FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2007
Media Insurgencies: Thinkspace Seminar Room, Townsend Center
11am – 1p.m. Polycentric sessions, UC-Berkeley, Townsend Center
for the Humanities
Back to Program
k ôtre Screenings
ôtre k’ ôtre, at first sight
an incomprehensible and hermetic title, sounds like ‘autre qu’
autre’, which translates the ambiguity of identity/alterity. The
video works ôtre k’ ôtre – made in collaboration
with African artists – is the result of the looking at a known,
familiar phenomenon – in this case ‘contemporary art’
– from a remote, unfamiliar point of view – in this case
the African culture. The video works raise questions about our own perception
of ‘the (African) other’ and his contemporary culture, and
about the search for identity (theirs as well as ours) through art.
A recurrent trait thorough the video works of ôtre k’ ôtre
is the (productive) tension between ‘self’ and ‘other’,
between ‘strangeness’ and ‘familiarity’, between
‘them/there’ and ‘us/here’.
Matthias De Groof (°1981) is fascinated
by the tension between alterity and identity in the (self-) representation
of Africa. He researched this topic on various levels. He wrote his
Master thesis in Philosophy on the epistemological fundaments of western
representational systems, more specifically of the European conception
of Black Africa. He then studied International Relations to gain a deeper
insight into the historical and geopolitical complexities of Central
Africa. Afterwards he studied the self-representation of Africa in its
cinemas, during a Master in Studies of Film and Image Culture. This
time he wrote his thesis on the themes and the aesthetics of African
films, and the way in which they respond to the western gaze on Africa
by gazing back at us.
Within the context of these academic inquiries,
Matthias undertook various research travels to Central Africa.
During our residency at the Académie
des Beaux-Arts we developed our ideas and concrete works together, and
we also have an equal part in the further elaboration of exhibition
formats for ôtre k’ ôtre. His ideas emerged from his
theoretical background and from his knowledge of historical examples
of artistic-antropological films, whereas I was rather focused on the
idea of transdisciplinary experiments with the local artists. Our project
is the fruit of this double input. In the results of our collaboration
it is impossible to define where one’s part ends and the other’s
Alongside of our common project, Matthias realised
a series of photograpic works that depict the influence of the political
campaign for the presidential elections on the cloths of the Congolese
people. He also realised video-installations: a document in objects,
video and a photograph, about a community in the periphery of Kinshasa
that aims at a new fashion, ready to conquer the world market, inspired
on the traditional cloths and accessoires of their ancestors.
Matthias De Groof is currently participating
in the masterclass SIC (Sound Image Culture), an initiative of a group
of filmmakers and anthropologists where he fulfils his meta-documentary
on Jerusalem, an contemporary city-portrait composed by archive footage
and biblical texts, in an ‘archaeological’ approach. Also,
his newest photographical collage on the Wall in Palestine was recently
selected by FotografieCircuit.
Kristin Rogghe is a multidisciplinary artist with a philosophical background.
Crossing borders between genres and techniques, her work is characterized
by a transdisciplinary appraoch and an original research into unfamiliar
aspects of human reality. A strategy she hereby uses is to connect the
familiar with the foreign, the ordinary with the odd.
Her video installation ‘Eye Music’,
for example, researches and reveals how deaf people experience music.
The project ‘ôtre k’ ôtre’ also approaches
a seemingly familiar subject – contemporary art - from an unusual
point of view. In close collaboration with Matthias De Groof and several
Kinshasa-based artists, the participants explore the tensions between
strangeness and familiarity, alterity and affinities.
Kristin Rogghe is a laureate of Transmedia,
the international postgraduate in arts + design + media, housed by Sint-Lukas
Brussels. Before that she has studied Philosophy in Leuven and Lisbon.
Alongside with her visual work, Kristin Rogghe
publishes philosophical essays and poetry. She also works as a performer
in several theatre/dance pieces.
She exhibited her work at several venues in
Belgium (Wiels Off Site, Brussels; Het Entrepot, Bruges; Monty, Antwerp
a.o.), and was recently selected for a residence and exhibition within
the project ‘Passage’, the European Network for Young Artists.