators look foolish. Exhibited as commodities, they suggest an Africa totally at western disposal. Eagerly constructed as static and primitive, they become negative symbols of western historical progression. Invented as the remote and the past, they reinforce the west’s image as developed. Looted, traded and domesticated in time, they become the relics of a western past. Referred to as a variation of a western past existing in the present, they make Africa into Europe’s eternal museum. Ethnologized, they are ‘othered’ as remote and museified, they are historicized as past. Put at these distances in time as well as in space – making the distant into the past – they define the “Self” as measure, while making from Protagoras’ Homo Mensura doctrine Europa mensura. Categorized, they are constructed as primitive; assimilated, they are conceived of as barbarous and imagined as exotic.
Le Tervuren invisible is a critical interview with Francis Mampuya. This interview was done in Belgium, while Mampuya was here for a solo-exhibition in the framework of the Belgo-Congolese cultural project Yambi.
This video being made about one year after our stay in Congo, it not only takes a distance in time and space, but also a reflective and critical distance towards the other works of ôtre k’ ôtre.
In a reflection on the role of Belgian’s Royal Museum of Middle Africa, also called the Museum of Tervuren, Mampuya talks about its colonial role in the past and its current, more invisble but not less powerful role.
Moreover Tervuren becomes a metaphor for ‘white’ projects that, under the cloack of ‘cultural exchange’, aim at archiving and observing African culture.