sonsbeek20→24: force times distance ⏤ on labour and its sonic ecologies
July 2–August 29, 2021
sonsbeek20→24, entitled force times distance — on labour and its sonic ecologies, will run in Arnhem, the Netherlands, from July 2 through August 29, 2021, celebrating the opening of its 12th edition.
Amidst everything that has and is still going on, what is silenced and what reverberates? What is revealed and what is ignored? Is solidarity resonating? Do we perceive its echoes while some people keep being denied breath?
For some, these times are merely bundles of repackaged war metaphors and symbolic gestures that mirror the familiar cycles of inequalities and histories of labour injustices, while for others the pressure of immense uncertainties and deprivation are relatively unknown and pose new challenges. So how do we really show up for each other? How do we work through radical forms of intergeographical and intergenerational solidarity that are embodied, communal, and not merely consumed, commodified, and therefore fleeting?
The curatorial framework of sonsbeek20→24, centered around labour and its sonicities, connects a millenary history crossing times and geographies to the present moment, through a multitude of voices, sounds, and ripples. It invites us to listen to the sounds relegated to the “edges” of the “main” motive, to the whispered stories, to those passed through singing and through storytelling, and embodied narratives. An edition that inhabits the absence from the dominant image. An edition that draws particular attention to that which has been written otherwise—in singing, playing, performing, dancing, caring, in polyphonic rhythms and multiple motherless-tongues thanks to which memories, traditions, spiritualities, entire cosmologies crossed oceans and deserts. This edition aims to reveal the complex labour relations and inequalities that show who is (un)seen, who is (in)dispensable, who is seemingly worth our applause, and who is fawningly silent.
With more than 250 contributions and artistic positions in 13 different locations, sonsbeek20→24 expands its original format of an exhibition in Arnhem’s Park Sonsbeek, to a multiplicity of manifestations in and beyond the city of Arnhem. Including airplane hangars, vaults, military schools, radio, museums, a private foundation, two churches, a festival, a guard house, community libraries and centers, barber shops, among others, this first public edition questions and stretches the notion of public space and public art.
By expanding its time frame until 2024 and initiating a deceleration process, sonsbeek20→24 stages a continuous public and educational programme choreographed at different scales that will include a series of demonstrations, events, lectures, workshops, performances, and listening sessions. sonsbeek20→24 is committed to establishing long-term relations between artists and their practices, local communities and institutions, as well as different public sites and their everyday visitors.
An educational programme built together with artists, activists, and community members from Arnhem and its surroundings will be looking at the notion of syncopation in an attempt to build a collective score. By drawing inspiration from the relation between labour and time within a number of African communities, this programme will conjure the space of the laborious as a space of celebration, of transmission of knowledge, of connectedness and of reflection, too.
This 12th edition of sonsbeek—the pathbreaking quadrennial for art in public space, is co-curated by Antonia Alampi, Amal Alhaag, Zippora Elders and Aude Christel Mgba, curatorial support by Krista Jantowski, under the artistic direction of Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung.
Opening days programme
On June 30, the sonsbeek20→24 team, participants and artists will be accompanied by spoken-word artists, musicians, vocalists, and visitors for a dense programme of conversations, performances, guided walks, and concerts.
On July 1, sonsbeek20→24 will pay tribute to “Keti Koti” (Breaking the chains), the annual celebration and commemoration of the abolition of slavery in 1863 in Suriname, Curaçao, Aruba, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba in the Caribbean. This important day is highlighted through our programme Sea as History— a discursive performative programme with poetic and music interventions, unraveling Arnhem’s historical entanglement with the history of enslavement and colonialism. A detailed programme as well as mandatory registration for the opening days is now available here.
Artists and collectives in the exhibitions include Julieta Aranda, Leo Asemota, Sam Auinger, The Black Archives, Cheick Diallo, Ndidi Dike, Justine Gaga, Ellen Gallagher, Antonio Guzman in collaboration with Iva Jankovic, Louis Henderson and João Polido Gomez, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami and Belinda Zhawi, Yinka Ilori, Anne Duk-Hee Jordan, Mae-Ling Lokko and Gustavo Crembil, Ibrahim Mahama, Oscar Murillo, Hira Nabi, Olu Oguibe, Wendelien van Oldenborgh and Erika Hock, Laure Prouvost, raumlaborberlin, Willem de Rooij, Nader Mohamed Saadallah, Mithu Sen, Marinella Senatore, Farkhondeh Shahroudi, Libita Sibungu, Buhlebezwe Siwani, Jennifer Tee, Sunette L. Viljoen, Omer Wasim, Werker Collective, and Alida Ymele, as well as historical positions by stanley brouwn, Sedje Hémon, Imran Mir, and Abdias do Nascimento.
Contributors to the first of five readers to be published for sonsbeek20→24 include: Amal Alhaag, Simone Atangana Bekono, Anivia Beylard, Panashe Chigumadzi, Danielle Child, Ibrahim Cissé, Precious Colette, Léon-Gontran Damas, Kemigisha, Kodwo Eshun, Philomena Essed, Iheb Guermazi, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Jana Keijdener, Chenjerai Kumanyika, Lionel Manga, Maurizio Lazzarato, Guy Ossito Midiohouan, Anne Moraa, Alia Mossallam, Djuwa Mroivili, Mwazulu Diyabanza, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, and Akila Richards.
sonsbeek20→24 will also be accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue, published with Archive Books.
Contributors to the public and performance programs, radio and education formats in the course of sonsbeek20→24 summer manifestation include, among others: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Krista Burger, DAI, Nadeem Din-Gabisi, Mitchell Esajas, Quinsy Gario, Antonio Guzman and Iva Jankovic, HISK, Anneke Ingwersen, Anne Duk-Hee Jordan, Susanne Khalil Yusef, Richard Kofi with Simone Zeefuik, Sanne Landvreugd, Anwar Manlasadoon with Sahra Mohamed, Wayne Modest, Farida Nabibaks, Natuurcentrum Arnhem, Olu Oguibe, Wendelien van Oldenborgh and Erika Hock and Kleopatra Vorria, raumlaborberlin Radio, Ritmo Percussion, Romy Rüegger, Saas-Fee Summer Institute for Art presents Curating Noise: Reverberations and the Polyvocal with Christopher Cox and Cécile Malaspina and Warren Neidich, Mithu Sen, Marinella Senatore with Nandhan Molinaro and Elisa Zucchetti (ESPZ) and Tamar Harosh, Jennifer Tee, Under The Table, Marjolein Vogels, Werker Collective. A complete overview of sonsbeek20→24 public and performance programme contributors can be found here.