Summer 2023


Image: Masello Motana

Wissenschaftsforum zu Köln und Essen

Artist Residency 2023: Masello Motana

The Wissenschaftsforum zu Köln und Essen regularly invites outstanding academics and artists to set an example for public science and collaborative knowledge production. The artist-in-residence format 2023 deals with experiences of integration and exclusion in post-migration societies. South African vocal historian and performer Masello Motana, who is this year’s invited artist-in-residence under the title A Homecoming of Sorts, combines high-quality musical performance with rigorous work on memory. She will perform with ›The Vocal Museum‹ at the opening of the African Futures Conference in Cologne on May 31 as part of the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum program. 

»The Vocal Museum is a memoir performance that explores the South African Song Book through a township narrative experience. When I initially put The Vocal Museum together, I was trying to make sense of my own communal memories because in South Africa, there is no consensus on what our history is about. It is very interesting to be invited to a country that has made firm decisions about its past including repatriation of looted objects. Historically, there is much intrigue and artistically, I look forward to the collaborations. There is also engagement with the museum itself in its state of repatriation and transition and the communities that are part of these conversations around confronting and making sense of history in the present.« (Masello Motana)

The performance will feature South African musicians Kegorogile Makgatle and Vincent Ngubane, along with Belgium-based bassist Frank Magongwa and trumpeter Terrence Ngassa from Cologne, performing The Vocal Museum. Motana has performed The Vocal Museum in South Africa at various venues, setting up theaters in public spaces to present the show with a live band. 

The second part of the residency will be a research musical experiment based on a collection of memories and melodies of the Afro German and diasporic communities. The culmination of the experiment will be a collaborative performance with Motana and diaspora and BIPoC musicians based in Germany. The performance will be brought to the stage in the Katakomben Theater Essen on July 4 and on Ebertplatz on July 6. 

In addition, Masello Motana invites the public to remember the Soweto Massacre on June 16, 1976, with a bilingual lecture followed by a get-together. Entitled The Contested Legacies of Black Consciousness in Azania, the artist will present aspects of black consciousness in contemporary South African history that are left out by the the African National Congress’s popularized public politics of memory.

The Counter Museum

Masello Motana’s Vocal Museum
Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne
31 May 2023, 8:30 p.m.

The Contested Legacy of Black Consciousness in Azania

A June 16 bilingual lecture and get-together
Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne
16 June 2023, 5 –9 p.m.

The Diaspora Experiment

A collective sound space on musical memories of diaspora communities in NRW
4 July 2023, 7 p.m.
Katakomben Theater, Essen
6 July 2023, 6 p.m.
Forum Unser Ebertplatz, Cologne

Curated by Dr. Anna Brus, Universität zu Köln.