Curatorial Project

The Entire Story Starts Where

Connections and Exclusions of Translocal Positions

From May 15 until July 2, 2023, exhibitions, film screenings, workshops, lecture performances, and roundtable discussions on the relationship between connections to and exclusions from global networks will be held at various locations in Cologne. The curatorial project »The Entire Story Starts Where – Connections and Exclusions of Translocal Positions« is integral part of the study program of the connecting – excluding: Cultural Dynamics Beyond Globalized Networks DFG Research Training Group.

In globalized networks, the ability to join groups and systems, along with their logics, is considered an essential prerequisite for participation. The curatorial project The Entire Story Starts Where, however, is interested in deviant practices that temporarily and strategically connect to media, economic, political, scientific, social, and cultural networks while also stepping away from them, subverting them, and so producing self-determined exclusions. The project inquires into the alternative, deviant spaces and networks that emerge in this way, focusing on the frictions, conflicts, and ruptures that accompany the violations of common practices of networking. What are the consequences for the actors concerned? And what potentials for shaping future lifeworlds can emerge as a result of new translocal connections?

The projects explore how the colonial continuities of a Western-influenced capitalist plantation logic are subverted by an agricultural cooperative in Mali (Raphaël Grisey & Bouba Touré), how the marginalized spaces of Muslim presence are animated in post-migrant societies (Asma Aiad), how the fragile utopias of southern global alliances flare up in a historical moment, only to break down soon after due to their internal and external resistances (Naeem Mohaiemen), and how new mobilities thwart colonially constructed urban spaces, as in Dakar, Senegal (Kaddu Yaraax).

With Asma Aiad, Raphaël Grisey, Olivier Marboeuf, Naeem Mohaiemen, Eszter Szakács, Bouba Touré, and Mamadou Diol and Leity Kane of Kaddu Yaraax.

Conceived by members of the DFG Research Training Group connecting—excluding: Cultural Dynamics Beyond Globalized NetworksAminata Estelle Diouf, Carolin Höfler, Sandra Kurfürst, Simon Meienberg, Nina Möntmann, Simone Pfeifer, and Agnes Stillger.

In cooperation with Akademie der Künste der Welt (ADKDW), Filmhaus Köln, GLASMOOG, Unser Ebertplatz, Kölnischer Kunstverein, and Temporary Gallery.

Visual Communication: Autostrada Studio, Berlin with Carolin Höfler and Agnes Stillger:
Poster German & English
Folded Flyer German & English

Theater Forum Kaddu Yaraax, Dakar, 2022, photo by Simon Meienberg

Kaddu Yaraax

Workshop & Talk

A workshop and a talk with Mamadou Diol and Leity Kane of the Forum Theater Kaddu Yaraax from Dakar/Senegal about spatial and social dimensions of theatrical interventionist practices and new forms of social impact, moderated by Simon Meienberg

The Kaddu Yaraax group from Dakar operates at the interface between theater, city and society. Their plays in urban space are aimed at changing social processes, intervening in political debates and producing publics. Their scenic interventions engage in conflicts over urban spaces and colonial continuities and address crises such as environmental pollution and social inequality. Kaddu Yaraax inquires into the memories, life experiences and perceptions of the city’s inhabitants and develops potential actions from the different perspectives of the actors involved. A future social city will not be postponed, but will emerge in the process of performative action itself – as a »real utopia« in the present.

The workshop deals theoretically and creatively with the possibilities and limits of theatrical interventions in the experimental reclamation of the city, the public sphere and representation. How can the play forms develop a dynamic through which they not only represent but also produce social cohesion and urban change? How do they resist political appropriations and social institutionalizations that threaten their subversive potential? What practices of self-problematization do they pursue? What role do they play in an ethical culture of memory?

Venue: TH Köln, Köln International School of Design, Ubierring 40, 50678 Köln, room 240
Workshop: 15 – 19 May 2023, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Talk: Wed, 17 May 2023, 7 p.m. (German / French, translated by Lara Gonnot),
8:30 p.m. Food & Drinks
Registration is not required.

The workshop and the talk are part of the Colliding Circulations exhibition at GLASMOOG between June 16 and July 1, 2023.

