The race has an end. Tired from 1000 Jobs and things i am sitting in front of the guesthouse of the art academy of Kinshasa in R.D. Congo and have my breakfast. In the last two months i earned enough money to pay back my minus in the bank accounts and for my living in the next months. Everydays life of an artists, allways these ups and downs, make also an artist crazy, tired and depressed.
But now i am here. Cut! In two hours i will start to direct a workshop for art students about the role of the United Nations today, 20 students are expected. My project H-O-P-E is based on a wall painting in the UN security council in New York, showing the UN´s vision on world peace in the 1950s, we will try to develop new versions of parts of this painting, more relevant today. For this, i brought a big reproduction of the painting. Ok, starting with a roundtable presentation of all participants, then a powerpoint based introduction by me. Which is my structure? First listening. Allways questioning, having more questions. Respect. Directing to more options of possibilities. I also bring a staple of A4 paper and some big pencils. We collect opinions on the United Nations, just first statement. My questions:
1. What do you know about the UN?
2. What do you know about the UN´s mission in R.D. Congo?
3. What do you think about?
We are getting a big collection of very critcal statement, an we hang them around the paintings print, like a frame. After this, we create 6 smaller groups and continue to work in that groups. Each group develop first ideas about their project of the next days, and they select a part of the painting, they want to “remix”. I give technical informations, possiblities of the green box video effect, of the softwares and media equipment i brought. I show a film i downloaded on Youtube about the last 15 years of Congo´s bloody history. Such compact and detail packed documentations are, of cause, never shown on the national TV stations. Everybody is shocked about the numbers. What everybody of the students know from personal experience, now, maybe first time the can see from outside. Around 5 million people got killed in R.D. Congo in the last 15 years, mainly civilists. This first day of the workshop, we end with the hard feelings after watching this film. On the next days, less students come. This is, because it is a difficult time in Kinshasa: Election! It is a lot of fear in the streets, 3000 people left the town, in the nights i hear shootings, sometimes heavy bombs. And the election jury slows down the publication of the result in a painfull way: Pushing it further to the next day, to next monday, to wednesday evening… I allmost never leave the campus of the art academy, but the students come, and we realize 12 great videos.
On the first day i met the director of the art academy, and i am very impressed. This art academy has some normal art and design students, like everywhere, with shiny shoes and fashionable clothes, cellphones etc. But the campus also hosts hounderts of very pur students, former street kids, victoms of the war in the east. They don´t have the money to buy art materials,but they are incredible creative to improvise, play music, making objects, drawings, what ever…
The H-O-P-E project will be presented at VIDEOMEDEJA Festival in Serbia. Parallel to the workshop i work on the project´s website www.unitednationshope.de and lucky, a young designer from Belgium, Vincent Virgille helps me with some programming on it. Thank you, man!