Blind Spots in the Sun

Blind Spots in the Sun is a series of art interventions dealing with colonialism, collective memory and racism in Germany. The name Blind Spots in the Sun derives from the infamous phrase "We, too, claim our spot in the sun," used by German Foreign Secretary Bernhard von Bülow in 1897 to describe the colonial policies of the German Empire. It also alludes to the many blind spots that still exist in the German collective consciousness in light of this chapter of its history, and how it helped to entrench a more subtle form of racism in the German psyche that remains virulent today. Racism is often equated exclusively with right-wing extremism. However, it already starts where people are stereotyped because of their skin color.

Most Germans are not even aware that this is already a form of racism and can be hurtful. The effect is alienation and micro-aggressions.

Blind Spots in the Sun seeks to expose these blind spots through artistic interventions and encourage reflection. We want to contribute to a broader understanding of the concept of racism and that the white majority in Germany, which does not consider itself racist, deals more actively with less visible forms of racism and takes more responsibility by critically reflecting on its own behavior.
To this end, a series of interventions will take place in Kassel this summer. 

Interventions

Blinds Spots in the Street: Art in Public Space

This project is a poster action that takes place on unused large advertising spaces in Kassel. It consists of a competition, where artists, designers and illustrators are asked to develop poster ideas that introduce an audience to the topics of colonial history and racism in an unconventional way. The second part of the poster campaign is called What We Don't See in Kassel. For this, experiences of everyday racism as experienced by Black, African and Afro-diasporic people in Kassel will be posterized at the same time as the works selected by the jury from the first part of Blinds Spots in the Street Panel discussions and interviews.


Panel discussion and interviews

As part of Blinds Spots in the Sun, a panel discussion and interviews on the topics of colonial history and racism in Germany will take place in August/September. 

The following people have confirmed their participation: 

Mo Asumang is a film director, television presenter, best-selling author, actress, singer, artist and film producer. She shows her documentaries in schools and gives lectures on racism and xenophobia. In 2019, she received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for her work. 

Princess Marilyn Duala Manga Bell is an economist and curator. She is the great-granddaughter of Rudolf Manga Bell and co-founder of the cultural institution doual'art in Duala, Cameroon. 

Aram Ziai is a political scientist and German Research Foundation Heisenberg Professor of Development Policy and Postcolonial Studies at the University of Kassel. Blind Spots in the Sun Exhibition from Aug. 5 - Sept. 19, 2021.Im Rahmen von Blind Spots in the Sun finden im August/September Podiumsdiskussionen und Interviews zu den Themen Kolonialgeschichte und Rassismus in Deutschland statt.

Blind Spots in the Sun Exhibition from 05.08. – 19.9.2021

This exhibition will present the results of the competition, as well as document the interconnections of German colonial history with African countries, using Cameroon as an example. It also documents the connections between stereotypes from the colonial era with the racism that exists in contemporary Germany.

In a two-channel video installation (see below), the fate of Rudolf Manga Bell, which is closely interwoven with the history and culture of Germany, is told in a non-linear way.

Blind Spots in the Street:
OPEN CALL/POSTER COMPETITION
>>>Deadline: 06 June 2021






This competition is part of Blind Spots in the Sun - a series of art interventions dealing with colonialism, collective memory and racism in Germany.

The call is open to Black artists*, illustrators* and designers who have themselves experienced racism in Germany or those who are from or live in the former German colonies of Togo, Cameroon, Namibia, Tanzania, Rwanda or Burundi.

The Blind Spots in the Street poster competition has officially started

Henrik Langsdorf — 31.3.2021

The poster competition is on!

The Blind Spots in the Street poster competition has officially started - with announcements on Facebook and Instagram and in Kassel's FRIZZ magazine (pictured left).
This call is for Black artists, illustrators and designers who have themselves experienced racism in Germany or those who are from or live in the former German colonies of Togo, Cameroon, Namibia, Tanzania, Rwanda or Burundi. Information about the competition is available here.

FURTHER INFO ON THE POSTER COMPETITION

Henrik Langsdorf — 3 Jan 2021

EMPEROR AND KING

In 1884, King Bell of the Duala people, along with leaders of other ethnic groups in Cameroon, signed a "protection treaty" with German trading companies that effectively made Cameroon a German colony.
In 1888, Wilhelm II was sworn in as Emperor of the German Empire and became a staunch defender of the colonial empire that Bismarck had established at the Berlin Conference in 1884-85.

Read more ...