Raphaël Grisey & Bouba Touré, Sowing Somankidi Coura – A Generative Archive, 2017, installation view

»My Life Began Several Centuries Ago«

An Ecosystem of Circulating Images 


An exhibition by Raphaël Grisey and Bouba Touré, curated by Aminata Estelle Diouf and Agnes Stillger

For centuries, the relationship between Africa and Europe has been determined by a hegemonic system of exploitation in terms of a westernized capitalist plantation logic. These colonial continuities and legacies perpetuate asymmetries of power that produce ever new forms of forced migration and displacement. How can the multiple decolonial ecologies that remain hidden behind such power imbalances be uncovered and made collectively fruitful?

Malian photographer, filmmaker, and activist Bouba Touré and artist Raphaël Grisey create a hybrid and vibrant ecosystem of images that documents a rupture in the recurring narrative and re-visualizes it through multimodal montage. In doing so, processes of documenting, filmmaking and archiving transform into practices of detour, resistance, regeneration and agroecological farming, bringing to light the relations of the battlefields of Verdun, the precarious dormitories of African migrant workers in Paris, and the Malian village of Somankidi Coura. In the autonomously organized agricultural cooperative Somankidi Coura, founded in 1977 by former migrant workers and activists in France, the »return« to West African Mali is followed by the reappropriation and creation of a collective utopia based on friendship, solidarity and care for the land. Somankidi Coura is a symbol of self-empowerment, or as Bouba Touré puts it: »la naissance d'une conscience en Afrique« (»the awakening of an African consciousness«).

Exhibition: 2 June – 2 July 2023
Opening: Thu, 1 June 2023, 6 – 9 p.m. with DJane C:mone a.k.a Tuincy Bright
Opening hours: Fri - Sun, 2 – 7 p.m. or upon request: 
Venue: Akademie der Künste der Welt, ADKDW Studio, Herwarthstr. 3, 50672 Köln

Part of the exhibition are the Xaraasi Xanne – Crossing Voices filmscreening and a talk with Raphaël Grisey and Olivier Marboeuf at the Filmhaus Köln on June 2, 2023, 6 – 9 p.m.

Flyer English & German

Raphaël Grisey & Bouba Touré, Xaraasi Xanne – Crossing Voices, 2022, video still

Xaraasi Xanne – Crossing Voices

Open Discussion, Film Screening & Talk

A film screening (OV with English subtiles) and a talk with Raphaël Grisey, Olivier Marboeuf and Soso Soumaré (German / French), moderated by by Aminata Estelle Diouf and Agnes Stillger

Using rare cinematic, photographic and sound archives, Crossing Voices (2022) recounts the exemplary adventure of Somankidi Coura, an agricultural cooperative created in Mali in 1977 by western African immigrant workers living in workers’ residences in France. The story of this improbable, utopic return to the homeland follows a winding path that travels through the ecological challenges and conflicts on the African continent from the 1970s to the present day. To tell this story, Bouba Touré, one of its principal actors, returns to the heart of his personal archives. They document peasant struggles in France and Mali and follow the personal stories of migrant workers over many decades. Furthermore, the film is a story of transmission, kinship and cinematographic geographies. It is the story of Bouba Touré with filmmaker Raphaël Grisey, who became Bouba’s spiritual son, but it also chronicles Bouba’s relationship with militant filmmakers such as Sidney Sokhona or Med Hondo. Throughout the film, voices come to accompany Bouba and bring forth the narrative of a forgotten memory leading towards the future. Over the course of the film, different voices enter the soundscape to accompany Bouba Touré’s voice; they bring the tale of a forgotten memory toward a possible future sung by an electronic griot storyteller.

On Friday, June 2, 2023 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at ADKDW Studio, Raphaël Grisey (artist and filmmaker), Olivier Marboeuf (writer and film producer) and Soso Soumaré (researcher) invite you to join them for an open discussion before the screening of the film Xaraasi Xanne – Crossing Voices (6 p.m. at Filmhaus): »During this exchange, we will discuss the politics of archives in, around and after the film and the exhibition My Life Began Several Centuries Ago. We will talk about how Xaraasi Xanne – Crossing Voices was produced, but also about what the circulation of this film produces in turn and could produce in the future in specific contexts and within different communities. This conversation will address the restitution issues surrounding the colonial audiovisual archives and the various forms of hybrid transmissions of African and peasant imaginaries, between speaking bodies and images, research and speculation.«

