Above: Installation view, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin 2019 © Camille Blake. Courtesy of Archaeology of the Final Decade.
Archaeology of the Final Decade presented A Utopian Stage at SAVVY Contemporary (Berlin, 24 March – 28 April 2019), a multi-faceted project presented within the program of MaerzMusik–Festival für Zeitfragen 2019. The exhibition opened together with another MaerzMusik project: Tele-Visions, in Betonhalle.
A Utopian Stage, curated by Vali Mahlouji, was an exhibition in three acts:
Act I: A Cultural Atlas: The Shifting Sands of Utopias
The interactive and ongoing Cultural Atlas conjures a fragmented history of the long twentieth century through the ambitions and contradictions of countless utopian universalist episodes and ideals: transcendental internationalisms; radical liberations; emancipating solidarities.
By the middle of the last century, the demise of the old European empires revealed a new horizon of opportunities and encounters for people and cultures across the world. The atlas serves as an evocation of the conjunction of modernism, art and revolution where marginalised communities could see themselves at the forefront of all. It summons the constantly evolving dreams and possibilities that emerged and dissolved from the alignment of art and revolution during the period.
Act II: The Excavated Archives: Shiraz-Persepolis
Archaeology of the Final Decade unearths the archival materials of the radical and virtually-forgotten decade-long Festival of Arts, Shiraz-Persepolis (1967-1977). Over fifty years since its inception, A Utopian Stage explores the genealogies and implications of the festival’s modernist ambitions, using it as a lens through which to reconsider the legacies of modernism’s radical progressive arc. Embodying an optimistic drive to reimagine the world as an open universal arena for mutual exchange, the festival exalted in the dawn of the post-colonial age, aspiring to new solidarities and connections which marked the emergence of a new world.
Act III: Invocations
A series of contemporary debates, lectures, concerts and performances responding to the Cultural Atlas.
Act III: Invocations summons performative responses and critical conversations by an eclectic group of artists, performers, composers and thinkers who are invited to activate the contents, discourses, histories and points of reference relating to the radical and experimental spirits of the 1960s and 1970s. The open platform of Invocations invites responses, interpretations and engagements with the emancipating ambitions and contradictions of ‘the age of modernism and revolution’ and the transcendentalisms, internationalisms and the radical desires to unlock utopian potentials.
A Utopian Stage: Festival of Arts, Shiraz-Persepolis (1967-1977)
MaerzMusik-Festival für Zeitfragen 2019, Berliner Festspiele
Berlin | 24 March 2019
Lecture as part of Tele-Visions: A Critical Media History of New Music on TV 1950s – 1990s.
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR – Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung
CURATOR – Vali Mahlouji
ASSOCIATE CURATOR – Kamila Metwaly
EXHIBITION PRODUCER – Ola Zielińska
ASSISTANT PRODUCER – Jörg-Peter Schulze
MANAGEMENT – Lema Sikod & Lynhan Balatbat
COMMUNICATION – Anna Jäger & Marleen Boschen
VISUALS – Elsa Westreicher & Lili Somogyi
TECH – Bert Günther
ART HANDLING – Wilson Mungai & Kimani Joseph