Henrik Langsdorf — 5.Feb 2021

WHEN THE EMPIRE STRUCK BACK

A STORY ABOUT SPACE, ADVENTURERS AND DISTANT COLONIES

"Germany needs more space." This was one of the justifications propagated in Germany in the late 19th century for aggressively pursuing colonial territories. In fact, Germany was experiencing explosive population growth during this period, causing tensions in major cities such as Berlin. However, a massive settler movement never occurred, and ultimately there was never a real problem of space, which would have led to mass emigration.
German colonial history remained largely a story of adventurers, sailors, and traders, some of whom made huge profits from forced labor on their plantations.
Whenever natives resisted the arbitrary rule established by the Germans, the empire struck back with brutal punishments, murder, rape and burning villages.

Read more ...

EMPEROR AND KING

In 1884, King Bell of the Duala people, along with leaders of other ethnic groups in Cameroon, signed a "protection treaty" with German trading companies that effectively made Cameroon a German colony.
In 1888, Wilhelm II was sworn in as Emperor of the German Empire and became a staunch defender of the colonial empire that Bismarck had established at the Berlin Conference in 1884-85.


King Bell's grandson Rudolf Duala Manga Bell was sent to Germany by his father to study the language and became a lover and admirer of German literature and music. As a law student in Bonn, he also became a staunch supporter of the German legal system. In 1910, Manga Bell was crowned King of the Duala as heir to the throne. He was then appointed by the Empire as a liaison between the German colonial administration and the local population.

To counter the increasingly brutal abuses of the Germans in Cameroon, Manga Bell always opted for settling disputes according to the rule of law, for example by repeatedly submitting petitions to the German Reichstag. He was firmly convinced that Germany would honor the treaty his grandfather had signed. Only when the German Reich under Kaiser Wilhelm II, after largely ignoring his pleas, sought to establish an apartheid system in the town of Duala by forcibly expropriating and expelling the population, did he - after all legal means had been exhausted - resort to rebellion. The Germans summarily put him on trial for treason without due process and executed him, along with several other leaders, by hanging.
The next day, another 200 people were hanged. Manga Bell's body was left hanging for three days to set an example.
In Cameroon, Rudolf Manga Bell, who had largely been forgotten there for many years, is now revered as a national hero. In Germany, however, he has not been rehabilitated to this day

WHEN THE EMPIRE STRUCK BACK
A STORY ABOUT SPACE, ADVENTURERS AND DISTANT COLONIES

"Germany needs more space." This was one of the justifications propagated in Germany in the late 19th century for aggressively pursuing colonial territories. In fact, Germany was experiencing explosive population growth during this period, causing tensions in major cities such as Berlin. However, a massive settler movement never occurred, and ultimately there was never a real problem of space, which would have led to mass emigration.
German colonial history remained largely a story of adventurers, sailors, and traders, some of whom made huge profits from forced labor on their plantations.

Whenever natives resisted the arbitrary rule established by the Germans, the empire struck back with brutal punishments, murder, rape and burning villages.

The worst such event was when the Herero and Nama people in German Southwest Africa rose up against the German settlers: The empire struck back with an extermination order against the Herero, the first genocide of the 20th century. It was also the first time Germany used concentration camps to systematically work people to death with forced labor and malnutrition.

The death toll caused by German colonial activities in German East Africa (today’s Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi) was even higher than in German Southwest (today’s Namibia). Yet many people in Germany still believe the myth that because the German colonial empire was of relatively short duration, it was "not as bad" as other colonial powers. Most Germans still do not know that Togo, Cameroon, Tanzania, Namibia, Burundi, Rwanda, New Guinea and numerous other Western Pacific/Micronesian islands were all German colonies - and what crimes were committed by the Germans in each of these countries.

Partners, Sponsors, Supporters

We would like to thank our partners, sponsors and supporters for their active support in terms of content and funding!
We are currently still looking for further sponsors and would be pleased to receive your message at info@blindspotsinthesun.org
Wir verwenden Cookies
Cookie-Einstellungen
Unten finden Sie Informationen über die Zwecke, für welche wir und unsere Partner Cookies verwenden und Daten verarbeiten. Sie können Ihre Einstellungen der Datenverarbeitung ändern und/oder detaillierte Informationen dazu auf der Website unserer Partner finden.
Analytische Cookies Alle deaktivieren
Funktionelle Cookies
Andere Cookies
Wir verwenden Cookies, um die Inhalte und Werbung zu personalisieren, Funktionen sozialer Medien anzubieten und unseren Traffic zu analysieren. Mehr über unsere Cookie-Verwendung
Einstellungen ändern Alle akzeptieren
Cookies