Open Discussion
Date: Fri, 2 June 2023, 2 - 4 p.m.
Venue: Akademie der Künste der Welt, ADKDW Studio, Herwarthstr. 3, 50672 Köln 

Film Screening & Talk
Date: Fri, 2 June 2023, 6 – 9 p.m. (Film 123 min.)
Venue: Filmhaus Köln, Maybachstr. 111, 50670 Köln

The film screening is part of the »My Life Began Several Centuries Ago« – An Ecosystem of Circulating Images exhibition at the Academy of the Arts of the World (Akademie der Künste der Welt, ADKDW) between June 2 and July 2, 2023.

Asma Aiad, (Un)seen Sacred Spaces, 2020, video still, 3D Environment: Asma Aiad, Visualisierung: Rebecca Merlic

Muslim*Present in Köln 

Intervention & Talk

Muslim perspectives in art address current social debates and create spaces in which the diverse Muslim realities of everyday life can be perceived. The works of the artist Asma Aiad are also situated in this field of tension. On the one hand, her works deal with pressing wrongs and challenges of current post-migrant plural societies, such as racism, anti-Muslim racism, sexism, classism or digitalisation. On the other hand, the artistic interventions offer views and insights into the diversity and complexity of Muslim presence in post-migrant contexts, revealing, for example, perspectives that are often marginalised and made invisible. Often Muslim perspectives are not perceived in artistic productions or they are reduced one-sidedly to spiritual religious forms of expression. With her works, the artist Asma Aiad from Vienna shows diverse perspectives on being Muslim in a post-migrant context and speaks to current social debates.

An Intervention in public space by Asma Aiad, curated by Simone Pfeifer
Venue: Social Media & Poster Walls in the City of Cologne 
Intervention: 10 June – 20 July 2023
Talk & Reading with Asma Aiad and Dr. Lana Sirri (in German), moderated by Fatima Remli:
Sat, 10 June 2023, 7 – 8.30 p.m., Ebertplatz (Passage), 50668 Köln

Flyer English & German

Naeem Mohaiemen, Century’s Container, 2016, Video Still.

Langer Tag

An exhibition and public talks by Naeem Mohaiemens, curated by Nina Möntmann


The exhibition Langer Tag combines two video essays and three photographic works by Mohaiemen around the unstable nature of transnational solidarity.

The video essay Afsan’s Long Day (2014, 41 min.) reflects on the transnational circulation of ideologies by looking at the dissolution of far-left movements in the 1970s in different places around the world. Specifically, Mohaiemen contrasts the experiences of the young intellectual Afsan in the turbulent years following the 1971 Bangladesh War, which led to Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan, with the so-called German Autumn (featuring the Baader-Meinhof group). Looking at the minuscule membership of Rote Armee Fraktion, Heinrich Böll called it a »war of six against sixty million.« But what of historian Afsan Chowdhury, sitting alone in his Dhaka home, reading a lot of Marx? While others bemoaned that they had never understood dialectical materialism, Afsan had penetrated it intellectually, out-argued his professors, and grown a beard in the process. But the men who came one day cared little for all that–history has often testified that the state likes clean shaven men.

The second video in the exhibition, Century’s Container (USA, 2016, 9 min.), is a message from the present to the present of the artist Mohaiemen himself. The same year that we were horrified by the whitelash tornado embodied by Trump (after Brexit, before Le Pen), the Bangladesh government pushed Rohingya refugees back into Myanmar and toward escalating violence, under the eyes of Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. The Muslim is this century’s container for the Other; but the definition of the Other is also always changing, while the expulsion impulse remains a constant. 

Naeem Mohaiemen researches in Century’s Container the tragic past of actually existing socialism, and the unwritten futures of an as-yet unborn global left in opposition to sectarian unities of race and religion. The video includes excerpts of texts by Judith Butler, Toby Rollo, Mona Saeed Kamal, Hari Kunzru, and Sham-e-Ali Nayeem, and was produced for the public forum Sense of Emergency, organized in December 2016 in New York by Andrew Weiner in response to the election of Donald Trump.

