PLAYBACK: The African Union 20 to 20.000 Hz
November 4–30, 2016
Opening: November 3, 2016, 6 pm / Public Conversation: November 4, 2016, 2-5 pm
The exhibition PLAYBACK. The African Union: 20 to 20,000 Hz gives insight into the working process of the sound artist Emeka Ogboh for a site specific project at the African Union. Ogboh won the competition to propose an artwork for the Julius Nyerere Peace and Security Building, the new building at the African Union in Addis Ababa.
The exhibition presents a series of sound installations that engage with the past and present of the Association of African States. Ogboh based the exhibition on his comprehensive research in various audio archives. He juxtaposes historical speeches recorded by the Ethiopian radio network on the occasion of the founding ceremony of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963 with recitations of the African Union’s anthem translated into various African languages, newly arranged vocal compositions and sound recordings.
Emeka Ogboh creates a dynamic archive of interwoven voices, songs, sounds and thoughts that echoes the African Union’s motto “unity in diversity” and explores its guiding principles and visions within a Pan-African context. The title refers to the range of frequencies audible to the human ear and emphasises the act of listening. The artist reflects on the significance of words and language, the intimacy of personal encounter and the role of the radio in shaping collective memory and an institution’s cultural legacy.
Christina Werner, curator of the exhibition
"Emeka Ogboh creates an auditory time capsule of this particular moment in African history, when Pan-Africanism played a distinct role in shaping continental identity. The exhibition tells a story – a story that is not simply lifted from the sepulchre of the archives, but an African story in the making."
Elizabeth Giorgis, director of the Modern Art Museum: Gebre Kristos Desta Center
“It is a voyage into time and space, balancing between yesterday and today, between euphoric utopia and implacable reality, between inspirational action and endless hope. Taking material from the audio archives of the African Union (AU) as a point of departure, the artist explores the AU's journey on the road ‘Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous and Integrated Africa’. Emeka Ogboh remaps the vision of the AU Founding Fathers and monitors its achievements.”
N'Goné Fall, on behalf of the jury
An exhibition by the ifa— Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen,
in collaboration with the Modern Art Museum: Gebre Kristos Desta Center,
funded by the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany,
supported by the Goethe-Institut Addis Ababa.
Born 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria. Lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria and Berlin, Germany. Emeka Ogboh won the competition to create an artwork for the new buiding of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ogboh specialises in digital audio media and video and is co-founder of Video Art Network (VAN) Nigeria, a platform that promotes New Media art activities in Nigeria.
- Prize of the Böttcherstraße in Bremen 2016. Kunsthalle Bremen
- La Ville au loin – FRAC Centre-Val de Loire
- Market Symphony: Smithsonian National Museum of African Art
- Playback. The African Union 20 to 20,000 Hz, ifa gallery Berlin
- Africa: Architecture, Culture and Identity, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk
- Disguise: Masks & Global African Art, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle
- 56th Venice Biennale, Venice
- HLYSNAN: The Notion and Politics of Listening, Casino Luxembourg
- DAK’ART Biennale, Dakar
- Mikromusik: Festival experimenteller Musik und Sound Art. Berlin.
- The First International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Cartagena de Indias, Cartagena
- Urban Sounds, Haus der elektronischen Künste, Basel
- National Pop-Up Theatre, Federal Government printing press, Lagos
- 2nd Istanbul Triennale, Taksim Republic Art Gallery, Istanbul
- Infecting The City, Public Arts Festival, Cape Town
- African Art and the Shape of Time, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Michigan
- Manifesta 12
- Invisible Cities, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Massachusetts
- ARS 11: KIASMA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki
- IMAG[IN]ING CITIES, The Amin Gulgee Gallery, Karachi
- Afropolis, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne
- Green Summary, The Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos
- Market Symphony: Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C.
- Eko’polis: FRAC Centre-Val de Loire
- DISGUISE, The Seattle Art Museum, Seattle
- A Lagos State of Mind II, The Africa Center, New York
- Trancemission, International Biennial of Contemporary Art Foundation of Cartagena, De Indias, Cartagena
- Ghost of the Machine, Goethe-Institut, Lagos
- A Lagos State of Mind, Menil Museum, Houston
- Lagos-Manchester (LOS-MAN), three outdoor sound installations, Manchester
- This is Lagos!, Westdeutsche Rundfunk, Cologne