press release

How are human orders reproduced vis-à-vis aesthetics? Can art be used as a vehicle to redress hegemonic ideas of the category ‘human’? Is it possible to move outside of the social conditioning and culturally prescribed ‘sense of self’ that art has, for centuries, dictated through ideological and institutional framings?

NO HUMANS INVOLVED, an exhibition by multidisciplinary artist collective HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?, who have been in residence in Rotterdam for two months, urgently engages questions of ontology that encompass the multiplicity of our historically and socially produced human identities. Video and sculptural installations, printed matter, sonic scapes and film shorts, situate different modes of perception as forms of aesthetic and conceptual reinvention, protest, and disobedience to normative orders.

HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? is made up of 45 artists who have lived and worked together, in various iterations, for the past twenty years. The collective consists of visual artists, writers, poets, composers, academics, filmmakers and performers from around the world who collaborate across disciplines and cities. Projects conceived and created by this transnational group ultimately function as laboratories for investigation, production and discourse.

Public Program
The exhibition is complemented with a symposium that brings together artists and scholars including Karan Barad (Professor of Feminist Studies, Philosophy, and History of Consciousness, the University of California), Kara Keeling (Associate Professor of Critical Studies, University of Southern California) and Alexander Wehelyie (Professor of African American Studies, Northwestern University).

Exhibition readings are offered throughout the summer by experts including Samir Bantal (Executive Manager, OMA), Teana Boston-Mammah (Researcher, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences) and symposium participants, amongst others.

The exhibition is curated by Nana Adusei-Poku (Curatorial Fellow 2015, Witte de With), Sienna Shields and Christa Bell of HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?, together with Natasha Hoare (Associate Curator, Witte de With) upon invitation by Defne Ayas (Director, Witte de With).

About Curatorial Fellowship
Each year, a Curatorial Fellow is invited into the institution for a sustained period of research. Fellows are invited by the Director based on their qualitative and critical intellectual practice in relation to the program of Witte de With. Each Fellow will bring their specific expertise to the institute, bridging contemporary art and academic fields of research, through a partnership with a university or other academic institution. A Curatorial Fellowship always leads to a public presentation: an exhibition, a book, a contribution to a symposium or an educational project. Previous Fellows include Ian Yang (2014), Vivian Ziherl and Natasha Ginwala (2013). The Curatorial Fellow for 2015 is Nana Adusei-Poku.