Exhibition: 14 – 18 June 2023 (Food & Drinks: 16 June 2023, 8 p.m.)
Opening hours: Wed – Sun, 12 – 7 p.m.
Venue: Temporary Gallery – Centre for Contemporary Art, Mauritiuswall 35, 50676 Köln

Public Talks 

Public Talks by Naeem Mohaiemen and Eszter Szakács, curated by Nina Möntmann

The anthology Solidarity Must Be Defended (edited by Eszter Szakács and Naeem Mohaiemen, 2023) brings together projects on gestures and alignments within the visual arts around transnational solidarity during the Cold War. The book looks at both grand initiatives and tragic misfires from an entangled, decolonizing world, in dialogue with Mohaiemen’s film Two Meetings and a Funeral (2017). Building on their experience of jointly editing the anthology, Szakács and Mohaiemen present two intertwined talks on their areas of research that braid into the ideas of the anthology. They look at case studies of misaligned solidarity gestures during the Cold War era and consider what each of these stories show us about the hope and risk of solidarity across borders, within the pressure of time and language. Szakács explores the vicissitudes of »Eastern Europe« and »Arab World« solidarity juncture points in Hungary, and Mohaiemen gleans the after-traces of French intellectual solidarity with Iran on the cusp of Islamic Revolution.

Date: Fri, 16 June 2023, 5 – 8 p.m.
5 p.m. Eszter Szakács, »An Arab World in Hungary«
6 p.m. Naeem Mohaiemen, »Foucault in Tehran«
7 p.m. Discussion, Food & Drinks
Venue: Temporary Gallery – Centre for Contemporary Art, Mauritiuswall 35, 50676 Köln

Part of the exhibition is the film screening Two Meetings and a Funeral with an introduction by Naeem Mohaiemen at the Kölnischer Kunstverein – Die Brücke on June 15, 2023, 4 – 6 p.m.

Naeem Mohaiemen, Two Meetings and a Funeral, 2017, installation view Vasas Federation of Metalworkers' Union, Budapest/, photo by Zsuzsanna Simon

Two Meetings and a Funeral

A theater screening around the unstable nature of transnational solidarity by Naeem Mohaiemen

Film Screening & Introduction by Naeem Mohaiemen

Two Meetings and a Funeral (2017): »The Third World was not a place, but a project.« (Vijay Prashad, The Darker Nations, 2007). This was to be a utopian alliance where the Global South would reconfigure planetary leadership, ending Euro-American dominance. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) attempted to navigate a »third way,« but parallel participation in the Petrodollar-driven »Islamic bloc« by some member countries shredded fragile coalitions behind the scenes. Two Meetings and a Funeral explores a »pivot« moment between the 1973 Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting in Algeria and the 1974 Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Pakistan. The unraveling of old alliances began from a barely discernible venn diagram overlap between these two groups, one that would take on world significance after the OPEC oil crisis, the Iranian revolution, and the invasion of Afghanistan. 

Traveling through the residues of transnational architecture (Niemeyer, Moretti, Le Corbusier) in New York, Algiers, and Dhaka, the film considers the erosion of the idea of the Third World as a potential space for decolonisation, and an always imperfect understanding of Socialism. Conversations between Vijay Prashad, Samia Zennadi, Atef Berredjem, Amirul Islam, and Zonayed Saki look at the contradictions of decolonization movements that never remembered to liberate their own leadership. The film is a midpoint for Mohaiemen’s loosely affiliated projects around the Non-Aligned Movement.

Date: Thu, 15 June 2023, 4 – 6 p.m.
Venue: Kölnischer Kunstverein – Die Brücke, Hahnenstr. 6, 50667 Köln
Invited by Nina Möntmann

Film Screening and introduction are part of the Langer Tag exhibition by Naeem Mohaiemen at the Temporary Gallery between June 14 and 18, 2023.

Kaddu Yaraax, Dakar Mobilities, 2023, photo by Simon Meienberg

Colliding Circulations

An exhibition on Dakar’s mobilities between global connections and local displacements by Mamadou Diol and Leity Kane from Kaddu Yaraax, curated by Simon Meienberg, supported by Carolin Höfler and Julian Hoffmann


In Senegal’s capital Dakar, one of the densest and fastest growing cities in West Africa, different mobility systems and understandings collide. Here, the colonial legacy of urban segregation and infrastructural neglect affects the daily circulation of dakarois, Dakar’s inhabitants. At the same time, the Train Express Regional (TER) marks the beginning of a new era of mobility. The train line connects the city to a global transportation network and is hailed by many as a pioneering modernization project. Other voices criticize the increase in the cost of mobility and the social exclusion caused by the imported transport system, which displaces local forms and functions of mobility. 

