Call for applications: RAW Académie Session 10
miðvikudagur, 17. maí 2023
Call for applications: RAW Académie Session 10
What is RAW Académie?
RAW Académie is an experimental residential program for the research and study of artistic and curatorial practice and thought. The program usually takes place over seven weeks in Dakar. It is dedicated to a dynamic reflection on artistic research, curatorial practice and critical writing. The Académie is held during one session per year; May–June or October–November. Session 10 will take place in Douala, Cameroon, and will be led by doual’art—a contemporary art centre founded by Princess Marilyn Douala Manga Bell. It will run from October 2 to November 3, 2023.
In a world where any notion of a clear divide between public and private has always been simply that—a notion—RAW Académie Session 10 Landmarks goes beyond this dichotomy to explore how art in urban space allows conciliation between private desires, public needs, and collective imaginaries. The contemporary African metropolises out of which this program is born are the often fruitful, at times conflictual meeting points for these interests. Much studied, much maligned, much fetishized, the African city is no mere “laboratory”. It is over 600 million lives across a continent stretching some 8000 kilometers from north to south, where the sun rises and sets over six time zones each day. Embedded in Douala, Cameroon, our realm of inquiry during Landmarks will be artworks, projects and spaces which use the urban space as raw material for coming into communion with life, with the heartbeats and dreams that are the ultimate rhythm and strength of the city.
Under the artistic direction of doual’art, Landmarks is rooted in the association’s three decades of experience curating and caring for artworks that are—to use the words of its founder, Princess Marilyn Douala Manga Bell—“in resonance with” urban space.
doual’art was born at a turning point in the history of Cameroon, when a popular uprising and a general strike known as “villes mortes” (dead cities) precipitated the authorization of multipartyism, private media, as well as freedom of association in the country. Very quickly, fundamental questions emerged. How to accompany this creative and popular energy? How to use the streets for something other than violent protest? How to open up a space for dialogue between communities and public authorities? And where does public power actually reside? Questions that are no less relevant today, not only in Douala or Dakar but in cities across the globe.
Over the course of its life and in particular via the Salon Urbain de Douala (SUD) festival, doual’art has been inhabited by these questions and adjacent themes, which will undergird the curriculum of Landmarks. The life of SUD has seen, amongst many others, Hervé Youmbi navigate the irony of Douala’s lack of access to water, despite it being originally founded as a fishing village, while Georgina Goerger have engaged with the mythologies surrounding the region’s aquatic landscapes. Hervé Yamguen, in contrast, turned to the water that has stopped flowing and become stagnant.The disappearance of flora and fauna, and its accompanying loss of knowledge, was at the heart of works by Tracey Rose and Lucas Grandin. Ties ten Bosch worked on issues of land use, and Aser Kash on what it means to live in one of the wettest cities on earth. During Landmarks, fellows and invited faculty will come together with members of doual’art’s team and the communities that have lived with SUD’s projects to explore the potentials and pitfalls of art in the urban space.
The program will not only look back to what has been created, but to how this is shaping Douala’s present and future. doual’art has been instrumental in imbibing the city with a new geographic logic, elaborated according to the positions of these pieces, and today imprinted in the psyche of its inhabitants. But the same process takes place in the opposite direction, as the lives of the people of Douala imprint themselves on the artworks. These pieces become sites of material and affective mutation, in symbiosis with the inevitable changes which are constantly underway in the lives of the city’s people. Not simply part of the landscape, they are landmarks. [More information here.
Fellows will explore these themes through walks, discussions, presentations, and workshops together with the team of doual’art, RAW Material Company, and visiting faculty members; researcher and art critic Iolanda Pensa, curators Elvira Dyangani Ose & Jay Pather, cultural producer Teesa Bahana, architect Jean Charles Tall, as well as the Think Tanger cultural platform.
About RAW Material Company
RAW Material Company is a center for art, knowledge and society in Dakar, Senegal. It is an initiative involved with curatorial practice, artistic education, residencies, knowledge production and the archiving of theory and criticism on art. It works to foster appreciation for and growth of artistic and intellectual creativity in Africa. The program is trans-disciplinary and is equally informed by literature, film, architecture, politics, fashion, cuisine and diaspora.
doual’art is a contemporary art centre and an experimental laboratory for new urban practices in African cities. Its artistic approach is oriented towards accompanying and supporting artists who are interested in urban issues through their research and practice.
RAW Académie is a tuition-free experimental study program. A maximum of 10 fellows are selected for each session. The application process is online only, and runs from May 15 until June 25, 2023. Only the first 75 applications will be considered for review.
The selection committee for Session 10 is made up of the curatorial teams of doual’art and RAW Material Company. Only short-listed applicants will be notified and invited for an online interview, the final selection will be made by July 15. Please apply here.
RAW Material Company wishes to acknowledge the valuable support of Mellon Foundation, Osiwa, the Foundation for Arts Initiatives and Arts Collaboratory. For doual’art, that of DUC (Douala Urban Community), Brot für di welt, ZFD Ziviler friedensdienst, CPS (Civil Peace Service) Africa, and SUPSI LCV.