The Colliding Circulations exhibition takes up such unequal mobilities in Dakar. Through diagrammatic recordings and scenic interventions, Senegalese artists explore the effects of colonial continuities on urban spaces and spatial circulation, and the processes of mediation and displacement they trigger. For example, Mamadou Diol and Leity Kane, together with the actors from the Kaddu Yaraax Forum Theater, trace the changes brought about by the construction of the TER line, which on the one hand separates the neighborhoods of Hann-Maristes and Hann-Pêcheur from one another, whilst on the other hand connecting them to a global mobility system, along with the international airport. They deploy their théâtre de l'opprimé (»theater of the oppressed«) as an emancipatory and interactive practice for critical dialog with distressed urban communities and neighborhoods. They translate global dynamics, local lifeworlds, and spatial dissonances of the city into theatrical forms of resistance and resilience. Together, they develop analytical and choreographic tools to describe the production of space under conditions of new interdependencies through large-scale infrastructure systems. 

Exhibition: 16 June – 1 July 2023
Opening: Thu, 15 June 2023, 7 p.m.
Opening times:
AIC ON Festival: 16 & 18 June 2023, 12 – 6 p.m.; 17 June 2023, 12 – 4 p.m.
19 June – 1 July 2023:
Thu-Fri, 4 – 7 p.m. & Sat, 2 – 6 p.m. or upon request:
Venue: GLASMOOG – Space for Contemporary Art & its Discourse, Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM), Filzengraben 2, 50676 Köln 

Part of the exhibition are the Kaddux Yaraax workshop between May 15 and 19, 2023 and a public talk with Mamadou Diol and Leity Kane on May 17, 2023, 7 p.m. at the Köln International School of Design of TH Köln

Exhibition Flyer English & German
Exhibition floor plan English & German

Fabian Blum, Robert Hartmann & Inca Jentsch, Blind Spots, Cologne, 2021, photo


As part of the »connecting – excluding« research training group colloquium, the one-day event on May 26, 2023, is dedicated to the curatorial project The Entire Story Starts Where – Connections and Exclusions of Translocal Positions. Exhibitions, film screenings, workshops, lecture-performances and roundtable discussions on the relationship between connections and exclusions in global networks will take place at various venues in Cologne between May 15 and July 2, 2023. The project will be developed and implemented by members of the research training group and invited artists in collaboration with various institutions in Cologne.

In the colloquium session on May 26, 2023, the organizers will present the curatorial project program. They will alternate with contributions from invited guests. The focus of the event lies in the discussion of the artistic works under various aspects of inclusion and exclusion, as well as in the activity of curating itself, which is conceived as a collective practice of knowledge production. The perspective of artistic practice and curatorial action opens up new perspectives on the themes of the research training group, reflecting on its own structures, conditions, rules and procedures of art production and curating.

Date: 26 May 2023, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
10.00 a.m. Introduction: Nina Möntmann and Carolin Höfler
10.15 a.m. Project Presentation by the artist Raphaël Grisey: »My Life Began Several Centuries Ago. An Ecosystem of Circulating Images«, moderated by Agens Stillger and Aminata Diouf
11.30 a.m. Project Presentation by Nina Möntmann: »Two Meetings and a Funeral« and »Langer Tag« by Naeem Mohaiemen
12.30 p.m. Break
1.30 p.m. Sandra Kurfürst & Carolin Höfler: »Public Spaces, Infrastructures and Artistic Practices of Assembly«
2.30 p.m. Project Presentation by Simone Pfeiffer: »Muslim*Present in Köln« by Asma Aiad
3.30 p.m. Project Presentation by Simon Meienberg: »Colliding Circulations« by Kaddu Yaraax
4.30 p.m. Final Discussion 
Venue: University of Cologne, a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne, Aachener Str. 217, 50931 Köln, 3rd Floor, Room 3.A06 (»Skyfall«)
Registration is not required.

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